This Week in Motorsports: September 19-26, 2022

NASCAR is back on track this weekend at the home track for Toyota Motor North America – Texas Motor Speedway – with both the NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series in action, while the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series makes its second stop of the season at zMax Dragway in Charlotte.

NASCAR National Series – NCS | NXS

Bell continues to impress… Christopher Bell impressed throughout the Round of 16 in the Cup Series as the Oklahoma-native took the points lead for the first time, won multiple stages and was the only driver to earn top-five finishes in the first three events of the Playoffs. He now turns his focus to Texas Motor Speedway – a place he has seen additional success. Bell won in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) at Texas in 2019 and earned a season-best third-place finish at the track in his NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) rookie season in 2020.

Hamlin planning on securing Texas win… Denny Hamlin had three strong top-10 finishes in the Round of 16, including two runner-up results, to advance Hamlin to the next round of the NCS Playoffs. Hamlin earned Toyota’s first two NCS wins at Texas Motor Speedway – sweeping the 2010 races – before adding an additional victory in 2019.

Busch looks to add to impressive Texas resume… Kyle Busch has an incredibly impressive resume at Texas Motor Speedway as the Las Vegas-native has won multiple races across NASCAR’s top-three series. Busch has four NCS wins, 10 NXS triumphs and four Truck Series victories at Texas Motor Speedway during his career. 

Gibbs Texas double… Ty Gibbs will continue to sub for the injured Kurt Busch in the NCS for 23XI Racing, but is pushing for his first NXS title as he begins his first NXS Playoffs from the second seed. Gibbs is making his second career NXS start at the track. The North Carolina-native battled back from accident damage to finish 12th at Texas in the spring.

Jones looking for first Championship 4… Brandon Jones begins his latest championship push from the seventh seed on the strength of his win earlier this season in Martinsville. Jones, who is looking for his first Championship 4 berth, has multiple top-five finishes at Texas Motor Speedway, including a fifth-place finish one season ago.

Nemechek looking for Texas repeat … John Hunter Nemechek returns to the NXS in a week off for the Truck Series as he competes in his final start of the season with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR). One season ago, Nemechek won in dominating fashion for JGR in Texas – leading 92 of 200 laps – on his way to his second career NXS win. Nemechek has one other NXS start scheduled this season at Las Vegas for Toyota’s Sam Hunt Racing next month.

NHRA – Top Fuel | Funny Car

Ashley holds points lead… Justin Ashley continues to impress in his debut season with Toyota as the New York-native took over the points lead with his runner-up finish at Maple Grove Raceway on Sunday. It is Ashley’s second time leading the points this season, and first since his season-opening victory at Auto Club Raceway of Pomona in February. Ashley, who has scored five consecutive semi-final finishes or better, earned the No. 1 qualifying position and an opening round win at zMax’s four-wide event earlier this year.

Brown, Torrence still in the hunt… Antron Brown and Steve Torrence have both continued their recent surges and both rank inside the top-five in the Top Fuel point standings heading to Charlotte. Brown, who has won two of the last four events, ranks fourth – 54 points out of the lead, with Torrence only one spot – and two points – behind Brown in fifth.