NASCAR start line-up for Sunday’s Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway – AthlonSports.com
There are only two races left in 2021 NASCAR Cup series season. The circuit’s shortest track, Martinsville Speedway, will host a 500-lap race this weekend to determine which playoff drivers compete for the championship in the season finale at Phoenix Raceway next Sunday (November 7).
This Halloween edition of the Xfinity 500 will have seven drivers competing for three eligible places in the championship. Kyle Larson has already clinched his spot in the final round by winning the last two 1.5 mile intermediate races: Texas and Kansas.
Martinsville is bringing the sport back to its more popular 750 horsepower set used at the majority of racetracks. The low downforce, higher speed setup has provided many fantastic finishes over the years on the oldest track on the NASCAR circuit. This is a place where rubbing the fenders won’t hurt you often, contact the standard on a short, flat track with turns so tight it’s nicknamed the trombone.
The sport used its off-piste qualifying formula to set the stage for the last time in 2021 – and possibly never. It is almost certain that training and qualifying will return to what is expected to be a (mostly) COVID-free environment by the time the Los Angeles exhibit opens in February 2022.
To define the grid, NASCAR calculated a metric for each car based on the breakdown explained below.
50% of metric is based on the final position of the previous race (shared between the driver and the owner).
35% of metric is the team’s current position in the NASCAR Cup Series Ownership Rankings.
15% of metric is based on the team’s fastest lap in the previous race.
The team with the lowest total starts on the post, then the next lowest, etc. until the starting grid is complete. This is how NASCAR is trying to limit track time during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Only 38 cars are entered in Martinsville, leaving this race close to a full peloton. The 36 teams with guaranteed seats are accompanied here by two “open” cars: # 37 from JTG Daugherty Racing (Ryan Preece) and # 66 from MBM Motorsports (Timmy Hill).
1. Kyle Larson (P)
2. Chase Elliott (P)
3. Denny Hamlin (P)
4. Martin Truex Jr. (P)
5. Joey Logano (P)
6. Brad Keselowski (P)
7. Kyle Busch (P)
8. Ryan Blaney (P)
9. Kevin Harvick
10. Kurt Busch
11. William Byron
12. Christophe Bell
13. Alex Bowman
14. Austin Dillon
15. Chris Buescher
16. Ross Chastain
17. Bubba Wallace
18. Tyler Reddick
19. Michael McDowell
20. Daniel Suarez
21. Matt DiBenedetto
22. Chase Briscoe (D)
23. Aric Almirola
24. Cole Custer
25. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
26. Ryan Preece
27. Ryan Newman
28. Erik Jones
29. Corey LaJoie
30. BJ McLeod (i)
31. Cody Ware (i)
32. Anthony Alfredo (D)
33. Josh Bilicki (i)
34. Joey Gase (i)
35. Justin Haley (I)
36. Quin Houff
37. Garrett Smithley (i)
38. Timmy Hill (i)
(P) – Playoff driver
(R) – Beginner
(i) – Ineligible to collect Cup Series points
- Kyle Larson (pole) now has a career record of nine wins this year. He’s never won at Martinsville, so a win here would be his first on the track while producing NASCAR’s first Double-Digit Cup winner since Jimmie Johnson in 2007.
- Chase Elliott (second) is the reigning race winner. He will advance to Championship 4 regardless of what others do as long as he earns 23 points or more.
- Denny Hamlin (third) is the most qualified Toyota. He will also earn a place in Championship 4, regardless of where any other driver finishes, provided he earns 25 points or more.
- Martin Truex Jr. (fourth) won the Cup race held in Martinsville earlier this year. He’s won three of his last four starts on the track overall.
- Joey Logano (fifth) is the most qualified Ford. He is last in the round of 8, 26 points behind Kyle Busch for a place in the Championship 4.
- Ryan Blaney (eighth) is the only playoff driver other than Larson who has never won on this track.
- Kevin Harvick (ninth) is aiming for his first victory at Martinsville since 2011. The winner of nine races last season remains winless for 34 races in 2021.
- Chase Briscoe (22sd) is the best qualified rookie for this race.
- Garrett Smithley (37e) replaces Ryan Ellis driving the # 15 Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet this week. This is his 26e start of the season.
- Timmy Hill (38e) replaces Chad Finchum in category n ° 66 MBM Motorsports. Hill manages a limited schedule for the team.
NASCAR Race Breakdown
Race: Xfinity 500
Track: Martinsville Speedway (Martinsville, Virginia)
Dated: Sunday October 31
TV: NBC, 2 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SIRIUS XM Radio NASCAR
Distance: 500 laps (263 miles)
Step 1: 130 laps
2nd step : 130 laps
Final step: 240 turns
President of the Martinsville Race Track Campbell clay stops near the Frontstretch Podcast to talk about the organization of the penultimate race of the NASCAR Cup season. Next, host Davey Segal leads the discussion about the fireworks that could ensue as the last short track race of the year rolls around.