Elliott aces the matrix for Darlington pole

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Elliott aces the matrix for Darlington pole


Elliott aces the matrix for Darlington pole


Chase Elliott will start the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs at Darlington Raceway from the pole.

The performance matrix puts Elliott in the top spot. Denny Hamlin, who won the second race at Darlington held in May, joins him on the front row for the Southern 500.

William Byron will start third after his big win last weekend at Daytona. Teammate Alex Bowman will start fourth with Brad Keselowski rounding out the top five.

Starting sixth is Martin Truex Jr., with Ryan Blaney starting seventh. Regular-season champion Kevin Harvick will start from the eighth position. Harvick won at Darlington in the sport’s return from a COVID-19 hiatus.

Completing the top 10 is teammates Clint Bowyer and Aric Almirola in ninth and 10th.

The performance matrix weighs a driver’s finish from the previous race, owner points, driver points, and fastest lap. Additionally, the 16 playoff drivers will start in the first 16 positions.

Joey Logano starts 13th. Defending series champion Kyle Busch starts 15th.

Kurt Busch will be the lowest starting playoff driver in 16th.

Defending Southern 500 winner Erik Jones starts 30th.

There are 39 drivers entered in Sunday evening’s race.