With the first lineup drawing of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, Chase Elliott was awarded the Busch Pole Award for the upcoming O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at the Daytona International Speedway Road Course on Sunday, February 21.
The lineup was based on a metric formula from a previous NASCAR Cup Series event, which weighs the driver’s result from the previous race (25%), the car owner’s result from the previous race (25%), the team owner’s points ranking (35%) and the fastest lap from the previous race (15%).
Based on the formula, Elliott, who finished in the runner-up spot in last weekend’s Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, will lead the field to the start of this weekend’s event at Daytona’s road course event with the top starting spot. He will also attempt to win on Daytona’s road course event for the second straight time after winning the inaugural event in August 2020 and pursue his fifth consecutive road course victory.
Twenty-eight of this year’s 36-race Cup schedule are set to adopt to the metric formula to determine the lineup for an upcoming event in continuation from last season amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with the remaining eight, including last weekend’s Daytona 500, to feature a practice and qualifying session.
Michael McDowell, winner of this year’s Daytona 500 and NASCAR’s recent/newest winner in the Cup circuit, will start on the front row alongside Elliott. Austin Dillon, who displayed a strong performance throughout Daytona Speedweeks, will line up in third place followed by Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick.
Ryan Preece, Corey LaJoie, Kyle Larson, Ross Chastain and Bubba Wallace will start in the top 10 followed by Joey Logano and Christopher Bell.
Starting in positions 13-26 are Cole Custer, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kurt Busch, rookie Chase Briscoe, Martin Truex Jr., Justin Haley, Cody Ware, William Byron, Josh Bilicki, Tyler Reddick, Garrett Smithley and Aric Almirola.
Starting in positions 27-40 are Ryan Blaney, Scott Heckert, Quin Houff, Chris Buescher, rookie Anthony Alfredo, Matt DiBenedetto, Ryan Newman, A.J. Allmendinger, Daniel Suarez, Alex Bowman, Erik Jones, Ty Dillon, James Davison and Timmy Hill.
Haley, Smithley, Heckert, Allmendinger, Ty Dillon, Davison and Hill will all make their first Cup starts of this season.
The O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at the Daytona International Speedway Road Course is set to occur on Sunday, February 21, at 3 p.m. ET on FOX.