Race Weekend Central

Kevin Harvick Starting on Cup Pole at Las Vegas

Kevin Harvick will lead the NASCAR Cup Series field to green at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sunday (March 7).

His No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford was placed on the pole after he finished fifth at Homestead-Miami Speedway last week.

Homestead’s victor William Byron joins Harvick on the front row, while his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson is third. Martin Truex Jr. will wheel his No. 19 Toyota of Joe Gibbs Racing from fourth, while Daytona 500 champion Michael McDowell rounds out the top five.

Denny Hamlin begins sixth and Kurt Busch starts seventh. Hendrick cohorts Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman roll off eighth and ninth, respectively, with Brad Keselowski completing the top 10 starters.

The lineup was formed using an equation that combined four weighted categories: driver’s finishing position (25%), owner’s finishing position (25%), fastest lap (15%) and team owner’s points (35%).

Cup Series Lineup from Las Vegas

The Pennzoil 400 airs on March 7 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX and PRN radio.

About the author

Joy joined Frontstretch in 2019 as a NASCAR DraftKings writer, expanding to news and iRacing coverage in 2020. She's currently an assistant editor and involved with photos, social media and news editing. A California native, Joy was raised as a motorsports fan and started watching NASCAR extensively in 2001. She earned her B.A. degree in Liberal Studies at California State University Bakersfield in 2010.

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William Byron won the last event. What would be the result of the equation for the starting position compared to Denny Hamlin?


You would have to do the math to figure it out. The first 3 factors are easy enough to find. You’d have to look at timing and scoring on race day to know who had the fastest laps. Byron was first in the race for 50% of the metric compared to Harvick in 5th, but was only 13th in points compared to Harvick’s 2nd in points. So, for the first three factors, Byron would have a weighted score of (1 + 1 + 13) / 3 + 5. Harvick would have a score of (5 + 5 + 2) / 3 = 4, which would put him ahead of Bryon. Apparently, the fourth factor, fastest lap speed didn’t change the relative scores.

I think I’m going to do a screen print of timing and scoring at the end of the race to get the fourth metric. Or one of those highly-paid experts at Fronstretch could do it for us.


I get for Byron: (1x.25) + (1x.25) + (13x.35) +(lapx.15).

I get for Hamlin: (11x.25) + (11x.25) +(1x.35) + (lapx.15).

Is the fastest lap in time or mph?


I’m assuming it’s not the actual lap time, but the ordinal position in lap time. So, whoever had the fastest lap gets position 1, second fastest lap gets position 2, etc. In the interest of transparency, NASCAR should show the exact formula they used to determine each week’s starting grid. I guess they think we’re too dumb to understand it.


You’d have to do the math. The first three factors are easy enough to find. Byron finished first, but is 13th in points. Harvick finished 5th, but is second in points. For Bryon, the weighted result would be (1 + 1 + 13) / 3 = 5. For Harvick, the weighted result would be (5 +5 + 2) / 3 = 4. So, without knowing the fastest lap speed, the metric would put Harvick ahead of Byron (lowest number is best). Apparently, the fastest lap speed didn’t change the overall results.


You’d have to do the math. The first three factors are easy enough to find. Byron finished first, but is 13th in points, while Harvick finished 5th, but is second in points. So using just the first three factors for the formula, Bryon gets (1 + 1 + 13) / 3 = 5. Harvick gets (5 + 5 + 2) / 3 = 4, which gives Harvick the edge. Apparently, the fourth factors, lap speed didn’t change the outcome.


Sorry for the multiple posts. The “new improved” FS website takes a lot longer to recognize a comment! Must be what you get for all that additional advertising.

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