The starting lineup for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race on the Daytona International Speedway road course was set not through qualifying runs but on the mathematical formula the series adopted last season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Drivers were assigned their starting positions for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at Daytona (3 p.m. ET; Fox, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) based on how they finished in the Daytona 500 and the Duel qualifying races during Speedweeks.

Below is the starting lineup for Sunday’s NASCAR race on the 3.61-mile Daytona road course and how it was set without qualifying.

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Who won the pole for the NASCAR race at Daytona?

After the numbers were crunched, Chase Elliott ended up on the pole ahead of Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell, who will start second. Elliott finished second in the Great American Race, one car length behind McDowell, but had better overall stats. 

The complete set of criteria, per NASCAR:

  • Driver’s finishing position from the previous race (25 percent)
  • Car owner’s finishing position from the previous race (25 percent)
  • Team owner points ranking (35 percent)
  • Fastest lap from the previous race (15 percent) 

Elliott’s Hendrick Motorsports No. 9 car is two points ahead of McDowell’s Front Row Motorsports No. 34 car in the point standings through the Daytona 500.

Elliott being on the pole is bad news for the other 39 drivers in the field: He has won the past four Cup Series road races and was poised to win the Clash exhibition on the Daytona course this month until his car collided with Ryan Blaney’s car in the final turn.

NASCAR’s next qualifying session will be in late March, for the dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

NASCAR starting lineup at Daytona Road Course

The starting lineup for Sunday’s race on the Daytona Road Course was determined through a mathematical formula NASCAR adopted late in the 2020 season. The same procedure for setting lineups without qualifying is set to be used for the majority of races in 2021.

The formula produced this starting lineup for Sunday’s NASCAR race on the Daytona Road Course:

Pos.DriverCar No.Team
1.Chase Elliott9Hendrick Motorsports
2.Michael McDowell34Front Row Motorsports
3.Austin Dillon3Richard Childress Racing
4.Denny Hamlin11Joe Gibbs Racing
5.Kevin Harvick4Stewart-Haas Racing
6.Ryan Preece37JTG Daugherty Racing
7.Corey LaJoie7Spire Motorsports
8.Kyle Larson5Hendrick Motorsports
9.Ross Chastain42Chip Ganassi Racing
10.Bubba Wallace2323XI Racing
11.Joey Logano22Team Penske
12.Christopher Bell20Joe Gibbs Racing
13.Cole Custer41Stewart-Haas Racing
14.Kyle Busch18Joe Gibbs Racing
15.Brad Keselowski2Team Penske
16.Ricky Stenhouse Jr.47JTG Daugherty Racing
17.Kurt Busch1Chip Ganassi Racing
18.Chase Briscoe14Stewart-Haas Racing
19.Martin Truex Jr.19Joe Gibbs Racing
20.Justin Haley77Spire Motorsports
21.Cody Ware51Petty Ware Racing
22.William Byron24Hendrick Motorsports
23.Josh Bilicki52Rick Ware Racing
24.Tyler Reddick8Richard Childress Racing
25.Garrett Smithley53Rick Ware Racing
26.Aric Almirola10Stewart-Haas Racing
27.Ryan Blaney12Team Penske
28.Scott Heckert78Live Fast Motorsports
29.Quin Houff00StarCom Racing
30.Chris Buescher17Roush Fenway Racing
31.Anthony Alfredo38Front Row Motorsports
32.Matt DiBenedetto21Wood Brothers Racing
33.Ryan Newman6Roush Fenway Racing
34.AJ Allmendinger16Kaulig Racing
35.Daniel Suarez99TrackHouse Racing
36.Alex Bowman48Hendrick Motorsports
37.Erik Jones43Richard Petty Motorsports
38.Ty Dillon96Gaunt Brothers Racing
39.James Davison15Rick Ware Racing
40.Timmy Hill66Motorsports Business Management





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