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Kevin Harvick will start from the Cup pole position at Richmond

Kevin Harvick is the recipient of some good luck at Darlington, Ryan Blaney is in an early points hole, Alex Bowman and William Byron are surging for Hendrick Motorsports, and Austin Dillon could be a playoff dark horse.

After finishing first in the NASCAR Cup Series playoff opener Sept. 6 at Darlington Raceway, Kevin Harvick will start first Saturday in the starting lineup for the middle race of the first round at Richmond Raceway.

Joey Logano will start second on the 0.75-mile oval, making it an all-Ford front row. The Chevrolets of Austin Dillon and Alex Bowman will form the second row.

Here are the starting positions for the rest of the 16 playoff drivers (in order): William Byron (fifth), Kyle Busch (sixth), Denny Hamlin (seventh), Kurt Busch (eighth), Brad Keselowski (ninth), Aric Almirola (10th), Clint Bowyer (11th), Chase Elliott (12th), Cole Custer (13th), Martin Truex Jr. (14th), Ryan Blaney (15th) and Matt DiBenedetto (16th).

STARTING LINEUP: Where everyone will start in the Federated Auto Parts 400

BY ROW: Click here BY CAR NUMBER: Click here

This will mark the third time that Harvick has led the field to the green flag in the past four races at Richmond, where NASCAR last raced Sept. 21, 2019.

Harvick also started on pole at Richmond in September 2018 and April 2019. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver has three victories at the track, most recently on April 27, 2013.

Harvick, who will be starting first in a Cup race for the fourth time this season, was awarded the Busch Pole Award using a formula based on four statistical categories: owner points position, the driver’s finish, team owner’s finish and fastest lap from the most recently completed race.

Since the playoffs began at Darlington Raceway last week, playoff cars now fill the top starting positions, according to how many remain eligible for the championship. In the Round of 16, the top 16 starting positions will be playoff cars; in the Round of 12, the top 12 starting positions will be playoff cars, etc..

NASCAR previously had used a random draw to set most of its lineups since returning in May during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has eliminated practice and qualifying on nearly all race weekends.

Click here for the Richmond Cup starting lineup for Saturday.

NASCAR Cup Series at Richmond

Race Time: 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday

Track: Richmond Raceway; Richmond, Virginia (0.75-mile speedway)

Length: 400 laps (300 miles)

Stages: Stage 1 ends Lap 80. Stage 2 ends Lap 235.

TV coverage: NBCSN

Radio: Motor Racing Network (also SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Streaming: NBC Sports app (subscription required); and SiriusXM for audio (subscription required)

Next Xfinity race: Friday at Richmond (250 laps, 187.5 miles), 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN

Next Truck race: Thursday at Richmond (250 laps, 187.5 miles), 8 p.m. ET on FS1