NASCAR: Bristol starting lineup – Kyle Larson takes pole

Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

Kyle Larson will be scored as the polesitter despite his penalty for Sunday’s Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway, the first NASCAR Cup Series race on dirt since 1970.

The NASCAR Cup Series’ return to dirt for the first time since September 1970 will not feature the heat races which were initially schedule, as the inclement weather threw a wrench into those plans.

As a result, the starting lineup for Sunday afternoon’s 250-lap Food City Dirt Race around the four-turn, 0.533-mile (0.858-kilometer) high-banked Bristol Motor Speedway oval in Bristol, Tennessee was set based on NASCAR’s starting lineup formula, which has been used regularly since late in the 2020 season.

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Here’s a look at that formula.

  • 35% rank in owner standings
  • 25% driver finish in previous race
  • 25% car owner finish in previous race
  • 15% rank of fastest lap in previous race

Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson is set to start from the pole position as a result of this change, although he will be sent to the rear at the start of the race as a result of an engine change in his #5 Chevrolet.

Set to start in second place behind the wheel of his #11 Toyota is Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin.

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But even as a result of Larson’s penalty, Hamlin will not get lane choice; he will simply be driving the control car. Set to start in third place behind the wheel of his #12 Ford is Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney, and set to start in fourth behind the wheel of his #18 Toyota is Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch.

With Hamlin not having lane choice and officially being set to start on the outside lane, Blaney is set to move up from third to second place, but on the inside. Everybody else in odd positions will move up a row as well.

Here is the full starting lineup, before Larson’s penalty, for the 2021 Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Starting Lineup
1st – Kyle Larson
2nd – Denny Hamlin
3rd – Ryan Blaney
4th – Kyle Busch
5th – Martin Truex Jr.
6th – Kevin Harvick
7th – Alex Bowman
8th – William Byron
9th – Austin Dillon
10th – Joey Logano
11th – Chris Buescher
12th – Matt DiBenedetto
13th – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
14th – Ryan Newman
15th – Christopher Bell
16th – Michael McDowell
17th – Ross Chastain
18th – Daniel Suarez
19th – Bubba Wallace
20th – Brad Keselowski
21st – Cole Custer
22nd – Ryan Preece
23rd – Aric Almirola
24th – Erik Jones
25th – Chase Briscoe
26th – Chase Elliott
27th – Tyler Reddick
28th – Kurt Busch
29th – Anthony Alfredo
30th – Corey LaJoie
31st – Cody Ware
32nd – Stewart Friesen
33rd – Quin Houff
34th – J.J. Yeley
35th – Shane Golobic
36th – Chris Windom
37th – Josh Bilicki
38th – Mike Marlar
39th – Ty Dillon

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The Food City Dirt Race is set to be broadcast live on Fox from Bristol Motor Speedway tomorrow afternoon beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET.