Throwback Weekend kicks off on Friday evening, setting up three straight days of racing. NASCAR has set the stage by releasing the starting orders. The Goodyear 400 Cup Series race will serve as the premier event, with Brad Keselowski leading the field to the green flag.
When Keselowski heads to the front of the pack, another driver in a Ford Mustang line up next to him. Kevin Harvick will start in the second position after finishing second in the Buschy McBusch Race 400 at Kansas Speedway. Kyle Busch, the most recent winner, and Martin Truex Jr. will make up the second row while William Byron and Chase Elliott round out the top six.
Like the majority of races in 2021, the three series will not have the opportunity to qualifying sessions. Instead, NASCAR determined the lineup through its special formula: the fastest lap from the previous race makes up 15%, the driver’s finishing position makes up 25%, the team owner’s finishing position makes up another 25%, and the team owner’s points ranking makes up the final 35%.
Sunday’s race will be Keselowski’s third time on the pole
The driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford Mustang, Keselowski has remained one of NASCAR’s most consistent drivers in 2021 despite only reaching Victory Lane once. He has five top-five finishes while driving a fast stock car. Though there have been some crashes and other issues that disrupted multiple races.
Based on his performances this season, Keselowski has won the Busch Pole three times. He led the field to green at Phoenix and then did so once again at Kansas. Now he will have the top spot while heading out onto the Track Too Tough to Tame, a venue known for wrecks and pure chaos.
“I like Darlington as a track. I like what it stands for, with respect to the history of the sport,” Keselowski told Heavy recently. “And it’s just really, really tough. It’s quite honestly one of the most challenging tracks in all motorsports. So I’m good. … Sometimes, you push too hard. That’s part of it. But Darlington, when you push too hard, she bites.”
The Dash 4 Cash drivers will lead the Xfinity Series field
Inactive since Talladega, the Xfinity Series will return on Saturday for the third race in the Dash 4 Cash bonus program. All of the drivers will compete for the checkered flag, but four will have a secondary goal. Noah Gragson, Austin Cindric, Jeb Burton, and AJ Allmendinger will compete with each other for the best finish and a $100,000 bonus. Gragson won the first two bonus checks and will now seek his third.
These drivers will all start near the front of the pack after NASCAR revealed the starting order. Allmendinger will start on the pole while Cindric will join him on the front row. Burton will line up on the second row next to Justin Haley. Gragson will round out the group as he starts on the third row next to Riley Herbst.
One day prior to the Xfinity Series race, the Camping World Truck Series will kick off the weekend. one team, in particular, has dominated the season and will lead the field to green. Kyle Busch Motorsports’ John Hunter Nemechek, the winner of two races, will lead the field to green. Austin Hill will join him on the front row. Zane Smith and Ben Rhodes, the winner of the first two races in 2021, will make up the second row. Todd Gilliland and Johnny Sauter will round out the top six.