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NASCAR National Series News & Notes – Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL


NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: Bank of America 400
The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL
The Date: Sunday, October 11
The Time: 2 p.m. ET
TV: NBC, 2:30 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 252.88 miles (109 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 25), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 50), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 109)

NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: Drive for the Cure 250 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina
The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL
The Date: Saturday, October 10
The Time: 3 p.m. ET
TV: NBC, 3:30 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 155.44 miles (67 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 20), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 40), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 67)

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series
Next Race: Clean Harbors 200
The Place: Kansas Speedway
The Date: Saturday, October 17
The Time: 4 p.m. ET
TV: FOX, 3:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
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

Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL paves the way for Round of 12 Playoff cutoff

The NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs have reached the Round of 12 cutoff event, the Bank of America 400 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL this Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Two drivers, Denny Hamlin and Kurt Busch, have locked themselves into the Round of 8 on wins, leaving six spots still up for grabs this weekend at Charlotte.

The 2020 season marks the first time the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff’s sixth race has been held at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL. Prior to 2020, the ROVAL hosted the third race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs for two seasons (2018, 2019) – Ryan Blaney won the Playoff event in 2018 and Chase Elliott won in 2019. The Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL is the fourth different track to host the sixth race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs; joining Martinsville Speedway (2004-2010), Talladega Superspeedway (2011, 2013-2016) and Kansas Speedway (2012, 2017-2019).

Sixth Race of the Playoffs – Race Winners
Season Track Playoff Race Winners
2019 Kansas Denny Hamlin
2018 Kansas Chase Elliott
2017 Kansas Martin Truex Jr
2016 Talladega Joey Logano
2015 Talladega Joey Logano
2014 Talladega Brad Keselowski
2013 Talladega Jamie McMurray
2012 Kansas Matt Kenseth
2011 Talladega Clint Bowyer
2010 Martinsville Denny Hamlin
2009 Martinsville Denny Hamlin
2008 Martinsville Jimmie Johnson
2007 Martinsville Jimmie Johnson
2006 Martinsville Jimmie Johnson
2005 Martinsville Jeff Gordon
2004 Martinsville Jimmie Johnson

A total of 10 different drivers have won the sixth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, led by Hendrick Motorsport’s driver Jimmie Johnson with four victories – all at Martinsville Speedway (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008).

Four times the winner of the sixth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs has gone on to win the title later that season; once at Kansas Speedway and three times at Martinsville Speedway:

  • In 2006, Jimmie Johnson won at Martinsville, then the sixth race in the Playoffs, and went on to win his first NASCAR Cup Series title later that season.
  • In 2007, Jimmie Johnson won at Martinsville, then the sixth race in the Playoffs, and went on to win his second consecutive NASCAR Cup Series title later that season.
  • In 2008, Jimmie Johnson won at Martinsville, then the sixth race in the Playoffs, and went on to win his third consecutive NASCAR Cup Series title later that season.
  • In 2017, Martin Truex Jr. won at Kansas, then the sixth race in the Playoffs, and went on to win his first NASCAR Cup Series title later that season.

The worst finish by a driver in the sixth Playoff race that went on to win the series title was:

  • At Kansas Speedway (2012, 2017-2019) – Brad Keselowski in 2012 and Joey Logano in 2018 each finished eighth in the sixth race of the Playoffs at Kansas Speedway and then went on to win the title later that same season.
  • At Talladega Superspeedway (2011, 2013-2016) – Jimmie Johnson in 2016 finished 23rd in the sixth race of the Playoffs at Talladega Superspeedway and went on to win the title later that season.
  • At Martinsville Speedway (2004-2010) – Jimmie Johnson in 2010 and Kurt Busch in 2004 each finished fifth in the sixth race of the Playoffs at Martinsville Speedway and then went on to win the title later that same season.

Last season’s Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course winner, Chase Elliott, finished the season 10th in the final championship standings and the 2018 Charlotte ROVAL winner, Ryan Blaney, finished the season 10th in the 2018 final standings.

Three non-Playoff drivers have won the sixth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs – one at Martinsville Speedway and two at Talladega Superspeedway:

  • In 2005, NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon won the sixth race in the Playoffs at Martinsville Speedway, he was ranked 15th in the series standings at the time of the win.
  • In 2011, Clint Bowyer won the sixth race in the Playoffs at Talladega Superspeedway, he was ranked 13th in the series standings at the time of the win.
  • In 2013, Jamie McMurray won the sixth race in the Playoffs at Talladega Superspeedway, he was ranked 14th in the series standings at the time of the win.

In total there have been 124 NASCAR Cup Series points races at Charlotte Motor Speedway (includes road course configuration), two races per year since the track opened in 1960. A total of 122 races on the oval track and two races on the road course. In 2017, the track underwent renovations to add what is now known as the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL a 2.32-mile, 17-turn, multi-elevational road course that incorporates part of the oval. With only two previous NASCAR Cup Series Playoff races to its credit, the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL is the youngest of the 10 Playoff tracks. The Charlotte road course configuration has produced two different pole winners (Kurt Busch in 2018 and William Byron in 2019) and two different winners (Ryan Blaney in 2018 and Chase Elliott in 2019).

Starting on the front row for the Bank of America 400 this weekend will be last Sunday’s Talladega winner Denny Hamlin on the pole and defending Charlotte ROVAL winner Chase Elliott on the outside front row.

Clinch Scenarios: Last chance to make the Round of 8

This weekend’s Bank of America 400 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL will bring the second round of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs to a close and four more drivers will be eliminated from the postseason bringing the total to eight. Two drivers, Denny Hamlin and Kurt Busch are locked in on wins and moving on, leaving six spots still up for grabs. All remaining drivers can clinch a spot in the next round with a win at Charlotte.

Already Clinched

The following two drivers have clinched a spot in the eight-driver field of the next round: Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch.

Can clinch via Points

If there is a new winner, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the 6th winless driver in the standings.

  • Kevin Harvick: Would clinch with 8 points
  • Chase Elliott: Would clinch with 32 points
  • Brad Keselowski: Would clinch with 35 points
  • Martin Truex Jr.: Would clinch with 44 points
  • Alex Bowman: Would clinch with 54 points
  • Joey Logano: Would clinch with 55 points
  • Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, Clint Bowyer, Aric Almirola: Could only clinch with help

If there is a repeat winner, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the 7th winless driver in the standings. They would also clinch if there was a new winner among Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman or Joey Logano and being ahead of the 6th winless driver in the standings.

  • Kevin Harvick: Would clinch regardless of finish
  • Chase Elliott: Would clinch with 12 points
  • Brad Keselowski: Would clinch with 15 points
  • Martin Truex Jr.: Would clinch with 24 points
  • Alex Bowman: Would clinch with 34 points
  • Joey Logano: Would clinch with 35 points
  • Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, Clint Bowyer, Aric Almirola: Could only clinch with help

Keep Digging: Drivers that have raced their way into the Round of 8

Since the introduction of the ‘elimination style’ format of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs in 2014, several drivers have raced their way into the Round of 8 in the sixth and final cutoff race of the Round of 12.

2014: Heading to Talladega (sixth race of the Playoffs) in 2014, Matt Kenseth was ranked ninth in the Playoff standings, one point back from the Round of 8 cutoff and Brad Keselowski was ranked 10th in the Playoff standings, 19 points behind the Round of 8 cutoff. Brad Keselowski won the race at Talladega and automatically advanced to the next round. Matt Kenseth finished second at Talladega and advanced on points to the Round of 8 knocking Kasey Kahne (12th-place finish at Talladega) and Kyle Busch (40th-place finish at Talladega) out of the Playoffs. Heading into the elimination race, Kyle Busch was second in the Playoff standings 26 points above the cutline and Kasey Kahne was eighth in points just one point above the Round of 8 cutoff.

2015: Heading to Talladega (sixth race of the Playoffs) in 2015, Kyle Busch was ranked ninth in the Playoff standings just six points back from the Round of 8 cutoff. Kyle Busch finished 11th at Talladega and advanced on points knocking his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin (37th-place finish at Talladega due to an incident) out of the Playoffs. Heading into the elimination race, Denny Hamlin was second in the Playoff standings, 18 points above the Round of 8 cutoff.

2016: Heading to Talladega (sixth race of the Playoffs) in 2016, Denny Hamlin was ranked 10th in the Playoff standings, six points back from the Round of 8 cutoff. Hamlin went on to finish third at Talladega and advanced on points knocking Martin Truex Jr. (40th-place finish at Talladega due to an engine failure) out of the Playoffs. Heading into the elimination race, Martin Truex Jr. was sixth in the Playoff standings, 13 points above the Round of 8 cutoff.

2017: Heading to Kansas (sixth race of the Playoffs) in 2017, Kyle Busch was ranked ninth in the Playoff standings, seven points back from the Round of 8 cutoff. Busch went on to finish 10th at Kansas and advanced on points knocking Kyle Larson (39th-place finish at Kansas due to an engine failure) out of the Playoffs. Heading into the elimination race, Kyle Larson was third in the Playoff standings, 29 points above the Round of 8 cutoff.

2018: The four drivers below the Round of 8 cutline heading into the sixth race of the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs at Kansas Speedway – Brad Keselowski (-1 point from cutoff), Ryan Blaney (-5), Kyle Larson (-19) and Alex Bowman (-51) – all failed to advance to the Round of 8 and were eliminated from the Playoffs following the Kansas race. At Kansas, Larson finished third, Keselowski finished sixth, Blaney finished seventh and Bowman finished ninth.

2019: Heading to Kansas (sixth race of the Playoffs) in 2019, Chase Elliott was ranked 10th in the Playoff standings, 15 points back from the Round of 8 cutoff. Elliott went on to finish second at Kansas and advanced on points knocking Brad Keselowski (19th-place finish at Kansas) out of the Playoffs. Heading into the elimination race, Keselowski was fifth in the Playoff standings, nine points above the Round of 8 cutoff.

Playoff dozen at the Charlotte Road Course

Below is a quick look at the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff driver’s performances at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course.

Denny Hamlin is currently one of two drivers (Kurt Busch) locked into the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff’s Round of 8 on wins – the fifth time in his career he has advanced to the Round of 8 (2014, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020). Hamlin has made two starts at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL posting a 12th-place finish in 2018 and a 19th-place finish in 2019. His average finish is 15.5, 12th-best. He has put up an Average Running Position of 21.101, 19th-best, a Driver Rating of 66.9, 17th-best and has spent 66 Laps in the Top 15 (30.3%), 19th-most. Hamlin will start on the pole in Sunday’s Bank of America 400.

Kurt Busch is currently one of two drivers that have locked themselves into the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff’s Round of 8 on wins – the fourth time in his career he has advanced to the Round of 8 (2015, 2016, 2018, 2020). Busch has made two starts at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL posting a fifth-place finish in 2018 and a 20th-place finish in 2019. His average finish is 12.5, 10th-best. He also has put up an Average Running Position of 15.188, 10th-best, a Driver Rating of 85.9, ninth-best and has spent 127 Laps in the Top 15 (58.3%), 11th-most. Busch will be starting this Sunday’s race in the 10th starting position.

Kevin Harvick is currently ranked third in NASCAR Cup Series Playoff outlook – the first driver without a win in the Round of 12 – 68 points ahead of the Round of 8 cutoff. Harvick has made two starts at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL, posting a ninth-place finish in 2018 and a third-place finish in 2019. His average finish is 6.0, fifth-best. He has also managed an Average Running Position of 6.390, series-best, a Driver Rating of 111.7, second-best and has spent 201 Laps in the Top 15 (92.2%), series-most. Harvick will start Sunday’s race in the fourth starting position in his hunt to make the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Round of 8 for the seventh consecutive time in his career (2014-2019).

Chase Elliott is currently ranked fourth in NASCAR Cup Series Playoff outlook, 44 points ahead of the Round of 8 cutoff. Elliott has made two starts at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL, posting a sixth-place finish in 2018 and winning the event in 2019. His average finish is 3.5, second-best. He has also accumulated an Average Running Position of 8.188, second-best, a Driver Rating of 122.0, series-best and spent 187 Laps in the Top 15 (85.8%), second-most. Elliott will start on the outside front row this weekend in his pursuit to make the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Round of 8 for the fourth consecutive year in a row (2017-2019).

Brad Keselowski is currently ranked fifth in NASCAR Cup Series Playoff outlook, 41 points ahead of the Round of 8 cutoff. Keselowski has made two starts at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL, posting a 31st-place finish in 2018 due to an incident and a fifth-place finish in 2019. His average finish is 18.0, 15th-best. He has also posted an Average Running Position of 11.966, seventh-best, a Driver Rating of 97.6, seventh-best and has spent 149 Laps in the Top 15 (68.3%), eighth-most. Keselowski will start Sunday’s race in the third starting position in his journey to make the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Round of 8 for the fourth time in his career (2014, 2015 and 2017).

Martin Truex Jr. is currently ranked sixth in NASCAR Cup Series Playoff outlook, 32 points ahead of the Round of 8 cutoff. Truex has made two starts at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL posting a 14th-place finish in 2018 due to an incident with Jimmie Johnson on the final turn and a seventh-place finish in 2019. His average finish is 10.5, eighth-best. Plus, he has amassed an Average Running Position of 8.862, third-best, a Driver Rating of 101.3, fifth-best and has spent 178 Laps in the Top 15 (81.7%), fourth-most. Truex will start from the seventh starting position on Sunday in his quest to make the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Round of 8 for the fifth time in his career (2015, 2017, 2018, 2019).

Alex Bowman was named this week the next driver to pilot the famous No. 48 for Hendrick Motorsports in 2021, replacing seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson. Bowman is currently ranked seventh in NASCAR Cup Series Playoff outlook, 22 points ahead of the Round of 8 cutoff. Bowman has made two starts at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL, posting a fourth-place finish in 2018 and a runner-up finish in 2019. His average finish is 3.0, series-best. He has also put up an Average Running Position of 17.656, 15th-best, a Driver Rating of 84.9, 11th-best and has spent 92 Laps in the Top 15 (42.2%), 14th-most. Bowman will start Sunday’s race from the fifth starting spot in his mission to make the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Round of 8 for the first time in his career.

Joey Logano is currently in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff’s Round of 12 ‘hot seat’ in the eighth and final transfer position to the Round of 8 – just 21 points ahead of the cutoff. Logano has made two starts at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL, posting a 10th-place finish in both starts (2018, 2019). His average finish is 10.0, seventh-best. Plus, he has accumulated an Average Running Position of 13.996, ninth-best, a Driver Rating of 85.9, 10th-best, and has spent 119 Laps in the Top 15 (54.6%), 12th-most. Logano will start Sunday’s Bank of America 400 from the eighth starting position in his pursuit to make the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Round of 8 for the sixth time in his career (2014. 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019).

Kyle Busch is currently ninth in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs – the first spot outside the Round of 8 cutoff – 21 points back from Joey Logano in the eighth and final transfer spot. Busch has made two starts at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL, posting a 32nd-place finish in 2018 due to an incident and a 37th-place finish in 2019 due to a suspension failure. His average finish is 34.500, 29th-best. He has also collected an Average Running Position of 15.541, 11th-best, a Driver Rating of 79.0, 12th-best and has spent 136 Laps in the Top 15 (62.4), ninth-most. Busch will start this Sunday’s race from the ninth starting spot in his quest to make the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Round of 8 for the sixth consecutive time in his career (2015-2019).

Austin Dillon is currently 10th in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff outlook, 21 points back from Joey Logano in the eighth and final transfer spot to the Round of 8. Dillon has made two starts at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL, posting a 39th-place finish in 2018 due to an incident and a 23rd-place finish in 2019. His average finish is 31.0, 27th-best. He has also put up an Average Running Position of 23.555, 23rd-best, a Driver Rating of 63.7, 20th-best and has spent 44 Laps in the Top 15 (20.2%), 21st-most. Dillon will start Sunday’s race in the sixth starting position in his journey to make the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Round of 8 for the first time in his career.

Clint Bowyer is currently 11th in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff outlook, 38 points back from Joey Logano in the eighth and final transfer spot to the Round of 8. Bowyer has made two starts at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL, posting a third-place finish in 2018 and a fourth-place finish in 2019. His average finish is 3.5, third-best. He has also put up an Average Running Position of 10.977, fifth-best, a Driver Rating of 103.5, fourth-best and has spent 157 Laps in the Top 15 (72.0%), seventh-most. Bowyer will start the Bank of America 400 this Sunday in the 11th starting position in his quest to make the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Round of 8 for the second time in his career (2018).

Aric Almirola is currently 12th in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff outlook, 48 points back from Joey Logano in the eighth and final transfer spot to the Round of 8. Almirola has made two starts at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL, posting a 19th-place finish in 2018 and a 14th-place finish in 2019. His average finish of 16.5, 13th-best. He has also amassed an Average Running Position of 16.706, 14th-best, a Driver Rating of 77.0, 13th-best and has spent 101 Laps in the Top 15 (46.3%), 13th-most. Almirola will start Sunday’s race from the 12th starting position in his pursuit to make the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Round of 8 for the second time in his career (2018).

NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.

Richmond Raceway to Host Track Laps for Charity – Richmond Raceway will host Track Laps for Charity presented by Virginia Credit Union on Saturday, Nov. 7 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Track Laps for Charity provide fans the opportunity to drive their personal vehicles around America’s Premier Short Track for a donation of $20. All proceeds will benefit Richmond Raceway Cares and the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU.

"Track Laps for Charity is always a memorable experience for fans to drive their family and friends around Richmond Raceway’s iconic ¾-mile D-shaped oval for a good cause," said Richmond President Dennis Bickmeier. "As fans take their laps around America’s Premier Short Track, they will know their donation will make an impact in our community. Thanks to our partner Virginia Credit Union for their support of the Children’s Hospital of Richmond and Richmond Raceway Cares."

Cup Competition Highlights Through 31 Races – The racing in the NASCAR Cup Series has been action-packed this season despite all the challenges. Below are some stats that highlight all the great racing this season thus far.

  • The 2020 season had produced the series-most green flag passes for the lead (1,071) through 31 races in the last 14 seasons (2007-2020). The 2010 season has produced the second-most at 1,037.
  • The 2020 season has seen a year-over-year increase of green flag passes for the lead of +6.89% compared to 2019 (1,002) through 31 races.
  • The 2020 season had produced the seventh-most green flag passes (100,774) in the last 14 seasons (2007-2020); just slightly under (-0.75%) the 2019 season (101,539).
  • The average number of lead changes per race (20.13) through the first 31 events are the most since 2014 (21.00).
  • The average number of leaders per race (9.23) through the first 31 events are the most since 2014 (9.77).
  • 18 of this season’s 31 races have had a margin of victory of less than a second – the most since 2013 (18). The average margin of victory for the first 31 races of 2020 is 1.373 seconds.
  • The 2020 season has produced 12 different race winners, led by Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick with nine victories.
  • Ford leads the series in wins in 2020 with 17 victories.

Cup’s Road Course Ringers – A total of nine active drivers this weekend have won at least one race on a road course in the NASCAR Cup Series. Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr. lead all active drivers in NASCAR Cup Series road course wins with four victories each. Elliott is the only one of the three drivers to win on more than two different road course tracks (chart below).

Active Road Course Winners in the NASCAR Cup Series

Active Road Course Winners Total Wins Sonoma Watkins Glen Charlotte Daytona
Kyle Busch 4 2 2 0 0
Martin Truex Jr 4 3 1 0 0
Chase Elliott 4 0 2 1 1
Kevin Harvick 2 1 1 0 0
Clint Bowyer 1 1 0 0 0
Jimmie Johnson 1 1 0 0 0
Joey Logano 1 0 1 0 0
Kurt Busch 1 1 0 0 0
Ryan Blaney 1 0 0 1 0

Historically, no one can touch NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon in road course wins. He leads the NASCAR Cup Series in overall road course victories with nine (five at Sonoma and four at Watkins Glen). Fellow NASCAR Hall of Famer, Tony Stewart, has the second-most road course wins all-time in the series with eight (five at Watkins Glen and three at Sonoma). NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison holds the series record for the most wins at a single road course track with six victories at Riverside International Raceway.

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Wild Card: Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL up next

The NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs kicked off at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where Chase Briscoe was victorious and took home his eighth win of the season and punched his ticket to the Round of 8.

Last weekend, Justin Haley got another superspeedway win at Talladega Superspeedway, punching his ticket to the Round of 8, as well. In a wild race from start to finish, Haley led the final two laps of the race en route to the win.

Haley’s win marked his third superspeedway victory of the season and put him on a list of elite company, joining Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the only drivers in NASCAR to win three consecutive superspeedway races.

Playoff drivers took the top four finishing positions on Saturday with Ryan Sieg snatching a career-best finish of second. He’s now +27 points above the cutline after accumulating many points throughout the race. Noah Gragson finished third and Brandon Jones finished fourth. Ross Chastain finished in the sixth position and Brandon Brown finished ninth. Chase Briscoe, who led a majority of the race and looked like he was going to be victorious once again, got involved in a late-race scuffle and finished 19th. Harrison Burton finished 23rd, Justin Allgaier 29th, Austin Cindric 34th, Riley Herbst 35th and Michael Annett finished 37th. Annett was originally scored as finishing second, but was disqualified during post-race inspection after the No. 1 car failed heights for being too low in the left front.

This weekend, the series heads to the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL for the Drive for the Cure 250 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (3:30 p.m. ET on NBC, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) on Saturday, October 10, to conclude the Xfinity Series Playoffs Round of 12.

As if Talladega Superspeedway wasn’t crazy enough last weekend, the Charlotte road course is another wild card race that could potentially shake up the Playoff standings.

This will be only the third race in Xfinity Series history at the Charlotte ROVAL. Briscoe won the inaugural race in 2018, which also marked his first career win, and last season, AJ Allmendinger took home the victory for Kaulig Racing.

Cindric and Briscoe, two Ford teammates, have been seemingly the best drivers on road courses this season. However, this race is really anyone’s to win. But, if the drivers not locked into the Playoffs want to make it to the Round of 8, they need to get as many points as possible and a decent finishing position.

Saturday’s race will be 155.44 miles and 67 laps. Stage 1 will end on Lap 20 and Stage 2 will end on Lap 40. Gragson will lead the field to green.

Eyeing the Charlotte Road Course

The Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL is a 2.280-mile road course with 17 turns. The frontstretch is 1,580 feet and the backstretch is 1,500 feet. In the corners, the banking varies from two to 24 degrees and on straights it varies from zero to five degrees.

The race is 155.55 miles and 67 laps with Stage 1 ending on Lap 20 and Stage 2 ending on Lap 40.

Since this is only the third race at the track, it’s difficult to really nail down who has the best chances on taking home the trophy. Aside from Briscoe winning in 2018, every driver in the Playoffs (other than the rookies), has the same amount of experience on the track.

Austin Cindric is the only driver in the series to have finished in the top five in both races and only four drivers finished in the top 10 in both races.

Neither of the two races run on the track were won from the pole position. In 2019, there were 14 caution laps and in 2018 there were five. In 2019, there were seven lead changes and the most leaders at six. Briscoe led 33 laps in 2018.

Since Briscoe and AJ Allmendinger are the only two past winners at the track, they have the two best driver ratings. But, Cindric has the third-best driver rating at the track followed by Daniel Hemric and Noah Gragson. Justin Allgaier has the sixth best driver rating.

Cindric has run 117 total laps in the top 15, the most of any driver and has led the third-most laps (14) below the two previous winners.

Road Course results in 2020

The NASCAR Xfinity Series has visited three road courses so far this season. As they head to the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL, let’s look back at the results from the previous two.

The first road course for the series was the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course for the first time in series history, running a 151.2-mile race on the 2.439-mile road course. The race had five cautions for 15 laps with 13 lead changes. Chase Briscoe took home the victory with Justin Haley, Noah Gragson, AJ Allmendinger and Austin Cindric rounding out the top five.

Cindric won the first stage and Briscoe won the second stage. The race was a total of 62 laps.

The series then went to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, to run at Road America, a 4.048-mile road course. The race was 45 laps for 182.2 miles. Cindric won the race with Allmendinger, Briscoe, Kaz Grala and Andy Lally rounding out the top five.

There were seven cautions for 15 laps and 13 different lead changes throughout the race. Haley and Allmendinger each took home a stage win.

The week after, the series went to the Daytona International Speedway Road Course, also for the first time in series history. The Daytona Road Course race was 52 laps on a 3.610-mile road course for 187.7 miles. Cindric was victorious, once again, leading 21 of 52 laps and grabbing his second win in a row. Brandon Jones, Gragson, Allmendinger and Lally rounded out the top five. There were seven cautions for eight laps and seven lead changes. Cindric and Briscoe each took home a stage win at Daytona, too.

Looking back, it’s obvious that there are a handful of drivers with consistent strength at road courses – Cindric, Briscoe, Allmendinger, Haley, Gragson. Those are the most common names that we see up front for each of them. It’s possible we’ll see the same thing this weekend, but with Playoff spots on the line, there may be a bit more chaos before the checkered flag.

Clinch Scenarios: Road course racing in Charlotte

It’s the final race of the NASCAR Xfinity Series Round of 12 and one more chance to drivers to make their way to the Round of 8. Only two drivers have officially made it to the next round with wins. Chase Briscoe won at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Justin Haley won at Talladega Superspeedway, punching their tickets to the next round. Here are the clinch scenarios for this weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL:

Possible to Clinch (Note – for all, a win would clinch a spot in the Round of 8):

  • Austin Cindric (0 Wins, 2114 Points) – Would clinch on points with 13 points and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Noah Gragson, Brandon Jones, Ryan Sieg, Justin Allgaier or Ross Chastain), he would clinch on points with six points.
  • Noah Gragson (0 Wins, 2111 Points) – Would clinch on points with 15 points and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Austin Cindric, Brandon Jones, Ryan Sieg, Justin Allgaier or Ross Chastain), he would clinch on points with eight points.
  • Brandon Jones (0 Wins, 2098 Points) – Would clinch on points with 29 points and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Austin Cindric, Noah Gragson, Ryan Sieg, Justin Allgaier or Ross Chastain), he would clinch on points with 22 points.
  • Ryan Sieg (0 Wins, 2091 Points) – Would clinch on points with 35 points and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Austin Cindric, Noah Gragson, Brandon Jones, Justin Allgaier or Ross Chastain), they would clinch on points with 28 points.
  • Justin Allgaier (0 Wins, 2083 Points) – Would clinch on points with 44 points and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Austin Cindric, Noah Gragson, Brandon Jones, Ryan Sieg or Ross Chastain), they would clinch on points with 37 points.
  • Ross Chastain (0 Wins, 2071 Points) – If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Austin Cindric, Noah Gragson, Brandon Jones, Ryan Sieg or Justin Allgaier), he would clinch on points with 49 points. Could clinch on points with a new winner and help.
  • Harrison Burton (0 Wins, 2064 Points); Brandon Brown (0 Wins, 2052 Points); Riley Herbst (0 Wins, 2035 Points); Michael Annett (0 Wins, 2033 Points) – Could clinch on points with help.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff Outlook following Talladega-2:

Rank Driver Points Race Wins Stage Wins Playoff Pts Pts from Cutoff
1 Chase Briscoe 2,148 8 9 59 In On Wins
2 Justin Haley 2,108 3 3 23 In On Wins
3 Austin Cindric 2,114 5 10 50 50
4 Noah Gragson 2,111 2 8 25 47
5 Brandon Jones 2,098 3 2 20 34
6 Ryan Sieg 2,091 0 2 2 27
7 Justin Allgaier 2,083 3 12 33 19
8 Ross Chastain 2,071 0 2 10 7
9 Harrison Burton# 2,064 2 0 14 -7
10 Brandon Brown 2,052 0 0 0 -19
11 Riley Herbst # 2,035 0 0 1 -36
12 Michael Annett 2,033 0 0 2 -38

Charlotte ROVAL numbers for Playoff drivers

Below is a look at the NASCAR Xfinity Series Round of 12 Playoff drivers at the Charlotte ROVAL (in order of seeding):

Chase Briscoe has one win at the track in two starts. He won the inaugural race in 2018 from the ninth position. Last season, he started from the pole and finished ninth. He has an average start and finish of 5.0 and has led 54 laps total.

Justin Haley made his first start last season at the Charlotte Road Course. He started in ninth and finish 31st after only completing 61 of 67 laps.

Austin Cindric is the only driver to have finished in the top five in both races run at the Charlotte Road Course so far. He started from the pole in the inaugural race and finished third and last season he started third and finished third. He has also led 14 laps at the track.

Noah Gragson will make his second career start at the track this weekend. His first came last season, he started 12th and finished fifth.

Brandon Jones will make his third start at the track this weekend with hopes of a better finish than his last two. In 2018, he started 22nd and finished 22nd and last season he started 15th and finished 16th. He has an average start of 18.5 and average finish of 19.0 in his two starts.

Ryan Sieg has also not had great results in his two starts at the road course. He started 27th in 2018 and finished 36th because of a suspension issue. Last season, he started 25th an finished 30th. He’s only completed 102 of 122 laps attempted and has an average start of 26.0 and average finish of 33.0. He’ll look to make a better run at it this weekend.

Justin Allgaier is usually one of the driver in the series with the most experience at a track but he’s in the same boat as the other drivers this weekend as he makes his third start. In the track debut, he started 12th and finished 15th. Last season, however, he had much better results, starting seventh and finishing fourth. He has an average start and finish of 9.5.

Ross Chastain is the last driver above the cutline heading into this weekend’s race at the road course. He has one Xfinity Series start at the track and it was in 2018. He started 16th and finished 12th.

Rookie Harrison Burton will make his second career start on Saturday. His debut was last season and he started 22nd and finished 13th.

Brandon Brown’s first start at the Charlotte Road Course was last season. He started 35th and finished 17th. He made a big jump at Talladega in the Playoffs standings and a good finish and a lot of points might keep him above the cutline.

Rookie Riley Herbst had a tough day at Talladega after being involved in an incident early in the race. This weekend will be his debut at the Charlotte Road Course.

Michael Annett will make his third start this weekend at the road course. His in debut, he started 23rd and finished 20th and last season, he started 23rd and finished 15th. He has an average start of 23.0 and an average finish of 17.5.

Competition highlights: Xfinity Series

The 2020 Xfinity Series season has produced some great racing and exciting finishes.

Here’s a look at some of the most impressive competition statistics:

  • The 2020 season had produced the fourth-most green flag passes for the lead (534) through 28 races in the last 14 seasons (2007-2020). The 2011 season has produced the series-most at 687.
  • The 2020 season has seen a year-over-year increase of green flag passes for the lead of +21.9% compared to 2019 (438) through 28 races.
  • The 2020 season had produced the 10th-most green flag passes (40,945) in the last 14 seasons (2007-2020); up +15.3% from the 2019 season through 28 races (35,498).
  • The average number of lead changes per race (12.18) through the first 28 events are the most since 2012 (13.00).
  • The average number of leaders per race (6.71) through the first 28 events are the most since 2013 (6.71).
  • 12 of this season’s 28 races have had a margin of victory of less than a second. The average margin of victory for the first 28 races of 2020 is 1.501 seconds.
  • The 2020 season has produced nine different winners, led by Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe with eight victories.
  • Ford leads the series in wins in 2020 with 13 victories.

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series

Reset: Round of 8 kicks off for Gander Trucks at Kansas

The NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series has an off-week this weekend as the Xfinity Series and Cup Series take on the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL.

Last weekend, the Gander Trucks took on Talladega Superspeedway in an intense battle between the entire field, specifically the Playoff drivers as the Round of 8 was on the line.

Two drivers were eliminated after the Talladega – Christian Eckes in the No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota and Todd Gilliland in the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford.

So, the Round of 8 field is set and after their weekend break, Kansas will be their first race of the round.

Raphael Lessard, the 19-year-old Canadian and non-Playoff driver, won the Talladega elimination race in a wild, two-lap shootout that ended early because of a wreck in Turn 3. Lessard, who driver the No. 4 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports, had never won a race before and called his first career win "amazing."

Next Saturday’s race at Kansas Speedway, the Clean Harbors 200 (4 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), will be 134 laps and 201 miles.

The series already visited Kansas once this season for the first-ever doubleheader of the series. Austin Hill and Matt Crafton were both victorious that weekend and will head into next weekend with that momentum on their side.

Crafton, the reigning champion, has 21 starts at Kansas Speedway, the most of any other active driver in the series. He also has three wins.

Hill, Crafton and Johnny Sauter are the only two drivers in the field with wins at the track.

Currently, the seedings heading into Kansas are as follows:

Austin Hill – 3028 points

Sheldon Creed – 3028 points

Zane Smith – 3022 points

Grant Enfinger – 3019 points

Brett Moffitt – 3016 points

Ben Rhodes – 3014 points

Matt Crafton – 3009 points

Tyler Ankrum – 3003 points

Competition highlights: Gander Trucks

The 2020 Gander Trucks season has proved to be one of the strongest field of drivers so far with high intensity racing each week and excitement at various tracks.

Here’s a look at some of the standout competition statistics so far this year:

  • The 2020 season had produced the third-most green flag passes for the lead (452) through the first 19 races in the last 14 seasons (2007-2020). The 2011 season has produced the series-most at 502.
  • The 2020 season has seen a year-over-year increase of green flag passes for the lead of +13.0% compared to 2019 (400) through 19 races.
  • The 2020 season had produced the second-most green flag passes (27,569) in the last 14 seasons (2007-2020); up +54.3% from the 2019 season through 19 races (17,866).
  • The average number of lead changes per race (11.53) through the first 19 events are the most since 2018 (12.05).
  • The average number of leaders per race (6.84) through the first 19 events are the most since 2018 (6.89).
  • 12 of this season’s 19 races have had a margin of victory of less than a second. The average margin of victory for the first 19 races of 2020 is 1.472 seconds.
  • The 2020 season has produced 11 different winners, led by ThorSport Racing’s Grant Enfinger, GMS Racing’s Sheldon Creed and Kyle Busch Motorsport’s Kyle Busch with three victories each.
  • Chevrolet and Toyota lead the series in wins in 2020 with seven victories each.

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, Etc.

Bayne finishing out Gander Trucks season: Trevor Bayne finished second last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, a much-needed finish in the hunt for a job next season. Bayne, who won the 2011 Daytona 500, had been working on his own car to do some local races before Al Niece, owner of Niece Motorsports, asked him to pilot the No. 45 truck for his team. After his finish last weekend, he announced that he will finish out the rest of the year for the team and hopes that some more finishes like that one will land him somewhere in 2021.

— NASCAR —