The penultimate round of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs gets underway on Sunday.
Ross Chastain, Bubba Wallace, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch were each eliminated from the playoffs heading into this round, leaving just William Byron, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, Chris Buescher, Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick and Ryan Blaney still alive competing for a championship.
Several of these drivers know what it takes to win in Las Vegas in the South Point 400. Truex won the second edition of the race back in 2019, and Hamlin took home first back in 2021.
But while those two know what it’s like to win, both will be starting further back in the field — at least to start the race. Each of the four top spots in the lineup are occupied by playoff drivers. And the man sitting atop the totem pole ahead of Sunday’s race has proven difficult to unseat once he gets some clear air in front of him.
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Here’s how the drivers are set to start the South Point 400 race on Sunday.
Christopher Bell secured the pole for Sunday’s race. He posted the top speed in the field at 186.355 mph, and finished with a lap time of 28.980.
Bell has been on a roll lately, having secured the pole in four of the past seven races. He has finished 23rd, eighth and third in the previous three times he won the pole.
“I was running flatline and never lifted all the way around; he didn’t hit [Kyle Larson] either. So comes down horsepower, I guess,” Bell said, per NASCAR. “It’s going to be about who can keep the most in their car and move around and find [grip] on the race track. … Las Vegas is a fun race track because you can pretty much run from the wall to the white line and everywhere in between. If you’re faster than a guy you can make your way to the front and if you struggle you can move around it helps you out.”
Bell will lead the field to green, with Larson joining him on the top line. Here’s how the rest of the starting lineup will shake up on Sunday.