NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500
The Place: Texas Motor Speedway
The Date: Sunday, October 25
The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN, 3 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 501 (334 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 105),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 210), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 334)
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: O’Reilly Auto Parts 300
The Place: Texas Motor Speedway
The Date: Saturday, October 24
The Time: 4:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN, 4 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 300 miles (200 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)
NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series
Next Race: Speedycash.com 400
The Place: Texas Motor Speedway
The Date: Sunday, October 35
The Time: 12 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 11 a.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 220.5 miles (147 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 35),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 70), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 147)
NASCAR Cup Series
Flip the switch on the Big Hoss TV, the Cup Playoffs are headed to Texas
Dust them Cowboy hats off in Victory Lane and fire-up that Big Hoss TV on the backstretch because the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs are headed to Texas Motor Speedway this Sunday, Oct. 25, for the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
The NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs began in 2004 and Texas Motor Speedway was added to the postseason in 2005, replacing Darlington Raceway. Texas Motor Speedway has hosted the eighth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs since being added in 2005. Only two tracks have hosted the eighth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs: Phoenix Raceway in the Playoff’s inaugural season in 2004 and Texas Motor Speedway from 2005-Present.
Six different drivers have won the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff races at Texas Motor Speedway, led by Jimmie Johnson with five victories (2007, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015); followed by Carl Edwards (2005, 2008, 2016), Kevin Harvick (2017, 2018, 2019), Tony Stewart (2006, 2011), Denny Hamlin (2010) and Kurt Busch (2009). Seven different drivers have won the
|NASCAR Cup Series|
|Playoff Race No. 8 – Race Winners|
|2004||Dale Earnhardt Jr||Phoenix|
eighth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, the six winners at Texas Motor Speedway and Dale Earnhardt Jr. won at Phoenix Raceway in 2004.
Kevin Harvick has won the last three consecutive Texas Playoff races and can tie Jimmie Johnson’s record of four consecutive with a victory this weekend.
Three times the winner of the eighth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs has gone on to win the title later that same season – all three at Texas Motor Speedway:
o In 2007, Jimmie Johnson won from the eighth starting position at Texas Motor Speedway and went on to win his second consecutive NASCAR Cup Series title later that season (2006, 2007). The Playoff win at Texas was his third of four consecutive victories in the 2007 Playoffs – the only driver to win four straight in the NASCAR Cup Series postseason (Martinsville, Atlanta, Texas, Phoenix).
o In 2011, Tony Stewart won from the fifth starting position at Texas Motor Speedway and went on to win his third NASCAR Cup Series championship later that year. The Texas Playoff win was Stewart’s fourth of his record setting five NASCAR Cup Series Playoff wins in a single postseason run in 2011 (Chicago, New Hampshire, Martinsville, Texas, Miami).
o In 2013, Jimmie Johnson won from the third starting position at Texas Motor Speedway and went on to win his sixth NASCAR Cup Series championship later that season. The Texas Playoff win was Johnson’s second postseason victory (Dover, Texas) in 2013.
The worst finish in the eighth NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race by a driver that went on to win the title at Texas Motor Speedway was 38th by Jimmie Johnson in 2009 and at Phoenix Raceway it was 10th by Kurt Busch in 2004. The 2018 series champion, Joey Logano, finished third in the 2018 Texas Playoff race and last season’s champion, Kyle Busch, finished seventh in the 2019 Texas Playoff race.
Three times a non-Playoff driver has won the Playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway:
- In 2006, Tony Stewart was ranked 11th in the point standings at the time of the win.
- In 2014, Jimmie Johnson was 11th in points at the time of the win. Johnson had made the Playoffs in 2014 but was eliminated in the Round of 12.
- In 2015, Jimmie Johnson was 12th in points at the time of the win. Johnson had made the Playoffs in 2015 but was eliminated in the Round of 16.
|NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Outlook Following Race No. 33|
|Rank||Driver||Points||Starts||Race Wins||Stage Wins||Playoff Pts||Pts from Cutoff|
|1||Joey Logano||4,064||33||3||6||22||In on Wins|
|7||Martin Truex Jr.||4,051||33||1||5||17||-31|
In total, Texas Motor Speedway has hosted the NASCAR Cup Series 39 times producing 25 different pole winners and 20 different race winners. The first NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway was on April 6, 1997 – the event was won by Jeff Burton. Chip Ganassi Racing’s Playoff contender Kurt Busch leads the series in poles at Texas with three (Spring 2015, Playoffs 2017, Spring 2018). Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson leads the series in wins at Texas Motor Speedway with seven victories (2007, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 sweep and 2017).
Earlier this season at Texas Motor Speedway, Richard Childress Racing teammates Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick finished 1-2, respectively. This weekend, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick will lead the field to the green flag with last weekend’s winner Joey Logano on the outside front row. Dillon will start 12th and Reddick will start 19th.
Team Penske’s Joey Logano is first to lock into the Championship 4
In an impressive performance holding off nine-time 2020 winner and Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick, Team Penske’s Joey Logano grabbed the checkered flag at Kansas Speedway and jumped to the top of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings becoming the first to lock himself into the Championship 4. The move has sent ripples through the postseason points as the 2018 series champion, Logano, entered Kansas seeded fifth in the Playoff standings, five markers back from the Championship 4 cutoff. Now, the 30-year-old from Middletown, Connecticut, can hit the cruise control and start to prepare for the season finale championship race at Phoenix Raceway; which Logano just so happens to be the most recent winner at back in March.
Making the Championship 4 round is tough, only 10 drivers have accomplished the feat since the inception of the elimination-style format in 2014. Logano’s win at Kansas last weekend has locked him into the Championship 4 round for the fourth time in his career (2014, 2016, 2018, 2020).
Clinch Scenarios for the Elite Eight in the Lone Star State
Just two races left to decide who will clinch the three remaining spots in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff’s Championship 4 round. This weekend, Texas Motor Speedway will set the stage for the top series contenders to try and win their way into the Championship 4. Below are this week’s clinch scenarios for Texas, with a reminder that any driver can clinch with a win this weekend:
With his win at Kansas Speedway last weekend, Team Penske’s Joey Logano has become the first driver to clinch a spot in the 4-driver field of the next round.
Can Clinch via Points
If there is a new winner, the following driver could clinch by being 56 points above the second winless driver in the Playoff standings:
- Kevin Harvick: Could only clinch with help.
If there is a repeat winner, the following drivers could clinch by being 56 points above the third winless driver in the Playoff standings. They would also clinch if there is a new winner among Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin and being 56 points above the 2nd winless driver in the Playoff standings:
- Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin: Could only clinch with help.
Playoff Contender Performances at Texas Motor Speedway
Looking ahead to this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, there are nine former winners in the field and four of them are Playoff contenders (Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and Kurt Busch). The Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio is one of just two races left for the Playoff drivers to secure their spots in the Championship 4 round. Below are insights into the eight drivers as they head to Texas Motor Speedway in order of the Playoff outlook:
Joey Logano (No. 2 Team Penske Ford) has catapulted himself into the Championship 4 round with his big win last weekend to open the Round of 8 at Kansas Speedway. This is the fourth time in Logano’s career he has qualified for the Championship 4 round (2014, 2016, 2018, 2020). Th 2018 NASCAR Cup Series champion now has two weeks to prepare for the season finale at Phoenix. Looking to this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, Logano has made 24 series starts putting up one win (2014), 11 top fives and 13 top 10s. He is also ranked in top 12 of several key pre-race Loop Data categories at Texas with an Average Running Position of 14.624, 11th-best, a Driver Rating of 90.0, ninth-best and 4,773 Laps in the Top 15 (59.7%), ninth-most. Logano finished third just behind the RCR teammates of Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick at Texas earlier this season.
Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford) conceded following Kansas that Joey Logano literally blocked him from his 10th win of the season and now the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings leader finds himself 41 points ahead of the Championship 4 cutoff heading into Texas. Harvick is looking to make the Championship 4 for the sixth time in his career (2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019). Arriving in Texas this weekend, Harvick has made 35 series starts at the 1.5-mile speedway posting two poles, three wins (last three Playoff races 2017, 2018, 2019), 12 top fives and 23 top 10s. Plus, the Stewart-Haas Racing driver from California is in the top five of several key pre-race Loop Data categories at Texas with an Average Running Position of 11.947, fourth-best, a Driver Rating of 97.8, fourth-best and 7,450 Laps in the Top 15 (72.1%), series-most. Harvick finished fifth in the Texas race back in July.
Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota) will be looking to rebound this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway after bouncing off the wall at Kansas Speedway resulting in a 15th-place finish to start the Round of 8. Now the Virginia native, Hamlin is third in Playoff standings outlook 20 points above the Championship 4 cutoff. Hamlin is looking to make the Championship 4 round for the third time in his career (2014, 2019). At Texas, Hamlin has made 29 series start accumulating three wins (2010 sweep, Spring 2019), seven top fives and 13 top 10s. Hamlin also is in the top 12 of several key pre-race Loop Data categories at Texas with an Average Running Position of 14.456, 10th-best, a Driver Rating of 88.6, 11th-best and 6,076 Laps in the Top 15 (62.8%), seventh-most. But Hamlin will have work cut out for him this weekend, the 39-year-old finished 20th at Texas earlier this season.
Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Team Penske Ford) might be walking with a little pep in his step this weekend after his fourth-place finish at Kansas to open the Round of 8 helped him leap frog Chase Elliott to the fourth in the Playoff standings outlook. Now Keselowski sits in the fourth and final transfer position to the Championship 4, just eight points ahead of Elliott as he looks to make the Championship 4 round for the second time in his career (2017). The Michigan native now turns his attention to the Lone Star state where he has made 24 series starts posting five top fives and nine top 10s. Keselowski also ranks in the top 15 of several key pre-race Loop Data categories at Texas with an Average Running Position of 16.430, 15th-best, a Driver Rating of 85.6, 13th-best and 4,279 Laps in the Top 15 (53.5%), 10th-most. Keselowski finished ninth at Texas Motor Speedway earlier this season.
Chase Elliott (No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet), following a sixth-place finish at Kansas, has landed fifth in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs – the first spot outside the Championship 4 round cutoff. Elliott is on a quest to make the Championship 4 round for the first time in his NASCAR Cup Series career but is currently eight points behind Keselowski in the final transfer position. Elliott has made nine series starts at Texas posting two top fives and five top 10s. Plus, the Georgia native falls into the top 15 of several pre-race Loop Data categories at Texas with an Average Running Position of 12.777, seventh-best, a Driver Rating of 88.6, 10th-best and 2,229 Laps in the Top 15 (75.1%), 13th-most. Elliott finished 12th at Texas back in July.
Alex Bowman (No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet) kicked off the Round of 8 in impressive fashion, finishing third behind Logano and Harvick at Kansas Speedway. Now the 27-year-old Hendrick Motorsports driver is sixth in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, 27 points behind the Championship 4 round cutoff. And like his teammate Chase Elliott, Bowman is also looking for his first berth in the Championship 4. Looking to Texas this weekend, Bowman has made 10 series starts putting up one top-five finish – a fifth in this Playoff race last season. Bowman is also in the top 30 of several key pre-race Loop Data categories at Texas with an Average Running Position of 24.153, 26th-best, a Driver Rating of 60.1, 24th-best and 1,073 Laps in the Top 15 (32.4%), 20th-most. Bowman will be looking to improve on his first stop at Texas this season, he finished 30th due to an incident back in July.
Martin Truex Jr. (No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota) finished ninth last weekend at Kansas to start the Round of 8 and now finds himself seventh in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, 31 points back from Chase Elliott in the final Championship 4 transfer position. The 2017 series champion is looking to make the Championship 4 for the fifth time in his career (2015, 2017, 2018, 2019). Texas is a track Truex has yet to win at, but has made 30 series starts, collecting four top fives and 16 top 10s. He has run well at the 1.5-mile track and his rankings inside the top five in several pre-race Loop Data categories at Texas back that up. He has an Average Running Position of 12.463, sixth-best, a Driver Rating of 93.4, sixth-best and 6,832 Laps in the Top 15 (68.3%), fourth-most. Truex will be hoping to rebound from his performance at Texas earlier this season where he finished 29th.
Kurt Busch (No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet) was struck by bad luck last weekend at Kansas to open the Round of 8 when the power plant to his Chevrolet expired mid-race, leaving him with a 38th-place result. The Las Vegas, Nevada native is now eighth in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs 73 points back from Chase Elliott in the final Championship 4 transfer position.
In a must-win situation, the veteran Busch is not giving up and is ready to lead his team. “It’s a shame for everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing,” Busch said. “Having an engine failure in the Playoffs is like a huge parachute that slows you up. We’ll pack that parachute up, throw it away and go to Texas to win. We knew we were going to have win either here (Kansas) or Texas and Martinsville we’ve got a shot at it too. The odds are stacked against us, but hey, we’re in the top eight for a reason and I’ve got a great crew chief in Matt McCall. We’ll bounce back.”
Busch has found success at Texas, in 35 series starts he has put up one win (2009), three top fives and 22 top 10s. Not to mention, Busch ranks in the top 10 in several pre-race Loop Data categories at Texas with an Average Running Position of 13.156, eighth-best, a Driver Rating of 90.5, eighth-best and 6,824 Laps in the Top 15 (66.0%), fifth-most. Bush finished eighth at Texas Motor Speedway earlier this season.
NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.
Chase Briscoe to pilot No. 14 for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2021 – Stewart-Haas Racing announced this week they will promote Chase Briscoe from its NASCAR Xfinity Series program to the NASCAR Cup Series in 2021, whereupon the 11-time Xfinity Series race winner will drive the team’s No. 14 Ford Mustang.
“Chase has to be one of the most humble and grateful guys in the sport and he has worked incredibly hard for this opportunity. We’re extremely proud to be a part of his journey from Xfinity to Cup,” said Mike Mendiburu, President and CEO of HighPoint. “Everyone has seen his talent and he has combined it with incredible humility and an unrelenting work ethic. Simply put, performance without character is not important to us. Chase, however, has both in spades. It’s why he’s ready for the NASCAR Cup Series and why we are so honored to support him.”
“Chase has worked incredibly hard to make his mark in NASCAR and has earned this promotion to the NASCAR Cup Series. Thanks to HighPoint and Ford, we were able to make it happen,” said Tony Stewart, co-owner of SHR with Haas Automation founder Gene Haas
Richard Petty Motorsports taps Erik Jones to drive famous No. 43 in 2021 – Richard Petty Motorsports announced this week that Erik Jones will join the organization in 2021 as the driver of the No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE in the NASCAR Cup Series, made famous by NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty. Jones has signed a multi-year driver agreement with the team.
“Erik is an exceptionally talented driver, and we are excited to have him join our team,” Brian Moffitt, chief executive officer at Richard Petty Motorsports, said. “At only 24-years old, Erik is part of NASCAR’s next generation of stars. He has won races at every level in NASCAR he has competed in – including in the NASCAR Cup Series. Erik is a proven winner, and we look forward to providing him with the opportunity to add more wins to this already impressive resume.”
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Briscoe brings home another win, advances to Championship 4
Chase Briscoe was victorious for the ninth time this season last weekend at Kansas Speedway. He swept both stages and led 159 of 200 laps total and punched his ticket to the final round of the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs.
Finishing second to Briscoe was Daniel Hemric in the No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, a driver who is fighting for a ride for the 2021 season. Ryan Sieg, another Playoff driver and a considerable “underdog” in the series, finished third.
Playoff driver Justin Haley finished fourth, NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series regular and Playoff driver Austin Hill finished fifth. Josh Williams had a career day at Kansas to finish sixth, while Brett Moffitt, another Gander Trucks Playoff driver, finished seventh. Michael Annett was eighth and Playoff drivers Brandon Jones and Justin Allgaier rounded out the top 10.
There were 10 caution flags in the intense battle in the Heartland for 45 laps with 10 lead changes among six different drivers.
Playoff drivers Noah Gragson and Austin Cindric were involved in an early on-track incident, ending Gragson’s day early and resulting in a 28th-place finish for Cindric.
Looking ahead to this weekend, the series will hit Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday afternoon for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Cindric took home the win earlier this season at Texas and Christopher Bell won this race last season for Joe Gibbs Racing.
The race will be 300 miles and 200 laps with Stage 1 ending on Lap 45 and Stage 2 ending on Lap 90. Briscoe will lead the field to green on Saturday with Haley joining him on the front row.
Jones, Sieg, Allgaier, Chastain, Cindric, Jeb Burton, Gragson and Annett will start in the top 10.
There are only two races left to see who will be fighting for a Championship at Phoenix Raceway. Chase Briscoe is the only driver currently locked in with his win last week at Kansas Speedway.
This will be the second time this season that the series takes on Texas Motor Speedway. The track is 1.5-miles with 20 degrees of banking in corners one and two and 24 degrees of banking in corners three and four. The dogleg has five degrees of banking as well as the backstretch. The frontstretch is 2,250 feet and the backstretch is 1,330 feet.
Kyle Busch holds the race record at the track from April 5, 2008 at 151.707 mph. Busch also holds the record for the most wins (9), most poles (4), most top fives (16) and is tied with Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth for the most top 10s (17).
Ford and Toyota are tied for the most wins by a manufacturer with 13. Only six of the 38 Xfinity races run at Texas have been won from the pole.
Earlier this season, Austin Cindric won the race and led 44 laps. Justin Allgaier won both stages and ended up finishing third. Briscoe finished second.
The race had nine cautions for 29 laps and 15 lead changes. The Margin of Victory was .949 seconds.
NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff Outlook following Kansas-2:
|Rank||Driver||Points||Race Wins||Stage Wins||Playoff Pts||Pts from Cutoff|
|1||Chase Briscoe||3,123||9||12||60||In On Wins|