After an unforgettable (for better or worse) road course weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the NASCAR Cup Series makes its long-overdue return to an oval circuit on Sunday. Michigan International Speedway will be the site of the FireKeepers Casino 400, one of just two races remaining before the start of the NASCAR Playoffs. Points and victories are certainly on the minds of many drivers and teams heading into this weekend’s action at the track they call ‘Wide and Fast’.
The following article contains all kinds of vital information to get you set for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series action. Read on for the complete FireKeepers Casino 400 starting lineup, start time, race facts and NASCAR stats.
NASCAR Cup Series at Michigan International Speedway
52nd FireKeepers Casino 400
Date: Sunday, August 22, 2021
Start Time: 3 p.m. EST
Track: Michigan International Speedway — Brooklyn, MI
Pole Sitter: Kyle Larson
Defending Champion: Kevin Harvick
FireKeepers Casino 400 Race Details
Distance: 400 miles
Lap Length: 2.0 miles
Stages: Three (Laps 1-60; 61-120; 121-200)
FireKeepers Casino 400 Starting Lineup
See below for a breakdown of the qualifying metrics formula.
|Starting Position||Driver||Car Number||Team||Manufacturer|
|1||Kyle Larson||5||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|2||Chase Elliott||9||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|3||William Byron||24||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|4||Ryan Blaney||12||Team Penske||Ford|
|5||Kurt Busch||1||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet|
|6||Denny Hamlin||11||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota|
|7||Cole Custer||41||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford|
|8||Christopher Bell||20||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota|
|9||Kevin Harvick||4||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford|
|10||Joey Logano||22||Team Penske||Ford|
|11||Brad Keselowski||2||Team Penske||Ford|
|12||Martin Truex Jr.||19||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota|
|13||Kyle Busch||18||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota|
|14||Matt DiBenedetto||21||Wood Brothers Racing||Ford|
|15||Alex Bowman||48||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|16||Ross Chastain||42||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet|
|17||Daniel Suarez||99||Trackhouse Racing||Chevrolet|
|18||Aric Almirola||10||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford|
|19||Ryan Newman||6||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford|
|20||Tyler Reddick||8||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet|
|21||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||47||JTG Daugherty Racing||Chevrolet|
|22||Chase Briscoe||14||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford|
|23||Austin Dillon||3||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet|
|24||Corey LaJoie||7||Spire Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|25||Bubba Wallace||23||23XI Racing||Toyota|
|26||Chris Buescher||17||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford|
|27||Erik Jones||43||Richard Petty Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|28||Michael McDowell||34||Front Row Motorsports||Ford|
|29||Justin Haley||77||Spire Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|30||Anthony Alfredo||38||Front Row Motorsports||Ford|
|31||Ryan Preece||37||JTG Daugherty Racing||Chevrolet|
|32||B.J. McLeod||78||Live Fast Motorsports||Ford|
|33||Cody Ware||51||Petty Ware Racing||Chevrolet|
|34||Joey Gase||53||Rick Ware Racing||Chevrolet|
|35||Quin Houff||00||StarCom Racing||Chevrolet|
|36||David Starr||13||MBM Motorsports||Toyota|
|37||Josh Bilicki||52||Rick Ware Racing||Chevrolet|
|38||Garrett Smithley||15||Rick Ware Racing||Chevrolet|
|39||Timmy Hill||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 Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 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
FireKeepers Casino 400 Race History and NASCAR Stats
- The FireKeepers Casino 400 has been held at Michigan International Speedway every year since 1969. It has been run under the current title sponsor name since 2016.
- Cale Yarborough won this event a whopping six times as part of his Hall of Fame NASCAR Cup Series career. The first victory came in the first ever running in 1969. His sixth win came 14 years later in 1983.
- Yarborough’s six wins still stand two clear of any other driver on the all-time list. Both Bill Elliott and David Pearson claimed four victories to share second.
- Among active NASCAR Cup Series drivers, only three have won the FireKeepers Casino 400 multiple times. Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch and Joey Logano have each lifted the race trophy twice.
- While Denny Hamlin won the race in back-to-back seasons in 2010-11, Joey Logano has won two of the last five editions in 2016 and ’19.
- Sunday’s pole-sitter, Kyle Larson, won the FireKeepers Casino 400 back in 2017. He was driving the No. 42 car for Chip Ganassi Racing at that time.
- Three race teams sit tied for the most all-time wins in this race. Hendrick Motorsports, Wood Brothers Racing and Roush Fenway Racing each own six victories apiece.
- Kevin Harvick’s victory last season was the second FireKeepers Casino 400 win for Stewart-Haas Racing in the last three years and third in the last six.
- Ford tops all manufacturers with 20 all-time wins in this race. Mustangs have also found victory lane in four of the last five years.