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 8

The Time: 2 p.m. ET

The Purse: $7,689,910

TV: NBC, 2 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 BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina

The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course

The Date: Saturday, October 7

The Time: 3 p.m. ET

The Purse: $1,360,791

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 CRAFTSMAN Truck Series

Next Race: Baptist Health 200

The Place: Homestead-Miami Speedway

The Date: Saturday, October 21

The Time: 12 p.m. ET

The Purse: 689,693

TV: FS1, 11 a.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

 

NASCAR announces 2024 national series schedules

NASCAR announced this week the 2024 schedules, start times and networks for the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series. NASCAR will etch another first into the record books in 2024 when the Cup Series visits Iowa Speedway in the nation’s Heartland, the latest installment in a trend that has seen Cup Series debuts at the Chicago Street Race, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and World Wide Technology Raceway – among other venues – in recent years.

 

The 7/8-mile short track in Newton, Iowa hosted the Xfinity Series and CRAFTSMAN Truck Series from 2009 to 2019, but this time the sport’s biggest stars in the Cup Series will head to Iowa on Sunday, June 16, 2024, airing live on USA Network at 7 p.m. ET.

 

“NASCAR is committed to delivering an annual schedule that continues to be bold and dynamic across all three national series while maintaining the famed destinations that our fans love,” said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Development and Strategy. “The 2024 NASCAR National Series schedules strike a great balance between visiting many of our traditional tracks that continue to put on a great show, and newer locations like our first Cup race in Iowa and our highly anticipated return to the streets of Chicago that create ‘bucket list’ moments and attract new fans to America’s leading motorsport.”

 

The 2024 Cup Series season will commence with the already announced third installment of the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sunday, Feb. 4 on FOX and FOX Deportes at 8 p.m. ET. For the first time in Cup Series history, a NASCAR Mexico Series race will precede the main event on Sunday afternoon featuring the most talented drivers from Mexico’s premier motorsports series.

 

The running of the 66th annual DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway again marks the start of the Cup Series regular season on Sunday, Feb. 18, airing live on FOX at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Additional highlights to the NASCAR Cup Series schedule include:

 

  • Both 2024 races at Richmond Raceway will now take place in prime time – the first on Easter Sunday, March 31 (7 p.m. ET, FOX) and also on Sunday, August 11 (6 p.m. ET, USA Network).

 

  • A return to the concrete high-banks at Bristol Motor Speedway for the spring race (Sunday, March 17, 3:30 p.m. ET, FOX).

 

  • NASCAR’s annual All-Star Race (Sunday, May 19, 8 p.m. ET, FS1) will return to historic North Wilkesboro Speedway. Kyle Larson took home the $1 million prize this season in NASCAR’s return to the venue for the first time since 1996.

 

  • Round two in the streets of Chicago on Sunday, July 7 (4:30 p.m. ET, NBC), which saw Shane van Gisbergen take the checkered flag in an action-packed 2023 event.

 

  • NASCAR will return to the traditional oval at The Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 21 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC) after a three-year stint running the road course.

 

  • The NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs will begin one week later in 2024, with the regular season finale taking place at Darlington Raceway (Sunday, Sept. 1, 6 p.m. ET, USA Network) and Daytona International Speedway hosting the penultimate race of the regular season (Saturday, Aug. 24, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC).

 

  • The opening race of the NASCAR Playoffs will be at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday, Sept. 8 (3 p.m. ET, USA Network) with the crowning of a champion in the desert at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday, Nov. 10 (3 p.m., NBC).

 

  • Watkins Glen International (Sunday, Sept. 15, 3 p.m. ET, USA Network) will also join the NASCAR Playoffs mix and help set the tone in a new-look Round of 16.

 

The Xfinity Series schedule is highlighted by a triumphant return to Iowa Speedway on Saturday, June 15 (3:30 p.m. ET, USA Network) – the series’ first visit to the short track since 2019. Other highlights include:

 

  • The return of an unpredictable stop on the Playoffs schedule, visiting Talladega Superspeedway for a second time in 2024 on Saturday, Oct. 5, which will air live on NBC at 3:30 p.m. ET.

 

  • The series will also join the Cup Series on the streets of Chicago for the second consecutive year over the Fourth of July Weekend (Saturday, July 6, 2:30 p.m. ET, NBC).

 

  • Bristol Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway will swap stops on the schedule, with The Last Great Colosseum becoming the regular season finale (Friday, Sept. 20, 7:30 p.m. ET, USA Network) and the Playoffs opener taking place at Kansas Speedway (Saturday, Sept. 28, 3:30 p.m. ET, USA Network).

 

The CRAFTSMAN Truck Series will return to Martinsville Speedway for the penultimate race in the Round of 8 (Friday, Nov. 1, 6 p.m. ET, FS1), setting the stage for the finale at Phoenix Raceway on Friday, Nov. 8 (8 p.m. ET on FS1). Additional changes in the Playoffs include:

 

  • Richmond Raceway becomes the regular season finale (Saturday, Aug. 10, 7:30 p.m., FS1) while Milwaukee Mile Speedway returns to the schedule – this time as the Playoffs opener on Sunday, Aug. 25 (4 p.m. ET, FS1).

 

  • Kansas Speedway becomes the first cut-off race in the Round of 10 (Friday, Sept. 27, 8:30 p.m. ET, FS1) and Talladega Superspeedway becomes the opening race in the Round of 8 (Friday, Oct. 4, 5 p.m. ET, FS1).

 

For tickets to 2024 NASCAR events, visit www.nascar.com/2024schedule.

 

A lot on the line in Playoffs’ Round of 12 elimination race at the 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 8 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. Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron (Texas winner) and Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney (Talladega winner) have won their way into the Round of 8, leaving six of the eight spots still available 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, that 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 sixth-time the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course has hosted a NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race (2018-2023) and the 2.32-mile track has occupied two different spots on the series postseason schedule – from 2018-2019 the Charlotte Road Course hosted the third race in the Playoffs (Round of 16 elimination race) and from 2020-2023 the sixth race in the Playoffs (Round of 12 elimination 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 the race in 2019.

 

A total of 12 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

Christopher Bell

Sunday, October 9, 2022

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. It was his only postseason win in 2006.
  • 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. His first of four consecutive postseason wins in 2007 – Martinsville, Atlanta, Texas and Phoenix.
  • 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. His second of three postseason wins in 2008 – Kansas, Martinsville, Phoenix.
  • 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. His second of four postseason wins in 2017 – Chicago, Charlotte, Kansas and Miami.
  • 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 his 2020 postseason run – Charlotte, Martinsville, Phoenix.
  • 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 – Bristol, Charlotte, Texas, Kansas, Phoenix.

 

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.
  • At the Charlotte Road Course (2020-2022) – Joey Logano in 2022 finished 18th in the sixth race of the Playoffs at the Charlotte ROVAL 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 7 from 12:30 p.m. – 2 p.m. ET on the USA Network.

 

Charlotte ROVAL Clinch Scenarios: Advancing to the Round of 8

The Bank of America ROVAL 400 (Oct. 8 at 2 p.m. ET on NBC, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) is the last chance for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Playoff contenders to secure their spot in the Round of 8. Thus far, two drivers have locked themselves into the Round of 8 – William Byron and Ryan Blaney – heading into this weekend leaving 11 Playoff contenders vying for just six positions.

 

Already Clinched

The following 2 drivers have clinched a spot in the 8-driver field of the next round: William Byron, Ryan Blaney.

 

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 Denny Hamlin, Christopher Bell, Chris Buescher, Martin Truex Jr. or Kyle Larson.

 

  • Denny Hamlin: Would clinch with 5 points
  • Christopher Bell: Would clinch with 33 points
  • Chris Buescher: Would clinch with 36 points
  • Martin Truex Jr.: Would clinch with 38 points
  • Kyle Larson: Would clinch with 40 points
  • Brad Keselowski: Would clinch with 53 points
  • Tyler Reddick: Would clinch with 55 points
  • Ross Chastain: Could only clinch with help
  • Bubba Wallace: Could only clinch with help
  • Kyle Busch: Could only clinch with help

 

The following drivers could clinch on points with a win by Brad Keselowski:

 

  • Denny Hamlin: Would clinch with 6 points
  • Christopher Bell: Would clinch with 34 points
  • Chris Buescher: Would clinch with 37 points
  • Martin Truex Jr.: Would clinch with 39 points
  • Kyle Larson: Would clinch with 41 points
  • Tyler Reddick: Could only clinch with help
  • Ross Chastain: Could only clinch with help
  • Bubba Wallace: Could only clinch with help
  • Kyle Busch: Could only clinch with help

 

If there is a new winner from Tyler Reddick 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.

 

  • Denny Hamlin: Would clinch with 8 points
  • Christopher Bell: Would clinch with 36 points
  • Chris Buescher: Would clinch with 39 points
  • Martin Truex Jr.: Would clinch with 41 points
  • Kyle Larson: Would clinch with 43 points
  • Brad Keselowski: Could only clinch with help
  • Tyler Reddick: Could only clinch with help
  • Ross Chastain: Could only clinch with help
  • Bubba Wallace: Could only clinch with help
  • Kyle Busch: Could only clinch with help

 

Can Clinch Via Win

The following drivers would clinch on their win alone: Denny Hamlin, Christopher Bell, Chris Buescher, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, Tyler Reddick, Ross Chastain, Bubba Wallace, Kyle Busch.

 

Playoff Crunch Time: Reddick, Chastain, Wallace, Busch facing elimination

For the drivers facing elimination this weekend in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs – Tyler Reddick (-2 points), Ross Chastain (-9), Bubba Wallace (-10) and Kyle Busch (-26) – it all comes down to Sunday’s 109 scheduled laps around the ROVAL. The Playoff contenders below the Round of 8 cutline will have to showcase their best road racing skills this weekend on a specialized road course that is anything but forgiving if they want to advance in the postseason.

 

Following a wild Talladega Superspeedway Playoff race last weekend that saw Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney join William Byron (Texas winner) as the two drivers locked into the Round of 8, RFK Racing’s Brad Keselowski resides in the eighth and final transfer spot on points to the next round. Outside the cutoff looking in are 23XI Racing’s Tyler Reddick (-2 points) in ninth, Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain (-9) in 10th, 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace (-10) in 11th and Richard Childress Racing’s Kyle Busch (-26) in 12th.

 

NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Outlook Following Race No. 31

Rank

Driver

Points

Race Wins

Stage Wins

Playoff Pts

+ / – Cutoff

1

William Byron (P)

3,136

6

8

41

In On Wins

2

Ryan Blaney (P)

3,078

2

4

14

In On Wins

3

Denny Hamlin (P)

3,108

3

7

32

50

4

Christopher Bell (P)

3,080

1

4

16

22

5

Chris Buescher (P)

3,077

3

1

21

19

6

Martin Truex Jr. (P)

3,075

3

6

36

17

7

Kyle Larson (P)

3,073

3

5

24

15

8

Brad Keselowski (P)

3,060

0

6

12

2

9

Tyler Reddick (P)

3,058

2

5

15

-2

10

Bubba Wallace (P)

3,051

0

0

0

-9

11

Ross Chastain (P)

3,050

1

5

11

-10

12

Kyle Busch (P)

3,034

3

2

19

-26

13

Joey Logano

2,111

1

3

8

Eliminated from the Playoffs

14

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

2,111

1

0

5

15

Michael McDowell

2,103

1

2

7

16

Kevin Harvick

2,103

0

1

4

 

“I’m going to make left and right-hand turns this weekend and live my dream,” said Chastain. “We’ll put our best foot forward and as long as I’m getting to drive these rocket ships that Trackhouse Racing brings me, I’m living my dream and we’ll keep fighting.”

 

Cup Series Playoff Dozen at the Charlotte 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 and how they have performed at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course:

 

Rank

Driver

Races

Poles

Wins

Top Fives

Top 10s

DNFs

Average Finish

Driver Rating

 
   

1

William Byron

5

1

0

0

2

1

14.6

106.3

   

2

Denny Hamlin

5

0

0

1

1

0

12.8

78.2

   

3

Christopher Bell

3

0

1

1

2

0

11.0

90.5

   

4

Ryan Blaney

5

0

1

2

4

0

9.8

93.3

   

5

Chris Buescher

5

0

0

1

2

0

12.8

74.4

   

6

Martin Truex Jr

5

0

0

0

2

0

14.8

89.2

   

7

Kyle Larson

4

0

1

1

1

0

18.5

100.4

   

8

Brad Keselowski

5

0

0

1

1

1

17.6

83.6

   

9

Tyler Reddick

3

0

0

1

2

0

7.3

103.6

   

10

Bubba Wallace

5

0

0

0

1

1

20.4

56.9

   

11

Ross Chastain

4

0

0

0

0

0

26.5

47.0

   

12

Kyle Busch

5

0

0

2

2

2

21.2

86.2

   

 

It’s Not Over Yet: 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. Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch were tied in points for the final two position in the Round of 8 heading into Charlotte and both held on and advanced.

 

2022: Heading to the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course (sixth race of the Playoffs) in 2022, William Byron was ranked 10th in the Playoff standings, 11 points back from the Round of 8 cutoff and Christopher Bell was ranked 11th, 33 points back in a must win situation. Bell would go on to win the race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course to advance to the Round of 8. Byron would finish the event 16th and advanced on points. Bell and Byron would knock Kyle Larson (35th-place finish at the Charlotte ROVAL) and Daniel Suarez (36th-place finish) out of the Playoffs. Heading into the elimination race, Larson was sixth in the Playoff standings up 18 points on the Round of 8 cutline and Suarez was ranked seventh in the Playoff standings, up 12 points on the Round of 8 cutoff.

 

Kings Of The Road: Former Cup Series road course winners to watch this weekend

The NASCAR Cup Series drivers will be challenged by the twists and turns of multi-elevational (ROVAL) road course at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend in the Bank of America ROVAL 400 race on Sunday, October 8 at 2 p.m. ET on NBC, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Several drivers are still looking for their first win this season, including Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott who leads all active drivers in road course wins with seven victories. Elliott is already considered one of the early favorites for this weekend but keep an eye on the three most recent winners on road courses in the series, Martin Truex Jr. (Sonoma), Michael McDowell (Indianapolis) and William Byron (Watkins Glen), as all three will most certainly be in the mix as well.

 

This weekend there are 15 former series road course winners are entered in this Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Charlotte.

 

Active Road Course Winners (15)

Total Wins

Sonoma

WGI

Charlotte

Daytona

Indy

COTA

Road America

Chase Elliott

7

0

2

2

1

0

1

1

Martin Truex Jr

5

4

1

0

0

0

0

0

Kyle Busch

4

2

2

0

0

0

0

0

Kyle Larson

4

1

2

1

0

0

0

0

Tyler Reddick

3

0

0

0

0

1

1

1

Kevin Harvick

2

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

AJ Allmendinger

2

0

1

0

0

1

0

0

Christopher Bell

2

0

0

1

1

0

0

0

Joey Logano

1

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

Ryan Blaney

1

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

Denny Hamlin

1

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

Daniel Suárez

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

Ross Chastain

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

Michael McDowell

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

William Byron

1

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

 

NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.

 

WWE’s Liv Morgan named Grand Marshal, Kurt Busch named Honorary Starter for Charlotte ROVAL – WWE Superstar Liv Morgan has been named Grand Marshal for Sunday’s Bank of America ROVAL 400 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course, while two-time Charlotte winner Kurt Busch will serve as Honorary Starter on Sunday.

 

Morgan, The New York Post’s 2022 Female Breakout Wrestler of the Year, is no stranger to the big stage, having already earned a WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship and two WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships in her career. On Sunday, she’ll give the command to fire engines before drivers take to the ROVAL.

 

“The same qualities that make a great WWE champion – passion, commitment and dedication – are what NASCAR’s best will need to survive Sunday’s Bank of America ROVAL 400,” Morgan said. “I can’t wait to be there to see all the action, hang out with the fans and find out who’s got what it takes to bring home the win.”

 

Among his 34 career Cup Series wins, Busch took the checkered flag at both the NASCAR All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte in 2010. He still holds the record for the fastest qualifying lap ever at the track (27.167 seconds at 198.771 mph on the oval configuration). While he announced his retirement from Cup Series racing earlier this year, Busch will take in the start of Sunday’s 109-lap Bank of America ROVAL 400 from the flag stand as Honorary Starter.

 

Additional dignitaries for Sunday’s Bank of America ROVAL 400 include:

 

  • Presentation of Colors: Burlington Fire Department Honor Guard
  • Invocation and National Anthem: Matthew West, Five-time GRAMMY® nominee

 

Dignitaries for Saturday’s Drive for the Cure 250 presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina:

 

  • Honorary Starter: June Mangum, Blue Cross NC and 20-year breast cancer survivor
  • Grand Marshals: Patrice Bidgood, six-year breast cancer survivor; Destiny Medlin, four-year breast cancer survivor
  • Presentation of Colors: 111th Civil Air Patrol
  • Invocation: Rev. Doc. Major Stewart, Mt. Sinai Baptist Church
  • National Anthem: Cassandra Kliewer

 

In addition, multi-platinum country music superstar Riley Green will open Sunday’s festivities with a pre-race infield performance guaranteed to get fans revved before the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs elimination race.

 

iRacing Acquires NASCAR Team Properties’ Exclusive Simulation-Style Console Racing Game LicenseNASCAR, iRacing and Motorsport Games Inc. (NASDAQ: MSGM) (“Motorsport Games”) announced this week that iRacing has acquired NASCAR Team Properties’ (NTP) exclusive simulation-style console racing games license from Motorsport Games. The sale, approved by NTP, will see the license transfer from 704Games, a wholly owned subsidiary of Motorsport Games, to iRacing, which will begin developing a NASCAR console game expected in 2025.

 

“When we were approached with the option to acquire the license for the simulation-style NASCAR console game, which was the console game and franchise that we were dreaming about doing, it was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up,” said iRacing President Tony Gardner. “Having the ability to build a NASCAR console game is a privilege we promise to execute with the utmost care. We look forward to working diligently with NASCAR industry stakeholders to deliver a product that provides an amazing experience for the gaming community and NASCAR fans worldwide.”

 

Gardner added, “With all the NASCAR game experience, console experience, resources and technology assets we already have in place, we are in a fantastic position to hit the ground running building a great NASCAR game franchise on the various platforms.”

 

The acquisition expands iRacing’s decade-plus presence in NASCAR. iRacing began its relationship with NASCAR in 2010 with a licensed sim racing product and has grown into a key technical partner of the sanctioning body as its “official simulation partner.” iRacing runs dozens of NASCAR official series on iRacing with thousands of people participating daily from late models to Cup cars, including the $100,000-to-win eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series and the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the Massachusetts-based company’s simulation and engineering abilities have helped NASCAR develop new cars and tracks, including the NextGen car, Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum, and Chicago Street Race, among others. Now, iRacing can extend its expertise broadly to include NASCAR Team Properties.

 

NASCAR Cup Series milestones to watch for this season – Below is a look at some of the anticipated NASCAR Cup Series milestones to watch for this season.

 

Driver Starts

Drivers that are expected to make milestone starts during this season are:

 

Daniel Suarez – 250th NASCAR Cup Series start – Martinsville Speedway (10/29)

 

Ryan Preece – 150th NASCAR Cup Series start – Martinsville Speedway (10/29)

 

Ty Gibbs – 50th NASCAR Cup Series start – Martinsville Speedway (10/29)

 

Denny Hamlin – 650th NASCAR Cup Series start – Phoenix Raceway (11/5)

 

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – 400th NASCAR Cup Series start – Phoenix Raceway (11/5)

 

Driver Wins (10 or more)

Kyle Busch leads all active drivers in career wins with 63, followed by Kevin Harvick (60), Denny Hamlin (51), Brad Keselowski (35), Martin Truex Jr. (34), Joey Logano (32), Kyle Larson (22), Chase Elliott (18) and William Byron (10).

 

Organization Wins

Wood Brothers Racing is on the cusp a milestone victory in the NASCAR Cup Series and will look for their 100th NASCAR Cup Series win this weekend.

 

Hendrick Motorsports leads all active NASCAR Cup Series organizations in wins with 300, followed by Joe Gibbs Racing (207), RFK Racing (141), Team Penske (138), Richard Childress Racing (116), Wood Brothers Racing (99), Stewart-Haas Racing (69), Trackhouse Racing (5), 23XI Racing (5), Front Row Motorsports (4), JTG Daugherty Racing (2), Kaulig Racing (1), Spire Motorsports (1).

 

Manufacturer Wins

Closing in on NASCAR Cup Series win number 850, Chevrolet currently has 848 wins – the most all-time in the Cup Series. Ford has the second most wins all-time in the Cup Series at 727 and Toyota has the fifth-most all-time at 179 (behind Dodge at 217 and Plymouth at 191).

 

Car Number Wins

No. 99 car’s next win will be its 50th in the NASCAR Cup Series.

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

 

Elimination time: Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course up next

The stakes are high for the Xfinity Series Playoff contenders 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 7 at 3 p.m. ET (NBC, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and the NBC Sports App) – the first elimination race of the Playoff season.

 

This weekend’s race will be the sixth time the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course has hosted a NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff race (2018-2023). The Charlotte Road Course has occupied two spots on the postseason schedule – in 2018 and 2019, the Charlotte ROVAL hosted the second race in the Round of 12 and then from 2020 to 2023, the 2.32-mile road course hosted the Round of 12 elimination race (the third race in the Playoffs).

 

There have only been five races on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course. The inaugural race was on September 29, 2018 and was won by Chase Briscoe but it’s AJ Allmendinger who is a popular name at the track, being the only other victor on the road course (2019-2022).

 

Although we won’t have a previous winner in the field this weekend at the Charlotte ROVAL, there is one Playoff contender who is no stranger to winning the Round of 12 elimination race – Cole Custer (2019). Back in 2019, the Round of 12 elimination race (29th race of the season) was held at Dover Motor Speedway. That season, Custer made his way to the Championship 4, ultimately finishing in second.

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff Race No. 3 – Round of 12 Elimination Race Winners

 

Track

Race Winners

Season

Race Number

Date

Charlotte

Joey Logano

2016

29

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Charlotte

Alex Bowman

2017

29

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Dover

Christopher Bell

2018

29

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Dover

Cole Custer

2019

29

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Charlotte RC

AJ Allmendinger

2020

29

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Charlotte RC

AJ Allmendinger

2021

29

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Charlotte RC

AJ Allmendinger

2022

29

Saturday, October 8, 2022

 

With both Briscoe and Allmendinger competing in the NASCAR Cup Series, the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course will see a new winner in Victory Lane this weekend. With a chance to be the first in the field to take the checkered flag on the 2.32-mile road course, drivers will be sure to be all gas, no brakes for practice on Saturday, October 7 at 10 a.m. ET followed by qualifying at 10:30 a.m. ET on the NBC Sports App.

Playoff Bubble Shuffle: Kligerman, Burton, Berry, Mayer under the cutline

Following the second race of the Round of 12 at Texas Motor Speedway, John Hunter Nemechek (by virtue of win) and Cole Custer (by virtue of points), clinched their way into the Round of 8, joining Justin Allgaier who secured his spot with a win at Bristol Motor Speedway.

 

As the series heads to the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course, Austin Hill (44 points above the cutline), Chandler Smith (+32), Sammy Smith (+18), Sheldon Creed (+9), and Daniel Hemric (+1) hold the remaining five Playoff spots, but a lot can change, especially on a road course.

 

One point below the cutline is Big Machine Racing’s Parker Kligerman, who is in his first Xfinity Series Playoff appearance. Jordan Anderson Racing’s Jeb Burton, who is 19 points below the cutline, will be fighting to clinch his way in as he was knocked out in the Round of 12 in his only other Playoff appearance (2021). JR Motorsports’ Josh Berry, who made it all the way to the Championship 4 round in his debut in the Playoffs last season sits 27 points behind the cutline while JRM teammate Sam Mayer (-34) will push to make the Round of 8 for the second time in his career. Both drivers are looking to join their JRM teammate Justin Allgaier in the next Playoff round.

 

Xfinity Clinch Scenarios heading into the Charlotte Roval

Three drivers have already clinched their spot in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs’ Round of 8 kicking off at Las Vegas Motor Speedway – Justin Allgaier and John Hunter Nemechek with their respective wins and Cole Custer by virtue of points. With only one last shot to race their way in, let’s take a look at how the rest of the field will need to perform to make sure their names are listed in the five remaining Playoff spots:

 

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 Cole Custer, Austin Hill, Chandler Smith, Sammy Smith or Sheldon Creed.

 

  • Austin Hill: Would clinch with 11 points
  • Chandler Smith: Would clinch with 23 points
  • Sammy Smith: Would clinch with 37 points
  • Sheldon Creed: Would clinch with 46 points
  • Daniel Hemric: Would clinch with 54 points
  • Parker Kligerman: Would clinch with 55 points
  • Jeb Burton: Could only clinch with help
  • Josh Berry: Could only clinch with help
  • Sam Mayer: Could only clinch with help

 

The following drivers could clinch on points with a win by Daniel Hemric:

 

  • Austin Hill: Would clinch with 12 points
  • Chandler Smith: Would clinch with 24 points
  • Sammy Smith: Would clinch with 38 points
  • Sheldon Creed: Would clinch with 47 points
  • Parker Kligerman: Could only clinch with help
  • Jeb Burton: Could only clinch with help
  • Josh Berry: Could only clinch with help
  • Sam Mayer: Could only clinch with help

 

If there is a new winner from Parker Kligerman 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.

 

  • Austin Hill: Would clinch with 13 points
  • Chandler Smith: Would clinch with 25 points
  • Sammy Smith: Would clinch with 39 points
  • Sheldon Creed: Would clinch with 48 points
  • Daniel Hemric: Could only clinch with help
  • Parker Kligerman: Could only clinch with help
  • Jeb Burton: Could only clinch with help
  • Josh Berry: Could only clinch with help
  • Sam Mayer: Could only clinch with help

 

Can Clinch Via Win

The following drivers would clinch on their win alone: Austin Hill, Chandler Smith, Sammy Smith, Sheldon Creed, Daniel Hemric, Parker Kligerman, Jeb Burton, Josh Berry, Sam Mayer

 

Putting it all on the line at the Charlotte ROVAL

NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers have one more shot to keep their Playoff run going before heading to the next round of the Playoffs starting at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

 

Here’s a look at how the 2023 Round of 12 contenders have done on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course:

 

John Hunter Nemechek: Clinched into the Round of 8 with his win at Texas Motor Speedway, Nemechek heads to the Charlotte ROVAL with one start on his resume where he posted a seventh-place finish.

 

Justin Allgaier: A more seasoned driver on the Charlotte Road Couse, Allgaier has made five starts, posting two top-five and three top-10 finishes.

 

Cole Custer: Currently third in the Playoff standings, Custer has made two starts at the Charlotte ROVAL, posting top-10 finishes in both races.

 

Austin Hill: Fourth in the standings, Hill has three starts at the road course under his belt. He posted a best finish of 18th in 2021.

 

Chandler Smith: Fifth in the Playoff standings and the current leader of the 2023 Sunoco rookie class, Smith will head to the Charlotte ROVAL this weekend to make his series debut on the road course.

 

Sammy Smith: Sliding into the sixth Playoff spot is Sammy Smith who will also be making his series debut on the Charlotte Road Course this weekend.

 

Sheldon Creed: Currently seventh in the Playoff standings, Creed has made one start at the Charlotte ROVAL where he posted a 16th-place finish.

 

Daniel Hemric: Currently in the final Round of 8 transfer spot on points, Hemric heads to Charlotte with four starts in the books on the road course with two top-five and three top-10 finishes.

 

Parker Kligerman: One point below the Round of 8 cutline, Kligerman will be looking to punch his ticket into the next round this weekend. He will be making his series debut on the road course this weekend.

 

Jeb Burton: In the 10th spot is Burton who has made two starts at the Charlotte ROVAL, posting a best finish of 13th in 2021.

 

Josh Berry: Twenty-seven points under the cutline is Berry who has made one start on the Charlotte Road Course, posting an eighth-place finish.

 

Sam Mayer: In the final Playoff spot, 34 points under the cutline, is JRM’s Sam Mayer. He has made three starts at the Charlotte ROVAL, posting one top-10 finish.

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

 

Sunoco Rookie of the Year battle continues – As the 2023 rookie contenders start winding down on their first full time season in the series, let’s see how the year has treated them.

 

Kaulig Racing’s Chandler Smith and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Sammy Smith secured a spot in the 2023 Playoffs with their respective wins (C. Smith – Richmond, S. Smith – Phoenix).

 

Chandler Smith leads the pack with 2,086 points while Sammy Smith sits at a close second with 2,076 points.

Jordan Anderson Racing’s Parker Retzlaff slides in third with 540 points and Blaine Perkins closes out the competition with 212 points.

 

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series

 

CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs’ Round of 8 finale headed to South Florida

The NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series competitors will have two weeks off to regroup and go over strategy before heading to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Baptist Health 200, the Playoffs’ Round of 8 finale (Saturday, October 21 at 12 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, and SiriusXM Radio). Four drivers will be eliminated, and the Championship 4 will be named once the checkered flag falls.

 

Homestead-Miami Speedway was built as a key part of plans to help the city of Homestead rebound after devastation caused by Hurricane Andrew. Groundbreaking began August 24, 1993, exactly one year after the hurricane. The track soon opened in November of 1995.

 

The 1.5-mile oval has hosted 26 CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races since its inaugural CRAFTSMAN Truck Series event on March 17, 1996 – a race won by Dave Rezendes piloting the No. 7 Geoffrey Bodine Motorsports Ford. Notably, there have been 23 different race winners. Kyle Busch leads the series with three wins at the track, while Playoff driver Ty Majeski is the most recent winner (2022).

 

The 2023 season marks the second time the speedway has hosted the Round of 8 finale in the Playoffs (2022 and 2023). The track was home to the championship race from 2016-2019 before landing a spot on the regular season schedule for 2020-2021 season.

 

Only one race during the Round of 8 finale has been won by a non-Playoff driver – Daniel Suarez in 2016.

 

NCTS Round of 8 Finale Race Winners (2016-2022)

Date

Track

Race Winner

Season

Race No.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Phoenix

Daniel Suarez (Non-Playoff Driver)

2016

22

Friday, November 10, 2017

Phoenix

Johnny Sauter

2017

22

Friday, November 9, 2018

Phoenix

Brett Moffitt

2018

22

Friday, November 8, 2019

Phoenix

Stewart Friesen

2019

22

Friday, October 30, 2020

Martinsville

Grant Enfinger

2020

22

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Martinsville

Zane Smith

2021

20

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Homestead-Miami

Ty Majeski

2022

21

 

Practice and qualifying for the Baptist Health 200 will begin on Friday, October 20 at 4:05 p.m. ET.

 

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff Outlook

Following Talladega Superspeedway – Sept. 30, 2023

Rank

Driver

Starts

Points

Race Wins

Playoff Pts

+ /- Cutoff

1

Corey Heim (P)

20

3,121

3

35

In On Win

2

Carson Hocevar (P)

21

3,111

3

22

23

3

Christian Eckes (P)

21

3,097

3

26

9

4

Nick Sanchez # (P)

21

3,091

0

7

3

5

Grant Enfinger (P)

21

3,088

3

24

-3

6

Ben Rhodes (P)

21

3,086

1

13

-5

7

Ty Majeski (P)

21

3,072

1

16

-19

8

Zane Smith (P)

21

3,055

2

22

-36

 

Brett Moffitt makes a CRAFTSMAN Truck Series return to remember

In typical fashion, it was a dramatic day on the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway high banks, but Brett Moffitt made it a NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series return to remember. The Love’s Stop RV 250 was the 2018 CRAFTSMAN Truck Series champion’s first CRAFTSMAN Truck race since September 9, 2022, that unfortunately resulted in a DNF due to an engine issue.

 

The day didn’t exactly start off to plan for Moffitt. In qualifying early that morning, he struggled to find speed and had to start 31st in the field. None of that mattered though because he found a way to charge his way to the front. During an overtime restart, the Grimes, Iowa native pulled off a thrilling three-wide move to the front and was able to hold off Ben Rhodes, Chandler Smith, and Parker Kligerman to secure his 13th career win in 93 CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races.

 

Moffitt’s win broke a streak of four straight first-time winners at Talladega Superspeedway and improves the non-playoff drivers winning streak to eight straight races.

 

As for the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff contenders, Talladega packed a punch and has the cutline sitting tight as the field prepares for Homestead-Miami Speedway. Here is where each driver finished:

 

  • Rhodes (second), Heim (fifth), Sanchez (seventh), Hocevar (11th), Enfinger (13th), Eckes (19th), Majeski (21st), and Smith (32nd)

 

Playoff Clinch Scenarios: Make it or break it to race for the title

With a win at Talladega by non-Playoff driver, Brett Moffitt, only one driver has secured their spot in the Championship 4 Round at Phoenix Raceway with his win at Bristol Motor Speedway – Corey Heim. The remaining seven drivers will have to give it their all if they want a chance to compete for the 2023 title. Here is a look at the clinch scenarios for the eight-driver field:

 

Already Clinched

The following driver has clinched a spot in the 4-driver field of the next round: Corey Heim.

 

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 Carson Hocevar, Christian Eckes or Nicholas Sanchez.

 

  • Carson Hocevar: Would clinch with 33 points
  • Christian Eckes: Would clinch with 46 points (47 points if Sanchez wins)
  • Nicholas Sanchez: Would clinch with 53 points
  • Grant Enfinger: Would clinch with 55 points (would need help if Sanchez wins)
  • Ben Rhodes: Could only clinch with help
  • Ty Majeski: Could only clinch with help
  • Zane Smith: Could only clinch with help

 

If there is a new winner from Grant Enfinger 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.

 

  • Carson Hocevar: Would clinch with 36 points
  • Christian Eckes: Would clinch with 49 points
  • Nicholas Sanchez: Could only clinch with help
  • Grant Enfinger: Could only clinch with help
  • Ben Rhodes: Could only clinch with help
  • Ty Majeski: Could only clinch with help
  • Zane Smith: Could only clinch with help

 

Can Clinch Via Win

The following drivers would clinch on their win alone: Carson Hocevar, Christian Eckes, Nicholas Sanchez, Grant Enfinger, Ben Rhodes, Ty Majeski, Zane Smith

 

Playoff Bubble: Enfinger, Rhodes, Majeski, and Smith outside Championship 4 cutline

Following the Playoffs’ Round of 8 opener at Bristol Motor Speedway, Corey Heim was the first to punch his ticket to the Championship 4 Round at Phoenix Raceway. With just one race left in the Round of 8, the competitors are starting to feel the heat, especially with the points around the cutline sitting tight heading into Homestead-Miami Speedway. As the Round of 8 finale looms closer, the drivers sitting below the cutline are Grant Enfinger, Ben Rhodes, Ty Majeski and Zane Smith.

 

Driver of the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford, Zane Smith, has gone on to the title round the last three years. Last season, the reigning CRAFTSMAN Truck Series champion advanced to the Championship 4 Round by scoring two runner-up finishes in the Round of 8, in addition to a 17th-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway. Smith has experienced both highs and lows this postseason – finishing fifth at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, 12th at the Milwaukee Mile, fifth at Kansas Speedway, and 24th at Bristol Motor Speedway. Talladega unfortunately did not pan out well for Smith, spending nearly half of Saturday’s race sitting idle in the garage while the field whisked by after a pit-road incident and a slipping clutch. Although the 24-year-old could conceivably advance based on points, realistically Smith is likely facing a must-win situation. He sits -36 points back from the final transfer spot currently being held by rookie Nick Sanchez.

 

Ty Majeski completely dominated the Round of 8 last season, winning both Bristol and Homestead – besting Zane Smith both times. The Seymour, Wisconsin native is currently -19 points back from the final transfer spot. Although the deficit is significant, Majeski and the No. 98 ThorSport Racing Ford team will need to maximize the next 3 stages if they want to compete for the title again. The 29-year-old burst into the Playoffs with momentum after leading 168 laps at Richmond in the regular season finale before finishing second. Majeski completely dominated the field at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park taking the checkered flag after leading 179 of 200 laps. But following Indianapolis, the No. 98 team has lost some steam – finishing seventh in Milwaukee, 18th at Kansas, 19th at Bristol, and now 21st at Talladega.

 

Driver of the No. 23 GMS Racing Chevrolet Grant Enfinger is -3 points back from the final transfer position. This is his first time below the cutline since the Playoffs began. The Fairhope, Alabama native has done decently well this postseason – finishing 12th at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, first at the Milwaukee Mile, 17th at Kansas Speedway, third at Bristol Motor Speedway, and now 13th at Talladega. Although the 38-year-old has never secured a victory at Homestead, he has secured the pole position and a second-place finish before.

 

Ben Rhodes scraped his way into the Round of 8 by five points. The 2021 CRAFTSMAN Truck Series champion will head to Homestead ranked sixth in the Playoff standings -5 points from the fourth and final spot in the championship round. In sixth starts at Homestead, the Louisville, Kentucky native has an average finish of 14.2. Last year, the driver of the No. 99 ThorSport Racing Ford managed a sixth-place finish at the 1.5-mile oval. Unfortunately for the 26-year-old, the Playoffs haven’t been off to the best start – finishing 16th at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, 16th at Milwaukee, 25th at Kansas, seventh at Bristol, and second at Talladega. Like his competitors, he will need to maximize these next 3 stages if he wants a chance to compete for the title in Phoenix.

 

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, Etc.

 

Two CRAFTSMAN Truck Series competitors hope to compete at the ROVAL – Fans will be able to catch two CRAFTSMAN Truck Series regulars attempting to compete in the NASCAR Xfinity and NASCAR Cup Series at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course this weekend.

 

Rajah Caruth plans to pilot the No. 44 Alpha Prime Racing Chevrolet on Saturday during NASCAR Xfinity Series race, the Drive for the Cure 250 presented by BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina. And CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff contender Zane Smith will once again get behind the wheel of the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford on Sunday during the Bank of America ROVAL 400.

NASCAR PR