NASCAR National Series News & Notes - Martinsville Speedway

NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Xfinity 500

The Place: Martinsville Speedway

The Date: Sunday, November 1

The Time: 2 p.m. ET

TV: NBC, 1:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 263 (500 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 130),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 260), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 500)

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: Draft Top 250

The Place: Martinsville Speedway

The Date: Saturday, October 31

The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV: NBC, 3:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 131.5 miles (250 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 60),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 120), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 250)

 

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series

Next Race: NASCAR Hall of Fame 200

The Place: Martinsville Speedway

The Date: Friday, October 30

The Time: 8 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 7 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 105.2 miles (200 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 50),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 100), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)

 

NASCAR Cup Series

 

Martinsville Speedway to set the NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4

The NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs have come down to this Sunday’s Playoff Round of 8 elimination race, the Xfinity 500, at Martinsville Speedway at 2 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

The 2020 season marks the first time Martinsville Speedway has hosted the penultimate race (Race No. 9) in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. Since the inception of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs in 2004, Martinsville Speedway has occupied three different positions on the postseason schedule. From 2004 – 2010 (seven seasons) Martinsville hosted the sixth race in the Playoffs and from 2011 – 2019 (nine seasons) Martinsville hosted the seventh race in the Playoffs. Martinsville Speedway is the third different track to host the ninth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs; joining Darlington Raceway (2004) and Phoenix Raceway (2005-2019).

 

Martinsville Playoff Race Winners

 

Seasons

 

Race Winners

 

Track

 

2019

 

Martin Truex Jr

 

Martinsville

 

2018

 

Joey Logano

 

Martinsville

 

2017

 

Kyle Busch

 

Martinsville

 

2016

 

Jimmie Johnson

 

Martinsville

 

2015

 

Jeff Gordon

 

Martinsville

 

2014

 

Dale Earnhardt Jr

 

Martinsville

 

2013

 

Jeff Gordon

 

Martinsville

 

2012

 

Jimmie Johnson

 

Martinsville

 

2011

 

Tony Stewart

 

Martinsville

 

2010

 

Denny Hamlin

 

Martinsville

 

2009

 

Denny Hamlin

 

Martinsville

 

2008

 

Jimmie Johnson

 

Martinsville

 

2007

 

Jimmie Johnson

 

Martinsville

 

2006

 

Jimmie Johnson

 

Martinsville

 

2005

 

Jeff Gordon

 

Martinsville

 

2004

 

Jimmie Johnson

 

Martinsville

 

A total of eight different drivers have won a NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Martinsville Speedway, led by Jimmie Johnson with six Playoff victories (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2016) on the 0.526-mile track.

 

Six times the winner of the Martinsville Speedway Playoff race has gone on to win the title later that same season – the most of any track on the Playoff schedule. In 2006, Jimmie Johnson won from the ninth starting position at Martinsville Speedway, and went on to win his first of seven NASCAR Cup Series championships. It was his only win during the 2006 Playoffs. In 2007, Jimmie Johnson won from the fourth starting position at Martinsville Speedway, and went on to win his second consecutive NASCAR Cup Series championship. The Playoff victory was the first of a record setting four straight postseason wins during the 2007 Playoffs (Martinsville, Atlanta, Texas, and Phoenix). In 2008, Jimmie Johnson won from the first starting position at Martinsville Speedway (Qualifying was cancelled) and went on to win his third consecutive NASCAR Cup Series championship. The win was his second of three victories during the 2008 Playoffs. In 2011, Tony Stewart won from the fourth starting position at Martinsville Speedway, and went on to win his third NASCAR Cup Series championship. The win was one of a record setting five Playoff victories for Stewart during the 2011 postseason. In 2016, Jimmie Johnson won from the third starting position at Martinsville Speedway, and went on to win his record tying seventh NASCAR Cup Series championship. The win was his second of three Playoff victories during the 2016 postseason. In 2018, Joey Logano won from the 10th starting position at Martinsville Speedway, and went on to win his first NASCAR Cup Series championship. The win was his first of two Playoff victories during his 2018 championship run. Team Penske’s Logano is currently the only driver locked into the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4 due to his win at Kansas Speedway to open the Round of 8.

 

The worst finish in a Playoff race at Martinsville Speedway by a driver that went on to win the title later the same year was 33rd by Kevin Harvick in 2014.

 

Just like Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch stole the show at Texas Motor Speedway on Wednesday, twice a non-Playoff driver has won the Playoff race at Martinsville Speedway. In 2005, Jeff Gordon was ranked 15th in the points at the time of his win at Martinsville, and in 2014, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was 11th in points at the time of his win. Earnhardt Jr. had made the Playoffs in 2014 but was eliminated in the Round of 12.

 

Playoff Race No. 9 - Race Winners

 

Seasons

 

Race Winners

 

Track

 

2019

 

Denny Hamlin

 

Phoenix

 

2018

 

Kyle Busch

 

Phoenix

 

2017

 

Matt Kenseth

 

Phoenix

 

2016

 

Joey Logano

 

Phoenix

 

2015

 

Dale Earnhardt Jr

 

Phoenix

 

2014

 

Kevin Harvick

 

Phoenix

 

2013

 

Kevin Harvick

 

Phoenix

 

2012

 

Kevin Harvick

 

Phoenix

 

2011

 

Kasey Kahne

 

Phoenix

 

2010

 

Carl Edwards

 

Phoenix

 

2009

 

Jimmie Johnson

 

Phoenix

 

2008

 

Jimmie Johnson

 

Phoenix

 

2007

 

Jimmie Johnson

 

Phoenix

 

2006

 

Kevin Harvick

 

Phoenix

 

2005

 

Kyle Busch

 

Phoenix

 

2004

 

Jimmie Johnson

 

Darlington

 

A total of nine different drivers have won the penultimate (ninth) race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, led by Jimmie Johnson (2004, 2007, 2008, 2009) and Kevin Harvick (2006, 2012, 2013, 2014) with four Playoff victories each.

 

Four times the winner of the ninth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs has gone on to win the title that same season. In 2007, Jimmie Johnson won from the sixth starting position at Phoenix Raceway and went on to win his second consecutive NASCAR Cup Series championship. The Playoff victory was the fourth of a record setting four straight postseason wins during the 2007 Playoffs (Martinsville, Atlanta, Texas, and Phoenix). In 2008, Jimmie Johnson won from the pole at Phoenix Raceway and went on to win his third consecutive NASCAR Cup Series championship. The win was his third of three victories during the 2008 Playoffs. In 2009, Jimmie Johnson won from the third starting position at Phoenix Raceway and went on to win his fourth consecutive NASCAR Cup Series championship. The victory was his fourth during the 2009 postseason. Then in 2014, Kevin Harvick won from the third starting position at Phoenix Raceway and went on to win his first NASCAR Cup Series championship. The win was his second of three Playoff victories during the 2014 postseason.

 

The worst finish in the ninth race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs by a driver that went on to win the title that same season at Phoenix Raceway was 38th by Jimmie Johnson in 2016 and at Darlington Raceway in 2004 it was sixth by Kurt Busch.

 

Four non-Playoff drivers have won the ninth Playoff race in the NASCAR Cup Series postseason. In 2005, Kyle Busch was ranked 19th in the points at the time of his win at Phoenix Raceway. In 2011, Kasey Kahne was ranked 14th in the points at the time of the win at Phoenix Raceway. In 2015, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was seventh in points at the time of the win at Phoenix. Earnhardt Jr. had made the Playoffs in 2015 but was eliminated in the Round of 12. And in 2017, Matt Kenseth was seventh in points at the time of the win at Phoenix. Kenseth had made the Playoffs in 2017 but was eliminated in the Round of 12.

 

In total Martinsville Speedway has hosted 143 NASCAR Cup Series races dating back to the inaugural event on Sept. 25, 1949 – the race was won by Red Byron in Raymond Park’s 1949 Oldsmobile. Originally opened in September 1947 by H. Clay Earles, Martinsville Speedway, originally a dirt track, is one of the oldest continuously-operating racetracks in the United States. The 143 Cup races at Martinsville have produced 61 different pole winners and 53 different race winners. 10 of the 53 winners are active this weekend. NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip leads the series in poles at Martinsville with eight (1979, 1976, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1992). NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty leads the series in wins at Martinsville with 15 victories (1960, 1962, 1963, 1967 sweep, 1968, 1969 sweep, 1970, 1971, 1972 sweep, 1973, 1975, 1979) – the most wins by a driver at a single track in the series – he also accomplished the feat at North Wilkesboro (15 wins). Jimmie Johnson leads the series in wins among active drivers at Martinsville Speedway with nine victories (2004, 2006, 2007 sweep, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2016). Six of the eight Playoff drivers this weekend have won at Martinsville, led by Denny Hamlin with five victories. The Hendrick Motorsports teammates, Alex Bowman and Chase Elliott, are the two postseason drivers still looking for the first career win at 0.526-mile short track.

 

Cup Clinch Scenarios for Martinsville Speedway

Just three spots remain open in this season’s NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4 round and this Sunday’s Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway is the last chance for the seven drivers not locked-in to vie for those final spots and secure their chance at the 2021 Bill France Cup next week in the season finale at Phoenix Raceway.

 

Team Penske’s Joey Logano is the only driver of the Round of 8 field that has locked himself into the Championship 4 round.

 

Can Clinch via Points

If there is a new winner, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the third winless driver in the standings.

  • Kevin Harvick: Would clinch with 37 points
  • Denny Hamlin: Would clinch with 53 points
  • Brad Keselowski: Would clinch with 55 points
  • Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott, and Martin Truex Jr.: Could only clinch with help

 

If there is a repeat winner, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the fourth winless driver in the standings. They would also clinch if there was a new winner among Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin or Brad Keselowski and being ahead of the third winless driver in the standings.

  • Kevin Harvick: Would clinch with 14 points
  • Denny Hamlin: Would clinch with 29 points
  • Brad Keselowski: Would clinch with 31 points
  • Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott, and Martin Truex Jr.: Could only clinch with help

 

Can Clinch via Win

The following drivers would clinch on their win alone:

Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch

 

NASCAR Cup Series Driver Playoff Outlook Following Race No. 34

 

Rank

 

Driver

 

Points

 

Starts

 

Race Wins

 

Stage Wins

 

Playoff Pts

 

Pts from Cutoff

 

1

 

Joey Logano

 

4094

 

34

 

3

 

6

 

22

 

In On Wins

 

2

 

Kevin Harvick

 

4137

 

34

 

9

 

7

 

67

 

42

 

3

 

Denny Hamlin

 

4122

 

34

 

7

 

10

 

54

 

27

 

4

 

Brad Keselowski

 

4120

 

34

 

4

 

7

 

35

 

25

 

5

 

Alex Bowman

 

4095

 

34

 

1

 

4

 

9

 

-25

 

6

 

Chase Elliott

 

4095

 

34

 

3

 

9

 

27

 

-25

 

7

 

Martin Truex Jr.

 

4084

 

34

 

1

 

5

 

17

 

-36

 

8

 

Kurt Busch

 

4039

 

34

 

1

 

1

 

6

 

-81

 

 

Fighting For A Spot: Previous drivers that raced their way into the Championship 4

Since the introduction of the ‘elimination style’ format of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs in 2014, racing your way into the Championship 4 round in the ninth and final cutoff race of the Round of 8 has proven to be much more difficult than one might expect with only two drivers accomplishing the feat.

 

2014: Heading to Phoenix Raceway (the ninth race of the Playoffs) in 2014, Kevin Harvick was ranked eighth in the Playoff standings, six points back from NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon in the fourth and final transfer position to the Championship 4 round. Kevin Harvick won the race at Phoenix and automatically advanced to the final round. Jeff Gordon finished runner-up, but it wasn’t enough and was bounced out of the Playoffs. Harvick would go on to win his first NASCAR Cup Series title in 2014.

 

2015: The four drivers below the Championship 4 round cutline heading into the ninth race of the 2015 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 8 elimination race at Phoenix Raceway – Carl Edwards (-7 points from cutoff), Brad Keselowski (-19), Kurt Busch (-28) and Joey Logano (-63) – all failed to advance to the Championship 4 and were eliminated from the Playoffs following the Phoenix race. At Phoenix, Logano finished third, Kurt Busch finished seventh, Keselowski finished ninth and Carl Edwards finished 12th.

 

2016: The four drivers below the Championship 4 round cutline without a win heading into the ninth race of the 2016 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 8 elimination race at Phoenix Raceway – Matt Kenseth (-1 point from cutoff), Denny Hamlin (-2), Kevin Harvick (-18) and Kurt Busch (-34) – all failed to advance to the Championship 4 and were eliminated from the Playoffs following the Phoenix race. At Phoenix, Harvick finished fourth, Kurt Busch finished fifth, Hamlin finished seventh and Matt Kenseth finished 21st.

 

2017: The four drivers below the Championship 4 round cutline heading into the ninth race of the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 8 elimination race at Phoenix Raceway – Denny Hamlin (-19 points from cutoff), Ryan Blaney (-22), Chase Elliott (-49) and Jimmie Johnson (-51) – all failed to advance to the Championship 4 and were eliminated from the Playoffs following the Phoenix race. At Phoenix, Elliott finished second, Blaney finished 17th, Hamlin finished 35th and Jimmie Johnson finished 39th.

 

2018: The four drivers below the Championship 4 round cutline heading into the ninth race of the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 8 elimination race at Phoenix Raceway – Kurt Busch (-3 points from cutoff), Chase Elliott (-17), Aric Almirola (-35) and Clint Bowyer (-51) – all failed to advance to the Championship 4 and were eliminated from the Playoffs following the Phoenix race. At Phoenix, Almirola finished fourth, Elliott finished 23rd, Kurt Busch finished 32nd and Clint Bowyer finished 35th.

 

2019: Heading to Phoenix Raceway (the ninth race of the Playoffs) in 2019, Denny Hamlin was ranked fifth in the Playoff standings, 20 points back from Joey Logano in the fourth and final transfer position to the Championship 4 round. Denny Hamlin won the race at Phoenix and automatically advanced to the final round. Joey Logano finished ninth, but it wasn’t enough and was tossed out of the Playoffs. Hamlin would go on to finish the season fourth in the championship standings.

 

Playoff’s Elite Eight at the Martinsville ‘Paperclip’

Sunday’s Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway sets the stage for the seven drivers hunting for the final three spots in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Championship 4 round. Team Penske’s Joey Logano is the only driver currently locked into the Championship 4 by virtue of his victory at Kansas two weeks ago. Below is a look at the elite eight Playoff drivers heading into Martinsville this weekend.

 

Joey Logano (No. 22 Team Penske Ford) is currently locked into the Championship 4 round thanks to his win at Kansas to open the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff’s Round of 8. Looking to Martinsville, Logano has made 23 starts putting up five poles, one win (2018 Playoff race), seven top fives and 11 top 10s. He finished fourth at Martinsville earlier this season.  

 

Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford) currently holds a 42-point edge on the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff’s Championship 4 round cutoff. The Californian, Harvick, heads to Martinsville weekend having made 38 series starts at 0.526-mile short track posting one win (2011), five top five and 19 top 10s. He finished 15th at Martinsville back in June. 

 

Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota) is grasping to a 27-point lead over the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff’s Championship 4 round cutoff. Hamlin’s resume at Martinsville is the most promising among the eight remaining Playoff drivers. The Virginia native has made 29 series starts at the ‘Paperclip’ posting four poles, five wins (2008 spring, 2009 Playoffs, 2010 sweep, 2015 spring), 15 top fives and 21 top 10s. But he finished 24th at Martinsville earlier this season.

 

Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Team Penske Ford) is clinging to the fourth and final transfer spot into the Championship 4 round by a mere 25 points over Hendrick Motorsport’s driver Alex Bowman in the first position outside the cutoff. Keselowski will start on the pole this weekend at Martinsville, a speedway where track position is key. Keselowski has made 21 series starts at Martinsville collecting two wins (2017 spring, 2019 spring), 10 top fives and 15 top 10s.  He finished third in the Martinsville race earlier this season.

 

Alex Bowman (No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet) hangs onto the fifth spot in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings, 25 points back from Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski in the final transfer position to the Championship 4. Bowman has made nine series starts at Martinsville posting two top-10 finishes; including his career-best finish of sixth that he posted earlier this season at 0.526-mile track.

 

Chase Elliott (No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet) is currently tied with his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman in points and sits sixth in the standings 25 points behind the Championship 4 cutoff. Elliott looks to Martinsville to the catapult he needs to make the final round. Elliott has made 10 season starts at Martinsville posting three top fives and five top 10s. He finished fifth in the Martinsville event back in June. 

 

Martin Truex Jr. (No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota) finished second at Texas Motor Speedway on Wednesday but still finds himself 36 points behind the Championship 4 cutoff. Truex is optimistic about this weekend at Martinsville Speedway though. The New Jersey native has made 29 series starts at the Virginia half-mile winning the last two consecutive races and putting up a total of seven top fives and 13 top 10s. 

 

Kurt Busch (No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet) finds himself in the eighth final position in the Round of 8, 81 points behind the Championship 4 cutoff. Busch is in a must-win situation heading into this weekend at Martinsville. Busch has made 40 series starts at Martinsville posting two wins (2006 Playoffs, 2017 Playoffs), three top fives and eight top 10s. He finished ninth in the Martinsville race earlier this season.

 

NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.

Kyle Larson is tapped by Hendrick Motorsports in 2021 – This week Hendrick Motorsports signed driver Kyle Larson to a multi-year contract that will see him join the 12-time NASCAR Cup Series champions beginning with the 2021 racing season. He will pilot the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, which the organization will field for the first time since 2017. Larson will be paired with crew chief Cliff Daniels, 32, who currently leads the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team with seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson.

 

“Kyle is unquestionably one of the most talented race car drivers in the world,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “He has championship-level ability and will be a significant addition to our on-track program. More importantly, I have full confidence that he understands our expectations and will be a tremendous ambassador for our team, our partners and NASCAR. Kyle and I have had many, many conversations leading up to today’s announcement. I’m confident about what’s in his heart and his desire to be a champion in all aspects of his life and career. Kyle has done important work over the past six months, and Hendrick Motorsports is going to support those continued efforts.”

 

Rudy Fugle named crew chief to No. 24 team in 2021 - Hendrick Motorsports has named Rudy Fugle as the crew chief for William Byron and the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE team for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season. He will join the organization in mid-November. The 36-year-old Fugle is one of the most successful crew chiefs at the NASCAR national series level. Fugle will replace current No. 24 crew chief Chad Knaus, who was recently named Hendrick Motorsports’ vice president of competition effective at the completion of the 2020 racing season.

 

“We’re pleased to welcome Rudy,” said Jeff Andrews, general manager of Hendrick Motorsports. “His teams have consistently performed at a championship level for many years. We believe he’s an excellent fit for our culture and will mesh extremely well with our other crew chiefs and competition personnel. In addition, Rudy and William have proven to be a successful combination with a high level of communication and trust in one another.”

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

 

Martinsville Speedway to set the NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship 4

The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Martinsville Speedway this weekend to set the Championship 4 contenders and close out the Round of 8. This Saturday’s race, the Draft Top 250, will be at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

Last weekend, the series went to Texas Motor Speedway where the racing was intense, and the excitement was second to none.

 

Playoff driver Noah Gragson, who is in a must-win situation if he wants to compete for the championship at Phoenix Raceway, looked like he was going to take home the trophy (and cowboy hat).

 

However, Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender and now three-time winner, Harrison Burton, passed him on the final corner to steal the victory. Burton recovered from a spin that brought out the sixth caution of the day and then went on to pass Anthony Alfredo for the second position with only two laps to go.

 

Saturday’s race at Texas was a tough one for the current Playoff drivers. Austin Cindric was able to finish in fourth and Justin Haley finished in seventh. The remaining five postseason challengers finished outside the top-15 - Ross Chastain finished 16th, Chase Briscoe finished 24th, Brandon Jones finished 25th, Justin Allgaier finished 26th and Ryan Sieg finished 31st.

 

With his win two weeks ago, Briscoe is still the only driver with a Championship 4 spot, meaning that this weekend’s race at Martinsville will be the final chance for the seven other Playoff drivers to clinch their position.

 

The Draft Top 250 will also bring a new sense of excitement as the NASCAR Xfinity Series hasn’t raced at the short track since 2006. Kevin Harvick won that race from the sixth position. There have been 34 total Xfinity Series race at Martinsville Speedway, with the inaugural race being in 1982 and won by Sam Ard.

 

So, Martinsville Speedway is new territory for all the drivers in the field and the series is bound to put on a good show.

 

Cindric will lead the field to green on Saturday with Gragson joining him on the front row. Haley will start third and Chastain will start fourth. Briscoe and Allgaier will start fifth and sixth.

 

The race will be 131.5 miles and 250 laps with Stage 1 ending on Lap 60 and Stage 2 ending on Lap 120.

 

Saturday short track racing

The final race of the Round of 8 is on Saturday afternoon at Martinsville Speedway, a track that none of the drivers in the field have raced on, and everything is on the line for the seven Playoff drivers that haven’t clinched their spot in the Championship 4 yet.

 

Since we don’t have any stats to look at for Martinsville specifically, let’s look at the short track results from 2020. Noah Gragson took home the first short-track win at Bristol Motor Speedway back in June. It wasn’t until September that the series raced on another short track, Richmond Raceway, for a doubleheader. Justin Allgaier swept the weekend at Richmond winning both races. The week after, the series went back to Bristol Motor Speedway and Chase Briscoe was victorious.

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series Driver Playoff Outlook Following Race No. 31

 

Rank

 

Driver

 

Points

 

Race Wins

 

Stage Wins

 

Playoff Pts

 

Pts from Cutoff

 

1

 

Chase Briscoe

 

3,133

 

9

 

12

 

60

 

In On Wins

 

2

 

Austin Cindric

 

3,103

 

5

 

10

 

50

 

14

 

3

 

Justin Allgaier

 

3,097

 

3

 

12

 

33

 

8

 

4

 

Justin Haley

 

3,093

 

3

 

3

 

23

 

4

 

5

 

Brandon Jones

 

3,089

 

3

 

3

 

20

 

-4

 

6

 

Ross Chastain

 

3,078

 

0

 

2

 

10

 

-15

 

7

 

Noah Gragson

 

3,069

 

2

 

8

 

25

 

-24

 

8

 

Ryan Sieg

 

3,050

 

0

 

2

 

2

 

-43

 

 

Xfinity Clinch Scenarios: Paperclip Style

Chase Briscoe has clinched a spot in the Championship 4 round while the other three spots are up for grabs. Here are the clinch scenarios for this weekend’s race at Martinsville, with a reminder that any driver can clinch a Championship 4 berth with a win:

 

Can Clinch via Points

If there is a new winner, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the third winless driver in the standings.

  • Austin Cindric: Would clinch with 46 points
  • Justin Allgaier: Would clinch with 52 points
  • Justin Haley, Brandon Jones, Ross Chastain, Noah Gragson and Ryan Sieg: Could only clinch with help

 

If there is a repeat winner, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the fourth winless driver in the standings. They would also clinch if there was a new winner among Austin Cindric, Justin Allgaier or Justin Haley and being ahead of the third winless driver in the standings.

  • Austin Cindric: Would clinch with 42 points
  • Justin Allgaier: Would clinch with 48 points
  • Justin Haley: Would clinch with 52 points
  • Brandon Jones, Ross Chastain, Noah Gragson and Ryan Sieg: Could only clinch with help

 

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series 

 

Gander Trucks to shine bright under the lights at Martinsville

The NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series put on a show last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.

 

Sheldon Creed won the race and clinched his spot in the Championship 4, joining his GMS Racing teammate Brett Moffitt as the first two to lock themselves in the final round.

 

There are only two spots left for the remaining six Playoff drivers and the stakes couldn’t be higher heading to Martinsville Speedway for the NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Friday, October 30.

 

Creed’s win didn’t come without plenty of on-track action. Playoff driver Ben Rhodes and Christian Eckes had some on-track scuffs and the one on Lap 146 put the race into NASCAR Overtime. Rhodes clipped the right rear quarter of Eckes’ truck and sent him spinning. Rhodes suffered damage from the incident and put himself in a must-win situation on Friday if he wants a spot in the Championship 4.

 

There were 10 cautions for the Gander Trucks at Texas and one of them was between veteran Johnny Sauter and Stewart Friesen, as they were both fighting for the lead as winless drivers.

 

Playoff driver Grant Enfinger suffered a day-ending engine issue and is now also in a must-win situation at Martinsville when he was originally only seven points below the cutline heading to Texas.

 

Other Playoff drivers Austin Hill and Zane Smith finished second and third. Rookie Raphael Lessard finished fourth, Moffitt finished fifth and veteran Matt Crafton came in sixth. Crafton is still sitting 12 points below the cutline heading to Martinsville.

 

This weekend will be the first time the series competes on the Virginia short track this year. Last season, Todd Gilliland won this race for Kyle Busch Motorsports and Kyle Busch himself won the first race of 2019 at the track.

 

Crafton is the only Playoff driver with a previous win at the track and Sauter joins him as the only two active Gander Trucks drivers with wins at Martinsville. For all the other drivers, they’re still on the hunt for their first win on the 0.526-mile track.

 

Friday evening’s race will be 105.2 miles and 200 laps with Stage 1 ending on Lap 50 and Stage 2 ending on Lap 100.

 

Creed will start from the pole and Zane Smith will join him on the front row. Hill, Moffitt, Crafton, Tyler Ankrum, Rhodes, Enfinger, Brandon Jones and Lessard will complete the top 10.

 

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Driver Playoff Outlook Following Race No. 21

 

Rank

 

      Driver

 

Points

 

Race Wins

 

Stage Wins

 

Playoff Pts

 

Pts from Cutoff

 

1

 

Sheldon Creed

 

3,142

 

4

 

10

 

28

 

In On Wins

 

2

 

Brett Moffitt

 

3,101

 

1

 

6

 

16

 

3

 

Austin Hill

 

3,123

 

2

 

3

 

28

 

27

 

4

 

Zane Smith

 

3,108

 

2

 

5

 

22

 

12

 

5

 

Matt Crafton

 

3,096

 

1

 

1

 

9

 

-12

 

6

 

Grant Enfinger

 

3,066

 

3

 

1

 

19

 

-42

 

7

 

Ben Rhodes

 

3,063

 

1

 

1

 

14

 

-45

 

8

 

Tyler Ankrum

 

3,029

 

0

 

1

 

3

 

-79

 

 

Martinsville stats for Gander Trucks Playoff drivers
Below is a look at the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Round of 8 Playoff drivers at Martinsville Speedway (in order of seeding):

 

Sheldon Creed will make his fourth start at Martinsville on Friday night. Although he punched his ticket to the Championship 4, he’ll still want to have a good points day. In his three starts, he has a best finish of 11th that came at this race in 2019. He has an average start of 11.0 and an average finish of 15.7.

 

Brett Moffitt is in the same position as his GMS Racing teammate Sheldon Creed. He already has a spot in the Championship 4 but would like to have a strong day at Martinsville before heading to Phoenix. He has five starts to his name at the short track with three top fives and four top 10s. He has led 80 laps and has an average start of 9.2 and an average finish of 8.6. He has a best finish of second from 2018.

 

Austin Hill is sitting in third in the Playoffs standings, 27 points above the cutline. Hill has nine starts at Martinsville with two top 10s. His best finish of ninth came in 2018. He has an average start of 17.1 and an average finish of 17.3.

 

Zane Smith will make his series track debut at Martinsville on Friday night. He is currently sitting in the fourth and final spot in the Championship 4 field, 12 points above the cutline. With no experience at the track, Smith will likely be chasing after all the points he can get.

 

Matt Crafton is 12 points below the cutline in fifth place in the Playoff standings. Crafton has 36 starts at Martinsville with two wins, nine top fives and 20 top 10s. He has led 385 laps and has an average start of 11.4 and an average finish of 11.0. In his 36 starts, he only has two DNF’s. He’s completed 97.8% of laps attempted at the track. His wins came in 2014 and 2015 and his most recent finish was 23rd.

 

Grant Enfinger’s engine issue at Texas puts him in a must-win situation at Martinsville. He is currently in sixth in the standings, 42 points below the cutline. Enfinger has seven starts at the track with two top fives and three top 10s. He has an average start of 13.1 and an average finish of 11.1. His best finish of fourth came at this race last season and he also finished fourth in 2018.

 

Ben Rhodes is 45 points below the Gander Trucks Championship 4 cutline in seventh in the Playoff standings. Also, in a must-win situation, Rhodes has made nine starts at Martinsville posting two top fives and four top 10s and has led 176 laps. He has an average start of 8.4 and an average finish of 11.8. He also started on the pole twice (2016, 2018). Most recently, he finished 16th at this race in 2019.

 

Tyler Ankrum is currently holding onto the eighth and final spot in the Playoff standings, 79 points below the cutline, in a must-win situation as well. Friday night will be his fourth start at Martinsville Speedway. He has a best finish of 18th at the 0.526-mile track from his debut in 2018. He has an average start of 12.7 and an average finish of 20.7.

 

Clinch Scenarios: Martinsville mayhem

GMS Racing teammates Brett Moffitt and Sheldon Creed have clinched their spots in the final four while the other two spots are up for grabs. Here are the clinch scenarios for this weekend’s race at Martinsville, knowing that any driver could clinch a shot at the championship with a win:

 

Can Clinch via Points

If there is a new winner, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the 2nd winless driver in the standings.

o   Austin Hill: Would clinch with 41 points

o   Zane Smith, Matt Crafton, Grant Enfinger and Ben Rhodes: Could only clinch with help

 

If there is a repeat winner, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the 3rd winless driver in the standings.  They would also clinch if there was a new winner among Austin Hill or Zane Smith and being ahead of the 2nd winless driver in the standings.

o   Austin Hill: Would clinch with 28 points

o   Zane Smith: Would clinch with 44 points

o   Matt Crafton, Grant Enfinger and Ben Rhodes: Could only clinch with help

 

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, Etc.

Bobby Labonte named Grand Marshal: NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Labonte was named the Grand Marshal for the NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoff race at Martinsville Speedway on Friday. Labonte is a two-time NASCAR champion, winning the 2000 NASCAR up Series and 1991 NASCAR Xfinity Series titles. He was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2020.

 

Sensation Sam Mayer returns – Last the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series saw of Sam Mayer he was celebrating in the Bristol Motor Speedway’s Victory Lane after playing spoiler in the Playoff race at Thunder Valley and stealing the victory from the Playoff contenders in just his fourth start in the series. Now, the 17-year old from Franklin, Wisconsin returns to drive the No. 24 GMS Racing Chevrolet this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. He will start from the 22nd position.

NASCAR PR

Speedway Digest Staff

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