Race Weekend Central

Ryan Blaney Rolls Off From Cup Pole at Darlington

The NASCAR Cup Series playoffs begin this weekend at Darlington Raceway and Ryan Blaney is on the pole for Sunday’s (Sept. 5) race.

The No. 12 Team Penske pilot is riding the momentum train after winning the past two races at Michigan International Speedway and Daytona International Speedway.

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin joins Blaney on the front row, while Kurt Busch and Chase Elliott make up the second row. Elliott’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman rounds out the top five.

Regular season champion Kyle Larson begins sixth, Tyler Reddick is seventh and Aric Almirola starts eighth. Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. complete the top 10 in the lineup.

The rest of the playoff contenders — Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Christopher Bell, William Byron, Michael McDowell and Brad Keselowski — slot in positions 11 through 16.

See also
Zach’s Turn: Darlington Highlights Intersection of Old & New as Playoff Opener

The performance metrics formula that adds four weighted categories was used to set the lineup, with the playoff drivers taking the first 16 spots. These categories are driver’s and car owner’s finishing position (weighted 25% each), fastest lap from Daytona (15%) and rank in team owner points (35%).

Cup Lineup for Darlington

The Cook Out Southern 500 is set to air Sept. 5 at 6 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.

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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WJW Motorsports

One might think that since it is now the “playoffs” the brain trust might consider actual qualifying to be necessary to preserve some integrity of competition amongst the hopefuls (and the seat fillers?). But no, I suppose when you continue to operate under the idiocy that tries to use a stick and ball elimination style tourni format to determine a full season motorsport champion that any common sense is absent from the room. Kyle Larson is the 2021 champ – regardless of what happens during the upcoming farce.


On a more interesting note, if Britney Spears married Mike Trout her name would be Britney Spears Trout.


lol. Michael Jordan didn’t realize that bubba is 0-224 in Cup and Xfinity.


IF Heat magazine featured a Megan Fox article, I guess one could say Megan Fox is in Heat.


Your on a roll. Michael Jordan said at the beginning of the season, ” we don’t sign checks for losers,” . Guess bubba is racing for free.


If he isn’t he should be. I guess Bubba as Darrell Wallace could have put a whole new meaning on DW.


When David Pearson took the Wood Brothers car out for the first time he came back and said he would pay to drive it.


Jordan Fish just unloaded on Denny Hamlin on Twitter. About how he has mistreated her and their two kids. Not once, not twice, but three separate times she called him out today.

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