Starting Lineup for Las Vegas Playoff Race

Kyle Larson

Getty Kyle Larson arrives for a playoff race at Bristol.

The NASCAR Cup Series Round of 12 begins on Sunday, Sept. 26, with a trip to Sin City. The drivers will compete for the win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and they will follow the championship favorite to the green flag. Kyle Larson will start on the Busch Pole for the eighth time this year.

NASCAR released the starting lineup on Wednesday, Sept. 22, using its formula based on the driver’s finishing position from the previous race (25%), car owner’s finishing position from the previous race (25%), team owner points ranking (35%), and fastest lap from the previous race (15%). Larson was first in all four categories entering the Las Vegas weekend, easily giving him the best starting position.

According to the provided lineup, Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney will join Larson on the front row, marking the first time in 2021 that he has started a race in the second position. William Byron and Martin Truex Jr. will make up row two while Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin form the third row. Alex Bowman, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, and Christopher Bell round out the remaining playoff drivers.

The South Point 400 takes place on Sunday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m. ET. NBC Sports Network will broadcast the action as the driver cover 267 laps and fight to move on to the Round of Eight. PRN will provide audio coverage.


Eliminated Drivers Dropped to the Middle of the Pack

While the remaining playoff drivers will start in front of the field, there will be four that drop back into the middle of the pack. Tyler Reddick, Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch, and Michael McDowell all dropped below the cutline during the final Round of 16 race on Sept. 18, and they will not be eligible for the championship.

Reddick will start in the best position out of this group. He will line up on the seventh row next to Matt DiBenedetto, just behind the playoff drivers. Almirola, on the other hand, will join Ross Chastain on the ninth row, behind other non-playoff drivers in Austin Dillon and Erik Jones. Busch will line up on the 10th row next to Chase Briscoe.

McDowell will be in the worst position out of the 16 drivers that originally entered the playoffs. He crashed at Darlington and finished 37th, ended the race at Richmond in the 28th position, and then finished out the Round of 16 in the 24th position. Now he will start the Las Vegas race on the 12th row next to Ryan Preece.


Larson Continues in Role as Favorite To Win

Kyle Larson

GettyKyle Larson prepares for a race at Daytona International Speedway.

The driver of the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro will lead the field to the green flag once again, continuing a seemingly season-long trend. He will also enter the playoff race as the odds-on favorite to take the checkered flag and win his seventh race of the season.

BetMGM released the odds for the playoff race, revealing that Larson holds 11-4 odds to reach Victory Lane for the second consecutive week. He sits just ahead of Kyle Busch (13-2), Denny Hamlin (7-1), Martin Truex Jr. (15-2), and Chase Elliott (8-1). Of this group, Truex leads the field with two wins while Busch and Larson each have one. Hamlin and Elliott have not yet won at the 1.5-mile oval during their Cup Series careers.

Two former champions — Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick — sit just behind this top five with multiple wins at Vegas to their name. The driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford Mustang has reached Victory Lane twice at the track, playing a role in his 12-1 odds to win. Harvick also has two wins in his Cup Series career, and he will head to Vegas with 10-1 odds.

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