REVEALED! Starting Line-Ups for the NASCAR Cup Series Qualifying Races on Bristol Dirt

Published 03/26/2021, 9:00 AM EDT
Mar 14, 2021; Avondale, Arizona, USA; A general view of drivers during the NASCAR Instacart 500 at Phoenix Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports


For the first time in a while, the NASCAR Cup Series will have practice and qualifying sessions ahead of a race. As the Cup Series field will race on a dirt track for the first time in 50 years, qualifying will be held in the form of heat races on Saturday.

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The drivers will participate in practice sessions before the heat races, ahead of Sunday’s main race. While the results of the heat races will play a big role in deciding the line-up for the main race, the line-ups for the heat races were determined by a random draw.

Four heat races, each running over 15 laps, will be held on Saturday. Quin Houff, Brad Keselowski, Alex Bowman, and Corey LaJoie will lead their fields in the four respective heat races.

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Line-ups for Heat Races 1 and 2 for the NASCAR Cup Series Bristol Dirt Race

The first heat race will have a lot of star-power. Kyle Larson will start in second place and Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, and Bubba Wallace will also be part of the race.

Mar 7, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick (4) and driver William Byron (24) lead the field for the start of the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Line-up for Heat Race 1: Quin Hoff, Kyle Larson, Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr, Bubba Wallace, Erik Jones, Anthony Alfredo, Shane Golobic, and Kurt Busch.

Joining Keselowski in the second race will be the likes of Daniel Suarez, William Byron, Christopher Bell, and Austin Dillon. Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell will also run in this field.

Line-up for Heat Race 2: Brad Keselowski, Mike Marlar, Daniel Suarez, Michael McDowell, Josh Bilicki, William Byron, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Christopher Bell, Austin Dillon, and Chris Buescher.

Line-ups for Heat Races 3 and 4 for the Cup Bristol Dirt Race

Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Tyler Reddick, and Aric Almirola will join Bowman in the third heat race.

Line-up for Heat Race 3: Alex Bowman, J.J Yeley, Ty Dillon, Kevin Harvick, Tyler Reddick, Cole Custer, Cody Ware, Aric Almirola, Joey Logano, and Ryan Preece.

Cup champions Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott, along with Ryan Blaney, who won in Atlanta last Sunday, join LaJoie in the final heat race.

Line-up for Heat Race 4: Corey LaJoie, Matt DiBenedetto, Chris Windom, Kyle Busch, Ross Chastain, Stewart Friesen, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, and Chase Briscoe.

Feb 21, 2021; Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Christopher Bell (20) leads the field during the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

How will the starting line-up for the main NASCAR Cup Series race be decided?

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The starting line-up for the main race will be decided by the drivers’ finishing position in the heat races and positions gained during those races. Heat race winners get 10 points each, 9 points for 2nd place, 8 points for 3rd place, and so on. Additionally, every position gained during the race earns the driver one point.

Given the uncertainty drivers will face on Sunday, the qualifying races will be very important for them to gain an advantage for the main race.

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Aayush Majumdar

991 articles

Aayush Majumdar is a NASCAR content strategist, a Tennis Writer, and a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. He is well-tenured as a tennis and NASCAR writer, with over 900 articles across both sports. After pursuing a Post Graduate program in Sports Management, Aayush explored various roles in Sports Media, including a Sports Reporting role at a leading English daily.

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