NASCAR won't use lineup formula for both Pocono races

Only one of this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series races at Pocono Raceway will use the starting lineup formula to set the starting lineup.

Following a race weekend that saw just the fourth actual qualifying session of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season at Nashville Superspeedway, NASCAR is back to using the starting lineup formula for this Saturday’s race at Pocono Raceway.

The math that goes into determining the starting lineups using this formula was technically determined upon the conclusion of this past Sunday’s race, but the lineup was made official on Wednesday morning.

As a result, Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson, the winner of the three most recent Cup Series points races, is set to lead the field to the green flag for this 130-lap Pocono Organics CBD 325 around the three-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) triangle in Long Pond, Pennsylvania behind the wheel of his #5 Chevrolet.

But the starting lineup for Sunday’s race, the Explore the Pocono Mountains 350, will be determined in a different manner.

Instead of using a formula with multiple variables, NASCAR will base the starting lineup for Sunday’s 140-lap race on the finishing order from the first race of the 2021 season’s only doubleheader.

The drivers who finish in the top 20 in Saturday’s race will be inverted (so the winner will start in 20th place and the 20th place finisher will start from the pole position), while the rest of the field will start Sunday’s race from where they finished in Saturday’s race.

For the fans of the regular starting lineup formula who want to see that written out in terms of a mathematical formula, here you go:

NOTE: x=Saturday race finish, y=Sunday race starting position

  • If you finish Saturday’s race inside the top 20, take your finish and subtract it from the number 21 to get your starting position for Sunday’s race (21-x=y).
  • If you finish Saturday’s race outside of the top 20, take your finish and do absolutely nothing to it to get your starting position for Sunday’s race (x=y).

NBC Sports Network is set to broadcast Saturday afternoon’s race live from the Tricky Triangle beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET. Sunday afternoon’s race is set to be broadcast live on the same network beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET.

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