Denny Hamlin clinches Busch Pole Award for Talladega

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Staff Report
·3 min read
Denny Hamlin clinches Busch Pole Award for Talladega
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Denny Hamlin has claimed the Busch Pole Award for Sunday’s GEICO 500 (2 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Talladega Superspeedway.

Hamlin will start his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota from the pole position for the third time this season in the 500-miler at the 2.66-mile Alabama track. He finished second last weekend at Richmond Raceway and has held the NASCAR Cup Series points lead for all but one week this season.

Austin Cindric, the defending Xfinity Series champion, captured the pole for Saturday’s Ag-Pro 300 (4 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM) in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford.

RELATED: Talladega weekend schedule | 2021 Cup Series standings

As NASCAR adapted to COVID-19 protocols last season, practice and qualifying were eliminated at a majority of national-series events to limit at-track time, exposure and to cut race weekend costs. To determine starting lineups, competition officials used grouped draws, added inversions for weekend doubleheaders, and eventually adopted a performance-metrics formula. That metrics format remains in place this season, drawing on performance from both individual races and season-long results.

NASCAR’s metrics formula for 2021 weighs:

  • 25 percent: Driver’s finishing position from the previous race

  • 25 percent: Car owner’s finishing position from the previous race

  • 35 percent: Team owner points ranking

  • 15 percent: Fastest lap from the previous race

See the full lineup for Sunday’s Cup Series race below.

Start pos.

Driver

Car #

Team

1

Denny Hamlin

11

Joe Gibbs Racing

2

Joey Logano

22

Team Penske

3

Martin Truex Jr.

19

Joe Gibbs Racing

4

William Byron

24

Hendrick Motorsports

5

Alex Bowman

48

Hendrick Motorsports

6

Christopher Bell

20

Joe Gibbs Racing

7

Ryan Blaney

12

Team Penske

8

Chase Elliott

9

Hendrick Motorsports

9

Kyle Busch

18

Joe Gibbs Racing

10

Brad Keselowski

2

Team Penske

11

Austin Dillon

3

Richard Childress Racing

12

Kyle Larson

5

Hendrick Motorsports

13

Matt DiBenedetto

21

Wood Brothers Racing

14

Aric Almirola

10

Stewart-Haas Racing

15

Kurt Busch

1

Chip Ganassi Racing

16

Kevin Harvick

4

Stewart-Haas Racing

17

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

47

JTG Daugherty Racing

18

Ross Chastain

42

Chip Ganassi Racing

19

Daniel Suarez

99

Trackhouse Racing Team

20

Tyler Reddick

8

Richard Childress Racing

21

Chris Buescher

17

Roush Fenway Racing

22

Erik Jones

43

Richard Petty Motorsports

23

Michael McDowell

34

Front Row Motorsports

24

Bubba Wallace

23

23XI Racing

25

Chase Briscoe

14

Stewart-Haas Racing

26

Corey LaJoie

7

Spire Motorsports

27

Cole Custer

41

Stewart-Haas Racing

28

Ryan Newman

6

Roush Fenway Racing

29

Ryan Preece

37

JTG Daugherty Racing

30

Anthony Alfredo

38

Front Row Motorsports

31

BJ McLeod

78

Live Fast Motorsports

32

Quin Houff

00

StarCom Racing

33

Cody Ware

51

Petty Ware Racing

34

Justin Haley

77

Spire Motorsports

35

Joey Gase

28

Rick Ware Racing

36

Josh Bilicki

52

Rick Ware Racing

37

JJ Yeley

15

Rick Ware Racing

38

Kaz Grala

16

Kaulig Racing

39

Harrison Burton

96

Gaunt Brothers Racing

40

Timmy Hill

66

MBM Motorsports

Practice and qualifying are tentatively scheduled for eight Cup Series races this year. Busch Pole Qualifying was held for the season-opening Daytona 500 but rain canceled the qualifying races for Bristol Motor Speedway‘s dirt-track race. The next Cup Series event with qualifying scheduled is the May 23 debut at the Circuit of the Americas road course in Austin, Texas.