NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500
The Place: Texas Motor Speedway
The Date: Sunday, September 25
The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
The Purse: $8,455,617
TV: USA, 2:30 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR (Channel 90)
Distance: 501 miles (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: Andy‘s Frozen Custard 300
The Place: Texas Motor Speedway
The Date: Saturday, September 24
The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
The Purse: $1,434,537
TV: USA, 3 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR (Channel 90)
Distance: 300 miles (200 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Next Race: Chevy Silverado 250
The Place: Talladega Superspeedway
The Date: Saturday, October 1
The Time: 12:30 p.m. ET
The Purse: $806,669
TV: FS1, 12 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR (Channel 90)
Distance: 250.04 miles (94 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 20),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 40), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 94)
NASCAR Cup Series
Texas Motor Speedway to host Playoffs Round of 12 opener
Following the conclusion of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 16 at Bristol Motor Speedway, a total of 12 drivers have advanced, and now prepare for the AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway this Sunday, September 25 at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA Network, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio — the first race of the Round of 12.
The 2022 season marks the first-time the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 12 has opened at Texas Motor Speedway (Race No. 30 of the season). Texas is the seventh different track to host the fourth race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs; joining Kansas Speedway (2004, 2005, 2011, 2013, 2014), Talladega Superspeedway (2006, 2007, 2008, 2012), Auto Club Speedway (2009, 2010), Charlotte Motor Speedway (2015, 2016, 2017), Dover Motor Speedway (2018, 2019) and Las Vegas Motor Speedway (2020, 2021).
The inception of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs was in 2004 and Texas Motor Speedway was added to the postseason schedule in 2005 — at the time replacing Darlington Raceway — and ever since the 1.5-mile track has been hosting Playoff events (2005-2022). Texas Motor Speedway has occupied three spots on the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs schedule throughout the years. From 2005 — 2020, Texas Motor Speedway hosted the eighth race in the Cup Series Playoffs (Race No. 34 of the season). Then in 2021, Texas Motor Speedway hosted the seventh race in the Playoffs (Race No. 33), and this season, Texas will host the fourth race in the Playoffs (Race No. 30).
A total of 14 different drivers have won the fourth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, led by Jimmie Johnson with three postseason victories (2009, 2011, 2016). Team Penske‘s Joey Logano leads all active NASCAR Cup Series drivers with two wins (2014, 2015). Four of the 14 drivers that have won the fourth Playoff race in the NASCAR Cup Series are active in the postseason this weekend — Denny Hamlin (2021), Kyle Larson (2019), Chase Elliott (2018) and Joey Logano (2014, 2015).
Fourth Race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs – Race WinnersTrackPlayoff Race WinnersDateLas VegasDenny HamlinSunday, September 26, 2021Las VegasKurt BuschSunday, September 27, 2020DoverKyle LarsonSunday, October 6, 2019DoverChase ElliottSunday, October 7, 2018CharlotteMartin Truex JrSunday, October 8, 2017CharlotteJimmie JohnsonSunday, October 9, 2016CharlotteJoey LoganoSunday, October 11, 2015KansasJoey LoganoSunday, October 5, 2014KansasKevin HarvickSunday, October 6, 2013TalladegaMatt KensethSunday, October 7, 2012KansasJimmie JohnsonSunday, October 9, 2011Auto ClubTony StewartSunday, October 10, 2010Auto ClubJimmie JohnsonSunday, October 11, 2009TalladegaTony StewartSunday, October 5, 2008TalladegaJeff GordonSunday, October 7, 2007TalladegaBrian VickersSunday, October 8, 2006KansasMark MartinSunday, October 9, 2005KansasJoe NemechekSunday, October 10, 2004
Nine different drivers have won the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff races at Texas Motor Speedway, led by Jimmie Johnson with five postseason Texas victories (2007, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015). Stewart-Haas Racing‘s Kevin Harvick leads all active drivers with three Texas Playoff wins (2017-2019). Denny Hamlin (2010) and Kyle Larson (2021) are the only former Texas Playoff race winners still competing in this season‘s Playoffs.
Texas Motor Speedway Playoffs Race WinnersTrackPlayoff Race WinnersDateTexasCarl EdwardsSunday, November 6, 2005TexasTony StewartSunday, November 5, 2006TexasJimmie JohnsonSunday, November 4, 2007TexasCarl EdwardsSunday, November 2, 2008TexasKurt BuschSunday, November 8, 2009TexasDenny HamlinSunday, November 7, 2010TexasTony StewartSunday, November 6, 2011TexasJimmie JohnsonSunday, November 4, 2012TexasJimmie JohnsonSunday, November 3, 2013TexasJimmie JohnsonSunday, November 2, 2014TexasJimmie JohnsonSunday, November 8, 2015TexasCarl EdwardsSunday, November 6, 2016TexasKevin HarvickSunday, November 5, 2017TexasKevin HarvickSunday, November 4, 2018TexasKevin HarvickSunday, November 3, 2019TexasKyle BuschSunday, October 25, 2020TexasKyle LarsonSunday, October 17, 2021
Three times the winner of the fourth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs has gone on to win the title in the same season: 2009, 2016 and 2017.
In 2009, Jimmie Johnson won the fourth race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs at Auto Club Speedway and went on to win his fourth-straight series title in the same season (2006-2009). The victory was his second of four wins during his postseason run that year.In 2016, Jimmie Johnson won at Charlotte Motor Speedway (oval) and went on to win his record tying seventh NASCAR Cup Series title that same season (2006-2010, 2013, 2016). The win was Johnson‘s first of three that postseason.In 2017, Martin Truex Jr. won at Charlotte Motor Speedway and went on to win the series title that same season. It was his first of three wins that postseason run.
Three times the winner of the NASCAR Cup Series Texas Motor Speedway Playoff race has gone on to win the title later that same season: 2007, 2011 and 2013.
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 Playoffs (Martinsville, Atlanta, Texas, Phoenix).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 season. 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, Homestead-Miami) — Larson‘s five Playoff wins last year tied Stewart‘s record.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.
Twice a non-Playoff driver has won the fourth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs: 2004 and 2006.
In 2004, Joe Nemechek won the fourth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs at Kansas Speedway, he was ranked 21st in the point standings at the time of the victory.In 2006, Brian Vickers won the fourth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs at Talladega Superspeedway, he was ranked 16th in points at the time of the victory.
Three times a non-Playoff driver has won the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs race at Texas Motor Speedway: 2006, 2014, and 2015.
In 2006, Tony Stewart was ranked 11th in the point standings at the time of his Texas Playoff race win.In 2014, Jimmie Johnson was ranked 11th in points at the time of his Texas Playoff 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.
The worst finish by a driver in the fourth NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs race that later went on to win the series title that same season was the 24th-place finish by Jimmie Johnson in 2006 at Talladega Superspeedway.
The worst finish by a driver in the NASCAR Cup Series Texas Motor Speedway Playoffs race that later went on to win the title that same season was a 38th-place finish by Jimmie Johnson in 2009.
Looking Back: NASCAR at Texas Motor Speedway
The stage is set for the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs at Texas Motor Speedway and another great weekend of racing action on the 1.5-mile high-speed oval is on tap as the series jumps into the Round of 12.
Texas Motor Speedway has hosted the NASCAR Cup Series 41 times producing 25 different Busch Light Pole winners and 21 different race winners. The first NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway was on April 6, 1997, and the race was won by Jeff Burton in a RFK Racing Ford (125.111 mph). The first NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway was held on November 6, 2005, and the race was won by RFK Racing driver Carl Edwards (151.055 mph). Hendrick Motorsport‘s driver Kyle Larson is the most recent points-paying race winner at Texas Motor Speedway, grabbing the checkered flag in last season‘s Playoff race. Larson also won the 2021 NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway as well. This season‘s All-Star Race winner at Texas Motor Speedway was Team Penske‘s Ryan Blaney.
A total of 25 different NASCAR Cup Series drivers have won the pole at Texas Motor Speedway, and six of the 25 NASCAR Cup Series Texas Motor Speedway pole winners are active this weekend. Kurt Busch leads the NASCAR Cup Series in poles at Texas with three (Spring 2015, Playoffs 2017, Spring 2018). Kevin Harvick (2017, 2019) and Martin Truex Jr. (2007, 2012) lead all active drivers in NASCAR Cup Series poles at Texas Motor Speedway with two each.
Active Texas Pole WinnersPolesSeasonKevin Harvick22019, ’17Martin Truex Jr22012, ’07Ryan Blaney12018Austin Dillon12016Brad Keselowski12015Kyle Busch12013
A total of 21 different NASCAR Cup Series drivers have won at Texas Motor Speedway, and six of the 21 Cup Series Texas winners are active this weekend. Jimmie Johnson leads the NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Texas Motor Speedway with seven victories (2007, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 sweep and 2017) in 35 starts. Kyle Busch leads all active NASCAR Cup Series drivers in wins at Texas Motor Speedway with four victories (2013, 2016, 2018, 2020).
Active Texas Race WinnersWinsSeasonsKyle Busch42020, ’18, ’16, ’13Denny Hamlin32019, ’10 sweepKevin Harvick32019, ’18, ’17Kyle Larson12021Austin Dillon12020Joey Logano12014
Last season‘s NASCAR Cup Series Texas Motor Speedway Playoff race winner, Kyle Larson, returns to Texas to defend his win and get his first postseason victory of 2022. Larson has made 14 career starts at Texas Motor Speedway posting one win (2021), four top fives and five top 10s.
If Larson were to win this weekend, he would become the fourth different driver to win consecutive points-paying races at Texas Motor Speedway; joining Jimmie Johnson (2014 Playoff race and 2015 sweep), Carl Edwards (2008 sweep) and Denny Hamlin (2010 sweep).
Clinch Scenarios: Texas Motor Speedway
Following an intense NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 16 elimination-race at Bristol Motor Speedway, four postseason contenders were eliminated from the Playoffs — Richard Childress Racing‘s Tyler Reddick and Austin Dillon, Joe Gibbs Racing‘s Kyle Busch and Stewart-Haas Racing‘s Kevin Harvick. Now, the Playoffs rerack as the Round of 12 gets underway at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend with the AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500 on Sunday, September 25 at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
With this weekend‘s race being the first of the Playoffs‘ Round of 12, the clinch scenarios are quite simple.
No drivers have clinched a spot in the eight-driver field of the next round.
Can Clinch Via Win
The following drivers would clinch on their win alone: Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Ross Chastain, Kyle Larson, William Byron, Christopher Bell, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Chase Briscoe, Alex Bowman, Daniel Suarez, and Austin Cindric.
Heading into this weekend at Texas, the entire NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 12 field is only separated by 34 points. Team Penske‘s Ryan Blaney is currently sitting in the eighth and final transfer spot on points to the Round of 8 and holds a four-point lead on Stewart-Haas Racing‘s Chase Briscoe in the ninth position — the first spot outside the next round‘s cutoff.
NASCAR Cup Series Driver Playoffs Outlook Following Race No. 29RankDriverPointsRace WinsStage WinsPlayoff Pts+/- Cutoff1Chase Elliott3,0404540312Joey Logano3,0252525163Ross Chastain3,0202520114Kyle Larson3,0192319105William Byron3,015241566Denny Hamlin3,013231347Christopher Bell3,013141348Ryan Blaney3,013051349Chase Briscoe3,009149-410Alex Bowman3,007127-611Daniel Suarez3,007127-612Austin Cindric3,006116-713Tyler Reddick2,0672212Eliminated from the Playoffs14Kyle Busch2,067131015Austin Dillon2,05810516Kevin Harvick2,0452012
Up Next: Round of 12 tracks offer slew of challenges
Tabbed by many of the competitors this season as the ‘Wild Card‘ round, the NASCAR Cup Series Round of 12 offers a bevy of challenges for the drivers and teams as they try to navigate through the next three races at vastly different racetracks.
Texas Motor Speedway is first up, and this 1.5-mile track is unlike any other on the schedule. The facility is located in Fort Worth, Texas, just outside Dallas and boast 20 degrees of banking in Turns 1 and 2 and 24 degrees of banking in Turns 3 and 4. This weekend‘s race the AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500 on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will be 501 miles (334 laps) and will be broken up into three stages. The first two stages will be 105 laps each and the final stage will be 124 laps. Though probably considered the most-tame of the three tracks this round, Texas is still unpredictable and has seen five different winners in the last five races — Denny Hamlin (03/2019), Kevin Harvick (11/2019), Austin Dillon (7/2020), Kyle Busch (10/2020) and Kyle Larson (10/2021).
Talladega Superspeedway is next on the Playoff schedule following Texas, the behemoth 2.66-mile superspeedway is one of the most unpredictable on NASCAR Cup Series schedule. With 33 degrees of banking in all four turns, Talladega produces some of the closest racing action the series has to offer. Next weekend‘s race the YellaWood 500 on October 2 at 2 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will be 500.08 miles (188 laps) and will be broken up into three stages. The first two stages will be 60 laps each and the final stage will be 68 laps. Much like Texas, Talladega has produced five different winners in its last five Cup races — Ryan Blaney (10/2019), Denny Hamlin (10/2020), Brad Keselowski (04/2021), Bubba Wallace (10/2021) and Ross Chastain (04/2022).
Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL is scheduled for the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 12 elimination-race in two weeks, cutting the postseason‘s 12-driver field down to eight competitors. Though a road course, the Charlotte ROVAL is as unpredictable with its NASCAR Cup Series finishes as Talladega. The 17-turn course spans the infield and parts of the oval at Charlotte Motor Speedway making it a unique challenge for the Playoff competitors. The Bank of America ROVAL 400 on October 9 at 2 p.m. ET on NBC, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will be 252.88 miles (109 laps) and will be broken up into three stages. The first two stages will be 25 laps each and the final stage will be 59 laps.
Texas native Chris Buescher is the 19th different winner of 2022
Holding off the field for 57 laps following the final restart and taking the checkered flag at Bristol Motor Speedway, RFK Racing‘s Chris Buescher snapped the longest active winless streak in the series at 223 races and became the 19th different winner of the season. As a result, the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season is now tied with the 1956, 1958, 1961 and 2001 seasons for the series-most different winners in a single season at 19 each. If this year were to see another different winner in these final seven races, then the 2022 season would become the sole leader in the NASCAR Cup Series in the number of different winners in a single season at 20.
The Bristol victory was the first points-paying race win for RFK Racing since Brad Keselowski joined the organization as an owner, and the second win of Buescher‘s Cup Series career (Pocono, 2016 and Bristol, 2022).
“We‘ve had a great week celebrating and taking in everything associated with the Bristol win, but I‘m just as excited to get back to my home state of Texas and see friends and family and give our Fastenal Mustang another good run this weekend. We put together a solid plan for the All-Star Race this spring and had good success, so our goal is to capitalize on that even more and keep the train rolling this weekend.”
Now the Prosper, Texas native, Buescher, heads to Texas Motor Speedway to make it two wins in a row. Buescher has made 12 series starts at Texas posting an average finish of 22.7. Buescher‘s best finish at his home track is 15th back in 2018.
Oklahoman Christopher Bell emerges from the Playoffs‘ Round of 16 as a contender
Joe Gibbs Racing‘s Christopher Bell entered the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 16 as the 10th seed with the pedal to the floor, as he was the only driver in that round to post three top-five finishes and clinch his spot in the Round of 12 prior to the elimination-race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Plus, he finished the Round of 16 in the Playoff standings lead by not only finishing well, but by dominating his competitors in stage points. Bell accumulated 50 stage points in the first three Playoff races — 14 more stage points than the next highest driver, Kyle Busch with 36.
Now that the Playoff competitors have been reseeded for the Round of 12, Bell is ranked seventh in the standings, just 27 points back from Chase Elliott in the Playoff standings lead, and only four points above the Round of 8 cut line. This is Bell‘s second career appearance in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs (2021, 2022) and the Oklahoma native is looking to advance to the Round of 8 for the first time. He was eliminated in the Round of 12 in last season‘s Playoffs, ultimately finishing 12th in the final championship standings.
But this weekend is looking fortuitous for Bell, as Texas Motor Speedway is a track at which he has exceled. In three series starts at the 1.5-mile facility, he has put up two top-five finishes and has an average finish of 9.0 (second-best among active drivers).
“Texas is one of my best tracks statistically and a place I enjoy racing at,” Bell said. “It‘s a very important race and we need to capitalize on Texas before heading into Talladega.”
Playoff Bubble: All-Star winner Ryan Blaney returns to Texas
Team Penske‘s Ryan Blaney has advanced to the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 12 after a slow start to his postseason run putting up just one top-10 finish in the Round of 16. Now the North Carolina native shows up to Texas Motor Speedway as the winner of the 2022 NASCAR All-Star Race, which was held at this same 1.5-mile facility back in May, needing a boost to his championship chase.
Currently, Blaney sits in the eighth and final transfer spot on points in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs standings up just four points on Stewart-Haas Racing‘s Chase Briscoe in ninth — the first spot outside the Round of 8 cutoff. This is Blaney‘s sixth appearance in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs (2017, ‘18, ‘19, ‘20, ‘21, ‘22) and he is looking to advance to the Round of 8 for the fourth-time in his career (2017, ‘19, ‘21).
In addition to his NASCAR All-Star Race win at Texas Motor Speedway earlier this season, the 27-year-old has made 13 points-paying race starts at the 1.5-mile speedway posting three top fives and seven top 10s. He has a career-best Texas finish of runner-up in 2018 and has an average finish at the track of 16.3.
Heading into this weekend at Texas, the four drivers seeded below Blaney in the Playoff standings and currently are ranked outside the Round of 8 cutoff are Chase Briscoe (-4 points), Alex Bowman (-6), Daniel Suárez (-6) and Austin Cindric (-7).
NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.
NASCAR Cup Series Featured Matchups: AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500 — Below is a close look at the featured matchups fans can bet on heading into this weekend‘s event.
Chris Buescher vs. Ryan Blaney (Fan Vote) – Chris Buescher‘s second career NASCAR Cup Series win came this past weekend at Bristol, where he held off Chase Elliott and made it three consecutive non-playoff race winners to open the 2022 postseason. Fans voted for Buescher to be matched up with Ryan Blaney, who had avoided a scare this week when he broke a toe link but managed to rebound and make the Round of 12. Texas is one of Blaney‘s best tracks, boasting a driver rating of 111. He‘ll be excited to come back to Texas where he won the All-Star race this year. Although Buescher is ineligible for the championship, he‘ll look to continue his great season and build more momentum for RFK Racing ahead of next year.
Chase Elliott vs. Joey Logano – Although he finished second, it was a much-needed race for Elliott, who got back on track and is once again the leader in the Playoff standings as we kick off the Round of 12 at Texas. Elliott holds a 15-point cushion on second place Joey Logano, who‘s had a consistent start to the Playoffs. Logano holds a 16-point advantage in driver rating over Elliott at Texas and has the edge with two top fives in his last five races here. At a track like Texas where track position is so crucial, it will be imperative that both drivers qualify well and avoid any mistakes.
Kyle Larson vs. Ross Chastain – Although neither driver got a win in the first three races of the Playoffs, Ross Chastain and Kyle Larson, both safely made it into the Round of 12. They find each other separated by just one point for third and fourth in the Playoff standings. Larson led 256 laps and won the Playoff race here last year, so he‘ll be eager to repeat that performance this week. Ross Chastain will be looking to turn around his luck at Texas Motor Speedway, as he has yet to post a top 10 in eight races here. Both of these drivers are known to qualify well, so they should start with solid track position in this crucial Round of 12 opening race.
Denny Hamlin vs. Christopher Bell – They lost their lone Joe Gibbs Racing Playoff teammate Kyle Busch this week, as he was not able to qualify for the Round of 12, so Denny Hamlin and Christopher Bell are the only Toyota teammates left in the Playoffs. Bell was the first driver to lock himself into the Round of 12 after putting together three quality races in a row. Both drivers run well at Texas as Christopher Bell has two top fives and Denny Hamlin has one win. Sitting sixth and seventh in the Playoff standings, will one of these JGR teammates be the first Playoff driver to record a Playoff win and seal a spot in the Round of 8?
Daughtry to perform pre-race concert at Texas Motor Speedway – Daughtry, the multi-platinum rock band, will perform a pre-race concert for the NASCAR Cup Series Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 on Sunday, Sept. 25, at Texas Motor Speedway.
Daughtry will perform a 60-minute set beginning at 1 p.m. CT on the pre-race stage near the start/finish line. The concert highlights the pre-race activities leading into the speedway‘s 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race, the opening race of the Round of 12.
Daughtry is one of the most visible and consistently successful rock bands on tour, having sold more than nine million albums and 16 million singles worldwide.
“We‘re honored to announce Daughtry as the pre-race concert for this year‘s Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500,” said Texas Motor Speedway General Manager Rob Ramage. “The tremendous energy the band always brings to the stage and their lengthy catalog of great hits will have our NASCAR race fans singing along to every song leading into the green flag of our NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race. Daughtry‘s performance is a great addition to the full schedule of entertainment and motorsports competition we have planned for the entire week.”
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Allmendinger becomes first to win back-to-back Xfinity Regular Season Championships
Kaulig Racing‘s AJ Allmendinger is two-for-two when it comes to bagging NASCAR Xfinity Series Regular Season Championships, becoming the first driver in series history to do so. Other drivers that have earned a Regular Season Championship are Elliott Sadler (2017), Justin Allgaier (2018), Tyler Reddick (2019) and Austin Cindric (2020). Of the five Regular Season Champions only two have gone on to win the overall season title — Tyler Reddick in 2019 and Austin Cindric in 2020 — but Allmendinger intends to add his name to that list this year.
By clinching the NASCAR Xfinity Series Regular Season Championship, Allmendinger snagged an additional 15 bonus Playoff points that he will be able to carry with him through the postseason.
As he heads into his second Playoff stint in the Xfinity Series, he will look to better his record and perhaps add another win to his resume. In the 2021 Playoffs, he posted one win, two top fives and five top 10s and earned a spot in the Championship 4 Round ultimately finishing the season a career-best fourth in the final championship standings. Living up to his name as a the ‘master of road courses,‘ his one post-season win last year was on the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL. In fact, Allmendinger has won on the 2.280-mile Charlotte course every single time he has competed in the Xfinity Series (2019, 2020, 2021) at the uniquely styled track.
But first, Allmendinger must get through this weekend‘s challenges at Texas Motor Speedway, a track he has run well at. In three Xfinity Series starts at the 1.5-mile facility, he has put up three top-10 finishes and has a stellar average finish of 7.0.
Gragson looks to tie Sam Ard‘s consecutive wins record at Texas
JR Motorsports‘ rising star Noah Gragson not only claimed his NASCAR Xfinity Series series-leading sixth victory of the season, but also his third in a row, becoming just the 10th different driver in NASCAR Xfinity Series history to take the checkered flag in three or more consecutive races. Now, the Las Vegas native, Gragson, will roll the dice once again and see if he can tie Sam Ard‘s NASCAR Xfinity Series record of the most consecutive Xfinity Series races won in a row at four this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.
Sam Ard currently sits as the only Xfinity Series driver to win four consecutive races, a feat he accomplished in 1983 — a record that has stood for 40 years.
The following season in 1984, Ard went on to once again manage three consecutive wins and since then nine other drivers have joined him — Noah Gragson, Austin Cindric, Christopher Bell, Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman Dale Earnhardt Jr, Mark Martin, Harry Grant and Larry Pearson.
NASCAR Xfinity Series Consecutive Wins – Three or More (1982-2022)RankDriversConsecutive WinsFromTo1Sam Ard4September 17, 1983October 8, 19832Sam Ard3May 5, 1984May 19, 1984Larry Pearson3August 15, 1987August 30, 1987Harry Gant3September 6, 1991October 5, 1991Mark Martin3February 22, 1997March 8, 1997Dale Earnhardt Jr3June 5, 1999June 27, 1999Ryan Newman3August 13, 2005August 26, 2005Kyle Busch3April 5, 2008April 20, 2008Kyle Busch3March 16, 2013April 12, 2013Kyle Busch3February 27, 2016March 12, 2016Kyle Busch3July 8, 2016July 23, 2016Christopher Bell3July 13, 2018July 28, 2018Austin Cindric3July 9, 2020July 18, 2020Noah Gragson3September 3, 2022September 16, 2022
Gragson, who will be moving up to the NASCAR Cup Series next season, will be looking to finish his final full-time season in the Xfinity Series with a title, but first the driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet will have to tackle Texas Motor Speedway. In his seven starts at the Fort Worth, Texas track, he has posted two top fives and three top 10s. When the Xfinity Series was there earlier this season, Gragson proved he had speed as he won the pole, but he fell victim to a crash on Lap 95 and finished 36th.
Xfinity Playoffs kick off in the Lone Star State
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will be kicking off its postseason with the Andy‘s Frozen Custard 300 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday, September 24 at 3:30 p.m. ET on the USA Network, the NBC Sports App, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR radio.
The Fort Worth, Texas, 1.5-mile track has hosted 43 Xfinity Series races, producing 23 different race winners and 25 different pole winners. Chase Elliott became the track‘s youngest winner in 2014 at 18 years, four months and seven days old; while Jeff Purvis became the oldest winner in 2002 at 43 years, one month and 18 days old.
Kyle Busch holds the record at Texas Motor Speedway for most poles (four), wins (10), top fives (17), top 10s (18), lead lap finishes (20) and laps led (1,795).
The track is a place of “firsts” as some drivers posted their first wins in the Lone Star State — Dale Earnhardt Jr (1998), Kurt Busch (2006), Trevor Bayne (2011), Chase Elliott (2014) and Erik Jones (2015) all grabbed their first Xfinity Series win at the 1.5-mile track.
NASCAR Cup Series regular Tyler Reddick snagged the Xfinity win at Texas earlier this season, but he is not entered in this weekend‘s race, so we won‘t see a back-to-back winner. We could, however, see a repeat winner in Victory Lane. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular John Hunter Nemechek won last season‘s fall Texas race and he is entered in the Andy‘s Frozen Custard 300 this weekend, making him the only previous winner entered in the race.
The Xfinity Series will jump start the doubleheader weekend on Saturday, Sept. 24 with practice at 10:35 a.m. ET followed by qualifying at 11:05 a.m. ET on USA Network and streamed on the NBC Sports App.
Time‘s up: The 2022 Xfinity Series Playoffs grid is locked in
The 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series regular season is over, and we now have our 12 drivers locked into the postseason: Noah Gragson, Ty Gibbs, Justin Allgaier, AJ Allmendinger, Josh Berry, Austin Hill, Brandon Jones, Jeremy Clements, Sam Mayer, Daniel Hemric, Riley Herbst and Ryan Sieg.
The drivers will have to give it all they have in these next three races (Texas, Talladega and Charlotte ROVAL) to earn a spot in the Round of 8. Let us take a look at our Playoff lineup, and see how each driver has performed at Texas Motor Speedway:
Noah Gragson: He enters the Playoffs as the No. 1 seed with 2,051 points, marking his fourth time competing in the postseason. In his seven starts at Texas, he has posted two top fives, three top 10s and one pole. He has an average start of 11.4, an average finish of 17.3 and has led a total of 88 laps.
Ty Gibbs: He will be making his first Playoff appearance this season, coming in as the No. 2 seed with 2,038 points. His first and only start at the 1.5-mile Texas track was earlier this season. He started in the seventh position and finished in 12th.
Justin Allgaier: Making his seventh Playoff appearance, Allgaier is coming in as the No. 3 seed with 2,033 points. In his 24 starts at Texas, he has posted five top fives and 13 top 10s. He has a best finish of second (2021) and has led 226 laps. His most recent finish at the 1.5-mile track was fourth earlier this season.
AJ Allmendinger: The 2022 Regular Season Champion enters the Xfinity Playoffs as the No. 4 seed with 2,032 points in his second postseason appearance. In his three career starts at Texas Motor Speedway, he has posted three top 10s and has led a total of 21 laps.
Josh Berry: In his first ever Xfinity Series Playoffs, Berry comes in as the No. 5 seed with 2,022 points. He only has two starts at the 1.5-mile Texas track and one top-10 finish. He has led a total of 46 laps, all of which were racked up in the May race.
Austin Hill: The Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender enters the 2022 Playoffs as the No. 6 seed with 2,016 points. He has three starts at Texas putting up one top-five and one top-10 finish. His most recent finish at the track was fifth earlier this season.
Brandon Jones: He enters his sixth career Xfinity Series Playoffs appearance, coming in as the No. 7 seed with 2,010 points. He has 13 starts at the Fort Worth, Texas track with two top fives, six top 10s and 49 laps led.
Jeremy Clements: For his third Playoff appearance, he comes in as the No. 8 seed with 2,005 points. He has 27 starts at Texas Motor Speedway with a best finish of 11th. He finished 16th at the 1.5-mile track earlier this season.
Sam Mayer: He comes into his first-ever postseason as the No. 9 seed with 2,005 points. He has two starts at Texas with one top-five and one top-10 finish. He finished third at Texas earlier this season.
Daniel Hemric: Last season‘s Xfinity Series champion comes into his fourth Playoff appearance as the No. 10 seed with 2,003 points. He has seven starts at Texas Motor Speedway posting three top fives, four top 10s and 149 laps led. He finished 11th at Texas earlier this season.
Riley Herbst: He enters his third Playoff appearance as the No. 11 seed with 2,002 points. In his five series starts at Texas, he has posted one top 10 — eighth earlier this season.
Ryan Sieg: This season marks the fourth time he has qualified for the Playoffs, and he takes the final spot with 2,001 points. He has made 17 starts at Texas Motor Speedway posting three top-10 finishes.
NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.
Where you start the Playoffs matters in Xfinity — When it comes to winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship, where a Playoff driver is originally seeded entering the postseason matters, because the lowest seeded driver to win a title in the series was last season‘s champion Daniel Hemric, who started the Playoffs as the sixth seed. Four of the six Playoff season championships were won by driver who started the Playoffs seeded inside the top three.
Below is a list of the NASCAR Xfinity Series champions in the Playoff Era and seedings they started their championship runs with:
2016 — Daniel Suárez (No. 3 seed)
2017 — William Byron (No. 1 seed)
2018 — Tyler Reddick (No. 5 seed)
2019 — Tyler Reddick (No. 3 seed)
2020 — Austin Cindric (No. 2 seed)
2021 — Daniel Hemric (No. 6 seed)
Jeffrey Earnhardt to run at Texas this weekend — Jeffrey Earnhardt will be returning to Texas Motor Speedway for the second-time this season behind the wheel of the No. 26 Sam Hunt Racing Toyota.
This will be Earnhardt‘s ninth start this season with Sam Hunt Racing and 11th overall in 2022.
In total, Earnhardt has nine Xfinity Series starts at Texas Motor Speedway with one top-10 finish.
Brennan Poole joins JD Motorsports for three races — Brennan Poole has run in seven NASCAR Xfinity Series races this season and will compete in three more (Texas, Homestead-Miami and Phoenix) with JD Motorsports to close out the 2022 season.
A Texas native, Poole has made five Xfinity Series starts at Texas Motor Speedway posting two top-10 finishes.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
ThorSport Racing‘s Ty Majeski wins his way into the Championship 4 Round
Not only did ThorSport Racing‘s Ty Majeski score his first NASCAR national series victory last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, but he also claimed the first berth in the Championship 4 Round set to take place at Phoenix Raceway with the championship season finale on November 4.
Majeski will now get to breathe easy as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series takes the week off before partaking in some superspeedway action at the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway.
The Talladega Superspeedway race on October 1 will be the first-time Majeski takes on the 2.66-mile track in the Truck Series. Although this will be a new track for him, he has proven he knows his way around a superspeedway. In the February season opener, he won the pole at Daytona and ultimately finished in the seventh position.
Clinch Scenarios: Three spots up for grabs at the ‘Wild Card‘ Talladega Superspeedway
Ty Majeski made the trip to Victory Lane in the first race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Round of 8, so now drivers have just two opportunities — Talladega and Homestead-Miami — to claim their spot in the Championship 4 Round and join him. Plus, don‘t forget at least one driver will make the Championship 4 Round on points making each finish in the final two races the much more imperative.
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 56 points above the third winless driver in the standings. The same point requirements listed below would hold true if a new win comes from among Chandler Smith or Zane Smith.
Chandler Smith: Could only clinch with helpZane Smith: Could only clinch with help
If there is a new winner from Stewart Friesen or another winless driver lower in the standings but still eligible to advance to the next round, the following drivers could clinch by being 56 points above the second winless driver in the standings.
Chandler Smith: Could only clinch with help
Can clinch via win
The following drivers would clinch on their win alone: Chandler Smith, Zane Smith, Stewart Friesen, John Hunter Nemechek, Christian Eckes, Grant Enfinger, Ben Rhodes.
Playoff Bubble: Nemechek, Eckes, Enfinger, Rhodes outside Champ 4 cutline
Looking at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoff standings following the Round of 8 opener at Bristol Motor Speedway, now the postseason competitors are tasked with trying to make the Championship 4 Round with just two races to go. ThorSport Racing‘s Ty Majeski won at Bristol last weekend and has clinched his spot in the next round leaving three spots still up for grabs.
Halmar Friesen Racing‘s Stewart Friesen is currently ranked in the fourth and final transfer spot on points to the Championship 4 Round, up nine points on Kyle Busch Motorsport‘s driver John H. Nemechek in fifth — the first spot outside the cutoff. Behind Nemechek is ThorSport Racing‘s Christian Eckes in sixth (-13 points), then GMS Racing‘s Grant Enfinger in seventh (-15 points) and ThorSport Racing‘s driver and 2021 series champion Ben Rhodes in eighth (-18 points).
Examining the Camping World Truck Playoffs field for Talladega
When the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to action at Talladega Superspeedway, expect some hard racing as a lot will be on the line. Below is a look at how the Round of 8 drivers have performed at Talladega Superspeedway:
Ty Majeski: He currently ranks first and has racked up 3,053 points heading into the Truck Series‘ next race at Talladega Superspeedway. This will be his first start at the Alabama track.
Chandler Smith: He sits second in the standings with 3,076 points. He has two starts at Talladega with one top five and one top 10 finish.
Zane Smith: He is currently in third with 3,073 points. He has given the 2.066-mile superspeedway a go twice and finished 33rd in both races.
Stewart Friesen: He comes in the next race in fourth with 3,061 points. He has five starts at the track with one top five and two top 10 finishes.
John Hunter Nemechek: He sits fifth in the standings and has accumulated 3,052 points. In his six starts at Talladega, he has posted one top five and two top 10s.
Christian Eckes: He is sixth in the rankings and is going into the next Playoff race with 3,048 points. He has had one stint at Talladega Superspeedway, and he finished in the 18th position.
Grant Enfinger: He currently ranks seventh and has 3,046 points. He has eight starts at the Alabama track with one win (2016), two top fives and three top 10s.
Ben Rhodes: He takes up the final Playoff spot with 3,043 points. He has six starts at Talladega with one top five and one top 10 finish.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.
Natalie Decker to run at Talladega — Natalie Decker, the highest finishing female in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with a fifth-place finish at Daytona in 2020, is set to get behind the wheel of the No. 43 for Reaume Brothers Racing at Talladega Superspeedway on Oct 1.
“We have been working with Natalie for a while now, and we are all really excited to have her drive our #43 truck at Talladega. She brings a lot of great energy to the track and shop, which is very contagious, and we are looking forward to giving her a great opportunity when she returns to the Truck Series come October,” said team owner Josh Reaume. “I am very confident in Natalie that she will do an awesome job at Talladega.”
Decker has made 32 career Truck Series starts posting one top-five and one top-10 finish. She made her series track debut at Talladega in 2019; she started 19th and finished 16th.
— NASCAR —