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Southern 500 at Darlington: Start time, lineup, TV info

From Michael McDowell's improbable Daytona 500 victory to Kyle Larson's historic title, relive all the highlights from a wild regular season in the NASCAR Cup Series as the playoffs get set to start at Darlington.

The NASCAR Cup Series playoffs begin Sunday night with one of the biggest races of the season - the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

With a series-high five wins and a regular season title, Kyle Larson’s return to NASCAR in 2021 has already been highly successful. Now, Larson starts the playoffs as the top seed (2,052 points).

Second seed Martin Truex Jr., winner at Darlington on Mother’s Day, and third seed Ryan Blaney, winner of the last two races, are tied behind Larson with 2,024 points.

Blaney will start on pole Sunday. Denny Hamlin joins him on the front row.

Details for Sunday’s Southern 500 at Darlington:

(All times Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given by Cook Out representative Katie Yonchuk at 6:08 p.m. … The green flag is scheduled to wave at 6:18 p.m.

PRERACE: Cup garage opens at 11 a.m. … Drivers report to pre-race at 5:25 p.m. … Driver introductions are at 5:30 p.m. … The invocation will be given by Dustin Thompson of Elevation Church at 6:01 p.m. … The national anthem will be performed by Tiffany Woys at 6:02 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 367 laps (501.3 miles) on the 1.366-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 115. Stage 2 ends at Lap 230.

TV/RADIO: NBCSN coverage begins with Countdown to Green at 5 p.m., leading into race coverage on NBCSN at 6 p.m. … Post-race coverage follows on NBCSN at 10 p.m. … Motor Racing Network’s radio coverage begins at 5 p.m. on and will be simulcast on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.


FORECAST: Weather Underground’s forecast calls for partly cloudy skies, a high of 85 degrees, and dry conditions around the start of the race.

STARTING LINEUP: Southern 500 starting lineup

LAST TIME OUT: In May at Darlington, Martin Truex Jr. repelled a late push from Kyle Larson to score his third win of the season after leading 248 of 293 laps (see highlights in the video above).


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