The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs got off to a rousing start last weekend at Darlington.
It was a festive day for Denny Hamlin, who finally captured his first win of the season after holding off Kyle Larson in a thriller in the closing laps. With the win, Hamlin secured advancement to the Round of 12 of the playoffs, and as runner-up, Larson bolstered his big points lead over the remaining playoff drivers.
For several other playoff drivers, Darlington provided nothing but frustration and misery, as many suffered on-track incidents that put them in a hole. That list includes two-time champion Kyle Busch, who finished 35th out of 37 drivers, reigning series champion Chase Elliott, who finished 31st, Elliott’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron, who finished 34th, and Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell, who finished last and was the first driver knocked out of the race after just 30 laps.
The action now moves from South Carolina to the capital of Virginia for the second race of the Round of 16.
Here is everything you need to get ready for Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 Salute to First Responders at Richmond Raceway:
START TIME: 7:30 p.m. ET.
TV: NBCSN. Pre-race broadcast begins at 7 p.m. ET.
RADIO: Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
STREAMING: NBC Sports website (for those who sign in with their cable/satellite provider) and NBC Sports app.
RACE DISTANCE: 400 laps around the 0.75-mile Richmond Raceway for a total of 300 miles.
STAGE LENGTHS (laps per stage): Stage 1: 80, Stage 2: 155, Stage 3: 165.
LAST TIME: Alex Bowman led the final 10 laps, taking the lead from Denny Hamlin following the final restart, and held on for a 0.381-second win over Hamlin in April for the first of three victories in 2021. And one year ago in the 2020 playoff race, Brad Keselowski led 192 of 400 laps and cruised to a 1.568-second win over Martin Truex Jr. to clinch his spot in the Round of 12.
PLAYOFFS: Here are the standings prior to Saturday night's race at Richmond (x-clinched berth in round of 12):
1. Kyle Larson, 2,106; 2. x-Denny Hamlin, 2,072; 3. Martin Truex Jr., 2,062; 4. Kurt Busch, 2,052; 5. Ryan Blaney, 2,048; 6. Joey Logano, 2,047; 7. Kevin Harvick, 2,046; 8. Brad Keselowski, 2,038; 9. Christopher Bell, 2,031; 10. Chase Elliott, 2,030; 11. Aric Almirola, 2,029; 12. Tyler Reddick, 2,026; 13. Alex Bowman, 2,026; 14. Kyle Busch, 2,024; 15. William Byron, 2,017; 16. Michael McDowell, 2,006.
LINEUP: The starting lineup was determined by using NASCAR’s competition-based formula. Points leader Kyle Larson, who won the 2017 playoff race at Richmond, will start on the pole alongside Denny Hamlin, who has three career wins at his home track, including the 2016 playoff race.
Here is the lineup for the Federated Auto Parts 400 Salute to First Responders (car number in parentheses):
1. (5) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet
2. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota
3. (19) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota
4. (1) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet
5. (4) Kevin Harvick, Ford
6. (22) Joey Logano, Ford
7. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford
8. (12) Ryan Blaney, Ford
9. (10) Aric Almirola, Ford
10. (20) Christopher Bell, Toyota
11. (8) Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet
12. (48) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet
13. (9) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet
14. (24) William Byron, Chevrolet
15. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota
16. (34) Michael McDowell, Ford
17. (42) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet
18. (17) Chris Buescher, Ford
19. (3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet
20. (37) Ryan Preece, Chevrolet
21. (41) Cole Custer, Ford
22. (99) Daniel Suarez, Chevrolet
23. (47) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet
24. (6) Ryan Newman, Ford
25. (7) Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet
26. (14) Chase Briscoe, Ford
27. (23) Bubba Wallace, Toyota
28. (21) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford
29. (77) Justin Haley, Chevrolet
30. (38) Anthony Alfredo, Ford
31. (43) Erik Jones, Chevrolet
32. (78) BJ McLeod, Ford
33. (52) Josh Bilicki, Ford
34. (15) Joey Gase, Chevrolet
35. (00) Quin Houff, Chevrolet
36. (51) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet
37. (53) JJ Yeley, Chevrolet
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NASCAR race today: Start time, TV info for Richmond playoff race