NASCAR Cup Series will return to competition this weekend in the first night race of the 2021 season. Martinsville Speedway will host the field on Saturday night and courtesy of his win in the historic Bristol dirt race, Joey Logano has bagged pole position honors at Martinsville.
Once again, Denny Hamlin is locked on the front row as he continues his highly consistent start to the season. He finished in third place after narrowly missing out on a win after the final restart at Bristol.
William Byron, another consistent starter this season, will start in third place. Lining up with him on the second row will be Atlanta winner Ryan Blaney. Byron’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate and reigning Cup champ, Chase Elliott, will round off the top-5.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has also received a promotion in the line-up as he will start in sixth place. This is mainly due to his second-place finish at Martinsville. Phoenix winner Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Newman, Kevin Harvick, and Brad Keselowski will complete the top-10.
One of the best performers this season, Kyle Larson, will start the race in 19th place. However, as he has shown on multiple occasions already this year, Larson is expected to find his place at the front very quickly once the race starts.
Daniel Suarez, who recorded his maiden top-five finish with Trackhouse Racing, and Kyle Busch will begin the race just outside the top-10. Bubba Wallace, who is still building his form with Michael Jordan’s 23XI Racing, will start in 25th place.
Still following the new formula, the line-up was decided by the weighted average method adopted by NASCAR since last season. This formula is a combination of four metrics.
Equal weightage (25%) is given to a driver’s finishing position in the last race and the car owner’s position in the last race.
Maximum importance (35%) is given to the team owner’s place in the points standings. Meanwhile, 15% weightage goes to the fastest lap recorded in the previous race.
Truex Jr. won last year’s race at Martinsville in the regular season. Then, in the penultimate race of the playoffs, Elliott ran a highly impressive race to win a must-win situation to reach the ‘Championship 4’.
All the drivers will be motivated to win on Saturday night and also take home the unique ‘Grandfather Clock’ trophy at Martinsville.