NASCAR lineup at Talladega: Starting order, pole for Sunday’s race without qualifying

The starting lineup and pole for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama were not set by qualifying runs or by the random draws that were held earlier in the 2020 season as NASCAR moved to reduce time spent at the track because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead, the starting grid for Sunday’s race at Talladega, the YellaWood 500 (2 p.m. ET, NBC), was the result of a formula that took into account finishing position from the previous race, team owner points standings and the fastest lap from the previous race. This was the eighth time a version of the formula was used to determine the starting lineup for a race without qualifying. 

The current formula was also used to determine pit stall selections, which means the pole sitter for Sunday’s race made the first pit stall selection.

Below is the starting lineup for Sunday’s NASCAR race at Talladega and how it was set without qualifying.

Who won the pole for the NASCAR race at Talladega?

Playoff driver Denny Hamlin was awarded the pole following his third-place finish last weekend at Las Vegas. Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing team is third in the NASCAR playoff standings and in excellent shape to advance to the Round of 8, although Talladega has a reputation for being a wild card that can shake up the standings.    

Joining Hamlin on the front row will be Kurt Busch, last weekend’s winner at Las Vegas. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver clinched his place in the Round of 8 with the win.

The starting order for the other 10 playoff drivers in the current Round of 12: 3. Martin Truex Jr.; 4. Alex Bowman; 5. Kevin Harvick; 6. Kyle Busch; 7. Brad Keselowski; 8. Joey Logano; 9. Clint Bowyer; 10. Chase Elliott; 11. Aric Almirola; 12. Austin Dillon.

Below is the formula for how the Cup Series field was set at Talladega:

35 percent: Ranking in team owner points
25 percent: Driver’s position from previous race
25 percent: Team owner’s position from previous race
15 percent: Fastest lap from previous race

NASCAR starting lineup at Talladega

The starting lineup for Sunday’s race at Talladega was determined by NASCAR’s new formula for setting lineups in races without qualifying. The same procedure will be used through the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.

The formula produced this starting lineup for Sunday’s NASCAR race at Talladega:

(P) Playoff driver.

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