With a berth in the championship round hanging in the balance, Brad Keselowski will start from the pole position in Sunday’s Xfinity 500 Cup Series starting lineup at Martinsville Speedway.
Only Logano has clinched one of four title-eligible spots in the Nov. 8 season finale at Phoenix Raceway. Harvick (42 points above the cutline), Hamlin (plus-27) and Keselowski (plus-26) currently hold provisional transfer spots in the points standings.
STARTING LINEUP: Where everyone will start in the Xfinity 500 at Martinsville
The championship field will be filled by Logano, any of the remaining seven playoff drivers who wins in the Round of 8 finale at Martinsville and the two highest-ranked drivers in points. There will be three slots filled according to points if one of the other seven isn’t in victory lane Sunday.
Keselowski, a two-time winner at Martinsville, will be starting first for the first time in a Cup race at the track. The Team Penske driver was awarded the Busch Pole Award using a formula based on four statistical categories: owner points position, the driver’s finish, team owner’s finish and fastest lap from the most recently completed race.
Since the end of the regular season, playoff cars now fill the top starting positions, according to how many remain eligible for the championship. In the Round of 12, the top 12 starting positions will be playoff cars; in the Round of 8, the top eight starting positions will be playoff cars, etc.
NASCAR previously had used a random draw to set most of its lineups since returning in May during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has eliminated practice and qualifying on nearly all race weekends.
Click here for the Martinsville Cup starting lineup for Sunday.
NASCAR Cup Series at Martinsville Speedway
Race time: 2 p.m. ET Sunday
Track: Martinsville Speedway; Martinsville, Virginia (0.526-mile speedway)
Length: 500 laps (263 miles)
Stages: Stage 1 ends Lap 130. Stage 2 ends Lap 260.
TV coverage: NBC
Radio: Motor Racing Network (also SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
Streaming: NBC Sports app (subscription required); mrn.com and SiriusXM for audio (subscription required)
Lineup: Click here for the Martinsville Cup starting lineup for Sunday.
Next Truck race: Friday at Martinsville (200 laps, 105.2 miles), 8 p.m. ET on FS1
Next Xfinity race: Saturday at Martinsville (250 laps, 131.5 miles), 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC