The final NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs race in the Round of 16 is scheduled for Saturday evening under the lights. The famed Bristol Motor Speedway is set to host the 60th annual running of the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race. Given that the spring race at the Tennessee track was run on dirt, this marks the first and only time that NASCAR will run on the concrete surface inside the “Last Great Colosseum” this season. With playoff points at a premium for many drivers and four cuts set to be made following Saturday’s race, fans can expect plenty of beating and banging. Track position is paramount at any short track, making the Bass Pros Shops NRA Night Race starting lineup all the more important.
The following article contains all kinds of vital information to get you set for Saturday night’s NASCAR Cup Series action. Read on for the complete Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race starting lineup, start time, race facts and NASCAR stats.
NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol Motor Speedway
60th Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race
Date: Saturday, September 18, 2021
Start Time: 7:30 p.m. EST
Track: Bristol Motor Speedway — Bristol, TN
Pole Sitter: Martin Truex Jr.
Defending Champion: Kevin Harvick
Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race Race Details
Distance: 266.5 miles
Lap Length: 0.533 miles
Stages: Three (Laps 1-125; 126-250; 251-500)
Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race Starting Lineup
See below for a breakdown of the qualifying metrics formula.
|Starting Position||Driver||Car Number||Team||Manufacturer|
|1||Martin Truex Jr.||19||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota|
|2||Denny Hamlin||11||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota|
|3||Joey Logano||22||Team Penske||Ford|
|4||Chase Elliott||9||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|5||Kyle Larson||5||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|6||Christopher Bell||20||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota|
|7||Ryan Blaney||12||Team Penske||Ford|
|8||Kevin Harvick||4||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford|
|9||Kyle Busch||18||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota|
|10||Brad Keselowski||2||Team Penske||Ford|
|11||Alex Bowman||48||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|12||Aric Almirola||10||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford|
|13||Tyler Reddick||8||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet|
|14||William Byron||24||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|15||Kurt Busch||1||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet|
|16||Michael McDowell||34||Front Row Motorsports||Ford|
|17||Ross Chastain||42||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet|
|18||Austin Dillon||3||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet|
|19||Matt DiBenedetto||21||Wood Brothers Racing||Ford|
|20||Chase Briscoe||14||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford|
|21||Daniel Suarez||99||Trackhouse Racing||Chevrolet|
|22||Erik Jones||43||Richard Petty Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|23||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||47||JTG Daugherty Racing||Chevrolet|
|24||Ryan Newman||6||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford|
|25||Chris Buescher||17||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford|
|26||Cole Custer||41||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford|
|27||Ryan Preece||37||JTG Daugherty Racing||Chevrolet|
|28||Bubba Wallace||23||23XI Racing||Toyota|
|29||Justin Haley||77||Spire Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|30||Anthony Alfredo||38||Front Row Motorsports||Ford|
|31||Corey LaJoie||7||Spire Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|32||B.J. McLeod||78||Live Fast Motorsports||Ford|
|33||Josh Billicki||52||Rick Ware Racing||Ford|
|34||Quin Houff||00||StarCom Racing||Chevrolet|
|35||J.J. Yeley||53||Rick Ware Racing||Chevrolet|
|36||Garrett Smithley||51||Petty Ware Racing||Chevrolet|
|37||James Davison||15||Rick Ware Racing||Chevrolet|
|38||David Starr||66||MBM Motorsports||Toyota|
NASCAR Cup Series Qualifying Overview
Following the interruption to racing last season, NASCAR did away with practice and qualifying runs at the majority of races. A combination of grouped draws and a performance-metrics formula was used to determine starting grids. That same formula remains in place for the majority of races on the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, including this Saturday’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race starting lineup.
So, what exactly is involved in the performance-metrics formula? Well, it draws on a number of factors including individual race performances and season-long results. The following breakdown illustrates the weighted grades associated with each component of NASCAR’s metrics formula:
NASCAR Cup Series Metrics Formula Breakdown
- 35 percent: Team owner points ranking
- 25 percent: Driver’s finishing position from the previous race
- 25 percent: Car owner’s finishing position from the previous race
- 15 percent: Fastest lap from the previous race
Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race History and NASCAR Stats
The following sections offer various NASCAR stats of note and interesting history of the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race.
- The Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race traces its history all the way back to 1961. Unlike many other NASCAR Cup Series races, this one has been the same 500-lap distance since its beginning.
- The total distance run in this event has increased slightly over the years as it was moved to longer courses at Bristol Motor Speedway. After originally being a 250-mile race, the race was first run at its current 266.5-mile distance in 1970.
- Many consider this race to be one of the biggest NASCAR Cup Series events on the annual calendar. With the removal of the Brickyard 400 this season, some have made it their de feacto fourth “Crown Jewel” race.
- Jack Smith won the very first edition of this race in 1961. However, in a unique twist that would never occur in NASCAR today, Smith actually did not take the checkered flag. Johnny Allen took over in relief of Smith during the race and finished off the eventual victory.
NASCAR Stats and Race Records
- Darrell Waltrip tops the all-time wins list among drivers in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race. From 1979-92, Waltrip scored a whopping seven victories in the event. He sits two clear of Cale Yarborough on the all-time list.
- Kyle Busch leads all active NASCAR Cup Series drivers with three victories in this race. Busch won in back-to-back years in 2009-10 and scored his third victory in 2017.
- Four other acitve drivers have two career wins in this race. Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin and last year’s winner, Kevin Harvick, make up the list.
- The now-defunct Junior Johnson & Associates holds the all-time lead for wins by a race team in this event with nine. Perhaps even more impressive is that all nine victories came in a 13-year span from 1974-86.
- Among active race teams, Roush Fenway Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing sit tied atop the leaderboard with seven wins in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race. Team Penske is a close second with six.
- It is a dead heat atop the manufacturer leaderboard when it comes to wins in this event. Chevrolet and Ford have each scored 21 wins in this presitgious race. Toyota is a distant third with just six total victories.