Denny Hamlin will lead the field to green in a NASCAR Cup Series race for the second time this season, starting first Sunday in the starting lineup for the playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway
Kurt Busch, who won the Round of 12 opener at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, will start second. Martin Truex Jr. and Alex Bowman will form the second row.
Here are the starting positions for the rest of the 12 playoff drivers (in order): Kevin Harvick (fifth), Kyle Busch (sixth), Brad Keselowski (seventh), Joey Logano (eighth), Clint Bowyer (ninth), Chase Elliott (10th), Aric Almirola (11th) and Austin Dillon (12th),
STARTING LINEUP: Where everyone will start in the Yellawood 500
Hamlin, who will be starting first in a Cup race for the first time since June 14 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, 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. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver led a race-high 121 laps and finished third Sunday at Las Vegas.
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 Talladega Cup starting lineup for Sunday.
NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega
Race time: 2 p.m. ET, Sunday
Track: Talladega Superspeedway; Talladega, Alabama (2.66-mile speedway)
Length: 188 laps (500 miles)
Stages: Stage 1 ends Lap 60. Stage 2 ends Lap 120.
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)
Next Truck race: Saturday at Talladega (94 laps, 250.04 miles), 1 p.m. ET on FS1
Next Xfinity race: Saturday at Talladega (113 laps, 300.58 miles), 4:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN