NASCAR: Start Time, Channel and Everything to Know About the Cup Series Playoff First Race at Darlington

by Quentin Blount
Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

NASCAR fans — are you ready for the Cup Series Playoffs? We have successfully made it through twenty-six regular-season races. And now it’s time for everyone to really buckle up. The first of 10 playoff races start on Sunday evening.

That’s right, folks. The NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs are here. And as a result, the Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway will begin on Sunday at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN. There are a total of 16 drivers grouped up in the playoff field. It was Tyler Reddick who clinched the final playoff berth based on points last weekend at Daytona International Speedway.

There will most certainly be a lot of eyes on Kyle Larson, the driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE for Hendrick Motorsports. Larson put together a historic regular season in 2021, winning himself the regular-season Cup Series Championship. But with that said, we will have to wait and see whether or not that success will translate to the playoff races.

Larson spoke earlier this week about how all of his recent experience will help him in the postseason.

“I feel like I’m a much more mature person on and off the race track. I think through all the experience of growing up made me ultimately just better all around,” Larson told “Getting to race as much as I did last year and contend — I raced 96 times, something like that, and won 46. Probably was in a position to chase a win in 80 races or more.”

NASCAR Cup Series Defending Champion Chase Elliott Speaks

As for the defending Cup Series Champion, there will definitely be some eyes on Chase Elliott as well. He currently sits in the fifth spot in the playoff standings. His spot in the rankings was helped by how strong he finished out the regular season, finishing in the top 10 in each of the final four races. And Elliott believes that he has it in him to win back-to-back Cup Series Championships.

“We just have to peak at the right time,” Elliott explained to PopCulture. “That was really what we did best last year, was we really peaked at the right time and got hot for a stretch of races that was perfect timing.”

“Unfortunately, you can’t always draw that up. That’s not just something that you can just snap your fingers and make happen. It’s a lot of hard work. It’s a lot of effort. And it comes from everyone at our race shop, everyone on the road. Myself, our off-track help. Everything has to just really be clicking at the right time.”

Again, make sure to tune in on NBCSN Sunday evening at 6 p.m. ET. And make sure to follow along with coverage of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs right here on Outsider.