NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: South Point 400
The Place: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
The Date: Sunday, October 15
The Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
The Purse: $7,785,320
TV: NBC, 2 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR (Channel 90)
Distance: 400.5 miles (267 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 80), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 165), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 267)
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: Alsco Uniforms 302
The Place: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
The Date: Saturday, October 14
The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
The Purse: $1,329,729
TV: USA, 3 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR (Channel 90)
Distance: 301.5 miles (201 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 201)
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
The Elite Eight: Playoffs‘ Round of 8 revs up at Las Vegas
After Kaulig Racing‘s A.J. Allmendinger played spoiler in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs‘ Round of 12 elimination race at the Charlotte ROVAL stealing the win from the Playoff contenders, four more drivers have been eliminated from the postseason — Brad Keselowski, Ross Chastain, Bubba Wallace and Kyle Busch. Now, the eight elite drivers that have made it this far, need to regroup as the Playoff spotlight turns to the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway for this Sunday‘s South Point 400 on NBC, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90), the first race of the Round of 8.
This is the sixth-year Las Vegas Motor Speedway has hosted a NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race (2018-2023). The 2023 season also marks the second-time the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 8 has opened at Las Vegas Motor Speedway – race No. 33 of the season and seventh of the postseason.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway is the sixth different track to host the seventh race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs; joining Atlanta Motor Speedway (2004-2008), Talladega Superspeedway (2009-2010), Martinsville Speedway (2011-2019), Kansas Speedway (2020) and Texas Motor Speedway (2021).
Prior to the 2022 season, Las Vegas Motor Speedway hosted the first race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs in 2018 and 2019 and the fourth race in the Playoffs, the first race of the Round of 12, from 2020-2021.
Five different drivers have won the five previous Playoff races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway — Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano.
TrackPlayoff Race WinnersDateRace No.Las VegasBrad KeselowskiSunday, September 16, 201827Las VegasMartin Truex JrSunday, September 15, 201927Las VegasKurt BuschSunday, September 27, 202030Las VegasDenny HamlinSunday, September 26, 202130Las VegasJoey LoganoSunday, October 16, 202233
A total of 11 different drivers have won the seventh race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, led by Jimmie Johnson with four postseason victories (Atlanta: 2004, 2007 and Martinsville: 2012, 2016). Team Penske‘s Joey Logano leads all active NASCAR Cup Series drivers in victories in the seventh race of the Playoffs with three postseason wins; including last season‘s race at Las Vegas (Martinsville in 2018; Kansas in 2020; Las Vegas in 2022).
NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Race No. 7 WinnersTrackPlayoff Race WinnersDateAtlantaJimmie JohnsonSunday, October 31, 2004AtlantaCarl EdwardsSunday, October 30, 2005AtlantaTony StewartSunday, October 29, 2006AtlantaJimmie JohnsonSunday, October 28, 2007AtlantaCarl EdwardsSunday, October 26, 2008TalladegaJamie McMurraySunday, November 1, 2009TalladegaClint BowyerSunday, October 31, 2010MartinsvilleTony StewartSunday, October 30, 2011MartinsvilleJimmie JohnsonSunday, October 28, 2012MartinsvilleJeff GordonSunday, October 27, 2013MartinsvilleDale Earnhardt JrSunday, October 26, 2014MartinsvilleJeff GordonSunday, November 1, 2015MartinsvilleJimmie JohnsonSunday, October 30, 2016MartinsvilleKyle BuschSunday, October 29, 2017MartinsvilleJoey LoganoSunday, October 28, 2018MartinsvilleMartin Truex JrSunday, October 27, 2019KansasJoey LoganoSunday, October 18, 2020TexasKyle LarsonSunday, October 17, 2021Las VegasJoey LoganoSunday, October 16, 2022
Six times the winner of the seventh NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race has gone on to win the championship later that same season: 2007, 2011, 2016, 2018, 2021 and 2022.
In 2007, Jimmie Johnson won from the sixth starting position at Atlanta Motor Speedway and went on to win his second consecutive NASCAR Cup Series championship. The win was the second of four consecutive Playoff victories he put up en route to the title that season (Martinsville, Atlanta, Texas and Phoenix).
In 2011, Tony Stewart won from the fourth starting position at Martinsville Speedway and went on to win his third NASCAR Cup Series championship (2002, 2005, 2011). The victory was his third of a record setting five Playoff wins that season.
In 2016, Jimmie Johnson won from the third starting position at Martinsville Speedway and went on to win his record tying seventh NASCAR Cup Series championship. The victory was his second of three Playoff wins during his title run that season.
In 2018, Joey Logano won from the 10th starting position at Martinsville Speedway and went on to win his first NASCAR Cup Series championship. It was his first of two Playoffs wins that season (Martinsville, Homestead-Miami).
In 2021, Kyle Larson won from the pole at Texas Motor Speedway and went on to win his first career NASCAR Cup Series championship. The victory was his third of a record tying five Playoff wins season en route to the title.
In 2022, Joey Logano won from the fifth starting position at Martinsville Speedway and went on to win his second NASCAR Cup Series championship (2018, 2022). The victory was his first of only two Playoffs wins that season (Las Vegas, Phoenix).
The worst finish by a driver in the seventh NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race that later went on to win the title that same season was at Atlanta Motor Speedway (2004-2008), when Kurt Busch posted a 42nd-place finish in the 2004 Atlanta race, then the seventh event in the Playoffs, and went on to win the title that same season. The finish was due to an engine failure.
The finishes by the eventual champion in the Playoffs at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:
4th by Joey Logano in 2018 — the first race of the Playoffs.19th by Kyle Busch in 2019 — the first race of the Playoffs.22nd by Chase Elliott in 2020 — the fourth race of the Playoffs.1st by Kyle Larson in 2021 — the fourth race of the Playoffs.1st by Joey Logano in 2022 — the seventh race of the Playoffs.
Three times non-Playoff drivers have won the seventh race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs: 2006, 2009 and 2010.
In 2006, Tony Stewart won the seventh race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs at Atlanta Motor Speedway, he was 11th in points at the time of the win.
In 2009, Jamie McMurray won the seventh race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs at Talladega Superspeedway, he was ranked 22nd in the points at the time of the win.
In 2010, Clint Bowyer won the seventh race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs at Talladega Superspeedway, he was 12th in the points at the time of the win.
No non-Playoff driver has ever won the Playoff race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. But that could change this weekend, last Sunday‘s Playoff race at the Charlotte ROVAL was won by a non-Playoff driver (AJ Allmendinger). Plus, the 2023 season has produced 15 different winners this season, tied with the 2005 and 2013 seasons for the fourth-most winners through the first 32 races of a season in the Modern Era (1972-Present).
Make sure to tune-in for all the NASCAR Cup Series on-track action this weekend. The Cup Series will first hit the track with practice and Busch Light Pole Qualifying on Saturday, October 14 and both can be viewed at 12:30 p.m. ET on the USA Network.
Las Vegas Clinch Scenarios: The first chance to earn a spot in the Championship 4
With the conclusion of the Round of 12 in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, the postseason challengers get their points reseeded once again and are now confronted with trying to earn their spot in the final round. This weekend‘s South Point 400 (Oct. 15 at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will jump start the Round of 8; the first of three races (Las Vegas, Miami and Martinsville) the contenders have to navigate through for a spot in the Championship 4.
No drivers have clinched a spot in the 4-driver field of the next round.
Can Clinch Via Win
The following drivers would clinch on their win alone: William Byron, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, Chris Buescher, Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick, Ryan Blaney
Scouting the Round of 8 Cup Playoff field
The eight-driver Playoff field heading into this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is a definite mix of experience. At one end of the experience spectrum sits the two former champions — Martin Truex Jr. (2017) and Kyle Larson (2021), and at the other end, are two drivers making their first career appearance in the Round of 8 — Chris Buescher and Tyler Reddick.
Of the eight Playoff contenders, four have made previous career appearances in the Championship 4 Round — Martin Truex Jr. has five appearances (2021, ’19, ’18, ’17, ’15), Denny Hamlin has four appearances (2021, ‘20, ‘19, ‘14) and Christopher Bell (2022) and Kyle Larson (2021) each have one appearance in the final postseason round.
Plus, the youth movement in the Cup Series is continuing to flourish, four of the eight drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 8 are in their 20s, the youngest being William Byron at 25. The oldest driver in the Round of 8 this season is Martin Truex Jr. at the age of 43. The average age of this season‘s Round of 8 is 31 years old.
The crop of eight Playoff drivers also hail from six different states across the country — North Carolina (William Byron and Ryan Blaney), New Jersey (Martin Truex Jr.), Virginia (Denny Hamlin), California (Kyle Larson and Tyler Reddick), Texas (Chris Buescher) and Oklahoma (Christopher Bell).
NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Outlook Following Race No. 32RankDriverPointsRace WinsStage WinsPlayoff Pts+ / – Cutoff1William Byron (P)4,0416841202Martin Truex Jr. (P)4,0363636153Denny Hamlin (P)4,0323732114Kyle Larson (P)4,024352435Chris Buescher (P)4,0213121-36Christopher Bell (P)4,0161416-87Tyler Reddick (P)4,0162616-88Ryan Blaney (P)4,0142414-10
Las Vegas Motor Speedway: A diamond in the desert
Las Vegas is a great city with tons to do, but nothing on the ‘The Strip‘ this weekend will compare to the drama that Las Vegas Motor Speedway will be dishing-up as the 1.5-mile track serves as the first race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs‘ Round of 8 with the South Point 400 on Sunday, Oct. 15 at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Eight Playoff contenders will begin their hunt for one of the four spots in the Championship 4 Round and a shot at this season‘s title this weekend at Las Vegas — the second-to-last 1.5-mile track on the schedule.
The first NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was held on March 1, 1998. NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett won the pole for the inaugural event driving a Ford for Robert Yates Racing, and NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin won the race driving a Ford for RFK Racing. In total there have been 31 NASCAR Cup Series races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (1998-2023). The 1.5-mile track has hosted one race per season from 1998 to 2017. The 2018 season marked the first time Las Vegas Motor Speedway hosted two Cup Series events in a single season (2018-2023) and the first season the track joined the Playoff schedule.
A total of 19 different drivers have won the pole in the NASCAR Cup Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Kasey Kahne leads the NASCAR Cup Series in poles at Las Vegas with three (2004, 2007, 2012). Kyle Busch (2008, 2009) and Joey Logano (2014, 2023) lead all active NASCAR Cup Series drivers in poles at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with two each.
Of the 19 NASCAR Cup Series pole winners at Las Vegas, eight at active this weekend, and three are current Playoff drivers — Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell and Ryan Blaney.
Las Vegas Active Pole Winners (8)PolesSeasonsJoey Logano22023, ‘14Kyle Busch22009, ‘08Tyler Reddick12022Christopher Bell12022Kevin Harvick12019Erik Jones12018Ryan Blaney12018Brad Keselowski12017
A total of 18 different NASCAR Cup Series drivers have won at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and eight different drivers have won more than once at the 1.5-mile track. Jimmie Johnson leads the NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with four victories (2005, 2006, 2007 and 2010). Brad Keselowski (2014, 2016, 2018) and Joey Logano (2019, 2020, 2022) lead all active drivers in NASCAR Cup Series wins at Las Vegas with three each.
Of the 18 NASCAR Cup Series race winners at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, nine of them are active this weekend at Las Vegas and four are current Playoff contenders — Martin Truex Jr., William Byron, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson.
Las Vegas Active Race Winners (9)WinsSeasonsJoey Logano32022, ’20, ’19Brad Keselowski32018, ’16, ’14Martin Truex Jr22019, ’17Kevin Harvick22018, ’15William Byron12023Alex Bowman12022Denny Hamlin12021Kyle Larson12021Kyle Busch12009
Best of The Best: Cup Playoff contender performances at Las Vegas
Only eight drivers left in the Playoffs to decide who will win the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series championship, and of those eight, four are former winners at this weekend‘s Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Truex, Byron, Hamlin and Larson). With so much on the line heading into this Sunday, here is a look at the career performances of the eight Playoff drivers at Las Vegas.
1 – William Byron (No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet) is currently the standings leader heading into Las Vegas this weekend, up +20 points on the Championship 4 Round cutline. This season, Byron has put up the series-best season-to-date Driver Rating at 98.1 and has collected six wins, 13 top fives, 18 top 10s and three poles. He has led 895 laps (second-most) and has an average finish of 11.5.
Looking to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Byron has posted one win (2023), two top fives and four top 10s. His average finish of 16.273, 13th-best at the 1.5-mile track and he ranks inside the top 15 in several pre-race Loop categories: Average Running Position of 11.705, ninth-best; Driver Rating of 93.3, ninth-best; 187 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-best; 2,110 Laps in the Top 15 (71.4%), 13th-most and 623 Quality Passes, 13th-most.
2 – Martin Truex Jr. (No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota) is currently ranked second in the Playoff standings heading into Las Vegas this weekend, up +15 points on the Championship 4 Round cutline. This season, Truex has managed a season-to-date Driver Rating of 92.2 (fourth-best) and has put up three wins, nine top fives, 15 top 10s and a pole. He has also led 832 laps (third-most) and has an average finish of 13.2.
Heading to Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend, Truex has posted two wins, seven top fives and 14 top 10s at the 1.5-mile track in Nevada. His average finish of 10.0 is third-best at Vegas and he ranks inside the top-10 in several pre-race Loop Data categories: Average Running Position of 10.438, fourth-best; Driver Rating of 98.5, sixth-best; 340 Fastest Laps Run, third-best; 4,704 Laps in the Top 15 (76.1%), third-most and
1,141 Quality Passes, series-most.
3 – Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota) is currently ranked third in the Playoff standings heading into Las Vegas this weekend, up +11 points on the Championship 4 Round cutline. This season, Hamlin has earned the second-best season-to-date Driver Rating (96.9) of the year and has posted three wins, 13 top fives, 16 top 10s and four poles. The Virginia native has also led 774 laps (fourth-most) and has an average finish of 12.3.
Looking to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Hamlin has accumulated one win, six top fives and 11 top 10s at the track in Nevada. His average finish of 12.783 is eighth-best at the 1.5-mile track and he ranks 11th or better in key pre-race Loop Data categories: Average Running Position of 12.644, 10th-best; Driver Rating of 90.7, 11th-best; 179 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-best; 3,963 Laps in the Top 15 (64.1%), fifth-most and 1,038 Quality Passes, third-most.
4 – Kyle Larson (No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet) is currently ranked fourth in the Playoff standings heading into Las Vegas this weekend, up three points on the Championship 4 Round cutline. This season, Larson has put up a season-to-date Driver Rating of 94.4, third-best and has gathered three wins, 13 top fives, 15 top 10s and two poles. The California native has also led 898 laps (series-most) and has an average finish of 15.1.
Arriving at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend, Larson has posted one win, six top fives and 10 top 10s at the 1.5-mile speedway. His average finish of 10.5 is fourth-best and he ranks inside the top-10 in several pre-race Loop Data categories: Average Running Position of 11.161, seventh-best; Driver Rating of 99.4, fifth-best; 231 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-best; 2,777 Laps in the Top 15 (74.0%), 10th-most and 747 Quality Passes, eighth-most.
5 – Chris Buescher (No. 17 RFK Racing Ford) is currently ranked fifth in the Playoff standings heading into Las Vegas this weekend, three points back from the Championship 4 Round cutline. This season, Buescher has earned a season-to-date Driver Rating of 84.5 (ninth-best), and has collected three wins, eight top fives and 15 top 10s. Buescher has led 237 laps and also has an average finish of 12.2 on the year.
Looking to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Buescher has posted just one top-10 finish. His average finish of 17.769 is 15th-best and he ranks inside the top-25 in several pre-race Loop Data categories: Average Running Position of 21.649, 24th-best; Driver Rating of 60.9, 25th-best; 24 Fastest Laps Run, 24th-best; 471 Laps in the Top 15 (13.5%), 24th-most and 250 Quality Passes, 23rd-most.
6 – Christopher Bell (No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota) is currently ranked sixth in the Playoff standings heading into Las Vegas this weekend, eight points back from the Championship 4 Round cutline. This season, Bell has managed a season-to-date Driver Rating of 90.0 (sixth-best) and has posted one win, eight top fives, 16 top 10s and five poles. The Oklahoma native has also led 512 laps (fifth-most) and has an average finish of 13.1.
Heading to Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend, Bell has gathered one top five, three top 10s and one pole at the 1.5-mile speedway. Bell has also put up an average finish of 19.571 (18th-best) and he ranks inside the top-25 in several pre-race Loop Data categories: Average Running Position of 17.525, 18th-best; Driver Rating of 76.2, 15th-best; 29 Fastest Laps Run, 22nd-best; 893 Laps in the Top 15 (47.5%), 21st-most and
336 Quality Passes, 19th-most.
7 – Tyler Reddick (No. 45 23XI Racing Toyota) is currently ranked seventh in the Playoff standings heading into Las Vegas this weekend, eight points back from the Championship 4 Round cutline. This season, Reddick has posted the fifth-best season-to-date Driver Rating of 90.2, and has secured two wins, nine top fives, 14 top 10s, and two poles. Reddick has led 469 laps (seventh-most) and has an average finish of 15.8 on the year.
Arriving at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend, Reddick has put up three top 10s and one pole at the famed track. He has also managed an average finish of 16.0 (12th-best) and is ranked in the top-20 in several pre-race Loop Data categories: Average Running Position of 15.594, 13th-best; Driver Rating of 78.0, 13th-best; 52 Fastest Laps Run, 15th-best; 1,061 Laps in the Top 15 (56.4%), 18th-most and 356 Quality Passes, 18th-most.
8 – Ryan Blaney (No. 12 Team Penske Ford) is currently ranked eighth in the Playoff standings heading into Las Vegas this weekend, 10 points back from the Championship 4 Round cutline. This season, Blaney fashioned a season-to-date Driver Rating of 85.3 (eighth-best) and has put up two wins, five top fives and 14 top 10s. The North Carolina native has also led 362 laps and posted an average finish of 15.5.
Looking to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Blaney has posted five top fives, eight top 10s and one pole at the 1.5-mile track. He has also earned an average finish of 12.429 (seventh-best) and ranks 11th or better in several key pre-race Loop Data categories: Average Running Position of 10.974, sixth-best; Driver Rating of 96.5, seventh-best; 166 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-best; 2,827 Laps in the Top 15 (75.3%), ninth-most and 700 Quality Passes, ninth-most.
NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.
NHL champion Golden Knights‘ Adin Hill and William Carrier to serve as Grand Marshals at Las Vegas – On Oct. 15, Las Vegas Golden Knights‘ goalie Adin Hill and forward William Carrier will take part in one of NASCAR‘s most thrilling moments, serving as this Sunday‘s grand marshals, delivering the most famous words in motorsports, ‘start your engines‘ for the sixth annual South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“This will be so cool,” Carrier said. “I‘m all about fast cars and speed and I‘ve been to the races before, but this will be an incredible experience for me and Adin to hear those engines fire up. I can‘t wait!”
Earlier this year, the Vegas Golden Knights brought home the Stanley Cup in just their sixth year of existence. During this year‘s playoff run, Hill became the driving force in net for the Golden Knights posting a pair of shutout performances during the post season. Carrier, one of five remaining original Golden Knights, scored two goals and had four assists in the championship run.
The veteran players from the Vegas Golden Knights will join a list of luminaries to deliver the command at LVMS, including Bryce Harper, Carroll Shelby, Mark Wahlberg, Tim Allen, Marcus Allen, Cole Hauser, Derek Carr, Kim Kardashian, Rascal Flatts, Brent Musburger and Dana White.
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.
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).
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 (2), Spire Motorsports (1).
Closing in on NASCAR Cup Series win number 850, Chevrolet currently has 849 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.
This week NASCAR held the Advance Auto Parts Drive for Diversity Combine (October 9-11) – NASCAR and Rev Racing announced this week the names of 15 drivers participating in the Advance Auto Parts Drive for Diversity Combine taking place on October 9-11 in Concord, N.C., and Florence, S.C. This marks the second year for Advance Auto Parts, a leading automotive aftermarket parts provider and the Official Auto Parts Retailer of NASCAR, serving as the primary sponsor of the Advance Auto Parts Drive for Diversity Combine.
Drivers from around the United States and several countries applied to the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program hoping to be selected. After going through a careful process, 15 drivers were chosen to travel to Concord, N.C., and Florence, S.C., to be evaluated by judges from across the NASCAR industry. Each participant will be assessed in different areas, from physical fitness and on-track performance to media and marketing skills.
“We look forward to working closely with the drivers selected this year. It‘s a strong group of young talent and we‘re excited by the level of competition we hope to see over the three-day combine,” said Brandon Thompson, NASCAR‘s VP of Diversity and Inclusion. “We are also excited to have Advance Auto Parts back with us for a second year. They share our passion for advancing inclusion and representation within the next generation of drivers; it is a partnership based on shared values.”
“We could not be more thrilled about the growth of our race team over the last several years,” said Max Siegel, Rev Racing owner. “We have a solid vision for Rev Racing moving into the future and as an organization, we have never been more positioned for advancement and success. We are energized by the high level of participating athletes and look forward to building the best driver class for 2024.”
The NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program was created in 2004 to develop and train top drivers from diverse backgrounds and experiences, both on and off the track. NASCAR Cup Series drivers Bubba Wallace, Daniel Suárez and Kyle Larson are alumni of the program, which is operated by Rev Racing in Concord, N.C.
“Our team is delighted to participate in such a meaningful program that provides valuable opportunities for the next generation of racing talent,” said Samantha Avivi, Advance‘s Chief Marketing Officer. “Diversity, equity and inclusion are cornerstones for the Advance brand, and we‘re looking forward to working with NASCAR, Rev Racing and this year‘s impressive class of drivers to help build their careers in the sport.”
The entitlement sponsor of the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series (NAAPWS) and Advance My Track Challenge, Advance is dedicated to enhancing the experience for race fans, drivers and teams at NASCAR‘s Home Tracks across North America. As a partner of the Advance Auto Parts Drive for Diversity Combine, the retailer continues to expand its presence in the sport.
This year‘s candidates were evaluated based on applications, references and previous on-track performance by a panel comprised of NASCAR executives and industry members.
The 2023 combine features the following drivers:
Name Age Hometown Car Type Lanie Buice16Jackson, Georgia Late Model StockJustin Campbell18Griffin, GeorgiaLate Model StockCameron Carraway13Castro Valley, CARestricted Late Model, Micro SprintsTJ DeCaire16Land O‘ Lakes, FloridaPro/Super Late Model StockEloy López Falcón18Mexico City, MexicoU.S. Legends Car/NASCAR Mexico ChallengeArthur Gama18Porto Alegre, BrazilNASCAR Brasil Sprint RaceCaleb Johnson15Denver, ColoradoPro Late Model, U.S. Legend CarCassidy Keitt14Lexington, North Carolina INEX U.S. Legends CarNathan Lyons14Concord, North Carolina U.S. Legend CarJalen Mack18Chino Hills, CaliforniaPro Late ModelJayda Mack14Chino Hills, CaliforniaPro Late ModelLaQuan McCoy Jr.12Fort Mill, South CarolinaINEX BandoleroPaige Rogers20New Haven, INLate Model Stock, Pro Late ModelRegina Sirvent20Mexico City, MexicoNASCAR Mexico Challenge Series, Late Model StockLucas Vera16Charlotte, NCU.S. Legend Car
NASCAR Xfinity Series
JR Motorsports‘ Sam Mayer keeps his Playoff run alive
It appears there is a new road course ringer in the NASCAR Xfinity Series — JR Motorsports‘ Sam Mayer. The 20-year-old driver, Mayer, had a dominate performance on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course, leading 50 of the 67 laps and snagging the win by .909 seconds over runner-up Cole Custer.
Mayer was in a must-win situation heading into the Round of 12 cutoff race at the Charlotte ROVAL but it‘s not a huge surprise to fans that he was able to pull of the victory. The Frankin, Wisconsin native has had a standout year, posting his first Xfinity Series career win at Road America, followed by a win at Watkins Glen and now a win at the Charlotte ROVAL. With all three of his wins on road courses, he says he might be “Allmendinger 2.0”.
Mayer now heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway to kick off the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs Round of 8 — his second time making it to the second round of the Playoffs. In four Xfinity career starts at Las Vegas, Mayer has put up two top-10 finishes.
“Las Vegas is one of my favorite 1.5-mile tracks that we go to and I‘m ready to get there with the momentum we have coming off a win at the ROVAL and transferring to the next round of the Playoffs,” said Sam Mayer. “I am so proud of this No. 1 JR Motorsports team for not giving up and building such fast Chevrolets for me to go out and perform at the highest level.”
Rollin‘ the dice at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
The NASCAR Xfinity Series wrapped up the Round of 12 last weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course so now it‘s time for the Round of 8, which will kick off this Saturday, October 14 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with the Alsco Uniforms 302 at 3:30 p.m. ET on the USA Network, the NBC Sports App, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
The 1.5-mile Las Vegas track has hosted 32 Xfinity Series races, producing 23 different race winners and 19 different pole winners. Six races have been won from the pole or first starting position, most recently by Chase Briscoe in 2020.
JR Motorsports‘ Justin Allgaier, who is a Round of 8 contender, has gotten pretty lucky at the Las Vegas track, having posted the most top fives (10), top 10s (15), lead lap finishes (16) and laps completed (3,529).
Two previous winners are entered in this weekend‘s Alsco Uniforms 302 — Josh Berry, who snagged his wins in 2021 and 2022, and Austin Hill, who is the track‘s most recent winner (2023). If Hill wins again this weekend, not only will he clinch his spot in the Championship 4 for the first-time in his career, but he will also become just the second driver in Las Vegas Motor Speedway Xfinity Series history to post back-to-back wins. The first and only other driver to accomplish the feat is Chase Briscoe (2020 sweep).
Although only two previous Las Vegas Motor Speedway winners are entered in the race this weekend, there is another driver who might be one to keep an eye on — John Hunter Nemechek. Not only has the 26-year-old driver had a standout year thus far (seven wins, 15 top fives and 22 top 10s), he also is no stranger to winning the first race in the Round of 8. In the 2018 (Kansas) and 2021 (Texas) seasons, although he was not in Playoff contention, he won the first races in the Round of 8 (30th race of the season and fourth of the Xfinity Playoffs).
TrackRace WinnersSeasonRace NumberDateKansasKyle Busch201630Saturday, October 15, 2016KansasChristopher Bell201730Saturday, October 21, 2017KansasJohn H. Nemechek201830Saturday, October 20, 2018KansasBrandon Jones201930Saturday, October 19, 2019KansasChase Briscoe202030Saturday, October 17, 2020TexasJohn H. Nemechek202130Saturday, October 16, 2021Las VegasJosh Berry202230Saturday, October 15, 2022
This season marks the second time that Las Vegas Motor Speedway will host the first race of the Round of 8 in the Xfinity Series Playoffs. Since the inception of the Playoffs in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2016, Las Vegas Motor Speedway has occupied two spots on the postseason schedule. From 2016-2019, the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway was not included in the Playoff schedule. In the 2020 and 2021 seasons, the track was moved to the first race in the postseason — Chase Briscoe won in 2020 and Josh Berry won in 2021. Then the Las Vegas, Nevada track was moved to the fourth race in the Playoffs starting last season (2022-2023).
The Xfinity Series will kick off the weekend with practice on Friday, October 13 at 7:05 p.m. ET followed by qualifying at 7:35 p.m. ET on the USA Network.
The Great Eight: Gambling into the penultimate round of the Playoffs
The competition just tightened up for the race to the championship as four drivers were eliminated last weekend — Daniel Hemric, Parker Kligerman, Josh Berry and Jeb Burton — leaving eight drivers in the hunt. These eight drivers — John Hunter Nemechek, Austill Hill, Justin Allgaier, Sam Mayer, Cole Custer, Chandler Smith, Sheldon Creed, and Sammy Smith — now head to Las Vegas Motor Speedway where fans will be sure to be on the edge of their seats as six of these eight Playoff contenders finished in the top-10 when the series ran at the track earlier this season. Let‘s take a look at how they have performed at the 1.5-mile track:
John Hunter Nemchek: Currently leading the Playoff standings, Nemechek heads to Las Vegas with five starts, one top five, three top 10s and 45 laps led. He finished sixth at the track earlier this season.
Austin Hill: Second in the standings, Hill heads into the weekend as one of two previous Las Vegas Motor Speedway winners entered in the race. He‘s made four starts, posting one win (2023), one top five, two top 10s and 34 laps led.
Justin Allgaier: Sitting in third in the Playoff standings, Allgaier is the most experienced driver in the field with 18 starts, 10 top fives, 15 top 10s and 277 laps led. Although he has yet to land himself in Victory Lane at Las Vegas, he has come extremely close, finishing runner up four times (most recently in March).
Sam Mayer: Coming off a win at the Charlotte Road Course, Mayer heads to Sin City with a lot of momentum. He has made four starts at the track, posting two top-10 finishes and having led 26 laps. He finished seventh when the series was last there in March.
Cole Custer: Currently fifth in the Playoff standings, Custer has made six starts at the track, posting two top fives and four top 10s. He has led a total of 54 laps and finished 12th earlier this season.
Chandler Smith: As one of two rookies in Playoff contention, he‘s only made one start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway but made an impressive debut. He won the pole, led 118 of the 200 laps, and ultimately finished the race in third.
Sheldon Creed: Taking up the seventh spot in the standings, Creed has made three starts at the Las Vegas track, posting two top-10 finishes. He‘s led five laps and finished in ninth-place earlier this season.
Sammy Smith: In the final Playoff spot is rookie Sammy Smith. He has made one start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway where he finished in 17th.
NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.
Hailie Deegan to compete full time in the Xfinity Series in 2024 — NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series regular Hailie Deegan will be moving up to the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2024, driving the No. 15 Ford with AM Racing.
“I am excited about the opportunity to compete full time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, starting next year with AM Racing,” said Deegan. “From the start, the team has been nothing but great to work with and the vision that Wade has for the team to accomplish align with my values perfectly.”
She is currently wrapping her third full time season in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series. In her 67 starts, she has posted five top-10 finishes.
Deegan is one of 24 different female competitors to race in the NASCAR Xfinity Series all-time. She has one Xfinity Series start under her belt, which came last season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where she started 20th and finished 13th setting a new record for best finish by a female in their Xfinity Series debut surpassing the previous record held by Shawna Robinson of a 15th-place finish at Rougemont.
Ryan Reed returns to Xfinity Series at Las Vegas — Ryan Reed, who has won twice in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Daytona, will be returning to the series this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Reed will be piloting the No. 66 Chevrolet with Alpha Prime Racing (in partnership with MBM Motorsports) for his first start since the 2018 season.
Reed has made starts in all three of NASCAR‘s national series but ran full-time seasons in the Xfinity Series from 2014 to 2018 with RFK Racing, making 171 starts and posting two wins (2015, 2017), seven top fives and 27 top 10s.
“It is so cool to be able to make my return to Xfinity racing,” Ryan said. “The Xfinity Series was my home for many years, so it just feels right to be back.”
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series
CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs readies for Round of 8 finale in South Florida
The NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series competitors have one more week to prepare and go over strategy before heading to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Baptist Health 200 and Round of 8 finale (Saturday, October 21 at 12 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, and SiriusXM Radio).
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. This 650-acre facility is active more than 280 days per year and features both a 1.5-mile oval and a 2.21-mile road course.
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 Suárez at Phoenix in 2016.
NCTS Round of 8 Finale Race Winners (2016-2022)DateTrackRace WinnerSeasonRace No.Friday, November 11, 2016PhoenixDaniel Suarez (Non-Playoff Driver)201622Friday, November 10, 2017PhoenixJohnny Sauter201722Friday, November 9, 2018PhoenixBrett Moffitt201822Friday, November 8, 2019PhoenixStewart Friesen201922Friday, October 30, 2020MartinsvilleGrant Enfinger202022Saturday, October 30, 2021MartinsvilleZane Smith202121Saturday, October 22, 2022Homestead-MiamiTy Majeski202222
Three previous Round of 8 finale winners who are current Championship 4 Playoff hopefuls — Grant Enfinger, Zane Smith, and Ty Majeski — all will head to South Florida with one goal in mind: “Win and we‘re in.”
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 OutlookFollowing Talladega Superspeedway — Sept. 30, 2023RankDriverStartsPointsRace WinsPlayoff Pts+ /- Cutoff1Corey Heim (P)203,121335In On Win2Carson Hocevar (P)213,111322233Christian Eckes (P)213,09732694Nick Sanchez # (P)213,0910735Grant Enfinger (P)213,088324-36Ben Rhodes (P)213,086113-57Ty Majeski (P)213,072116-198Zane Smith (P)213,055222-36
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 — Corey Heim, who earned his spot with his win at Bristol. The remaining seven drivers will have to give it their all if they want a chance to move on to the Championship 4 Round. Here is a look at the clinch scenarios for the 8-driver field:
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 pointsChristian Eckes: Would clinch with 46 points (47 points if Sanchez wins)Nicholas Sanchez: Would clinch with 53 pointsGrant Enfinger: Would clinch with 55 points (would need help if Sanchez wins)Ben Rhodes: Could only clinch with helpTy Majeski: Could only clinch with helpZane 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 pointsChristian Eckes: Would clinch with 49 pointsNicholas Sanchez: Could only clinch with helpGrant Enfinger: Could only clinch with helpBen Rhodes: Could only clinch with helpTy Majeski: Could only clinch with helpZane 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 Shuffle: Enfinger, Rhodes, Majeski, and Smith outside Championship 4 cutline
Following the 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 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 Chevrolet, 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 for a slipping clutch while the field whisked by. 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 three 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 scarped 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, five 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.
NCTS Playoffs Contender‘s Career Performances at Homestead-Miami Speedway
RankDriverRacesPolesWinsTop FivesTop 10sDNFsAverage Finish 1Corey Heim1001105.0 2Carson Hocevar10000012.0 3Christian Eckes3001306.0 4Nick Sanchez0010000.0 5Grant Enfinger61013011.8 6Ben Rhodes60002014.2 7Ty Majeski2011205.5 8Zane Smith20011119.5
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, Etc.
Three CRAFTSMAN Truck Series competitors hope to compete at Las Vegas — Fans will be able to catch three CRAFTSMAN Truck Series regulars attempting to compete in the NASCAR Xfinity and NASCAR Cup Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend.
Daniel Dye plans to pilot the No. 44 Alpha Prime Racing Chevrolet along with Rajah Caruth getting behind the wheel of the No. 45 Alpha Prime Racing Chevrolet on Saturday during the Alsco Uniforms 302.
CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff contender Carson Hocevar will once again get behind the wheel of the No. 42 Legacy Motor Club Chevrolet on Sunday during the South Point 400. It was also announced this week that Carson Hocevar will replace Ty Dillon next season in the No. 77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet running a full-time schedule in the NASCAR Cup Series.
“I mean, anybody in my position wants to be a Cup Series driver,” said Hocevar. “That‘s what you dream about when you‘re young. You want to race on Sundays. So, my opportunity to run a few times this year, to run on Sunday and get ready, I feel more than prepared to get in the No. 77 car with Spire. That team is growing exponentially and I‘m just excited for everything. I have a unique opportunity to build something and grow with it, while growing myself at the same time. For what we‘ve been able to do from the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series to Cup is pretty crazy. I know it seems like a big jump. With all the tools and resources, and everybody at Spire Motorsports, they have put a lot of faith in me, and I have a lot of faith in them. We all have faith in the whole program. I feel like we can come out of the gate like we‘ve done this for years.”
Hocevar has made six NASCAR Cup Series starts to date, putting up an average finish of 22.5.
— NASCAR —