NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400
Las Vegas Motor Speedway The Purse: $7,785,320. Sunday, October 15 2:30 p.m. ET TV: NBC, 2 p.m. ET Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR (Channel 90). Distance: 400.5 miles (267 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 80), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 165), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 267)
NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco Uniforms 302
Las Vegas Motor Speedway The Purse: $1,329,729. Saturday, October 14 3:30 p.m. ET TV: USA, 3 p.m. ET Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR (Channel 90). Distance: 301.5 miles (201 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 201)
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Baptist Health 200
Homestead-Miami Speedway The Purse: $689,693. Saturday, October 21 12 p.m. ET TV: FS1, 11 a.m. ET Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR (Channel 90). Distance: 201 miles (134 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 30), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 134)
NASCAR Cup Series
The Elite Eight: Playoffs’ Round of 8 revs up at Las Vegas
After Kaulig Racing’s A.J. Allmendinger played spoiler in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs’ Round of 12 elimination race at the Charlotte ROVAL stealing the win from the Playoff contenders, four more drivers have been eliminated from the postseason – Brad Keselowski, Ross Chastain, Bubba Wallace and Kyle Busch.
Now, the eight elite drivers that have made it this far, need to regroup as the Playoff spotlight turns to the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway for this Sunday’s South Point 400 on NBC, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90), the first race of the Round of 8.
This is the sixth-year Las Vegas Motor Speedway has hosted a NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race (2018-2023). The 2023 season also marks the second-time the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 8 has
opened at Las Vegas Motor Speedway – race No. 33 of the season and seventh of the postseason. Las Vegas Motor Speedway is the sixth different track to host the seventh race in the NASCAR Cup Series
Playoffs; joining Atlanta Motor Speedway (2004-2008), Talladega Superspeedway (2009-2010), Martinsville Speedway (2011-2019), Kansas Speedway (2020) and Texas Motor Speedway (2021).
Prior to the 2022 season, Las Vegas Motor Speedway hosted the first race of the NASCAR Cup Series
Playoffs in 2018 and 2019 and the fourth race in the Playoffs, the first race of the Round of 12, from 2020-2021.
Five different drivers have won the five previous Playoff races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway – Brad
Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano.
Track Playoff Race Winners Date Race No.
Las Vegas Brad Keselowski Sunday, September 16, 2018 27
Las Vegas Martin Truex Jr Sunday, September 15, 2019 27
Las Vegas Kurt Busch Sunday, September 27, 2020 30
Las Vegas Denny Hamlin Sunday, September 26, 2021 30
Las Vegas Joey Logano Sunday, October 16, 2022 33
A total of 11 different drivers have won the seventh race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, led by Jimmie Johnson with four postseason victories (Atlanta: 2004, 2007 and Martinsville: 2012, 2016). Team Penske’s Joey Logano leads all active NASCAR Cup Series drivers in victories in the seventh race of the Playoffs with three postseason wins; including last season’s race at Las Vegas (Martinsville in 2018; Kansas in 2020; Las Vegas in 2022).
NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Race No. 7 Winners
Track Playoff Race Winners Date
Atlanta Jimmie Johnson Sunday, October 31, 2004
Atlanta Carl Edwards Sunday, October 30, 2005
Atlanta Tony Stewart Sunday, October 29, 2006
Atlanta Jimmie Johnson Sunday, October 28, 2007
Atlanta Carl Edwards Sunday, October 26, 2008
Talladega Jamie McMurray Sunday, November 1, 2009
Talladega Clint Bowyer Sunday, October 31, 2010
Martinsville Tony Stewart Sunday, October 30, 2011
Martinsville Jimmie Johnson Sunday, October 28, 2012
Martinsville Jeff Gordon Sunday, October 27, 2013
Martinsville Dale Earnhardt Jr Sunday, October 26, 2014
Martinsville Jeff Gordon Sunday, November 1, 2015
Martinsville Jimmie Johnson Sunday, October 30, 2016
Martinsville Kyle Busch Sunday, October 29, 2017
Martinsville Joey Logano Sunday, October 28, 2018
Martinsville Martin Truex Jr Sunday, October 27, 2019
Kansas Joey Logano Sunday, October 18, 2020
Texas Kyle Larson Sunday, October 17, 2021
Las Vegas Joey Logano Sunday, October 16, 2022
Six times the winner of the seventh NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race has gone on to win the championship
later that same season: 2007, 2011, 2016, 2018, 2021 and 2022.
In 2007, Jimmie Johnson won from the sixth starting position at Atlanta Motor Speedway and went on to win his second consecutive NASCAR Cup Series championship. The win was the second of four consecutive Playoff victories he put up en route to the title that season (Martinsville, Atlanta, Texas and Phoenix). In 2011, Tony Stewart won from the fourth starting position at Martinsville Speedway and went on to win his third NASCAR Cup Series championship (2002, 2005, 2011). The victory was his third of a record setting five Playoff wins that season.
In 2016, Jimmie Johnson won from the third starting position at Martinsville Speedway and went on to win his record tying seventh NASCAR Cup Series championship. The victory was his second of three Playoff wins during his title run that season.
In 2018, Joey Logano won from the 10th starting position at Martinsville Speedway and went on to win his first NASCAR Cup Series championship. It was his first of two Playoffs wins that season (Martinsville, HomesteadMiami).
In 2021, Kyle Larson won from the pole at Texas Motor Speedway and went on to win his first career NASCAR Cup Series championship. The victory was his third of a record tying five Playoff wins season en route to the title.
In 2022, Joey Logano won from the fifth starting position at Martinsville Speedway and went on to win his second NASCAR Cup Series championship (2018, 2022). The victory was his first of only two Playoffs wins that season (Las Vegas, Phoenix).
The worst finish by a driver in the seventh NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race that later went on to win the title that same season was at Atlanta Motor Speedway (2004-2008), when Kurt Busch posted a 42nd-place finish in the 2004 Atlanta race, then the seventh event in the Playoffs, and went on to win the title that same season. The finish was due to an engine failure.
The finishes by the eventual champion in the Playoffs at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:
4th by Joey Logano in 2018 – the first race of the Playoffs.
19th by Kyle Busch in 2019 – the first race of the Playoffs.
22nd by Chase Elliott in 2020 – the fourth race of the Playoffs.
1st by Kyle Larson in 2021 – the fourth race of the Playoffs.
1st by Joey Logano in 2022 – the seventh race of the Playoffs.
Three times non-Playoff drivers have won the seventh race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs: 2006, 2009
In 2006, Tony Stewart won the seventh race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs at Atlanta Motor Speedway, he was 11th in points at the time of the win.
In 2009, Jamie McMurray won the seventh race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs at Talladega
Superspeedway, he was ranked 22nd in the points at the time of the win.
In 2010, Clint Bowyer won the seventh race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs at Talladega Superspeedway, he was 12th in the points at the time of the win.
No non-Playoff driver has ever won the Playoff race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. But that could change this weekend, last Sunday’s Playoff race at the Charlotte ROVAL was won by a non-Playoff driver (AJ Allmendinger). Plus, the 2023 season has produced 15 different winners this season, tied with the 2005 and 2013 seasons for the fourth-most winners through the first 32 races of a season in the Modern Era (1972-Present).
Make sure to tune-in for all the NASCAR Cup Series on-track action this weekend. The Cup Series will first hit the track with practice and Busch Light Pole Qualifying on Saturday, October 14 and both can be viewed at 12:30 p.m. ET on the USA Network.
Las Vegas Clinch Scenarios: The first chance to earn a spot in the Championship 4 With the conclusion of the Round of 12 in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, the postseason challengers get their points reseeded once again and are now confronted with trying to earn their spot in the final round. This weekend’s South Point 400 (Oct. 15 at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will jump start the Round of 8; the first of three races (Las Vegas, Miami and Martinsville) the contenders have to navigate through for a spot in the Championship 4.
Already Clinched No drivers have clinched a spot in the 4-driver field of the next round.
Can Clinch Via Win
The following drivers would clinch on their win alone: William Byron, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, Chris Buescher, Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick, Ryan Blaney Scouting the Round of 8 Cup Playoff field. The eight-driver Playoff field heading into this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is a definite mix of experience. At one end of the experience spectrum sits the two former champions – Martin Truex Jr. (2017) and Kyle Larson (2021), and at the other end, are two drivers making their first career appearance in the Round of 8 – Chris Buescher and Tyler Reddick.
Of the eight Playoff contenders, four have made previous career appearances in the Championship 4 Round – Martin Truex Jr. has five appearances (2021, ’19, ’18, ’17, ’15), Denny Hamlin has four appearances (2021, ’20, ’19, ’14) and Christopher Bell (2022) and Kyle Larson (2021) each have one appearance in the final postseason round.
Plus, the youth movement in the Cup Series is continuing to flourish, four of the eight drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 8 are in their 20s, the youngest being William Byron at 25. The oldest driver in the Round of 8 this season is Martin Truex Jr. at the age of 43. The average age of this season’s Round of 8 is 31 years old. The crop of eight Playoff drivers also hail from six different states across the country – North Carolina (William Byron and Ryan Blaney), New Jersey (Martin Truex Jr.), Virginia (Denny Hamlin), California (Kyle Larson and Tyler Reddick), Texas (Chris Buescher) and Oklahoma (Christopher Bell).
NASCAR Xfinity Series
JR Motorsports’ Sam Mayer keeps his Playoff run alive
It appears there is a new road course ringer in the NASCAR Xfinity Series – JR Motorsports’ Sam Mayer. The 20-year-old driver, Mayer, had a dominate performance on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course, leading 50 of the 67 laps and snagging the win by .909 seconds over runner-up Cole Custer. Mayer was in a must-win situation heading into the Round of 12 cutoff race at the Charlotte ROVAL but it’s not a huge surprise to fans that he was able to pull of the victory. The Frankin, Wisconsin native has had a standout year, posting his first Xfinity Series career win at Road America, followed by a win at Watkins Glen and now a win at the Charlotte ROVAL. With all three of his wins on road courses, he says he might be “Allmendinger 2.0”. Mayer now heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway to kick off the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs Round of 8–his second time making it to the second round of the Playoffs. In four Xfinity career starts at Las Vegas, Mayer
has put up two top-10 finishes.
“Las Vegas is one of my favorite 1.5-mile tracks that we go to and I’m ready to get there with the momentum we have coming off a win at the ROVAL and transferring to the next round of the Playoffs,” said Sam Mayer. “I am so proud of this No. 1 JR Motorsports team for not giving up and building such fast Chevrolets for me to go out and perform at the highest level.”
Rollin’ the dice at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
The NASCAR Xfinity Series wrapped up the Round of 12 last weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course so now it’s time for the Round of 8, which will kick off this Saturday, October 14 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with the Alsco Uniforms 302 at 3:30 p.m. ET on the USA Network, the NBC Sports App, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
The 1.5-mile Las Vegas track has hosted 32 Xfinity Series races, producing 23 different race winners and 19 different pole winners. Six races have been won from the pole or first starting position, most recently by Chase Briscoe in 2020.
JR Motorsports’ Justin Allgaier, who is a Round of 8 contender, has gotten pretty lucky at the Las Vegas track, having posted the most top fives (10), top 10s (15), lead lap finishes (16) and laps completed (3,529). Two previous winners are entered in this weekend’s Alsco Uniforms 302 – Josh Berry, who snagged his wins in 2021 and 2022, and Austin Hill, who is the track’s most recent winner (2023). If Hill wins again this weekend, not only will he clinch his spot in the Championship 4 for the first-time in his career, but he will also become just the second driver in Las Vegas Motor Speedway Xfinity Series history to post back-to-back wins. The first and only other driver to accomplish the feat is Chase Briscoe (2020 sweep). Although only two previous Las Vegas Motor Speedway winners are entered in the race this weekend, there is another driver who might be one to keep an eye on – John Hunter Nemechek. Not only has the 26-year-old driver had a standout year thus far (seven wins, 15 top fives and 22 top 10s), he also is no stranger to winning the first race in the Round of 8. In the 2018 (Kansas) and 2021 (Texas) seasons, although he was not in Playoff contention, he won the first races in the Round of 8 (30th race of the season and fourth of the Xfinity Playoffs).
Track Race Winners Season Race Number Date
Kansas Kyle Busch 2016 30 Saturday, October 15, 2016
Kansas Christopher Bell 2017 30 Saturday, October 21, 2017
Kansas John H. Nemechek 2018 30 Saturday, October 20, 2018
Kansas Brandon Jones 2019 30 Saturday, October 19, 2019
Kansas Chase Briscoe 2020 30 Saturday, October 17, 2020
Texas John H. Nemechek 2021 30 Saturday, October 16, 2021
Las Vegas Josh Berry 2022 30 Saturday, October 15, 2022
This season marks the second time that Las Vegas Motor Speedway will host the first race of the Round of 8 in the Xfinity Series Playoffs. Since the inception of the Playoffs in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2016, Las Vegas Motor Speedway has occupied two spots on the postseason schedule. From 2016-2019, the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway was not included in the Playoff schedule. In the 2020 and 2021 seasons, the track was moved to the first race in the postseason – Chase Briscoe won in 2020 and Josh Berry won in 2021. Then the Las Vegas, Nevada track was moved to the fourth race in the Playoffs starting last season (2022-2023). The Xfinity Series will kick off the weekend with practice on Friday, October 13 at 7:05 p.m. ET followed by qualifying at 7:35 p.m. ET on the USA Network.
The Great Eight: Gambling into the penultimate round of the Playoffs
The competition just tightened up for the race to the championship as four drivers were eliminated last weekend – Daniel Hemric, Parker Kligerman, Josh Berry and Jeb Burton – leaving eight drivers in the hunt. These eight drivers – John Hunter Nemechek, Austill Hill, Justin Allgaier, Sam Mayer, Cole Custer, Chandler Smith, Sheldon Creed, and Sammy Smith – now head to Las Vegas Motor Speedway where fans will be sure to be on the edge of their seats as six of these eight Playoff contenders finished in the top-10 when the series ran at the track earlier this season.
Let’s take a look at how they have performed at the 1.5-mile track:
John Hunter Nemchek: Currently leading the Playoff standings, Nemechek heads to Las Vegas with five starts, one top five, three top 10s and 45 laps led. He finished sixth at the track earlier this season. Austin Hill: Second in the standings, Hill heads into the weekend as one of two previous Las Vegas Motor Speedway winners entered in the race. He’s made four starts, posting one win (2023), one top five, two top 10s and 34 laps led.
Justin Allgaier: Sitting in third in the Playoff standings, Allgaier is the most experienced driver in the field with 18 starts, 10 top fives, 15 top 10s and 277 laps led. Although he has yet to land himself in Victory Lane at Las Vegas, he has come extremely close, finishing runner up four times (most recently in March).
Sam Mayer: Coming off a win at the Charlotte Road Course, Mayer heads to Sin City with a lot of momentum. He has made four starts at the track, posting two top-10 finishes and having led 26 laps. He finished seventh when the series was last there in March.
Cole Custer: Currently fifth in the Playoff standings, Custer has made six starts at the track, posting two top fives and four top 10s. He has led a total of 54 laps and finished 12th earlier this season.
Chandler Smith: As one of two rookies in Playoff contention, he’s only made one start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway but made an impressive debut. He won the pole, led 118 of the 200 laps, and ultimately finished the race in third.
Sheldon Creed: Taking up the seventh spot in the standings, Creed has made three starts at the Las Vegas track, posting two top-10 finishes. He’s led five laps and finished in ninth-place earlier this season.
Sammy Smith: In the final Playoff spot is rookie Sammy Smith. He has made one start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway where he finished in 17th.
NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.
Hailie Deegan to compete full time in the Xfinity Series in 2024 – NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series regular Hailie Deegan will be moving up to the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2024, driving the No. 15 Ford with AM Racing.
“I am excited about the opportunity to compete full time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, starting next year with AM Racing,” said Deegan. “From the start, the team has been nothing but great to work with and the vision that Wade has for the team to accomplish align with my values perfectly.” She is currently wrapping her third full time season in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series. In her 67
starts, she has posted five top-10 finishes. Deegan is one of 24 different female competitors to race in the NASCAR Xfinity Series all-time. She has one Xfinity Series start under her belt, which came last season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where she started 20th and finished 13th setting a new record for best finish by a female in their Xfinity Series debut surpassing the previous record held by Shawna Robinson of a 15th-place finish at Rougemont.
Ryan Reed returns to Xfinity Series at Las Vegas – Ryan Reed, who has won twice in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Daytona, will be returning to the series this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Reed will be piloting the No. 66 Chevrolet with Alpha Prime Racing (in partnership with MBM Motorsports) for his first start since the 2018 season. Reed has made starts in all three of NASCAR’s national series but ran full-time seasons in the Xfinity Series from 2014 to 2018 with RFK Racing, making 171 starts and posting two wins (2015, 2017), seven top fives and 27 top 10s. “It is so cool to be able to make my return to Xfinity racing,” Ryan said. “The Xfinity Series was my home for many years, so it just feels right to be back.”
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series
CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs readies for Round of 8 finale in South Florida
The NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series competitors have one more week to prepare and go over strategy before heading to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Baptist Health 200 and Round of 8 finale (Saturday, October 21 at 12 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, and SiriusXM Radio).
Homestead-Miami Speedway was built as a key part of plans to help the city of Homestead rebound after devastation caused by Hurricane Andrew. Groundbreaking began August 24, 1993, exactly one year after the hurricane. The track soon opened in November of 1995. This 650-acre facility is active more than 280 days per year and features both a 1.5-mile oval and a 2.21-mile road course.
The 1.5-mile oval has hosted 26 CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races since its inaugural CRAFTSMAN Truck Series event on March 17, 1996 – a race won by Dave Rezendes piloting the No. 7 Geoffrey Bodine
Motorsports Ford. Notably, there have been 23 different race winners. Kyle Busch leads the series with three wins at the track, while Playoff driver Ty Majeski is the most recent winner (2022).
The 2023 season marks the second time the speedway has hosted the Round of 8 finale in the Playoffs (2022
and 2023). The track was home to the championship race from 2016-2019 before landing a spot on the regular season schedule for 2020-2021 season. Only one race during the Round of 8 finale has been won by a non-Playoff driver – Daniel Suárez at Phoenix in 2016.
NCTS Round of 8 Finale Race Winners (2016-2022)
Date Track Race Winner Season Race No.
Friday, November 11, 2016 Phoenix Daniel Suarez (Non-Playoff Driver) 2016 22
Friday, November 10, 2017 Phoenix Johnny Sauter 2017 22
Friday, November 9, 2018 Phoenix Brett Moffitt 2018 22
Friday, November 8, 2019 Phoenix Stewart Friesen 2019 22
Friday, October 30, 2020 Martinsville Grant Enfinger 2020 22
Saturday, October 30, 2021 Martinsville Zane Smith 2021 21
Saturday, October 22, 2022 Homestead-Miami Ty Majeski 2022 22
Three previous Round of 8 finale winners who are current Championship 4 Playoff hopefuls – Grant Enfinger, Zane Smith, and Ty Majeski – all will head to South Florida with one goal in mind: “Win and we’re in.” Practice and qualifying for the Baptist Health 200 will begin on Friday, October 20 at 4:05 p.m. ET. NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff Outlook
Following Talladega Superspeedway – Sept. 30, 2023
Rank Driver Starts Points Race Wins Playoff Pts + /- Cutoff
1 Corey Heim (P) 20 3,121 3 35 In On Win
2 Carson Hocevar (P) 21 3,111 3 22 23
3 Christian Eckes (P) 21 3,097 3 26 9
4 Nick Sanchez # (P) 21 3,091 0 7 3
5 Grant Enfinger (P) 21 3,088 3 24 -3
6 Ben Rhodes (P) 21 3,086 1 13 -5
7 Ty Majeski (P) 21 3,072 1 16 -19
8 Zane Smith (P) 21 3,055 2 22 -36
Playoff Clinch Scenarios: Make it or break it to race for the title With a win at Talladega by non-Playoff driver Brett Moffitt, only one driver has secured their spot in the Championship 4 Round at Phoenix Raceway – Corey Heim, who earned his spot with his win at Bristol. The remaining seven drivers will have to give it their all if they want a chance to move on to the Championship 4
Round. Here is a look at the clinch scenarios for the 8-driver field: Already Clinched The following driver has clinched a spot in the 4-driver field of the next round: Corey Heim.
Can Clinch Via Points If there is a repeat winner or a win by a driver who cannot advance to the next round, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the 4th winless driver in the standings. The same point requirements listed below would hold true if a new win comes from among Carson Hocevar, Christian Eckes or Nicholas Sanchez.
Carson Hocevar: Would clinch with 33 points
Christian Eckes: Would clinch with 46 points (47 points if Sanchez wins)
Nicholas Sanchez: Would clinch with 53 points
Grant Enfinger: Would clinch with 55 points (would need help if Sanchez wins)
Ben Rhodes: Could only clinch with help
Ty Majeski: Could only clinch with help
Zane Smith: Could only clinch with help
If there is a new winner from Grant Enfinger or another winless driver lower in the standings but still eligible to advance to the next round, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the 3rd winless driver in the standings.
Carson Hocevar: Would clinch with 36 points
Christian Eckes: Would clinch with 49 points
Nicholas Sanchez: Could only clinch with help
Grant Enfinger: Could only clinch with help
Ben Rhodes: Could only clinch with help
Ty Majeski: Could only clinch with help
Zane Smith: Could only clinch with help
Can Clinch Via Win
The following drivers would clinch on their win alone: Carson Hocevar, Christian Eckes, Nicholas Sanchez, Grant Enfinger, Ben Rhodes, Ty Majeski, Zane Smith
Playoff Bubble Shuffle: Enfinger, Rhodes, Majeski, and Smith outside Championship 4 cutline
Following the Round of 8 opener at Bristol Motor Speedway, Corey Heim was the first to punch his ticket to the Championship 4 Round at Phoenix Raceway. With just one race left in the Round of 8, the competitors are starting to feel the heat, especially with the cutline sitting tight heading into Homestead-Miami Speedway. As the Round of 8 finale looms closer, the drivers sitting below the cutline are Grant Enfinger, Ben Rhodes, Ty Majeski and Zane Smith. Driver of the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Chevrolet, Zane Smith, has gone on to the title round the last three years. Last season, the reigning CRAFTSMAN Truck Series champion advanced to the Championship 4 Round by scoring two runner-up finishes in the Round of 8, in addition to a 17th-place finish at Talladega
Superspeedway. Smith has experienced both highs and lows this postseason – finishing fifth at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, 12th at the Milwaukee Mile, fifth at Kansas Speedway, and 24th at Bristol Motor Speedway. Talladega unfortunately did not pan out well for Smith, spending nearly half of Saturday’s race sitting idle in the garage for a slipping clutch while the field whisked by. Although the 24-year-old could conceivably advance based on points, realistically Smith is likely facing a must-win situation. He sits -36 points back from the final transfer spot currently being held by rookie Nick Sanchez. Ty Majeski completely dominated the Round of 8 last season, winning both Bristol and Homestead – besting Zane Smith both times. The Seymour, Wisconsin native is currently -19 points back from the final transfer spot. Although the deficit is significant, Majeski and the No. 98 ThorSport Racing Ford team will need to maximize the next 3 stages if they want to compete for the title again. The 29-year-old burst into the Playoffs with momentum after leading 168 laps at Richmond in the regular season finale before finishing second. Majeski completely dominated the field at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, taking the checkered flag after leading 179 of 200 laps. But following Indianapolis, the No. 98 team has lost some steam – finishing seventh in Milwaukee, 18th at Kansas, 19th at Bristol, and now 21st at Talladega.
Driver of the No. 23 GMS Racing Chevrolet Grant Enfinger is three points back from the final transfer position. This is his first time below the cutline since the Playoffs began. The Fairhope, Alabama native has done decently well this postseason – finishing 12th at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, first at the Milwaukee Mile, 17th at Kansas Speedway, third at Bristol Motor Speedway, and now 13th at Talladega. Although the 38-year-old has never secured a victory at Homestead, he has secured the pole position and a second-place finish before. Ben Rhodes scarped his way into the Round of 8 by five points. The 2021 CRAFTSMAN Truck Series champion will head to Homestead ranked sixth in the Playoff standings, five points from the fourth and final spot in the championship round. In sixth starts at Homestead, the Louisville, Kentucky native has an average finish of 14.2. Last year, the driver of the No. 99 ThorSport Racing Ford managed a sixth-place finish at the
1.5-mile oval. Unfortunately for the 26-year-old, the Playoffs haven’t been off to the best start – finishing 16th at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, 16th at Milwaukee, 25th at Kansas, seventh at Bristol, and second at Talladega. Like his competitors, he will need to maximize these next 3 stages if he wants a chance to compete for the title in Phoenix.
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, Etc.
Three CRAFTSMAN Truck Series competitors hope to compete at Las Vegas – Fans will be able to catch three CRAFTSMAN Truck Series regulars attempting to compete in the NASCAR Xfinity and NASCAR Cup
Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend.
Daniel Dye plans to pilot the No. 44 Alpha Prime Racing Chevrolet along with Rajah Caruth getting behind the wheel of the No. 45 Alpha Prime Racing Chevrolet on Saturday during the Alsco Uniforms 302. CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff contender Carson Hocevar will once again get behind the wheel of the No. 42 Legacy Motor Club Chevrolet on Sunday during the South Point 400. It was also announced this week that Carson Hocevar will replace Ty Dillon next season in the No. 77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet running a fulltime schedule in the NASCAR Cup Series. “I mean, anybody in my position wants to be a Cup Series driver,” said Hocevar. “That’s what you dream about when you’re young. You want to race on Sundays. So, my opportunity to run a few times this year, to run on Sunday and get ready, I feel more than prepared to get in the No. 77 car with Spire. That team is growing exponentially and I’m just excited for everything. I have a unique opportunity to build something and grow with it, while growing myself at the same time. For what we’ve been able to do from the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series to Cup is pretty crazy. I know it seems like a big jump. With all the tools and resources, and everybody at Spire Motorsports, they have put a lot of faith in me, and I have a lot of faith in them. We all have faith in the whole program. I feel like we can come out of the gate like we’ve done this for years.” Hocevar has made six NASCAR Cup Series starts to date, putting up an average finish of 22.5
Graphics & Photos Courtesy of NASCAR