NASCAR National Series News & Notes - Texas Motor Speedway

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

 

Season

 

Race Winners

 

Tracks

 

2019

 

Kevin Harvick

 

Texas

 

2018

 

Kevin Harvick

 

Texas

 

2017

 

Kevin Harvick

 

Texas

 

2016

 

Carl Edwards

 

Texas

 

2015

 

Jimmie Johnson

 

Texas

 

2014

 

Jimmie Johnson

 

Texas

 

2013

 

Jimmie Johnson

 

Texas

 

2012

 

Jimmie Johnson

 

Texas

 

2011

 

Tony Stewart

 

Texas

 

2010

 

Denny Hamlin

 

Texas

 

2009

 

Kurt Busch

 

Texas

 

2008

 

Carl Edwards

 

Texas

 

2007

 

Jimmie Johnson

 

Texas

 

2006

 

Tony Stewart

 

Texas

 

2005

 

Carl Edwards

 

Texas

 

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

 

2

 

Kevin Harvick

 

4,115

 

33

 

9

 

7

 

67

 

41

 

3

 

Denny Hamlin

 

4,094

 

33

 

7

 

10

 

54

 

20

 

4

 

Brad Keselowski

 

4,082

 

33

 

4

 

7

 

35

 

8

 

5

 

Chase Elliott

 

4,074

 

33

 

3

 

9

 

27

 

-8

 

6

 

Alex Bowman

 

4,055

 

33

 

1

 

4

 

9

 

-27

 

7

 

Martin Truex Jr.

 

4,051

 

33

 

1

 

5

 

17

 

-31

 

8

 

Kurt Busch

 

4,009

 

33

 

1

 

1

 

6

 

-73

 

 

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:

 

Already Clinched

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.

 

Howdy, Texas!

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

 

2

 

Justin Allgaier

 

3,068

 

3

 

12

 

33

 

11

 

3

 

Brandon Jones

 

3,066

 

3

 

2

 

20

 

9

 

4

 

Austin Cindric

 

3,059

 

5

 

10

 

50

 

2

 

 

5

 

Justin Haley

 

3,057

 

3

 

3

 

23

 

-2

 

6

 

Ross Chastain

 

3,047

 

0

 

2

 

10

 

-12

 

7

 

Ryan Sieg

 

3,042

 

0

 

2

 

2

 

-17

 

8

 

Noah Gragson

 

3,026

 

2

 

8

 

25

 

-33

 

 

 

Texas stats for Playoff drivers

Below is a look at the NASCAR Xfinity Series Round of 8 Playoff drivers at Texas Motor Speedway (in order of seeding):

 

Chase Briscoe heads to the race at Texas in the most comfortable spot of everyone with a lock in the Championship 4 at Phoenix. Briscoe has four starts at the track with two top fives and two top 10s. His best finish came earlier this season, finishing runner-up to his Ford teammate Austin Cindric. He has an average start of 13.2 and average finish of 9.8 at the track.  

 

Justin Allgaier had a good performance at Kansas last weekend and jumped up one spot in the standings. He now sits in second with 3,068 points and is 11 points above the cutline. Allgaier will make his 21st start on Saturday at the track. He has two top fives and 10 top 10s at the track. His best finish also came earlier this season, finishing third. He has led 135 laps total at the track and has an average start of 12.8 and average finish of 12.2.

 

Brandon Jones made a huge jump in the standings after his performance at Kansas. Heading into Kansas, he was below the cutline and now he is sitting nine points above it in third in the standings. Jones has nine starts at Texas with one top five and four top 10s. Earlier this season, he finished seventh, but he has a best finish of fourth at this same race in the 2019 season. He has an average start of 8.7 and average finish of 17.9.

 

Austin Cindric fell in the standings after his early incident with fellow Playoff driver Noah Gragson at Kansas. However, he is taking the final spot above the cutline right now, two points to the good. What better racetrack to come to than Texas where he won earlier this season? This will be his sixth start at the track with one win, three top fives and four top 10s. He has an average start of 10.0 and an average finish of 5.4. He has also led 82 laps. 

 

Justin Haley is sitting in fifth in the standings with 3,057 points and is only two points below the cutline. Saturday will be Haley’s fourth start at Texas. He has two top 10s and finished eight at the race earlier this season. His first start was in 2019 and he finished seventh.

 

Ross Chastain heads to Texas in sixth place in the standings. He has 11 starts at Texas and one top five and two top 10s. Earlier this season, he finished ninth and his best finish came at this race in 2019, finishing runner-up to Christopher Bell. He has an average start of 17.6 and average finish of 17.0. He is currently 12 points below the cutline with 3,042 points.

 

Ryan Sieg jumped up one spot in the standings and is now in seventh with 3,042 points. His third-place finish last weekend but not enough to jump ahead of the cutline. He is currently 17 points below the cutline. He has made 13 starts at Texas in his career and has three top 10s. He did not have a good run earlier this season because of a suspension issue and ended up finishing 29th.

 

Noah Gragson took a huge hit last weekend and plummeted from above the cutline to the last spot in the Round of 8 standings. He is in a must-win situation at this point when it comes to Texas and Martinsville. He is 33 points below the cutline heading to Texas. This will be his fourth start at the track. Unfortunately, he did not finish the race in his last two starts because of crashes. His best start came at his debut in 2019, starts 16th and finishing 13th. He will have to fight for points and a good finish on Saturday.

 

Clinch Scenarios: Lone Star State edition

Chase Briscoe has clinched a spot in the final four while the other three spots are up for grabs. Here are the clinch scenarios for this weekend’s race at Texas, with a reminder that any driver can clinch a Championship 4 berth with a win:

 

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 standings.

  • Justin Allgaier: 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 standings.  They would also clinch if there was a new winner among Justin Allgaier and Brandon Jones and being 56 points above the second winless driver in the standings.

  • Justin Allgaier: Could only clinch with help
  • Brandon Jones: Could only clinch with help

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Haley back in the No. 11: Justin Haley and Kaulig Racing announced that Haley will be back in the No. 11 Chevrolet for the 2021 season. He will be the first driver to return for a third season with the team. Haley has earned three wins, 38 top 10s and 13 top fives with Kaulig Racing. He also added his name to an elite list with Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. as a driver to win three superspeedway races in a row. Haley, 21, became one of 34 drivers, and the second youngest, to record a win in all three NASCAR national series.

Movin’ on up: Chase Briscoe and Stewart-Haas Racing announced that Chase Briscoe is being promoted to the No. 14 Ford in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2021. As he competes for the Xfinity Series title, the 25-year-old will be readying for his Cup Series debut in 2021. HighPoint, a sponsor that joined Briscoe in 2019, will serve as the primary sponsor for the No. 14.

 

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series 

 

Truckin’ in Texas

The NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway for some Sunday afternoon action in the Lone Star State.

 

The Gander Trucks will be the first of two races on Sunday, opening for the Cup Series later in the afternoon.

 

Last weekend, the series took on Kansas Speedway, where Brett Moffitt was victorious for the first time this season and punched his ticket to the Championship 4 in Phoenix.

 

Moffitt’s GMS Racing teammate and fellow Playoff driver Sheldon Creed finished in second and Austin Hill, another Playoff driver, finished in third. Grant Enfinger finished fourth and Chandler Smith rounded out the top five.

 

Creed swept both stages and led 61 laps, but Moffitt was able to hold on for the most important ones at the end.

 

The race had four cautions for 24 laps and 13 lead changes among nine different drivers.

 

This weekend, the Speedycash.com 400 will be at 12 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and is one of two chances left for the Playoff drivers to secure their place in the Championship 4. With only three spaces left, more and more is at stake.

 

Kyle Busch won the Gander Trucks race earlier this season at Texas. Christian Eckes, who was eliminated in the first round of the Playoffs, finished second and Playoff driver Matt Crafton finished third, the highest-finishing driver still fighting for the championship.

 

The race at Texas in July had five cautions for 26 laps and 15 lead changes. The Margin of Victory was .777 seconds.

 

Crafton is the only current Playoff driver with a previous win at the track. Crafton and his ThorSport Racing teammate and veteran Johnny Sauter are the only two active drivers with any win at the track.

 

Sunday’s race will be 220.5 miles and 147 laps. Stage 1 will end on Lap 35 and Stage 2 will end on Lap 70.

 

Creed will start on the pole on Sunday with Moffitt joining him on the front row. Hill, Enfinger, Chandler Smith, Zane Smith, Crafton, Rhodes, Ankrum and Eckes will start in the top 10.

 

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoff Outlook Following Kansas-2:

 

Rank

 

      Driver

 

Points

 

Race Wins

 

Stage Wins

 

Playoff Pts

 

Pts from Cutoff

 

1

 

Brett Moffitt

 

3,060

 

1

 

6

 

16

 

In On Wins

 

 

2

 

Sheldon Creed

 

3,083

 

3

 

9

 

28

 

26

 

 

3

 

Austin Hill

 

3,076

 

2

 

3

 

28

 

19

 

 

4

 

Zane Smith #

 

3,064

 

2

 

5

 

22

 

7

 

 

 

5

 

Grant Enfinger

 

3,057

 

3

 

1

 

19

 

-7

 

 

6

 

Matt Crafton

 

3,049

 

1

 

0

 

9

 

-15

 

 

7

 

Ben Rhodes

 

3,031

 

1

 

1

 

14

 

-33

 

 

8

 

Tyler Ankrum

 

3,008

 

0

 

1

 

3

 

-56

 

 

 

Texas numbers for Gander Trucks Playoff drivers
Below is a look at the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Round of 8 Playoff drivers at Kansas Speedway (in order of seeding):

 

Brett Moffitt still wants to have a good day at Texas even though he’s already locked into the Championship 4. Sunday will be his fifth start at Texas. He has two top fives and two top 10s in those starts and an average start of 5.0 and average finish of 11.2. He has a best finish of third that came in 2018 and earlier this season, he finished fifth. He’s led 40 total laps at Texas.

 

Sheldon Creed is sitting in second in the standings right now, 26 points above the cutline with 3,083 points. He will make his fifth start at Texas on Sunday, too. He has one top 10 at the track and it came at this race in 2019. Earlier this season, he started on the pole but finished 16th. He has an average start of 4.5 and an average finish of 17.2.

 

Austin Hill is sitting in third in the Playoffs standings, 19 points above the cutline. Hill has eight starts at Texas with one top fives and two top 10s. He has an average start of 14.2 and an average finish of 16.0. Earlier this season, he didn’t finish the race due to an engine issue and finished 30th. In 2018, he got his best finish at the track in fifth.

 

Zane Smith will make his second start at Texas on Sunday. His first start at the track came earlier this season and he started sixth and finished 19th. Smith currently occupies the final spot above the cutline, seven points to the good with 3,064 points.

 

Grant Enfinger is the first driver below the cutline with 3,057 points. He will make his eighth start at the track and has four top fives and six top 10s in his seven total starts. He has never finished worse than 12th and his best finish came in his debut in 2017, finishing third. Earlier this season, he started second and finished eighth. He has an average start of 7.3 and average finish of 6.0.

 

Matt Crafton is 15 points below the cutline in sixth currently but heads to Texas with the most success of any other Playoff driver. He will make his 40th start at Texas on Sunday. He has two wins, 17 top fives and 28 top 10s in those starts. He has an average start of 12.5 and an average finish of 8.6. He’s led 431 laps and has completed 97.7% of laps attempted. Most recently, he finished third earlier this season.

 

Ben Rhodes is 33 points below the cutline and currently seventh in the Playoff standings. Sunday will mark his 10th start at Texas. He has two top fives and four top 10s in those starts. He has an average start of 11.4 and an average finish of 11.9. Earlier this season, he started 10th and finished ninth. He has a best finish of runner-up at this race in 2018.

 

Tyler Ankrum is currently taking the eighth and final spot in the Playoff standings, 56 points below the cutline. This weekend will mark his fourth career start at Texas. He has one top fives and has finished in the top 10 in all of those starts. He could definitely use a track with some good performances as it’s looking more and more like a must-win situation for Ankrum to make the Championship 4. He has an average start of 7.7 and an average finish of 5.0. Earlier this season, he finished sixth.

 

Clinch Scenarios: Lone Star State edition

Brett Moffitt has clinched a spot in the final four while the other three spots are up for grabs. Here are the clinch scenarios for this weekend’s race at Texas, knowing that any driver could clinch a shot at the championship with a win:

 

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 standings.

  • Sheldon Creed: 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 standings.  They would also clinch if there was a new winner among Sheldon Creed and Austin Hill and being 56 points above the second winless driver in the standings.

  • Sheldon Creed: Could only clinch with help
  • Austin Hill: Could only clinch with help

 

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, Etc.

James Buescher returns: NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series champion James Buescher will make his Gander Trucks return at Texas motor Speedway for Niece Motorsports. Buescher, who is from Texas, has 10 starts at the track with five top 10s and has never finished outside of the top 20 in those starts. Buescher will race with support from FHE, a manufacturer of FracLock. Buescher won the championship in 2012 and has 119 Gander Trucks starts, most recently in 2015. In total, he has six career wins, five poles and 31 top-five finishes.

 

Hailie Deegan moving to full-time Gander Trucks in 2021: Hailie Deegan made her NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series debut last weekend at Kansas Speedway in the No. 17 Ford for DGR-Crosley. She took home a 16th-place finish in her debut. During the race, it was announced that she will transition to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2021 with DGR-Crosley fulltime. Deegan joined the Ford Performance family in December 2019 and was also named the 2020 ARCA Menards Series Bounty Rookie of the Year. She finished third in the ARCA Championship standings and made her debut in a Ford at Daytona, finishing runner-up. She accumulated 17 top 10s and four top fives in 20 races this season. All other details on her 2021 season will be announced at a later date.

NASCAR PR

Speedway Digest Staff

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