Sunday night kicks off the 20th NASCAR Cup Series playoffs and the 7th edition of the current 16-driver format.
For the fourth year in a row, Darlington Raceway will be the first race of the playoffs.
After three races (Darlington, Kansas, Bristol), the drivers with the four lowest point totals — without a win in the first round — will be eliminated from championship contention.
Below is a look at each seed and their history at Darlington Raceway.
No. 1 William Byron (2,036 points)
Byron is the most recent winner at Darlington, taking the checkered flag in May’s race.
In 10 Cup Series starts, Byron has 1 pole, 1 win, 3 Top-5 finishes and 4 Top-10s.
No. 2 Martin Truex Jr. (2,036 points)
Truex has earned two victories at Darlington; the 2016 Southern 500 and the 2021 spring race.
His 22 starts consist of 1 pole, 2 wins, 4 Top-5 finishes, 10 Top-10 finishes and 914 laps led.
No. 3 Denny Hamlin (2,025 points)
Hamlin has the most wins among the active competition at four, with victories in 2010, 2017, 2020 and 2021.
Hamlin has 22 starts with 1 pole, 4 wins, 12 Top-5 finishes, 16 Top-10 finishes, an average finish of 7.7 and 801 laps led.
No. 4 Chris Buescher (2,021 points)
Buescher is the highest-seeded driver with no victories at Darlington.
In his 12 starts, Buescher has led 1 lap and has 3 Top-10 finishes, with two ninth-place runs as his highest result. He finished 10th in the Spring race.
No. 5 Kyle Busch (2,019 points)
Busch has one victory at Darlington, coming in 2008.
His 23 starts have yielded 1 win, 6 Top-5 finishes, 14 Top-10 finishes and 899 laps led.
No. 6 Kyle Larson (2,017 points)
Despite no victories at Darlington, Larson has the second-highest average finish among active competition, only behind Denny Hamlin at 10.2.
Larson has three runner-up finishes among his 5 Top-5 finishes, 7 Top-10 finishes and 715 laps led in 11 races.
No. 7 Christopher Bell (2,014 points)
Since joining Joe Gibbs Racing in 2021, Bell has not finished lower than 20th at Darlington. His highest finish was fifth in last year’s September race.
Bell has 1 Top-5 finish, 2 Top-10 finishes and 16 laps led in 8 starts. He will start on the pole for tonight’s race
No. 8 Ross Chastain (2,011 points)
Chastain’s highest finish was a third-place run in the September 2021 event.
In 8 starts, Chastain has 1 Top-5 finish, 1 Top-10 finish and has led 163 laps, including at least one lap in the last five races.
No. 9 Brad Keselowski (2,010 points)
Keselowski won the 2018 Southern 500, and has two straight Top-10 finishes at Darlington.
Keselowski has 1 pole, 1 win, 6 Top-5 finishes, 10 Top-10 finishes, and 395 laps led in 19 starts.
No. 10 Tyler Reddick (2,009 points)
Reddick’s highest finish came in the spring 2022 race; a runner-up finish.
In 8 starts, Reddick has earned 2 Top-5 finishes and 3 Top-10 finishes, leading 12 laps.
No. 11 Joey Logano (2,008 points)
Logano started on pole and won the spring 2022 race, his lone Cup Series win at the track.
In 19 starts, Logano has 2 poles, 1 win, 6 Top-5 finishes, 10 Top-10 finishes and 293 laps led.
No. 12 Ryan Blaney (2,008 points)
Blaney’s highest finish at Darlington to date is eighth in the 2021 spring race.
In his 13 starts, Blaney has 2 Top-10 finishes and 21 laps led.
No. 13 Michael McDowell (2,007 points)
McDowell’s highest finishes at Darlington came in 2022, where he finished Top-10 in both races with a high of sixth place in last year’s Southern 500.
In 16 starts at the speedway, McDowell has earned 2 total Top-10 finishes.
No. 14 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2,005 points)
Stenhouse’s highest finish of eighth came at the track in the 2022 spring race.
Averaging a 23rd-place finish, the Top-10 in last year’s race is Stenhouse’s lone finish of such in 15 starts.
No. 15 Kevin Harvick (2,004 points)
Harvick has three victories at the track; one in 2014 and two in 2020.
In 31 starts, Harvick has amassed 2 poles, 3 wins, 14 Top-5 finishes, 19 Top-10 finishes and 818 laps led.
No. 16 Bubba Wallace (2,000 points)
Wallace has finished inside the Top-10 in the last two Darlington races, with a career-high of fifth in the spring races.
Wallace has earned 1 Top-5 finish and 2 Top-10 finishes in 10 starts, leading 10 total laps.
The Southern 500 is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 3 at 6 p.m. ET.
I am a co-owner and reporter for TheRacingExperts.com.