NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bank of America 500
Charlotte Motor Speedway Distance: 501 miles (334 laps)
Saturday, Oct. 8 7 p.m. ET TV: NBC, 7 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive For The Cure 300 Presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina
Charlotte Motor Speedway Distance: 300 miles (200 laps)
Postponed to Sunday, Oct. 9 11 a.m. ET TV: NBCSN, 11:00 a.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series fred’s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola
Talladega Superspeedway Distance: 250.04 miles (94 laps)
Saturday, Oct. 22 1 p.m. ET TV: FOX, 12:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
Round Of 12 Begins At Charlotte
The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Round of 12 kicks off this weekend with Saturday’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (7 p.m. ET on NBC). The drivers, who advanced following last Sunday’s race at Dover were Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick and Austin Dillon. Tony Stewart, Kyle Larson, Chris Buescher and Jamie McMurray were all eliminated from the Chase.
All advancing drivers have had their points reset to 3,000. Any Chase-eligible driver who wins one of the three Round of 12 races – Charlotte, Kansas or Talladega – automatically advances to the Round of 8.
Joey Logano won last year’s Charlotte Chase race, which took place during the daytime on Sunday due to rain. Kevin Harvick won the Charlotte fall race the last time it was held at night.
Martin Truex Jr. set a Charlotte track record leading 392-of-400 laps on his way to victory in the Coca-Cola 600 earlier this year. He also set a NASCAR record for miles led in a single race (588). He will attempt to become the first driver to sweep a track this season.
Queen City King: Johnson Tries To Build On Charlotte Track Record
Jimmie Johnson will try to add to his Charlotte Motor Speedway record of seven wins in Saturday’s Bank of America 500. The No. 48 Chevrolet driver also boasts 14 top fives and 18 top 10s in 30 career starts there. Johnson’s last win at Charlotte came in the Coca-Cola 600. Among active drivers at Charlotte, Johnson ranks first in average running position (8.3), driver rating (109.6) and laps led (1,740).
Johnson has won the fall race three times (all in the Chase). No other driver has won the Charlotte Chase race more than once.
In 2003, the Californian set another Charlotte record by winning the spring race from the 37th starting position – the deepest a race winner has begun a contest at the 1.5-mile track.
Logano Looks For Charlotte Race Repeat
It’s that time of year again for Joey Logano. October has come and the Round of 12 is here. Since the new Chase format was implemented in 2014, the Team Penske driver has won four of the six Round of 12 races, including a sweep of last year’s events (Charlotte, Kansas and Talladega).
On Saturday, Logano will attempt to defend his 2015 victory at Charlotte where he led 227-of-334 laps.
For his career, Logano owns one win, five top-five and nine top-10 finishes, as well as a series-best 9.5 average finish in 15 Queen City starts.
Logano’s teammate Brad Keselowski is also strong at Charlotte. He has one win, three top fives, six top 10s and an average finish of 13.9 at the 1.5-mile track. Keselowski has registered a top-10 finish in five of the last six Charlotte races, including a win in fall of 2013.
Truex Establishes Himself As Championship Favorite In Chase’s Opening Round
Only one word can be used to describe Martin Truex Jr.’s performance since his win at Darlington, and especially in the opening round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup – dominant.
The No. 78 Furniture Row Racing driver has won three of the last five races to join Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski at the top of the leaderboard with four wins this season. In the two races Truex didn’t visit Victory Lane – at Richmond and New Hampshire – he led the most laps with 193 and 141, respectively.
Truex has established himself as the driver to beat for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship and it doesn’t look like he’ll slow down any time soon. He heads next to Charlotte Motor Speedway where he set the track record by leading 392-of-400 laps on the way to Victory Lane in the Coca-Cola 600 in May. His 588 miles led were a single-race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series record.
A loop data machine, Truex leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in driver rating (107.6), fastest laps run (886) and laps led (1,594), and ranks second in average running position (8.7).
Elliott Ups Performance in Chase
Sunoco Rookie of the Year frontrunner Chase Elliott has not allowed the pressure of his first Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup affect him. In fact, it actually might be making him better. After completing the regular season with only two top-10 finishes in its final 11 races, Elliott has upped his performance in the Chase with two third-place showings (Chicagoland and Dover) and a 13th-place result (New Hampshire).
Just one of three rookies to ever make a Chase, Elliott is trying to best Denny Hamlin’s championship finish of fourth from his rookie season. The No. 24 Chevrolet driver is also the youngest driver to ever make the Chase.
Elliott placed eighth at Charlotte in the spring and heads there next for the opening contest of the Round of 12.
Kyle Busch Attempts To Put A ‘1’ In The Win Column At Charlotte
Kyle Busch is only 31 years old, but already boasts 38 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins. The No. 18 Toyota driver has visited Victory Lane at every active track except for Pocono and Charlotte – the site of Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
Although Busch has never won at Charlotte, he is statistically strong there. Among active drivers, he claims the second-best Queen City driver rating (104.6) and average running position (9.9). In 25 Charlotte starts, Busch claims 10 top fives, 14 top 10s and a 15.8 average finish.
Just because a driver is not Chase-eligible doesn’t mean he/she is disqualified from winning. Five non-Chase drivers have won at Charlotte: Kasey Kahne (four victories), Jamie McMurray (2), Tony Stewart (1), Clint Bowyer (1) and Casey Mears (1).
Chase spoilers often make the latter races of a round even more interesting because they eschew an automatic qualifying spot that can be earned by a Chase-eligible competitor.
Look out for Kahne this weekend. A one-time Charlotte fall winner, he leads all drivers with 581 laps led in the track’s Chase races. Kahne has run strong lately with four top 10s in his last five starts and no finish lower than 14th in his last seven starts.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, etc.
Annett Set For 100th Career Start
HScott Motorsports driver Michael Annett is scheduled to become the 197th driver in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history to make 100 or more starts when he takes the track this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES
Due to rain The Drive for the Cure 300 Presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC, has been rescheduled for 11 a.m. ET Sunday. TV coverage remains on NBCSN, with radio broadcast on PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Suarez, Sadler Only Two Chase Competitors Feeling The Comforts Of ‘Win And You’re In’
In the inaugural elimination-style NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase the ultimate prize in each round is to win and advance to the next round to have a shot at the title in Miami. That means former winners Daniel Suarez (Dover) and Elliott Sadler (Kentucky) are the only two drivers in the Chase Round of 12 who have the luxury of rolling into Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend with few apprehensions about their Chase implications.
Following his win last weekend at Dover, Suarez is now the Round of 12 NASCAR XFINITY Chase standings leader by two points over Elliott Sadler. In 28 starts in his sophomore season, Suarez has posted two poles, two wins (Michigan and Dover) and a series leading 14 top fives.
Expect Suarez’s recent success to continue this weekend at Charlotte. In three starts at the 1.5-mile speedway, he has posted one top five, two top 10s and an average finish of 7.3.
In position to advance to the next round with a win, Sadler can enjoy this final race of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase Round of 12. Sadler has made 28 starts this season, posting three wins (Talladega, Darlington and Kentucky), 11 top fives and a series-leading 25 top 10s. Sadler has finished in the top 10 at Charlotte in three of his last four starts there.
Suarez (6.6) and Sadler (8.9) lead all championship contenders in average finish on 1.5-mile tracks this season.
Round Of 12 Cutoff Race: Who’s In, Who’s Out?
Charlotte Motor Speedway is the last chance for the Chase contenders without wins to lock themselves into the Round of 8. Below is a look at the Chase contenders in position to advance to the next round, but are not locked in with a win.
3. Justin Allgaier – 2,071 (+17) No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro – leaped three spots in the Chase standings from sixth to third following his third-place finish at Dover last weekend. Now Allgaier has the largest points cushion (+17 points) ahead of Ty Dillon in ninth among chase contenders without a win. Allgaier’s 2016 season has seen 12 top fives, 23 top 10s and an average finish of 9.2. Allgaier’s on-track consistency should advance him to the next round. In his last nine starts at Charlotte he has posted seven top 10s and an average finish of 9.6, including a fifth-place finish earlier this season.
4. Brendan Gaughan – 2,068 (+14) No. 62 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Camaro – dropped one spot in the Chase standings from third to fourth following his ninth-place finish at Dover last weekend. Gaughan currently is 14 points ahead of ninth-place Ty Dillon as the series heads to Charlotte for the final race of the Round of 12. Gaughan has made 28 starts this season posting four top fives, 15 top 10s and an average finish of 10.7. Gaughan has been exceptional on 1.5-mile tracks this season posting the third-best average finish among title contenders with a 10.3. Gaughan has made nine starts at Charlotte posting an average finish of 15.1; including a 10th-place finish earlier this season.
5. Ryan Reed – 2,065 (+11) No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Mustang – fell one spot from fourth to fifth in the standings following his 10th-place finish at Dover; his second top 10 of the Chase. Reed now sits fifth in the Chase standings just 11 points ahead of ninth-place Ty Dillon. In Reed’s third full season there is no doubt his skills have progressed. In 28 starts he has posted one top five, six top 10s and an average finish of 14.6 (a career-best). Reed faces an uphill battle this weekend at Charlotte even though he has an 11-point cushion. Among the 12 Chase contenders, Reed has the second-worst average finish on 1.5-mile tracks this season with an 18.4. Reed has made six starts at Charlotte posting an average finish of 14.2, including a career best at Charlotte (11th) in this event last season.
6. Darrell Wallace Jr. – 2,064 (+10) No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Fusion – like RFR teammate Ryan Reed also dropped one spot in the Chase standings from fifth to sixth following an 11th-place finish at Dover last weekend. Wallace now sits 10 points ahead of ninth-place Ty Dillon. Wallace’s 2016 season has been quite productive. In 28 starts he has posted three top fives, nine top 10s and an average finish of 14.6. Again, much like his teammate Reed, Wallace has struggled on 1.5-mile speedways this season, posting an average finish of 18.0. But don’t count him out this weekend at Charlotte, a track he has made three series starts, notching one top five, two top 10s an average finish of 13.3.
7. Blake Koch – 2,058 (+4) No. 11 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet Camaro – is just above the cusp of elimination in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase Round of 12 after he moved up one spot to seventh following a 14th-place finish at Dover last weekend. Only four points separate seventh-place Blake Koch from ninth-place Ty Dillon. Koch has made 28 starts this season posting three top 10s and an average finish of 17.7 (a career-best). Unfortunately, 1.5-mile tracks have been the bane of Koch’s success this season; posting a 19.1 average finish on those specific speedways – the worst among Chase contenders. Koch has made six starts at Charlotte posting an average finish of 26.7; including a 14th-place finish earlier this season.
8. Brennan Poole – 2,057 (+3) No. 48 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Camaro – must be mistake free this weekend at Charlotte because his three-point cushion ahead of ninth-place Ty Dillon is a slim margin to bank on. Poole fell one spot to Blake Koch in the Chase standings following his 15th-place finish at Dover last weekend. Poole has made 28 starts this season posting four top fives, 15 top 10s and an average finish of 12.1. Poole has the eighth best average finish (13.2) on 1.5-mile speedways this season among Chase contenders. In two starts at Charlotte, Poole has posted an average finish of 15.0, including a ninth-place finish earlier this season.
Cutoff Race For Round Of 12 Has Tension To Advance Running High
The following four drivers will be faced with elimination from the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase if they do not win or move into the top eight in Chase points this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Below is a look at the drivers in positions ninth through 12th in the Chase standings.
9. Ty Dillon – 2,033 (-3) No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Camaro – finds himself on the edge of elimination, just three points behind eighth-place Brennan Poole. Following his runner-up finish at Dover, Dillon jumped three spots from last in the Chase (12th) to ninth. Dillon has been digging himself out of a Chase standings hole since his accident in the first Chase race at Kentucky relegated him to a 27th-place finish. This season has been filled with ups and downs for Dillon. In 28 starts, he has posted eight top fives, 15 top 10s and an average finish of 10.6. Among the 12 Chase contenders, Ty Dillon has the sixth-best average finish on 1.5-mile speedways (11.1), which is better than four of the Chase contenders who are currently ahead of him in the standings (Poole 13.3; Wallace 18.0; Reed 18.4; and Koch 19.1). Dillon has made five starts at Charlotte posting four top 10s and average finish of 12.2.
10. Erik Jones – 2,053 (-4) No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry – fell another spot in the standings from ninth to 10th just four points behind eighth-place Blake Koch. Despite winning the pole and leading 54 laps at Dover last weekend, Jones finished 16th. Jones has made 28 starts this season posting four wins, 13 top fives, 16 top 10s and a rookie-record nine poles. His average finish this season is a 12.2. Anticipate Jones to flex his muscle on track this weekend as the Sunoco Rookie looks to fend off elimination. Jones has the fourth-best average finish (10.2) on 1.5-mile tracks among Chasers this season. In three starts at Charlotte, Jones has posted one pole and one top five. He finished second in this event last season.
11. Ryan Sieg – 2,047 (-10) No. 39 RSS Racing Chevrolet Camaro – has 10 points standing between himself and the Round of 8 in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase. Sieg was bumped from 10th to 11th in the Chase standings following a 19th-place finish at Dover last weekend. Sieg has made 28 starts this season posting one top five, two top 10s and an average finish of 18.0. Sieg faces an uphill climb in the Chase points but one that is not insurmountable. Sieg is ranked ninth among Chase contenders in average finishing position (14.4.) at tracks 1.5-miles in length, which is better than three drivers who are ahead of him the Chase standings (Wallace 18.0; Reed 18.4; and Koch 19.1). Sieg has made five starts at Charlotte, posting an average finish of 18.2, including a 13th-place finish earlier this season.
12. Brandon Jones – 2,039 (-18) No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Camaro – heads to Charlotte with one thing on his mind – win. Sunoco rookie, Brandon Jones plummeted to last in the Chase standings following his 17th-place finish last weekend at Dover. Jones is now 12th in the Chase standings, 18 points behind eighth-place Blake Koch as the series heads to Charlotte. Jones has made 28 starts this season posting 11 top 10s and an average finish of 13.5. Jones will most likely have to win this weekend to advance to the next round. Jones is ranked seventh among Chase challengers in average finish (11.4) on 1.5-mile tracks this season. Jones has made his series debut at Charlotte earlier this season starting 12th and finishing seventh.
NASCAR XFINITY Series Etc.:
Fresh Faces In The NASCAR XFINITY Garage – The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has a fresh crop of talented drivers budding to get into the NASCAR XFINITY Series and several of those fresh faces will be attempting to compete this weekend. Matt Tifft returns to the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota this weekend with crew chief Chris Gayle. Tifft has made seven starts this season posting one top five, three top 10s and an average finish of 16.9. Spencer Gallagher will be making his seventh series start this season with crew chief Joey Cohen. Gallagher’s previous six starts have seen one top five and an average finish of 20.5. Cole Custer will be making his fourth start of the season for JR Motorsports this weekend at Charlotte. Custer has posted one top five, two top 10s and an average finish of 14.0 in his three previous starts.
Double Duty – Seven NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers will be pulling double duty this weekend Kyle Larson, Matt DiBenedetto and Josh Wise will be joined by four active Chase contenders – B \rad Keselowski, Austin Dillon, Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick.
NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase Update
A NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase-eligible driver did not clinch an automatic berth to the Round of 6 in last Saturday’s DC Solar 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway as non-chaser Tyler Reddick played spoiler to take the checkered flag. The highest finishing Chase driver was runner-up Daniel Hemric, who was followed by Ben Kennedy (fourth), William Byron (fifth, clinched berth in Round of 6 with win at New Hampshire), Christopher Bell (sixth), Johnny Sauter (seventh), Matt Crafton (eighth), Timothy Peters (ninth) and John Hunter Nemechek (16th).
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads next to Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 22 for the fred’s 250 (1 p.m. ET on FS1) – the Round of 8 cut-off race. Byron sits first in the Chase standings and is the only driver who has clinched a spot in the round of eight. He is trailed by Bell (25 points above Hemric on the cutoff line), Crafton (+24), Kennedy (+18), Peters (+16), Sauter (+15), Hemric (15 points below Sauter on the cutoff line) and Nemechek (-15).
Here’s a look at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase drivers’ stats at Talladega:
William Byron – Byron has never made a start at Talladega.
Christopher Bell – Bell finished 13th in his lone start at Talladega last season.
Matt Crafton – In 10 starts at Talladega, Crafton claims one top five, three top 10s, a 16.2 average finish and 50 laps led. His best finish at the 2.5-mile behemoth was a fourth-place showing in 2010.
Ben Kennedy – Kennedy has made two starts at Talladega, finishing 28th (2014) and 25th (2015).
Timothy Peters – Peters has won the last two races at Talladega. In seven starts there, he boasts two wins, three top fives, four top 10s and an 11.0 average finish.
Johnny Sauter – In seven starts at Talladega, Sauter owns one win (2013), three top fives, four top 10s and a 15.7 average finish.
Daniel Hemric – Hemric finished 28th at Talladega in his lone start there last year.
John Hunter Nemechek – Nemechek finished 11th at Talladega in his lone start there last year.
Reddick Leads Brad Keselowski Racing To First 1-2 Finish
Tyler Reddick led a race-high 70-of-146 laps to win last Saturday’s DC Solar 250 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. His Brad Keselowski Racing teammate Daniel Hemric finished runner-up, giving the organization its first-ever 1-2 finish.
Reddick won two races last season and finished second in the championship standings, but failed to make the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase this year. On the season, he’s registered six top fives and 10 top 10s in 18 starts.
Hemric, who sits 15 points behind Johnny Sauter for the final transfer spot to the Chase, is tied with Sauter for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series lead in top 10s with 14. He ranks second behind William Byron in top fives with nine.
Graphics & Photos Courtesy of NASCAR