Hamlin Lands Cup
Denny Hamlin. (Toyota Racing photo)

Hamlin Lands Cup Series Pole For Talladega

TALLADEGA, Ala. – Denny Hamlin will roll off from the Busch Pole when the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs continue Sunday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway.

Hamlin earned the top spot thanks to NASCAR’s performance-based matrix formula, factoring in driver and owner finishing position, points position and fastest lap turned during the previous event.

The driver of the No. 11 Toyota Camry topped the list with a score of 2.35, with the fastest race lap from Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway last weekend, a third-place finish and the runner-up ranking in the current series point standings.

Hamlin will be flanked on the front row by Las Vegas winner Kurt Busch, with Martin Truex Jr. and Alex Bowman making up the second row of the grid.

Point leader Kevin Harvick starts fifth, followed by Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer and Chase Elliott.

Austin Dillon starts lowest among the eligible playoff contenders in 12th place.

Matt DiBenedetto, who rallied with a second-place finish in Sin City after being eliminated from the postseason in round one, leads the non-playoff drivers in the field in 13th.

Seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson starts 17th for his final Talladega event, while past Talladega Cup Series winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr. rolls off 26th.

The full starting lineup and performance matrix can be viewed here.

Sunday’s YellaWood 500 for the NASCAR Cup Series is scheduled for a 2 p.m. ET start, with live coverage on NBC, the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.