NASCAR Sets Starting Lineup for Kansas Cup Series Playoff Race

Kyle Larson

Getty Kyle Larson (left) will lead the field to green at Kansas Speedway.

The NASCAR Cup Series Round of Eight continues on October 24 with a race at Kansas Speedway. Kyle Larson will have an early opportunity to continue his winning streak as the Busch Pole winner.

The sanctioning body released the starting order for the 21st annual Hollywood Casino 400 (2 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network) on Wednesday, October 20. Larson will start the day on the front row while Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney joins him. They will lead the field to green and kick off the 267-lap event.

NASCAR determined the starting order using a formula based on the previous race in the schedule, as well as the overall standings. The fastest lap from the Texas playoff race on October 17 accounts for 15% of the formula while Larson’s finishing position accounts for 25%. The team owner’s finishing position makes up 25% and the owner’s points ranking makes up the final 35%.

Points-Needy Drivers Will Start Near the Front

Martin Truex Jr.

GettyMartin Truex Jr. stands on the grid during the national anthem at Indianapolis.

There are four drivers in particular need of points heading toward the race at Kansas Speedway. Chase Elliott is eight points below the cutline while Brad Keselowski is 15 points below. Martin Truex Jr. sits with a 22-point deficit while Joey Logano sits in the worst position with a 43-point deficit.

Making up these points will not be a simple task for any of these drivers, but they will start the race in solid positions overall. Keselowski will line up on the second row next to Kyle Busch while Elliott will join Denny Hamlin on the third row. Truex and Logano will make up the fourth row as the last drivers eligible for playoff points.

The last time the Cup Series drivers headed to Kansas Speedway for the Hollywood Casino 400, Elliott started on the pole. He led 48 of the 267 laps while fighting for a spot in the championship four, but Logano raced his way to the front of the pack and secured his third win of the season.

A Dark Horse Driver Will Line Up on the Sixth Row

While the playoff drivers will fight over the remaining spots in the championship four, another driver, Tyler Reddick, will strive to win his first career Cup Series race. He will pursue this goal while lining up on the sixth row next to Kevin Harvick.

The driver of the No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Camaro is no longer eligible for playoff points after his elimination in the Round of 16. However, he continues to contend for wins and top-five finishes. For example, Reddick finished second at the Charlotte Roval behind Larson and then he finished ninth at Texas Motor Speedway after consistently running in the top-10 throughout the race. Though a Stage 3 issue removed an opportunity to pursue the win.

“Another car got into us on the second-to-last restart and that’s what caused us to fall back,” Reddick told NBC Sports after the race. “I’m just glad we didn’t have to pit for a tire rub and could hang on to finish ninth. It was a little disappointing after running in the top-five and battling for the lead for most of Stage 3, but I know that this team is capable and we will get to Victory Lane soon.”

Reddick has consistently run well at 1.5-mile tracks during the 2021 season while showcasing both speed and aggressiveness. He finished second at Homestead-Miami Speedway behind William Byron on February 28, seventh in the Kansas spring race on May 2, ninth in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 30, sixth in the second Atlanta race on July 11, and sixth in the Las Vegas playoff race on September 26. The only outliers were the spring races at Las Vegas and Atlanta when Reddick finished 22nd and 29th, respectively.

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