NASCAR: One change to the starting lineup format for the playoffs

There is one small change to the starting lineup format that is set to be used throughout the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.

Ahead of the 23rd race of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season at the Daytona International Speedway road course, NASCAR introduced a new way to set the starting lineups for each race.

This new method has served as the replacement for the random draws that had gone on ahead of most races since the sport returned from the 10-week hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic back in mid-May with a previously non-scheduled at Darlington Raceway.

Now the starting lineups are determined based on a formula which places 50% weight on each driver’s finish in the most recent race, 35% weight on each team’s position in the owner standings and 15% weight on the rank of each driver’s fastest lap in the most recent race.

This exact formula is still set to be used throughout the four-round, 10-race playoffs, but there is one small modification — a planned modification — to make note of before the postseason begins this Sunday, September 6 at Darlington Raceway with the Cook Out Southern 500.

Much like there were for the random draws, groups are set to be utilized. The grouping system is simple: one group is set to feature drivers still eligible to win the championship while the other group is set to feature drivers who are not eligible to win the championship.

So in the round of 16, the 16 playoff drivers will start each race in the top 16 (lining up based on the formula), even if a non-playoff driver has a better result from the formula than one or more of them. The highest non-playoff driver will start in 17th place, and the rest of the non-playoff drivers will line up behind him.

For the round of 12, the 12 remaining playoff drivers will start each race in the top 12 (again, still lining up based on the formula). The same is slated to be the case for the round of 8 and for the Championship 4.

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Be sure to tune in to NBC Sports Network at 6:00 p.m. ET this Sunday, September 6 for the live broadcast of the Cook Out Southern 500 from Darlington Raceway.