NASCAR lineup at Richmond: Starting order, pole for Saturday’s playoff race without qualifying

The starting lineup for Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway was set by the statistical formula NASCAR is using for the majority of Cup races in 2021.

Drivers’ starting positions for the Federated Auto Parts 400, the second race of the Cup Series playoffs (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN5, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), were based on four factors:

NASCAR is conducting qualifying for just eight of the 36 Cup Series points races in the 2021 season. Seven of those races have already been run; the one remaining race with qualifying is the season-ending Championship 4 race at Phoenix Raceway in November.

Below is the starting lineup, which was set without qualifying, for Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff race on Richmond Raceway’s 0.75-mile, D-shaped oval.

Who won the pole for the NASCAR race at Richmond?

NASCAR assigned Kyle Larson the No. 1 spot in the Richmond lineup based on its formula. Larson leads the playoff point standings and is coming off a runner-up finish last weekend at Darlington.

The winner of that race, Denny Hamiln, will line up next to Larson on the front row. Hamlin locked up a spot in the Round of 12 with his first victory of the season at the Cook Out Southern 500. 

Under NASCAR’s playoff rules, the top 16 spots in Saturday’s field went to the 16 playoff drivers, but the starting order was based on the mathematical formula NASCAR has used for the majority of its races this season.

The four drivers who are below the Round of 12 cut line entering Saturday’s race will all start toward the back of the playoff pack. Alex Bowman will begin 12th, William Byron will start 14th, Kyle Busch will start 15th and Michael McDowell will start 16th.

Defending series champion Chase Elliott will start 13th after a crash forced him out of the Darlington race. Elliott comes into Saturday’s race 10th in the playoff standings. 

NASCAR Cup playoff standings

Denny Hamlin became the first driver this year to clinch a second-round when he won at Darlington. Runner-up driver Kyle Larson increased his playoff points lead and four playoff drivers suffered big hits in the standings after crashing out at the track that’s “Too Tough to Tame.” 

x-Clinched berth in Round of 12.

NASCAR starting lineup at Richmond

NASCAR used a mathematical formula to set the starting lineup for Saturday’s playoff race at Richmond Raceway, the Federated Auto Parts 400. Thirty-seven cars were entered for the race. Playoff drivers are denoted by “P-” next to their names.

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