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

The starting lineup for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway was set by applying the statistical formula NASCAR is using for the majority of Cup races in 2021.

Drivers’ starting positions for the FireKeepers Casino 400 (3 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) were based on four factors:

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

Below is the starting lineup, which was set without qualifying, for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race on Michigan International Speedway’s 2-mile oval.

Who won the pole for the NASCAR race at Michigan?

Kyle Larson was assigned the top spot based on NASCAR’s formula. He finished third in the previous race, the Verizon 200 at The Brickyard on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course. He also took over the series points lead from Denny Hamlin with two regular-season races remaining.

Larson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott will join him on the front row. Elliott finished fourth at the Brickyard for his 11th top-five finish of the season. Larson leads all drivers with 13 top-fives.

The drivers on the playoff bubble will not be starting too close to the front. Kevin Harvick will roll off eighth, Tyler Reddick will start 14th and Austin Dillon will start 26th. Starting eighth may not matter a lot to Harvick, though, because he has won the last three races at Michigan.

Matt DiBenedetto will start fourth after his fifth-place run at Indy. A win is his ticket to the playoffs because he trails 16th-place Reddick by 145 points in the standings. DiBenedetto is also racing for a job after Wood Brothers Racing replaced him for the 2022 season with Harrison Burton.

NASCAR starting lineup at Michigan

NASCAR used a mathematical formula to set the starting lineup for Sunday’s race at Michigan International Speedway, the FireKeepers Casino 400. Thirty-seven cars were entered for the race.

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