This Week in Motorsports: October 11-17, 2022

The Round of 8 kicks off at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for both the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series, while the NHRA continues their Countdown in Texas.


NASCAR National Series – NCS | NXS

Bell has momentum heading to Vegas… Christopher Bell proved to be clutch in Charlotte with a late-race pass on Kevin Harvick to score his second win of the season and advance to the Round of 8 for the first time in his career. Bell scored his first of a series-leading four poles this season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the spring and earned a top-10 finish. The Oklahoma-native is looking for his first win at Las Vegas but has runner-up finishes at the track in both the NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Truck Series.

Hamlin plans on securing fourth straight Championship 4 spot… Denny Hamlin advanced to the Round of 8 for the fourth straight season and looks for his fourth consecutive Championship 4 berth. Hamlin led 31 laps earlier this season in Las Vegas before suffering mechanical woes. He is the reigning winner of this race – his first win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway during the Playoffs last year.

Gibbs continues strong performance… Ty Gibbs had another strong road course finish at Charlotte with a runner-up finish. Gibbs looks to lock in his spot in the Championship 4 with a season sweep in Las Vegas this season. He took the lead on the final restart to earn his first victory of the year in March.

Jones looking for career-best points finish… Brandon Jones had a clutch performance to move from outside of the Playoffs to the final eight with a stage win and top-10 finish at the Charlotte road course. Jones has never won at Las Vegas, but has multiple top-five finishes there including a third place run one season ago.

Back-to-back for Bayne… Trevor Bayne returns to the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 GR Supra for back-to- back races to close his part-time schedule this season. Bayne has four top-five finishes and five top-10’s in seven races this season. He has multiple top-five finishes at Las Vegas and Homestead-Miami Speedway. Toyota development driver Sammy Smith closes the season in the No. 18 Toyota GR Supra at Martinsville and Phoenix.

Nemechek back for SHR… John Hunter Nemechek is in the No. 26 for Sam Hunt Racing (SHR) this weekend in Las Vegas – his 11th Xfinity Series start this season and eighth for SHR. He ran the spring race for the team and scored a top-15 finish. Nemechek has two top-fives, and three top-10 finishes this season for SHR.


NHRA – Top Fuel | Funny Car

Toyota recently dominant in Top Fuel events… Antron Brown and Steve Torrence have helped Toyota win five of the last six Top Fuel events. Brown has won at Topeka, Indianapolis and Charlotte, while the reigning Top Fuel champion earned victories at Brainerd and St. Louis, in addition to the All-Star win in Indianapolis.

Tight Top Fuel standings… Justin Ashley leads the point standings for the third consecutive event, but the standings are very tight with seven drivers within 88 points of the championship lead. Ashley has a 14-point advantage over Torrence, with Brown in fifth – 43 points out and Doug Kalitta in seventh, just over four rounds out of the lead.

Todd looking for 300… J.R. Todd is closing in on a milestone – 300 round wins. The 2018 NHRA champion currently sits at 299 round wins coming into this weekend. Todd previously won at Texas Motorplex in 2008 while in the Top Fuel class.