Saturday, Nov 26

NASCAR National Series News & Notes - Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course

NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Bank of America ROVAL 400

The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course

The Date: Sunday, October 9

The Time: 2 p.m. ET

The Purse: $7,262,080

TV: NBC, 1 p.m. ET

Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR (Channel 90)

Distance: 252.88 miles (109 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 25),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 50), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 109)

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: Drive for the Cure 250 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina

The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course

The Date: Saturday, October 8

The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET

The Purse: $1,319,119

TV: NBC, 3 p.m. ET

Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR (Channel 90)

Distance: 155.44 miles (67 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 20),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 40), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 67)

 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Next Race: Baptist Health 200

The Place: Homestead-Miami Speedway

The Date: Saturday, October 22

The Time: 1 p.m. ET

The Purse: $721,227

TV: FS1, 12 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR (Channel 90)

Distance: 201 miles (134 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 30),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 134)

 

NASCAR Cup Series

 

A lot on the line in Playoffs’ Round of 12 elimination race at Charlotte Road Course

The intense NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 12 comes down to this weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course for the Bank of America ROVAL 400 elimination-race at 2 p.m. ET this Sunday, October 9 on NBC, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90). The 12-driver Playoff field will be cut to eight as four driver’s title hopes will come to an end this weekend. Ever since the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course has joined the NASCAR Cup Series postseason in 2018, it has proven to be a wildcard event with twists and turns that challenge the competitors along its multi-elevational 2.32-miles. Chase Elliott won his way into the Round of 8 with his victory at Talladega last weekend, leaving seven spots still on the line come Sunday.

 

Construction began on Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS) in 1959 and the track’s first NASCAR Cup Series race was held on June 19, 1960 – won by Joe Lee Johnson in a Chevrolet. But it wasn’t until 2017, the track underwent renovations to add what is now known as the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course (ROVAL) a 2.32-mile, 17-turn, multi-elevational road course that incorporates the oval portion of the track. This season will be the fifth-time the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course has hosted a NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race (2018-2022) and the 2.32-mile track has occupied two spots on the series postseason schedule – from 2018-2019 the Charlotte Road Course hosted the third race in the Playoffs and from 2020-2022 the sixth race.

 

The Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course (2020-2022) is the fourth different track to host the sixth race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs (2004-Present); joining Martinsville Speedway (2004-2010), Talladega Superspeedway (2011, 2013-2016) and Kansas Speedway (2012, 2017-2019).

 

From 2018-2019, the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course hosted the third race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs – Ryan Blaney won the event in 2018 and Chase Elliott won in 2019.

 

A total of 11 different drivers have won the sixth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, led by Jimmie Johnson with four postseason victories – all at Martinsville Speedway (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008). Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin leads all active drivers with three victories (2009, 2010, 2019) in the sixth race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. Chase Elliott leads all active drivers in Charlotte ROVAL wins with two (2019, 2020).

 

NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs - Race No. 6 Winners

Track

Race Winner

Date

Charlotte RC

Kyle Larson

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Charlotte RC

Chase Elliott

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Kansas

Denny Hamlin

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Kansas

Chase Elliott

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Kansas

Martin Truex Jr

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Talladega

Joey Logano

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Talladega

Joey Logano

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Talladega

Brad Keselowski

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Talladega

Jamie McMurray

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Kansas

Matt Kenseth

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Talladega

Clint Bowyer

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Martinsville

Denny Hamlin

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Martinsville

Denny Hamlin

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Martinsville

Jimmie Johnson

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Martinsville

Jimmie Johnson

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Martinsville

Jimmie Johnson

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Martinsville

Jeff Gordon

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Martinsville

Jimmie Johnson

Sunday, October 24, 2004

 

Six-times the winner of the sixth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs has gone on to win the championship later that same season - once at Kansas Speedway, three-times at Martinsville Speedway and twice at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course: 

 

  • In 2006, Jimmie Johnson won at Martinsville Speedway, then the sixth race in the Playoffs, and went on to win his first NASCAR Cup Series title later that season.
  • In 2007, Jimmie Johnson won at Martinsville, then the sixth race in the Playoffs, and went on to win his second consecutive NASCAR Cup Series title later that season.
  • In 2008, Jimmie Johnson won at Martinsville, then the sixth race in the Playoffs, and went on to win his third consecutive NASCAR Cup Series title later that season.
  • In 2017, Martin Truex Jr. won at Kansas Speedway, then the sixth race in the Playoffs, and went on to win his first NASCAR Cup Series title later that season.
  • In 2020, Chase Elliott won at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course, then the sixth race in the Playoffs, and went on to win his first NASCAR Cup Series title later that season. It was the first of his three wins during the 2020 postseason run.
  • In 2021, Kyle Larson won at the Charlotte Road Course, then the sixth race in the Playoffs, and went on to win his first NASCAR Cup Series title later that season. It was the second of his record tying five Playoff wins during the 2021 postseason.

 

The worst finish by a driver in the sixth Playoff race that went on to win the NASCAR Cup Series title that same season was: 

 

  • At Kansas Speedway (2012, 2017-2019) it has happened twice - Brad Keselowski in 2012 and Joey Logano in 2018 each finished eighth in the sixth race of the Playoffs at Kansas Speedway and then went on to win the title later those same seasons.
  • At Talladega Superspeedway (2011, 2013-2016) – Jimmie Johnson in 2016 finished 23rd in the sixth race of the Playoffs at Talladega Superspeedway and went on to win the title later that season.
  • At Martinsville Speedway (2004-2010) – Jimmie Johnson in 2010 and Kurt Busch in 2004 each finished fifth in the sixth race of the Playoffs at Martinsville Speedway and then went on to win the title later that same season.

 

When the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course hosted the third race in the Playoffs (2018-2019) the winner in 2019, Chase Elliott, finished the season 10th in the final championship standings and the 2018 ROVAL winner, Ryan Blaney, also finished the season 10th in the final standings.

 

Three non-Playoff drivers have won the sixth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs:

 

  • In 2005, Jeff Gordon won the Playoff race at Martinsville Speedway he was ranked 15th in the series standings at the time of the win.
  • In 2011, Clint Bowyer won the Playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway he was ranked 13th in the series standings at the time of the win.
  • In 2013, Jamie McMurray won the Playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway he was ranked 14th in the series standings at the time of the win.

 

This weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs elimination race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course will be 109 laps (252.88 miles) and will be broken up into three stages. The first to stages will be 25 laps each and the final stage is scheduled for 59 laps.

 

All the NASCAR Cup Series on-track activity will begin with practice and Busch Light Pole Qualifying, and both can be viewed on Saturday, October 8 from 12:30 p.m. – 2 p.m. ET on the USA Network.

 

Clinch Scenarios: Advancing out of the Round of 12

The Bank of America ROVAL 400 (Oct. 9 at 2 p.m. ET on NBC, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) is the last chance for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Playoff contenders to secure their spot in the Round of 8. Only one driver has locked themselves into the Round of 8 – Chase Elliott – heading into this weekend leaving 11 Playoff contenders vying for just seven positions.

 

Already Clinched

The following driver has clinched a spot in the eight-driver field of the next round: Chase Elliott.

 

Can Clinch Via Points

If there is a repeat winner or a win by a driver who cannot advance to the next round, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the 8th winless driver in the standings. The same point requirements listed below would hold true if a new win comes from among Ryan Blaney, Ross Chastain, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Kyle Larson or Daniel Suarez.

 

  • Ryan Blaney: Would clinch with 21 points
  • Ross Chastain: Would clinch with 26 points
  • Denny Hamlin: Would clinch with 33 points
  • Joey Logano: Would clinch with 36 points
  • Kyle Larson: Would clinch with 36 points
  • Daniel Suarez: Would clinch with 42 points
  • Chase Briscoe: Would clinch with 54 points
  • Austin Cindric: Would clinch with 54 points
  • William Byron: Could only clinch with help
  • Christopher Bell: Could only clinch with help
  • Alex Bowman: Could only clinch with help

 

If there is a new winner from Chase Briscoe or another winless driver lower in the standings but still eligible to advance to the next round, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the 7th winless driver in the standings.

 

  • Ryan Blaney: Would clinch with 23 points
  • Ross Chastain: Would clinch with 28 points
  • Denny Hamlin: Would clinch with 35 points
  • Joey Logano: Would clinch with 38 points
  • Kyle Larson: Would clinch with 38 points
  • Daniel Suarez: Would clinch with 44 points
  • Chase Briscoe: Could only clinch with help
  • Austin Cindric: Could only clinch with help
  • William Byron: Could only clinch with help
  • Christopher Bell: Could only clinch with help

 

Can Clinch Via Win

The following drivers would clinch on their win alone: Ryan Blaney, Ross Chastain, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, Daniel Suarez, Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric, William Byron, Christopher Bell and Alex Bowman.

 

Playoff Bubble: Cindric, Byron, Bell and Bowman facing elimination

It all comes down to this one last race for the drivers facing elimination this weekend in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. The Playoff challengers below the Round of 8 cutline will have to showcase their best skills this weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course if they want to move on in the postseason.

 

Following a wild Talladega Superspeedway Playoff race last weekend, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe currently resides in the eighth and final transfer spot on points in the next round. Outside the cutoff looking in are Team Penske’s Austin Cindric (-0 points) who is tied with Briscoe in points, but Briscoe owns the tie breaker of best finish in this round, then Hendrick Motorsport’s driver William Byron (-11) in 10th, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell (-33) in 11th, and Hendrick Motorsport’s Alex Bowman (-54) in 12th. Bowman has already announced he will not be in the No. 48 Chevrolet this weekend and instead Noah Gragson will be behind the wheel.

 

NASCAR Cup Series Driver Playoff Outlook Following Race No. 31

Rank

Drivers

Points

Race Wins

Stage Wins

Playoff Pts

+/- Cutoff

1

Chase Elliott

3,103

5

6

46

In On Wins

2

Ryan Blaney

3,101

0

7

15

32

3

Ross Chastain

3,097

2

5

20

28

4

Denny Hamlin

3,090

2

3

13

21

5

Joey Logano

3,087

2

5

25

18

6

Kyle Larson

3,087

2

4

20

18

7

Daniel Suárez

3,081

1

2

7

12

8

Chase Briscoe

3,069

1

4

9

0

9

Austin Cindric

3,069

1

1

6

0

10

William Byron

3,058

2

4

15

-11

11

Christopher Bell

3,036

1

4

13

-33

12

Alex Bowman

3,015

1

2

7

-54

13

Tyler Reddick

2,116

3

2

17

Eliminated From The Playoffs

14

Austin Dillon

2,107

1

0

5

15

Kyle Busch

2,089

1

3

10

16

Kevin Harvick

2,071

2

0

12

 

Team Penske’s Austin Cindric (3,069 points) teeters along the Playoffs’ Round of 8 cutoff in the first spot outside the cutline (ninth) tied with Chase Briscoe in the eighth and final transfer spot. Briscoe currently owns the tiebreaker between the two of best finish in the Round of 12; he finished fifth at Texas to Cindric’s best finish of ninth last weekend at Talladega. This weekend will be a series of firsts for Cindric, he will be making his series track debut at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course, and this will be his first career attempt at advancing out of the Round of 12. Only two previous rookies have earned a spot in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs prior to Cindric this season – Denny Hamlin (2006) and Chase Elliott (2016). If Cindric were to advance out of the Round of 12 and into the Round of 8, he would become the first rookie in the ‘elimination-style’ Playoff Era (2016-2022) to accomplish the feat. Elliott was eliminated in the Round of 12 in 2016.

 

Hendrick Motorsports’ driver William Byron (3,058 points) is currently 10th in the Playoff outlook standings 11 points back from Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe (3,069 points) in eighth in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs standings – the final transfer spot to the Round of 8. Byron should feel optimistic about this weekend though, the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course is one of his better tracks. In four starts at the 2.32-mile road course he posted two top-10 finishes and a pole. Plus, he is top five in three key pre-race Loop Data categories: an Average Running Position of 9.215 (series-best), a Driver Rating of 109.9 (third-best) and 30 Fastest Laps Run (third-best). He also leads the series in laps led at the Charlotte ROVAL with 80 laps out front (18.6% of his laps completed). Byron is looking to advance out of the second round of the Cup Playoffs for the first time in his career.

 

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell (3,036 points) in his second appearance in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs finds himself in 11th in the Round of 12 standings, 33 points back from the cutline as the series heads to Charlotte for the second elimination race of the postseason. Bell has made two starts at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course posting one top-10 finish and has an average finish of 16.0. The Oklahoma native is looking to advance out of the Round of 12 for the first time in his career.

 

Hendrick Motorsports’ Alex Bowman (3,032 points) is ranked 12th in the Playoff standings 54 points back from the Round of 8 cutline. Bowman has announced he will not be back in the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet this weekend and in his stead will be NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Noah Gragson. This will be Gragson’s series track debut at the Charlotte ROVAL, but he does have three Xfinity Series starts at the 2.32-mile track putting up two top fives and three top 10s.

 

Playoff Dozen at the ROVAL

Playoff elimination races amp up the intensity and this weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course is no different. Here is a quick look at the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 12 drivers at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course:

 

Rank

Driver

Races

Poles

Wins

Top Fives

Top 10s

DNFs

Average Finish

Driver Rating

 
   

1

Chase Elliott

4

0

2

2

3

0

5.0

113.9

   

2

Ryan Blaney

4

0

1

2

4

0

5.8

101.1

   

3

Ross Chastain

3

0

0

0

0

0

23.0

47.1

   

4

Denny Hamlin

4

0

0

1

1

0

12.8

82.3

   

5

Joey Logano

4

0

0

1

4

0

7.2

96.9

   

6

Kyle Larson

3

0

1

1

1

0

13.0

112.6

   

7

Daniel Suárez

4

0

0

0

0

0

23.2

66.6

   

8

Chase Briscoe

1

0

0

0

0

0

22.0

59.8

   

9

Austin Cindric

0

0

0

0

0

0

0.0

0.0

   

10

William Byron

4

1

0

0

2

1

14.2

109.9

   

11

Christopher Bell

2

0

0

0

1

0

16.0

83.8

   

12

Alex Bowman

4

0

0

2

4

0

6.0

85.6

   

 

Keep Digging: Drivers that have raced their way into the Round of 8

Since the introduction of the ‘elimination style’ format of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs in 2014, several drivers have raced their way into the Round of 8 in the sixth and final cutoff race of the Round of 12.

 

2014: Heading to Talladega (sixth race of the Playoffs) in 2014, Matt Kenseth was ranked ninth in the Playoff standings, one point back from the Round of 8 cutoff and Brad Keselowski was ranked 10th in the Playoff standings, 19 points behind the Round of 8 cutoff. Brad Keselowski won the race at Talladega and automatically advanced to the next round. Matt Kenseth finished second at Talladega and advanced on points to the Round of 8 knocking Kasey Kahne (12th-place finish at Talladega) and Kyle Busch (40th-place finish at Talladega) out of the Playoffs. Heading into the elimination race, Kyle Busch was second in the Playoff standings 26 points above the cutline and Kasey Kahne was eighth in the Playoff standings just one point above the Round of 8 cutoff.

 

2015: Heading to Talladega (sixth race of the Playoffs) in 2015, Kyle Busch was ranked ninth in the Playoff standings just six points back from the Round of 8 cutoff. Kyle Busch finished 11th at Talladega and advanced on points knocking his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin (37th-place finish at Talladega due to an incident) out of the Playoffs. Heading into the elimination race, Denny Hamlin was second in the Playoff standings, 18 points above the Round of 8 cutoff.

 

2016: Heading to Talladega (sixth race of the Playoffs) in 2016, Denny Hamlin was ranked 10th in the Playoff standings, six points back from the Round of 8 cutoff. Hamlin went on to finish third at Talladega and advanced on points knocking Martin Truex Jr. (40th-place finish at Talladega due to an engine failure) out of the Playoffs. Heading into the elimination race, Martin Truex Jr. was sixth in the Playoff standings, 13 points above the Round of 8 cutoff.

 

2017: Heading to Kansas (sixth race of the Playoffs) in 2017, Kyle Busch was ranked ninth in the Playoff standings, seven points back from the Round of 8 cutoff. Busch went on to finish 10th at Kansas and advanced on points knocking Kyle Larson (39th-place finish at Kansas due to an engine failure) out of the Playoffs. Heading into the elimination race, Kyle Larson was third in the Playoff standings, 29 points above the Round of 8 cutoff.

 

2018: The four drivers below the Round of 8 cutline heading into the sixth race of the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs at Kansas Speedway – Brad Keselowski (-1 point from cutoff), Ryan Blaney (-5), Kyle Larson (-19) and Alex Bowman (-51) – all failed to advance to the Round of 8 and were eliminated from the Playoffs following the Kansas race. At Kansas, Larson finished third, Keselowski finished sixth, Blaney finished seventh and Bowman finished ninth.

 

2019: Heading to Kansas Speedway (sixth race of the Playoffs) in 2019, Chase Elliott was ranked 10th in the Playoff standings, 15 points back from the Round of 8 cutoff. Elliott went on to finish second at Kansas and advanced on points knocking Brad Keselowski (19th-place finish at Kansas) out of the Playoffs. Heading into the elimination race, Keselowski was fifth in the Playoff standings, nine points above the Round of 8 cutoff.

 

2020: Heading to the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course (sixth race of the Playoffs) in 2020, Kurt Busch was ranked 10th in the Playoff standings, five points back from the Round of 8 cutoff. Kurt Busch went on to finish fourth in the Charlotte Road Course race and advanced on points knocking Austin Dillon (19th-place finish at the Charlotte ROVAL) out of the Playoffs. Heading into the elimination race, Dillon was eighth in the Playoff standings tied with Kyle Busch (ninth) on points (3,053 each) along the Round of 8 cutline.

 

2021: The four drivers below the Round of 8 cutline heading into the sixth race of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course – Kevin Harvick (-9 points from cutoff), Christopher Bell (-28), William Byron (-44) and Alex Bowman (-52) – all failed to advance to the Round of 8 and were eliminated from the Playoffs following the Charlotte ROVAL race. At the Charlotte Road Course, Harvick finished 33rd, Bell finished eighth, Byron finished 11th and Bowman finished 10th.

 

NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.

AJ Allmendinger to return to fulltime Cup racing in 2023 – Kaulig Racing has announced this week that AJ Allmendinger will return to full-time NASCAR Cup Series competition for the 2023 season, as he jumps behind the wheel of the No. 16 entry.

 

“When I first went to Kaulig Racing to compete part-time in 2019 and 2020, I remember how I felt on the weekends that I wasn’t racing and how much I missed it. Competing full-time is a mentally tough battle at times. No matter how much work you put in as a driver, there’s a chance you will not achieve success. For a while, I think I lost that competitive drive to be the best. Kaulig Racing helped me find that again. I now feel more competitive than ever and believe there is more success to be earned as a team.”

 

Allmendinger is currently competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs for Kaulig Racing and has won the last two Regular Season Championships in the series (2021-2022).

 

NASCAR Cup Series Featured Matchups: Bank of America ROVAL 400 – Below is a close look at the featured matchups fans can bet on heading into this weekend’s event.

 

Chase Elliott vs. Kyle Larson (Fan Vote)

Chase Elliott made the perfect move at the right time, passing Ryan Blaney to take home the checkered flag at Talladega Superspeedway last weekend securing the first spot in the Round of 8. Elliott also won Stage 2, and now sits atop the Playoff Standings. Since he has clinched his spot in the Round of 8, the Roval should be a stress-free race for Elliott, who will look for his first road course win of the season. His counterpart, Kyle Larson, won the last road course at Watkins Glen, while Elliott finished fourth. Larson finished 18th at Talladega and currently sits sixth in the Playoff standings and 18 points above the Round of 8 cutline. With this week being the elimination race of the Round of 12, Larson is probably feeling good about his chances to advance if he can replicate his performance at Watkins Glen. Larson and Elliott are known as two of the best road course ringers in the Cup Series, so there is a good chance these two are battling for the win come Sunday.

 

Christopher Bell vs. William Byron

It was not the race Christopher Bell and William Byron were looking for as they left Talladega both finishing outside the top 10. Coming into the race both were sitting behind the cutline and were looking to rack up stage points. As we head into the elimination race at the Charlotte ROVAL, both Bell and Byron will need to do everything they can in order to advance into the Round of 8. Byron sits 11 points back of the cutline while Bell is 33 points behind. Although he has never won at a road course, Byron’s 121.8 driver rating at the Roval is the highest in the field. Bell only posts a rating of 83.9 but has shown that he is incredibly competitive at road courses. The winner of the Daytona Road Course last year will likely need to win this week if he has any chance to advance into the Round of 8.

 

Austin Cindric vs. Chase Briscoe

Great friends off the track, Austin Cindric and Chase Briscoe will likely be battling with one another for the final spot in the Round of 8 this weekend at the Charlotte Road Course. Both drivers are currently tied with 3069 points, putting them right along the Round of 8 cutline in the Playoff standings. Although both are young in experience in the Cup Series, Cindric and Briscoe have shown that they are top tier road course ringers. It should be fun to watch these two Ford’s battle amongst each other to have their best race of the season. Both Cindric and Briscoe racked up wins at road courses in the Xfinity Series. It has been a great season for both drivers already this year, but they may have to fight for only one spot this weekend if they want their season to continue.

 

Daniel Suarez vs. Joey Logano

As we enter the final race of the Round of 12, Daniel Suarez and Joey Logano are currently above the cutline. Logano sits in fifth place while Suarez is in seventh. Suarez, the winner at Sonoma, is only 12 points above the Round of 8 cutline. Suarez’s first career win came at Sonoma earlier this year and has shown that he is a talented road course driver. In his five races at road courses this year, Suarez has three top fives. Logano has a solid record at road courses this year as well. After not posting a top 20 in the first three, Logano finished sixth at Indianapolis and third at Watkins Glen. He also has top 10s in each of his last four races at the Roval. Both will need to be at their best on Sunday and avoid any mishaps to ensure they stay above the cutline and advance into the Round of 8.

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

 

Charlotte Road Course elimination-race to challenge Playoff contenders

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will be crossing its last road course of the season off the 2022 schedule this weekend as they head to the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course for the Drive for the Cure 250 Presented by BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina on Saturday, October 8 at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR radio.

 

This weekend’s elimination-race will be the fifth time the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course has hosted a NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff race (2018-2022). The Charlotte Road Course has occupied two positions on the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs schedule – from 2018-2019 the Charlotte ROVAL hosted the second race in the Playoffs’ Round of 12, and then from 2020-2022 the 2.32-mile track has hosted the Round of 12 elimination race (the third race of the Playoffs).

 

The inaugural Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs race was on September 29, 2018 and was won by Chase Briscoe. In the years since then, AJ Allmendinger has been the only victor, taking the checkered flag the last three consecutive years (2019, 2020, 2021).

 

Although Allmendinger has three wins under his belt, Briscoe still holds the race record from his win in 2018 at 81.267 mph. With Briscoe competing full time in the Cup Series and in his own Playoff hunt, Allmendinger is the only previous winner entered in this weekend’s Drive for the Cure 250 Presented by BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina.

 

A few drivers entered in this weekend’s race could be considered Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course veterans as they have raced in every Xfinity Series road course race at the track since the inaugural race in 2018 – Justin Allgaier, Jeremy Clements, Ryan Sieg, Brandon Jones, Josh Bilicki and Alex Labbe.

 

There has yet to be a driver to win from the pole or first starting position at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Couse so expect the field to hit the gas a bit harder as they head into practice on Saturday at 10 a.m. ET followed by qualifying at 10:30 a.m. ET on the NBC Sports App.

 

Clinch Scenarios: One to go in the Playoffs Round of 12

Heading into this weekend, only two drivers - Noah Gragson and AJ Allmendinger - have punched their ticket to the Round of 8, leaving 10 drivers vying for the residual six spots. Time is of the essence for the remaining Xfinity Series Playoff drivers hoping to clinch their spot in the next round of the postseason that kicks off at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 15.

 

Already Clinched

The following two drivers have clinched a spot in the eight-driver field of the next round: AJ Allmendinger, Noah Gragson.

 

Can Clinch Via Points

If there is a repeat winner or a win by a driver who cannot advance to the next round, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the 7th winless driver in the standings. The same point requirements listed below would hold true if a new win comes from among Ty Gibbs, Austin Hill, Josh Berry, Justin Allgaier, Sam Mayer or Ryan Sieg.

 

  • Ty Gibbs: Would clinch with 7 points
  • Austin Hill: Would clinch with 13 points
  • Josh Berry: Would clinch with 29 points
  • Justin Allgaier: Would clinch with 31 points
  • Sam Mayer: Would clinch with 43 points
  • Ryan Sieg: Would clinch with 50 points
  • Daniel Hemric: Could only clinch with help
  • Riley Herbst: Could only clinch with help
  • Brandon Jones: Could only clinch with help
  • Jeremy Clements: Could only clinch with help

 

If there is a new winner from Daniel Hemric or another winless driver lower in the standings but still eligible to advance to the next round, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the 6th winless driver in the standings.

 

  • Ty Gibbs: Would clinch with 13 points
  • Austin Hill: Would clinch with 19 points
  • Josh Berry: Would clinch with 35 points
  • Justin Allgaier: Would clinch with 37 points
  • Sam Mayer: Would clinch with 50 points
  • Ryan Sieg: Could only clinch with help
  • Daniel Hemric: Could only clinch with help
  • Riley Herbst: Could only clinch with help
  • Brandon Jones: Could only clinch with help
  • Jeremy Clements: Could only clinch with help

 

Can Clinch Via Win

The following drivers would clinch on their win alone: Ty Gibbs, Austin Hill, Josh Berry, Justin Allgaier, Sam Mayer, Ryan Sieg, Daniel Hemric, Riley Herbst, Brandon Jones, Jeremy Clements.

 

Scouting the Playoff field at the Charlotte Road Course

We are one race away from the start of the NASCAR Xfinity Series Round of 8. This weekend, the 10 drivers still fighting for their spot in the eight-driver field will compete on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course. Below is a look at the Playoff drivers’ past performances at the Charlotte ROVAL.

 

Noah Gragson: The driver of the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet will be making his fourth Xfinity Series start on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course. He has posted two top fives and three top 10s in his three previous starts. His average finish at 2.32-mile track is a solid 4.3.

 

AJ Allmendinger: The anointed ‘King of Xfinity Road Courses’ and driver of the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet has three consecutive starts under his belt on the Charlotte Road Course and has yet to experience defeat. He has taken the checkered flag all three times, even when starting deep in the field (started 22nd in 2020).

 

Ty Gibbs: The driver of the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota will be posting his second start at the Charlotte Road Course this weekend. In his only other start, he started 12th and finished 21st.

 

Austin Hill: The driver of the No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet will be making his third Xfinity Series start this weekend on the Charlotte Road Course. He has a best finish of 18th in his two previous starts.

 

Josh Berry: The driver of the No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet will be posting his first Xfinity Series start at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course this weekend.

 

Justin Allgaier: The driver of the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet has made all four Xfinity Series starts at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course. In his four starts, he has posted one top five and two top 10s.

 

Sam Mayer: The driver of the No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet made his first and only start at the Charlotte ROVAL last season where he posted a 10th-place finish.

 

Ryan Sieg: The driver of the No. 39 RSS Racing Ford will be making his fifth Xfinity Series start at the Charlotte Road Course this weekend. He has a best finish of 21st in 2020.

 

Riley Herbst: The driver of the No. 98 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford has two starts on the Charlotte Road Course with a best finish of 12th in 2020.

 

Daniel Hemric: The driver of the No. 11 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet has three starts on the Charlotte Road Course with two top-five and three top-10 finishes.

 

Brandon Jones: The driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota will be making his fifth start on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course. He has one top five (2021) and two top 10s under his belt.

 

Jeremy Clements: The driver of the No. 51 Jeremy Clements Racing Chevrolet. He has four starts at the Charlotte Road Course with a best finish of 11th (2019).

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

 

Chandler Smith to compete fulltime in Xfinity Series in 2023 – Kaulig Racing has announced this week that Chandler Smith will join its 2023 NASCAR Xfinity Series roster. The 20-year-old, Georgia native has signed a multi-year deal with Kaulig Racing and plans to compete for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors during the 2023 season, as he drives the No. 16 Chevrolet.

 

“I’m really excited to have an opportunity like this for my rookie year in the NASCAR Xfinity Series,” said Smith. “Kaulig Racing has grown from a small team to a multi-series, powerhouse team in just a few short years. I’m honored to take over the No. 16 car that has had so much success these last couple of years.

 

Currently in his second, full season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Smith has recorded five wins, 22 top fives and 32 top-10 finishes. Smith currently is second in the Camping World Truck Series Playoff standings.

 

“Chandler Smith is a kid who we see a ton of potential in at Kaulig Racing,” said Chris Rice, president of Kaulig Racing. “We take pride in giving kids like Chandler an opportunity to compete for wins and be a steppingstone in their career. It’s been exciting to see what Chandler has done in the truck series over two seasons, and we think competing for Kaulig Racing is the perfect next step for both Chandler and our team.”

 

Marco Andretti to make NASCAR debut at Charlotte ROVAL – Former NTT IndyCar driver Marco Andretti will be behind the wheel of the No. 48 Big Machine Racing Chevrolet this weekend for the Drive for the Cure 250 Presented by BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina.

 

After retiring from full-time NTT IndyCar Series competition at the end of 2020, Andretti made his stock car debut in the SRX Series, scoring the 2022 championship.

 

He will be the first member of the Andretti family to start in a NASCAR national series race since the late John Andretti competed in the 2010 Daytona 500.

 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

 

Talladega lives up to its name: DiBenedetto snags first NASCAR national series win

Talladega Superspeedway is known for its wild racing and unexpected results and last weekend was no exception. In his first year in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, DiBenedetto, driver of the No. 25 Rackley WAR Chevrolet, made his first-ever trip to Victory Lane after a race that ended under caution.

 

DiBenedetto is no rookie to NASCAR, making his first NASCAR national series start in 2009 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at just 17 years old. He went on to run a part-time Xfinity Series schedule from 2009 to 2019, posting 69 starts and two top 10s. He has also posted 248 starts in the Cup Series between 2015 and 2021, scoring nine top fives and 31 top 10s.

 

In his first stint in the Camping World Truck Series this season, he has posted one win (Talladega), one top five and seven top 10s.

 

He will have two weeks to soak up his win before heading back to the track at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

 

Although he will be heading to the 1.5-mile track looking to make his first start there in the Truck Series, he has given the track a go several times. In the Cup Series, he has posted seven starts with a best finish of 20th (2014) and in the Xfinity Series, he has made two starts.

 

Clinch Scenarios: Wide open for the Championship 4 Round

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has one race to go before making it to the Championship 4 Round at Phoenix Raceway and only one driver has clinched his spot: Ty Majeski.

 

With a two-week break before running at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the last race in the Round of 8, the remaining seven Playoff drivers will have some time to strategize with their teams.

 

Already Clinched

The following driver has clinched a spot in the four-driver field of the next round: Ty Majeski.

 

Can Clinch Via Points

If there is a repeat winner or a win by a driver who cannot advance to the next round, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the 4th winless driver in the standings. The same point requirements listed below would hold true if a new win comes from among Chandler Smith, Zane Smith or Ben Rhodes.

 

  • Chandler Smith: Would clinch with 26 points
  • Zane Smith: Would clinch with 38 points
  • Ben Rhodes: Would clinch with 52 points
  • Christian Eckes: Could only clinch with help
  • Stewart Friesen: Could only clinch with help
  • John Hunter Nemechek: Could only clinch with help
  • Grant Enfinger: Could only clinch with help

 

If there is a new winner from Christian Eckes or another winless driver lower in the standings but still eligible to advance to the next round, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the 3rd winless driver in the standings.

 

  • Chandler Smith: Would clinch with 29 points
  • Zane Smith: Would clinch with 41 points
  • Ben Rhodes: Could only clinch with help
  • Christian Eckes: Could only clinch with help
  • Stewart Friesen: Could only clinch with help
  • John Hunter Nemechek: Could only clinch with help
  • Grant Enfinger: Could only clinch with help

 

Can Clinch Via Win

The following drivers would clinch on their win alone: Chandler Smith, Zane Smith, Ben Rhodes, Christian Eckes, Stewart Friesen, John Hunter Nemechek, Grant Enfinger,

 

Playoff Bubble: Eckes, Friesen, Nemechek, Enfinger outside Champ 4 cutline

Looking at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoff standings following the second race in the Round of 8 at Talladega Superspeedway, the postseason competitors are tasked with trying to make the Championship 4 Round with just one race to go.

 

ThorSport Racing’s Ty Majeski won at Bristol in the Round of 8 opener and non-playoff driver Matt DiBenedetto snagged the win last weekend, leaving three spots still up for grabs. Heading into their next Playoff race, Chandler Smith and Zane Smith assume the second and third Playoff positions. Ty Majeski’s ThorSport Racing teammate Ben Rhodes is currently ranked in the fourth and final transfer spot on points to the Championship 4 Round, up only three points on teammate Christian Eckes in fifth. Behind Eckes is Halmar Friesen Racing’s Stewart Friesen in sixth (-3 points below the cutline), then Kyle Busch Motorsports’ John Hunter Nemechek in seventh (-5 points) and GMS Racing’s Grant Enfinger in eighth (-29 points).

 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.

 

Hailie Deegan to make Xfinity Series debut at Las Vegas – NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Hailie Deegan will be making her NASCAR Xfinity Series debut later this month in the No. 07 Ford with SS Green Light Racing.

 

“I really just wanted to make my debut, for sure, on a mile-and-a-half because that’s where I feel the most comfortable,” said Deegan. “I wanted to get my feet wet in the Xfinity Series.”

 

Deegan is in her second full-time season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with David Gilliland Racing. She has posted three top 10s in her 44 starts and finished a career-high sixth last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.

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