Monday, Dec 05

NASCAR National Series News & Notes - Daytona International Speedway

NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Coke Zero Sugar 400

The Place: Daytona International Speedway

The Date: Saturday, August 27

The Time: 7 p.m. ET

The Purse: $8,312,719

TV: NBC, 7 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR (Channel 90)

Distance: 400 miles (160 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 35),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 95), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 160)

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: Wawa 250 Powered by Coca-Cola

The Place: Daytona International Speedway

The Date: Friday, August 26

The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

The Purse: $1,756,567

TV: USA, 7 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR (Channel 90)

Distance: 250 miles (100 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 30),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 100)

 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Next Race: Kansas Lottery 200

The Place: Kansas Speedway

The Date: Friday, September 9

The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

The Purse: $648,530

TV: FS1, 7 p.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

 

Big implications for NASCAR Cup Series regular season finale at Daytona

It all comes down to this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series regular season finale, the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway, this Saturday, August 27 at 7 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, and if history is any indicator of what to expect this weekend, everybody has a shot at the win.

 

With Kurt Busch’s announcement to withdraw his medical waiver into the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, two Playoff spots are now up for grabs heading into this weekend, and they are currently held by Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney in 15th and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. in 16th in the Playoff standings outlook. But 13 other drivers that are eligible for the postseason are facing a ‘Win or Go Home’ situation this weekend and will be vying for one of those last two postseason spots making Saturday night’s race that much more intense.

 

Since the inception of the Playoffs in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2004, Richmond Raceway hosted the regular season finale from 2004 to 2017 (14 years), and then from 2018-2019 Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosted the final regular season event. This weekend marks the third time the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway has hosted the Cup Series regular season finale (2020-2022).

 

The NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs is currently operating in its third iteration of the postseason’s points system since its inception in 2004. The first Playoff points system (from 2004 to 2009) had the top 10 to 12 drivers earn their position in the Playoffs by points only. The second version of the Playoff points system (2010 to 2013) incorporated the top 10 drivers to get in on wins/points with the addition of two extra drivers referred to as the Wild cards. The third version of the Playoff points system (2014 to Present) features drivers vying for the top 16 Playoff spots either by points or the ‘Win and You’re In’ rule. The third version of the Playoffs also instituted the elimination style format with four drivers being eliminated from the Playoffs at the conclusion of each postseason round culminating with the Championship 4 battling it out for the title in the season finale.   

 

Playoff Points System 1 (2004-2006 - Top 10 in on Points; 2007-2009 - Top 12 in on Points)

Four drivers have come from outside the postseason cutoff to make the Playoffs at Richmond in the first iteration of the Playoff championship format:

  • Jeremy Mayfield in 2004 made up a 55-point deficit
  • Ryan Newman in 2005 made up a one-point deficit
  • Kasey Kahne in 2006 made up a 30-point deficit
  • Brian Vickers in 2009 made up a 20-point deficit

 

Playoff Points System 2 (2010-2013 - Top 10 in on Wins/Points and Two Wildcards)

Seven drivers have come from outside the postseason cutoff to make the Playoffs at Richmond in the second iteration of the Playoff championship format that incorporates the Wild Card:

  • Greg Biffle and Clint Bowyer are the two drivers that clinched the Wild Card in 2010 to make the Playoffs. Biffle was 11th in points with one win; Bowyer was 12th in points with no wins heading into the regular season finale.

 

  • Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin are the two drivers that clinched the Wild Card in 2011 to make the Playoffs. Keselowski was 11th in points with three wins; Hamlin was 12th in points with one win heading into the regular season finale.

 

  • Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon are the two drivers that clinched the Wild Card in 2012 to make the Playoffs. Kahne was 11th in points with two wins; Gordon was 13th in points with one win heading into the regular season finale.

 

  • Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne are the two drivers that clinched the Wild Card in 2013 to make the Playoffs. Kahne was 12th in points with two wins; Newman was 14th in points with one win heading into regular season finale.

 

  • Due to a rare instance in the final race of the regular season that resulted in penalties being issued in 2013; a 13th car (Jeff Gordon’s No. 24) was added to the Playoffs. It was the second time in the Playoff Era the number of entries was expanded.

 

Playoff Points System 3 (2014 – Present - Top 16 in on Wins or Points/Elimination Style)

In the third iteration of the Playoff championship format from 2014-Present – Only one driver (William Byron) outside the Playoff cutoff has raced their way into the Playoffs in the regular season finale through points or last-minute wins.

  • From 2014 to 2018, the drivers that won or were inside the top 16 in the standings that were expected to make the Playoffs did - no drivers raced their way into the Playoffs in the regular season finale on points or wins.

 

  • In 2019, heading into the regular season finale at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Ryan Newman was tied with Daniel Suarez for the 16th and final transfer position to the Playoffs. Newman finished eighth in the regular season finale to Suarez’s 11th-place finish, earning the final transfer spot into the postseason.

 

  • In 2020, six drivers inside the Playoff cutoff (top 16) had not clinched a spot in the postseason heading into Daytona, but all six ultimately clinched their spots, led by William Byron, who became the first driver to win his way into the Playoffs by taking the victory in the regular season finale. No drivers outside the top 16 advanced into Playoffs in the regular season finale.

 

  • Heading into the final race of the regular season at Daytona International Speedway, the 2021 season had produced 13 different winners with two additional drivers clinching their spots on points leaving just one spot still available to make the Playoffs, and it was Richard Childress Racing teammates Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick battling it out for the final postseason position. Ultimately, Ryan Blaney won the regular season finale at Daytona International Speedway, but he had already clinched his spot in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs earlier in the season. Because of the repeat winner, the 16th and final Playoff spot was earned by points, and it was Tyler Reddick’s fifth-place finish to Austin Dillon’s 17th at Daytona that earned him enough points to advance for the first time in his career to the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.

 

Clinch Scenarios: Two spots, one last chance

This weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series regular season finale at Daytona International Speedway is the last opportunity for the drivers who have not clinched a spot in the Playoffs to earn their position in the postseason. A total of 14 drivers have already clinched their Playoff spot, leaving just two spots open for drivers to battle it out in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 this Saturday at 7 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

Already Clinched

The following 14 drivers have clinched a spot in the 16-driver postseason field: Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Ross Chastain, Christopher Bell, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, William Byron, Alex Bowman, Daniel Suarez, Tyler Reddick, Denny Hamlin, Austin Cindric and Chase Briscoe.

 

Can Clinch Via Points

If there is a repeat winner or a win by a driver who cannot advance to the Playoffs this weekend at Daytona, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the third winless driver in the standings. The same point requirements listed below would hold true if a new win comes from among Ryan Blaney or Martin Truex Jr.

  • Ryan Blaney: Would clinch regardless of finish
  • Martin Truex Jr.: Would clinch regardless of finish

 

If there is a new winner from Erik Jones or another winless driver lower in the standings but still eligible to advance to the Playoffs, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the second winless driver in the standings.

  • Ryan Blaney: Would clinch with 31 points
  • Martin Truex Jr.: Could only clinch with help

 

Can Clinch Via Win

The following drivers would clinch on their win alone:

  • Ryan Blaney (Average finish at Daytona 18.3)
  • Martin Truex Jr. (21.9)
  • Erik Jones (22.0)
  • Aric Almirola (20.1)
  • Austin Dillon (15.4)
  • Bubba Wallace (12.5)
  • Chris Buescher (22.0)
  • Justin Haley (10.7)
  • Michael McDowell (19.7)
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (20.0)
  • Cole Custer (24.4)
  • Brad Keselowski (22.6)
  • Harrison Burton (39.0)
  • Ty Dillon (19.7)
  • Todd Gilliland (33.0)

 

2022 Driver Playoff Outlook Following Race No. 25

 

Rank

 

Driver

 

Points

 

Wins

 

Stages

 

Playoff Pts

 

Pts From Cutoff

 

1

 

Chase Elliott

 

922

 

4

 

5

 

25

 

In On Wins

 

2

 

Kyle Larson

 

788

 

2

 

3

 

13

 

3

 

Joey Logano

 

767

 

2

 

4

 

14

 

4

 

Ross Chastain

 

761

 

2

 

5

 

15

 

5

 

Kevin Harvick

 

690

 

2

 

0

 

10

 

6

 

William Byron

 

664

 

2

 

3

 

13

 

7

 

Tyler Reddick

 

602

 

2

 

2

 

12

 

8

 

Denny Hamlin

 

591

 

2

 

3

 

13

 

9

 

Christopher Bell

 

733

 

1

 

2

 

7

 

10

 

Kyle Busch

 

679

 

1

 

1

 

6

 

11

 

Alex Bowman

 

615

 

1

 

1

 

6

 

12

 

Daniel Suarez

 

614

 

1

 

2

 

7

 

13

 

Austin Cindric #

 

580

 

1

 

1

 

6

 

14

 

Chase Briscoe

 

571

 

1

 

4

 

9

 

15

 

Ryan Blaney

 

779

 

0

 

5

 

5

 

212

 

16

 

Martin Truex Jr.

 

754

 

0

 

7

 

7

 

187

 

17

 

Erik Jones

 

567

 

0

 

0

 

0

 

-187

 

18

 

Aric Almirola

 

560

 

0

 

0

 

0

 

-194

 

19

 

Austin Dillon

 

524

 

0

 

0

 

0

 

-230

 

20

 

Bubba Wallace

 

519

 

0

 

1

 

1

 

-235

 

21

 

Chris Buescher

 

512

 

0

 

0

 

0

 

-242

 

23

 

Justin Haley

 

480

 

0

 

0

 

0

 

-274

 

24

 

Michael McDowell

 

435

 

0

 

0

 

-10

 

-319

 

25

 

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

 

432

 

0

 

0

 

0

 

-322

 

26

 

Cole Custer

 

431

 

0

 

0

 

0

 

-323

 

27

 

Brad Keselowski

 

411

 

0

 

0

 

-10

 

-343

 

28

 

Harrison Burton #

 

395

 

0

 

0

 

0

 

-359

 

29

 

Ty Dillon

 

377

 

0

 

0

 

0

 

-377

 

30

 

Todd Gilliland #

 

374

 

0

 

0

 

0

 

-380

 

22

 

Kurt Busch

 

485

 

1

 

2

 

7

 

Waived Eligibility

 

 

Team Penske’s driver Ryan Blaney is just 25 points up on Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. heading into this weekend’s regular season finale, which will be important as the final two Playoff spots are settled. Truex is looking to make the Playoffs for the 10th time in his career. But the North Carolina native, Blaney, is playing it cool despite the added pressure.

 

“You can’t stress yourself out about it,” said Blaney. “It is either going to happen, or it isn’t, whether you make the Playoffs or not.”

 

As Blaney attempts to make the postseason for the sixth time in his career this weekend, he will also be looking to become the sixth driver in series history to win consecutive Summer races at Daytona; joining Fireball Roberts (1962-1963), A.J. Foyt (1964-1965), Cale Yarborough (1967-1968) David Pearson (1972 - 1974) and Tony Stewart (2005-2006).

 

Truex on the other hand is looking for his first win on a superspeedway since joining the NASCAR Cup Series. In 34 Daytona starts, he has put up three top fives and five top 10s. He finished runner-up in this race in 2018.

 

Daytona International Speedway: The perfect stage for the regular season finale

All eyes will be on the ‘World Center of Racing’ this weekend – Daytona International Speedway – as the iconic hallowed grounds will play host to the NASCAR Cup Series regular season finale, the Coke Zero Sugar 400, this Saturday at 7 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).

 

Daytona International Speedway, the 2.5-mile paved superspeedway oval located in Daytona Beach, Florida, has hosted 150 NASCAR Cup Series races since the inaugural event in 1959 - 64 have been 500 miles, 59 were 400 miles and four were 250 miles. There were also 23 qualifier races that were point races. But this weekend marks just the third time the summer race will be the NASCAR Cup Series regular season finale (2020-2022).

 

The 150 NASCAR Cup Series races at the historic Daytona International Speedway have produced 63 different pole winners and 69 different race winners. NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough leads the NASCAR Cup Series in poles at Daytona with 12 (Feb. 1968, July 1969, 1970 sweep, 1978 sweep, July 1980, July 1981, July 1983, 1984 sweep, July 1986). Eight of the 12 poles are from the summer race, which is also the series-most for that event.

 

Nine of the 63 NASCAR Cup Series Daytona pole winners are active this weekend, but only three have won poles for the summer race at Daytona: Chase Elliott (2018), Kyle Busch (2013) and Kevin Harvick (2002).

 

Rank

 

Active Daytona Pole Winners

 

Poles

 

Seasons

 

1

 

Chase Elliott

 

3

 

2018 (July), 2017 (Feb.), 2016 (Feb.)

 

2

 

Alex Bowman

 

2

 

2021 (Feb.), 2018 (Feb.)

 

3

 

Kyle Larson

 

1

 

2022 (Feb.)

 

4

 

Ricky Stenhouse Jr

 

1

 

2020 (Feb.)

 

5

 

William Byron

 

1

 

2019 (Feb.)

 

6

 

Austin Dillon

 

1

 

2014 (Feb.)

 

7

 

Kyle Busch

 

1

 

2013 (July)

 

8

 

Martin Truex Jr

 

1

 

2009 (Feb.)

 

9

 

Kevin Harvick

 

1

 

2002 (July)

 

 

NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty leads the NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Daytona with 10 victories (Feb. 1964, Feb. 1966, Feb. 1971, Feb. 1973, Feb. 1974, July 1975, July 1977, Feb. 1979, Feb. 1981, July 1984). Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin (Feb. 2016, Feb. 2019, Feb. 2020) leads all active drivers in Daytona wins with three.

 

Of the 69 NASCAR Cup Series Daytona winners, 41 of them have won the summer race (59.4%). NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson leads the series in summer race victories at Daytona with five wins (1961, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1978).

 

A total of 15 NASCAR Cup Series Daytona winners are active this weekend and 10 of those 15 have won the summer event at Daytona. Eight of the 15 need a win this weekend to secure their spot in the Playoffs (drivers needing a win to make Playoffs bolded in chart below).

 

Rank

 

Active Daytona Race Winners

 

Wins

 

Seasons

 

1

 

Denny Hamlin

 

3

 

2020 (Feb.), 2019 (Feb.), 2016 (Feb.)

 

2

 

Kevin Harvick

 

2

 

2010 (July), 2007 (Feb.)

 

3

 

Austin Cindric

 

1

 

2022 (Feb.)

 

4

 

Ryan Blaney

 

1

 

2021 (Aug.)

 

5

 

Michael McDowell

 

1

 

2021 (Feb.)

 

6

 

William Byron

 

1

 

2020 (Aug.)

 

7

 

Justin Haley

 

1

 

2019 (July)

 

8

 

Erik Jones

 

1

 

2018 (July)

 

9

 

Austin Dillon

 

1

 

2018 (Feb.)

 

10

 

Ricky Stenhouse Jr

 

1

 

2017 (July)

 

11

 

Kurt Busch

 

1

 

2017 (Feb.)

 

12

 

Brad Keselowski

 

1

 

2016 (July)

 

13

 

Joey Logano

 

1

 

2015 (Feb.)

 

14

 

Aric Almirola

 

1

 

2014 (July)

 

15

 

David Ragan

 

1

 

2011 (July)

 

16

 

Kyle Busch

 

1

 

2008 (July)

 

 

The youngest Daytona summer race winner is Justin Haley (07/07/2019 – 20 years, 2 months, 9 days); all-time track record - Trevor Bayne (02/20/2011 – 20 years, 0 months, 1 day). The oldest Daytona summer race winner is Bobby Allison (07/04/1987 – 49 years, 7 months, 1 day); all-time track record is also Bobby Allison (02/14/1988 – 50 years, 5 months, 23 days).

 

A total of 22 different starting positions have produced winners in the NASCAR Cup Series Summer races at Daytona. The first starting position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (nine) than any other starting position in the summer races at Daytona International Speedway. The most recent driver to win from the pole or first starting position at Daytona in the NASCAR Cup Series was NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the 2015 July race. The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Daytona is 42nd, by NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart in the 2012 July race. Ryan Blaney won last season’s August Daytona race from the sixth starting position, the 47th summer Daytona race (out of 59) won from a starting position inside the top-10 (79.6%).

 

This weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series on-track activity at Daytona International Speedway will begin with Busch Light Pole Qualifying on Friday, August 26 at 5 p.m. ET (USA Network).

 

First-time winners aplenty at the World Center of Racing

One thing Daytona International Speedway is known for is unpredictable finishes that on occasion produce first-time winners in the NASCAR Cup Series. In fact, three of the last four NASCAR Cup Series summer races at Daytona International Speedway have fashioned just that – first-time winners.

 

A total of 23 different drivers have posted their first NASCAR Cup Series win at Daytona International Speedway, 11 of the 23 drivers posted their first win in the summer races. The most recent first-time winner at Daytona was back in February when Team Penske’s Austin Cindric became the first rookie to win the Daytona 500 season opener. The most recent first-time winner in the summer races at Daytona was the August race of 2020 with race winner William Byron earning his spot in the Playoffs.

 

First-Time Cup Race Winners (23) at Daytona

 

 Start Pos.

 

Date

 

Driver's Age

 

Austin Cindric

 

5

 

Sunday, February 20, 2022

 

23

 

Michael McDowell

 

17

 

Sunday, February 14, 2021

 

36

 

William Byron

 

6

 

Saturday, August 29, 2020

 

22

 

Justin Haley

 

34

 

Sunday, July 7, 2019

 

20

 

Erik Jones

 

29

 

Saturday, July 7, 2018

 

22

 

Aric Almirola

 

15

 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

 

30

 

David Ragan

 

5

 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

 

25

 

Trevor Bayne

 

32

 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

 

20

 

Greg Biffle

 

30

 

Saturday, July 5, 2003

 

33

 

Michael Waltrip

 

19

 

Sunday, February 18, 2001

 

37

 

John Andretti

 

3

 

Saturday, July 5, 1997

 

34

 

Jimmy Spencer

 

3

 

Saturday, July 2, 1994

 

37

 

Sterling Marlin

 

4

 

Sunday, February 20, 1994

 

36

 

Derrike Cope

 

12

 

Sunday, February 18, 1990

 

31

 

Greg Sacks

 

9

 

Thursday, July 4, 1985

 

32

 

Pete Hamilton

 

9

 

Sunday, February 22, 1970

 

27

 

Mario Andretti

 

12

 

Sunday, February 26, 1967

 

26

 

Sam McQuagg

 

4

 

Monday, July 4, 1966

 

28

 

Earl Balmer

 

6

 

Friday, February 25, 1966

 

30

 

A.J. Foyt

 

19

 

Saturday, July 4, 1964

 

29

 

Bobby Isaac

 

4

 

Friday, February 21, 1964

 

31

 

Tiny Lund

 

12

 

Sunday, February 24, 1963

 

33

 

Johnny Rutherford

 

9

 

Friday, February 22, 1963

 

24

 

 

Of 23 different drivers that posted their first NASCAR Cup Series career win at Daytona International Speedway, Justin Haley started the deepest in the field at Daytona to win his first race with a 34th-place starting position in 2019.

 

Hendrick Motorsports and Chase Elliott win 2022 Regular Season Championship

Last weekend at Watkins Glen International, Hendrick Motorsports driver and 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott from Dawsonville, Georgia became the fifth different driver to win the Regular Season Championship presented by Coca-Cola; joining Kyle Larson (2021), Kevin Harvick (2020), Kyle Busch (2019, 2018) and Martin Truex Jr. (2017). 

 

With the 2022 Regular Season Championship, Elliott will not only take home the trophy and the prestige but also the 15 bonus Playoff points. Elliott currently leads the NASCAR Cup Series in Playoff points this season with 25 and with the addition of the bonus 15, he is looking at entering the postseason with at least 40 Playoffs points.

 

This season marks the seventh time Elliott has earned a spot in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. In 25 starts this year, he has collected a series-leading four wins, five stage wins, 10 top fives and 17 top 10s.

 

Looking ahead to the season finale this weekend at Daytona, Elliott is looking for his first win at the iconic high-banked track. In 13 series starts at Daytona, he has put up two top fives and four top 10s.

 

Daytona Dominators: The best of the best at the World Center of Racing

Winning at one of NASCAR’s most prestigious tracks, Daytona International Speedway, is a major accomplishment. So, it is not all that surprising that the top 10 series winningest drivers at Daytona are all in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

 

Top 10 NASCAR Cup Series Daytona International Speedway Winners

 

Rank

 

Daytona Winners

 

Total

 

Daytona 500 Wins

 

Summer Race Wins

 

1

 

Richard Petty

 

10

 

7

 

3

 

2

 

Cale Yarborough

 

9

 

5

 

4

 

3

 

David Pearson

 

8

 

3

 

5

 

4

 

Fireball Roberts

 

7

 

4

 

3

 

5

 

Bobby Allison

 

6

 

3

 

3

 

 

 

Jeff Gordon

 

6

 

3

 

3

 

7

 

Bill Elliott

 

4

 

2

 

2

 

 

 

Dale Earnhardt Jr

 

4

 

2

 

2

 
   

Dale Jarrett

 

4

 

3

 

1

 

 

 

Junior Johnson

 

4

 

4

 

0

 
   

Tony Stewart

 

4

 

0

 

4

 

 

This weekend the NASCAR Cup Series field will have 16 former Daytona International Speedway winners entered, led by Denny Hamlin with three wins. The most recent winner at Daytona that is entered this weekend is rookie Austin Cindric who won the Daytona 500 (2022) earlier this season.

 

Cindric heads into this weekend looking to become the sixth different driver in NASCAR Cup Series history to sweep both Daytona races (Daytona 500 & Summer race) in a single season; joining Fireball Roberts – 1962 (Daytona 500, Firecracker 250); Cale Yarborough – 1968 (Daytona 500, Firecracker 400); LeeRoy Yarborough – 1969 (Daytona 500, Firecracker 400); Bobbie Allison – 1982 (Daytona 500, Firecracker 400); Jimmie Johnson – 2013 (Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola)

 

Since the ‘Win and You’re In’ format was initiated in the Playoffs in 2016, Erik Jones’ 2018 summer race win and William Byron’s summer win last season are the only two summer race victories at Daytona to clinch a driver into the postseason – the other three winners were either not eligible for the Playoffs due to not competing for a championship in the series (Haley in 2019) or the drivers had already previously won in the same season (Keselowski in 2016 and Stenhouse in 2017). 

 

NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.

Kurt Busch waives Playoff exemption – 23XI Racing and Kurt Busch announced this week that Kurt Busch will waive his medical exemption into the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs giving up his postseason position.

 

“As much as I wanted and hoped to be able to get back in the No. 45 car to make a playoff run with our team, it’s still not the right time for me,” said Busch. “In addition to not being cleared to return to racing, I know that I am not ready to be back in the car. I respect the sport of NASCAR, my fellow drivers and the fans too much to take up a playoff spot if I know I can’t compete for a championship this season. The decision was not an easy one, but I know it is the right thing to do. I will continue to take time to heal and strengthen as I prepare to be back in the car and will do all I can to help 23XI continue the success we have had this season.”

 

With Busch no longer participating in the Playoffs, there are now two postseason spots up for grabs this weekend at Daytona International Speedway and they are currently occupied by Ryan Blaney (15th) and Martin Truex Jr. (16th).

 

“Kurt has elevated our entire organization this year,” said 23XI team president, Steve Lauletta. “Although Kurt will not be competing for a championship this season, he will continue to play a vital role in the organization as he works with our competition group to keep improving and strengthening the team.” 

 

The No. 45 23XI Racing Toyota team will compete in the NASCAR Cup Series Owner Playoffs this season, and Ty Gibbs will be behind the wheel at Daytona. If the No. 45 23XI Racing Toyota team were to win the NASCAR Cup Series owners title, it would be just the third time in series history that a split driver and owner championship has occurred and the first time since 1963.

 

The first time the NASCAR Cup Series had a split driver and owners championship was in 1954. Lee Petty won the drivers championship that season on seven wins, driving a Petty Enterprises Chrysler, but it was car owner Herb Thomas who took home the owners championship in 1954 after his No. 92 Hudson team finished the season with 12 victories.

 

The second and only other time the series saw a spit championship was in 1963, when Joe Weatherly won the series driver championship, but it was the Wood Brothers Racing organization that won the owners championship that season. Weatherly’s season was strong putting up three wins and 35 top 10s in 54 starts, but the famous No. 21 team was able to grab five wins on the season and take the owners title.

 

Better Than Ezra to perform pre-race concert at Daytona - Multi-platinum rock band Better Than Ezra will perform the pre-race concert at Daytona International Speedway prior to the Coke Zero Sugar 400 on Saturday, Aug. 27. The New Orleans-based group will take the stage at 5:30 p.m. ET on pit road and the concert is just one of many pre-race activities available for fans this weekend.

 

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to play at a venue as renowned as Daytona International Speedway, let alone at such an exciting event,” said Kevin Griffin, lead singer, guitarist and pianist in the band. “We can’t wait to perform for a crowd as enthusiastic as NASCAR fans, and we plan to put on a great show for everyone.”

 

In 2018, Better Than Ezra was named to Billboard’s “100 Greatest Alternative Artists of All Time,” as well as earning a spot on Billboard’s “100 Greatest Alternative Songs of All Time” with their hit song “Good.”

 

“Between the pre-race festivities and the action-packed competition, the upcoming weekend at The World Center of Racing is slated to be a fantastic event,” said Daytona International Speedway President Frank Kelleher. “Now, with the addition of Better Than Ezra as our pre-race concert, it’s going to be even more special. I’m thrilled we’re able to continue the pre-race concert series in 2022 and create such a wonderful experience for all the fans.”

 

Spoiler Alert for Daytona – While majority of the competitors this weekend will be vying for NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs and running for points and wins in the NASCAR Cup Series championship, five drivers are entered in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 that are not running for the title in the series and are looking to play the spoiler by grabbing the win this weekend – Daniel Hemric (No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet), Ty Gibbs (No. 45 23XI Racing Toyota), Noah Gragson (No. 62 Beard Motorsports Chevrolet), Landon Cassill (No. 77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet) and BJ McLeod (No. 78 Live Fast Motorsports Ford).

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

 

Next Up: Friday night under lights at Daytona International Speedway

Just four races remain in the NASCAR Xfinity Series regular season (Daytona, Darlington, Kansas and Bristol) and a lot can happen to shake up the standings as the 2022 season winds down. After a weekend of road course racing at Watkins Glen International, the Xfinity Series returns to the World Center of Racing – Daytona International Speedway - for the Wawa 250 Powered by Coca Cola on Friday, August 26 under the lights at 7:30 p.m. ET  on USA, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).

 

This weekend marks the second time the Xfinity Series has competed at Daytona International Speedway this season. The last time the Xfinity competitors battled it out in Daytona was in February for the season opener, where Richard Childress Racing’s rookie Austin Hill took the checkered flag.

 

The iconic track has produced 35 different race winners and 42 different pole winners in 61 Xfinity Series races.

Veteran Joe Nemechek leads the NASCAR Xfinity Series in poles at Daytona with four poles (2001, 2002 sweep and 2005). Seven of the 42 Xfinity Series pole winners are active this weekend.

 

NASCAR Hall of Famers Dale Earnhardt and Tony Stewart are tied with the series-most Xfinity wins at Daytona with seven each. Only four of the 35 different Xfinity winners are active this weekend at Daytona – Joe Nemechek (two wins: 1998, 2002), Justin Haley (two wins: 2020, 2021), Noah Gragson (2020) and Austin Hill (2022). Haley is looking to become the first driver to win three consecutive Xfinity Summer Daytona races since the series started coming to the 2.5-mile track twice a year in 2002. 

 

Five Xfinity Daytona races have been won from the pole or first starting position, most recently by Austin Cindric in the 2021 season opener. William Byron currently sits as the track’s youngest Xfinity winner, a feat he accomplished in 2017 at 19 years, six months and one day; while Bobby Allison sits as the oldest winner at 50 years, two months and 10 days old.

 

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will be skipping practice this weekend and will dive straight into qualifying at 3:05 p.m. ET on Friday, August 26 on USA Network.

 

Need a win? Daytona might just be the place

In the 61 NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Daytona International Speedway, eight have granted drivers their first series career win and with just four races left in the 2022 regular season, several drivers entered this weekend would like to add their name to the winner’s column.

 

NASCAR Hall of Famers Dale Earnhardt (1982) and Tony Stewart (2005) are joined by Chad Little (1995), James Buescher (2021), Ryan Reed (2015), Michael Annett (2019), Noah Gragson (2020) and Austin Hill (2022) as the eight competitors that earned their first career Xfinity Series win at Daytona.

 

This weekend, 27 of the 43 drivers entered are looking for their first NASCAR Xfinity Series career victory.

 

Austin Hill looks for the 2022 sweep at Daytona

Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Hill hoped to kick off his first full-time season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with a bang, and that he did.

 

In his second-ever Xfinity Series start at Daytona International Speedway, Hill snatched the win from veteran AJ Allmendinger, who finished in the runner-up position, followed by Noah Gragson in third, Riley Herbst in fourth and Justin Allgaier rounded out the top-five.

 

But Hill wasn’t done touting his superspeedway prowess as the Georgia native went on to win again at the second Atlanta Motor Speedway race of the season back in July

 

With two wins, nine top fives and 14 top 10s racked up this season thus far, the rookie Hill will look to join NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Jr. and become just the second driver all-time to sweep both NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Daytona in a single season.

 

Prior to Watkins Glen, Hill was on an eight-week streak that consisted of one win, four top fives and eight top 10s. Hill will definitely have his work cut out for him as a couple previous Daytona winners are entered for this Friday’s Wawa 250 Powered by Coca Cola – Justin Haley (2020, 2021) who will be making his first Xfinity Series start of the 2022 season in the No. 14 Chevrolet with Kaulig Racing, veteran Joe Nemechek (1998, 2002) and JR Motorsports’ Noah Gragson (2020).

 

Clinch Scenarios: It’s Crunch Time!

With a Kyle Larson win last weekend at Watkins Glen International, drivers will be pushing the limits at Daytona for one of the five remaining spots in the 12-driver Playoff field. Below is a look at the clinch scenarios heading into Friday’s race at Daytona International Speedway:

 

Already Clinched

The following seven drivers have clinched a spot in the 12-driver postseason field: AJ Allmendinger, Ty Gibbs, Justin Allgaier, Noah Gragson, Josh Berry, Austin Hill, Brandon Jones.

 

Can clinch via win

The following drivers would clinch on their win alone:

  • Riley Herbst, Sam Mayer, Daniel Hemric, Landon Cassill, Ryan Sieg, Sheldon Creed

 

The following drivers could clinch with a win:

  • Anthony Alfredo: Could only clinch with help
  • Brandon Brown: Could only clinch with help

 

For the drivers that could clinch on their win alone, let’s take a look at how they’ve done at Daytona:

  • Riley Herbst - Has posted two top fives and three top 10s in six starts
  • Sam Mayer – Two starts with a best finish of 12th in this race last season
  • Daniel Hemric – Has posted one top five and three top 10s in eight starts
  • Landon Cassill – Has made 10 starts with one top five and one top 10
  • Sheldon Creed – Has made two starts with a best finish of sixth earlier this season

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

 

Double duty for some Xfinity Series drivers – Four Xfinity Series regulars will be getting extra time on the track this weekend – Ty Gibbs, Noah Gragson, Landon Cassill and Daniel Hemric.

 

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ty Gibbs had to unexpectedly step in for Kurt Busch earlier this season and will continue to pilot the No. 45 Toyota through Daytona. Although this will be his first Cup Series start at the track, he has posted one Xfinity Series start in Daytona (2022) where he finished 11th.

Noah Gragson has already punched his ticket to the NASCAR Cup Series in 2023, so some extra time getting a feel for the Next Gen car doesn’t hurt. He’ll be driving the No. 62 Beard Motorsports Chevrolet for his second Cup Series Daytona start.

 

Landon Cassill will be making his 18th Cup Series Daytona start in the No. 77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet this weekend. His best finish at the 2.5-mile track was 11th in the 2019 summer race.

 

Daniel Hemric will be making his fourth Cup Series start at Daytona in the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet. His best finish was 12th earlier this season.

 

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. joining Big Machine Racing at Daytona – NASCAR Cup Series regular and two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion (2011-2012) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will kick off his double-duty weekend with Big Machine Racing in the No. 48 Chevrolet in the Wawa 250 Powered by Coca Cola. This will be his second Xfinity Series start of the 2022 season.

 

Stenhouse is yet to post a Xfinity Series win at Daytona. His last stint at the 2.5-mile track in the Xfinity Series was in 2012 where he started the race in the first starting position and finished runner-up.

 

Father-son duo in Daytona – Joe and John Hunter Nemechek will be competing against each other this weekend not only as father and son, but also as teammates. They both will be joining Sam Hunt Racing, Joe in the No. 24 Toyota and John Hunter in the No. 26 Toyota.

 

This will not be the first time they have competed against each other. They first lined up on the grid together in 2017 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in Daytona. Since then, they have run three Cup races, 13 Xfinity races and 29 Truck races against each other. However, the last time they competed as teammates was in 2019 at Phoenix Raceway.

 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

 

Stats point to 2022 Camping World Truck Series season being one of the best

Just two more weekends off until the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to action at Kansas Speedway for the Playoffs Round of 8 finale, the Kansas Lottery 200 on Sept. 9 (7:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR). But before the engines fire back up, let’s take a look at how the competition has fared this season.

 

Through 18 races, the 2022 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season is tied with the 2012 season for the series-most different winners with 13 each. This season’s Camping World Truck Series winners include:

 

2022 Race Winners

 

Wins

 

Tracks

 

Chandler Smith

 

3

 

Las Vegas, Pocono, Richmond

 

Zane Smith

 

3

 

Daytona, Austin, Kansas

 

Corey Heim

 

2

 

Atlanta, Gateway

 

Ben Rhodes

 

1

 

Bristol Dirt

 

Grant Enfinger

 

1

 

Indianapolis

 

John H. Nemechek

 

1

 

Darlington

 

Kyle Busch

 

1

 

Sonoma

 

Parker Kligerman

 

1

 

Mid-Ohio

 

Ross Chastain

 

1

 

Charlotte

 

Ryan Preece

 

1

 

Nashville

 

Stewart Friesen

 

1

 

Texas

 

Todd Gilliland

 

1

 

Knoxville

 

William Byron

 

1

 

Martinsville

 

 

The 2022 Camping World Truck Series season has also produced 6.17 lead changes per race – the ninth-most through 18 races since the inception of the series in 1995.

 

In addition, the 2022 season has produced 10.94 average lead changes per race – the fifth-most through 18 Camping World Truck Series races since 1995.

 

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this season has also seen 319 green flag passes for the lead through 18 races – the eighth-most since the Loop Data stat was originally tabulated in 2007 - with an average of 17.7 green flag passes for the lead per race. The GFPL record though 18 races in the Truck Series is 436 set in 2018.

 

The series has also produced the 25,401 total green flag passes through the field – the third-most since the Loop Data stat was originally tabulated in 2007 – with an average of 1,411 green flag passes per race. The GFP record through 18 series races is 27,379 set in 2013.

  

The passing has been top notch but so have the finishes. The 2022 season’s 18 races have produced an average margin of victory of 0.916-second, the fifth closest margin of victory through 18 races since the inception of the series in 1995, and just the ninth season through 18 races with a margin of victory of less than a second. In total, 11 of the 18 races this season have finished with a margin of victory of less than a second.

 

On top of all that, the 2022 season is seeing the second-highest percentage of trucks ‘Running at the Finish’ all-time with 83.90%; second only to the 2006 season with 88.27%.

 

Clinch Scenarios: Kansas Speedway

Only two drivers have clinched spots in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs’ Round of 8 – GMS Racing’s Grant Enfinger (Indianapolis winner) and Kyle Busch Motorsports’ Chandler Smith (Richmond winner) – which means a lot can happen among the six other positions that are still open with one race to go. Below are the clinch scenarios heading into the Round of 8 finale at Kansas Speedway on September 9, 2022.

 

Already Clinched

The following two drivers have clinched a spot in the eight-driver field of the next round: Chandler Smith, Grant Enfinger.

 

Can Clinch Via Points

If there is a repeat winner or a win by a driver who cannot advance to the next round, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the 7th winless driver in the standings.  The same point requirements listed below would hold true if a new win comes from among Zane Smith, John Hunter Nemechek, Ty Majeski, Stewart Friesen, Ben Rhodes or Matt Crafton.

  • Zane Smith: Would clinch with 10 points
  • John Hunter Nemechek: Would clinch with 13 points
  • Ty Majeski: Would clinch with 20 points
  • Stewart Friesen: Would clinch with 25 points
  • Ben Rhodes: Would clinch with 34 points (needs 35 points if Crafton wins)
  • Matt Crafton: Would clinch with 53 points
  • Carson Hocevar: Would clinch with 55 points (needs help if Crafton wins)
  • Christian Eckes: Could only clinch with help

 

If there is a new winner from Carson Hocevar or Christian Eckes, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the 6th winless driver in the standings.

  • Zane Smith: Would clinch with 13 points
  • John Hunter Nemechek: Would clinch with 16 points
  • Ty Majeski: Would clinch with 23 points
  • Stewart Friesen: Would clinch with 28 points
  • Ben Rhodes: Would clinch with 38 points
  • Matt Crafton: Could only clinch with help
  • Carson Hocevar: Could only clinch with help
  • Christian Eckes: Could only clinch with help

 

Can Clinch Via Win

The following drivers would clinch on their win alone: Zane Smith, John Hunter Nemechek, Ty Majeski, Stewart Friesen, Ben Rhodes, Matt Crafton, Carson Hocevar and Christian Eckes.

 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.

 

Sunoco Rookie of the Year Standings Update – Kyle Busch Motorsport’s rising star, Corey Heim, has strengthened his grip on the 2022 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings after posting his third straight top-five finish and fifth overall on the season at Richmond Raceway. Now the Marietta, Georgia native has an 87-point lead on second place in the rookie standings, Niece Motorsports’ Lawless Alan.

 

Though Heim has only participated in 11 of the 18 scheduled races this season, he has been the top of his 2022 rookie class putting up two wins (Atlanta, Gateway), five top fives and six top 10s.

 

NCWTS 2022 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Standings

 

Rookies

 

Points

 

Awards

 

Corey Heim

 

335

 

5

 

Lawless Alan

 

248

 

7

 

Dean Thompson

 

227

 

4

 

Jack Wood

 

220

 

2

 

Blaine Perkins

 

150

 

0

 

 

 

Truck Series Owner Playoffs Update – With Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 18 Toyota taking the win at Richmond, they are the only team currently locked into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Round of 8, leaving seven spots still wide open heading into the round’s finale at Kansas Speedway on Sept. 9.

 

The highest ranked team without a win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Owner Playoffs is the Front Row Motorsports No. 38 Ford team, up +46 points on the Round of 8 cutline. Plus, the No. 38 team is the most recent winners at the next track on the schedule, Kansas Speedway.

 

At the other end of the Playoff standings, straddling the Playoffs’ Round of 8 cutline, is Niece Motorsports’ No. 42 Chevrolet team in the eighth and final transfer spot on points, up two points over Team DGR’s No. 17 Ford team in ninth - the first spot outside the Round of 8 cutoff. Not far behind Team DGR’s No. 17 Ford team in ninth, is ThorSport Racing’s No. 98 Toyota team in 10th, the basement of the Playoff standings, but within striking distance, just three points behind Niece Motorsports’ No. 42 team.

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