Second round clinching scenarios for Cup playoffs

1 Comment

While Sunday’s inaugural Bank of America Roval 400 (2 p.m. ET on NBC) is a big deal, the fact it serves as the elimination race in the first round of the Cup playoffs ramps up its importance.

The playoff field will be cut from 16 to 12 drivers for the second round.

The drivers who sit outside the top 12 are Clint Bowyer (-4 points), Jimmie Johnson (-6), Erik Jones (-21) and Denny Hamlin (-29).

Brad Keselowski (win), Kyle Busch (win) and Martin Truex Jr. (points) are the only drivers who have secured spots in round two.

Here are the clinching scenarios for the drivers who have not yet advanced to the second round.

  • Kevin Harvick – Harvick will clinch by starting Sunday’s race.
  • Joey Logano – If there is a new winner, Logano will clinch with 33 points.  If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Truex, Harvick, Aric Almirola, Kyle Larson, Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott, Austin Dillon or Alex Bowman), Logano would clinch with 30 points. If Ryan Blaney wins, Logano would clinch with 31 points.
  • Aric Almirola – If there is a new winner, Almirola would clinch with 35 points.  If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Truex Jr., Harvick, Logano, Larson, Kurt Busch, Elliott, Dillon or Bowman), he would clinch on points with 32 Points.  If Blaney wins, Almirola would clinch with 33 points.
  • Kyle Larson – If there is a new winner, Larson would clinch on points with 40 points.  If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Truex, Harvick, Logano, Almirola, Kurt Busch, Elliott, Dillon or Bowman), Larson would clinch with 37 points.  If Ryan Blaney wins, Larson would clinch with 38 points.
  • Kurt Busch – If there is a new winner, Busch would clinch on points with 43 points.  If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Truex, Harvick, Logano, Almirola, Larson, Elliott, Dillon or Bowman), Busch would clinch with 40 points. If Blaney wins, Larson would clinch with 41 points.
  • Chase Elliott – If there is a new winner, Elliott would clinch with 48 points.  If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Truex, Harvick, Logano, Almirola, Larson, Kurt Busch, Dillon or Bowman), Elliott would clinch on points with 45 points.  If Blaney wins, Elliott clinch with 46 points.
  • Austin Dillon – If there is a new winner, Dillon would clinch with 48 points.  If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Truex, Harvick, Logano, Almirola, Larson, Kurt Busch, Elliott or Bowman), Dillon would clinch with 45 points.  If Blaney wins, Dillon would clinch with 46 points.
  • Alex Bowman – If there is a new winner, Bowman would clinch with 53 points.  If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Truex, Harvick, Logano, Almirola, Larson, Kurt Busch, Elliott or Dillon), Bowman would clinch on points with 50 points.  If Blaney wins, Bowman would clinch with 51 points.
  • Ryan Blaney – If there is a new winner, Blaney would clinch with 54 points.  If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Truex, Harvick, Logano, Almirola, Larson, Kurt Busch, Elliott or Dillon), Blaney would clinch with 51 points.  If Bowman wins, Blaney would clinch with 52 points.
  • Clint Bowyer – If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Truex, Harvick, Logano, Almirola, Larson, Kurt Busch, Elliott or Dillon), Bowyer would clinch with 55 points.  With a win, Bowyer would clinch a next round spot.  Bowyer could clinch on points with a new winner and help.
  • Jimmie Johnson – With a win, Johnson would clinch a next round spot. Johnson could clinch on points with a new winner and help.
  • Erik Jones – With a win, Jones would clinch a next round spot.  Jones could clinch on points with a new winner and help.
  • Denny Hamlin – With a win, Hamlin would clinch a next round spot.  Hamlin could clinch on points with a new winner and help.

Today’s Las Vegas Cup race: Start time, lineup and more

Getty Images
Leave a comment

One down and only 35 to go.

With the Daytona 500 now in the record books, the NASCAR Cup Series moves on to its second race of the season – and the start of the three-race western swing.

Can Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin make it back-to-back wins to start the 2020 season?

How about defending Cup Series champ Kyle Busch, looking for his second career Cup win in his hometown? What about older brother Kurt Busch, still searching for his first career hometown Cup triumph?

Here is all the info for today’s race:

(All times are Eastern)

START: The 1980 U.S. Men’s Olympic “Miracle” hockey team will give the command to start engines at 3:37 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:46 p.m.

PRERACE: Garage opens at 11:30 a.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 1:30 p.m. Driver introductions are at 3 p.m. The invocation will be given by Motor Racing Outreach chaplain Billy Mauldin at 3:30 p.m. The National Anthem will be performed by Carnell Johnson at 3:31 p.m., followed by a flyover by four F-16 “Vipers” from the 57th Wing Adversary Tactics Group from Nellis Air Force Base at 3:32 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 267 laps (400.5 miles) around the 1.5-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 80. Stage 2 ends on Lap 160.

TV/RADIO: Fox will broadcast the race with coverage beginning at 3:30 p.m. Performance Racing Network’s broadcast begins at 2:30 p.m. and can also be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry PRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: The Wunderground.com forecast calls for sunny skies with a high of 68 degrees and a 0% chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Joey Logano won this race last year, followed by teammate Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. Martin Truex Jr. won last September’s playoff race, followed by Kevin Harvick and Keselowski.

TO THE REAR: Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Christopher Bell will start from the rear after L1 level infractions in qualifying inspection. Garrett Smithley will also start from the rear due to three inspections failures.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the starting lineup.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Rain postpones Las Vegas Xfinity race to 7:30 p.m. ET Sunday

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Rain has forced the conclusion of today’s Xfinity Series race in Las Vegas to be postponed until Sunday after the Cup Series race at approximately 7:30 p.m. ET. The race will resume on FS2.

The race had been red flagged since late Saturday afternoon, with the race paused on Lap 51 of 200, only six laps after Chase Briscoe won Stage 1.

The top 10 is currently scored as:

  1. Joe Graf Jr. (stayed out of pits)
  2. Chase Briscoe
  3. Austin Cindric
  4. Ross Chastain
  5. Brandon Jones
  6. Justin Allgaier
  7. Michael Annett
  8. Justin Haley
  9. Harrison Burton
  10. Brett Moffitt

Kevin Harvick, Gander RV CEO put up $100K bounty to beat Kyle Busch in trucks

Kyle Busch
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Kevin Harvick and Gander RV & Outdoors CEO Marcus Lemonis issued a bounty poster in tweet form Saturday.

WANTED: A full-time Cup Series driver to beat Kyle Busch in any of his remaining four Truck Series starts this year (without wrecking him).

REWARD: $50,000 each from Harvick and Lemonis.

The bounty comes the night after Busch won his seventh consecutive Truck Series race, which includes all five starts he made in 2019.

Saturday’s race was his first of five in the trucks this season. He’ll be back in the series March 14 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, March 20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, March 27 at Texas Motor Speedway and May 30 at Kansas Speedway.

Busch won at Atlanta and Texas last year.

Busch himself didn’t seem too impressed with the bounty when told about it in the media center.

So what is in it for Busch?

If no full-time Cup driver is able to beat Busch in those four races, the bounty will be given to the Bundle of Joy Fund, the organization founded by Kyle and Samantha Busch that helps couples who require fertility treatments to conceive.

Lemonis wasn’t done there. Later Saturday night, he put another proposition out into the Twitterverse. If Fox Sports moved any of the races to prime time, he’d increase the purse among the top-five finishers to $250,000.

Needless to say, the original bounty got the attention of a few drivers, including Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Denny Hamlin.

Disclaimer on the following tweet by Hamlin: As noted above, none of Busch’s remaining four truck races are at Richmond Raceway. But…..Richmond is the site of the first Triple Truck Challenge race on April 18.

Richmond’s track president, Dennis Bickmeier chimed in with his thoughts.

Las Vegas Xfinity race under red flag for rain on Lap 51

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Today’s Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is under its second rain delay and its first since the start of race.

The race was paused by a red flag on Lap 51, shortly after the end of Stage 1.

The race is official after the end of Stage 2 on Lap 90.

Joe Graf Jr is listed as the leader after he stayed out during pit stops.

The top five is completed by Stage 1 winner Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric, Ross Chastain and Brandon Jones.

The green flag for the race was originally scheduled for 4:16 p.m. ET. The finally waved at 5:48 p.m. ET.

The rain forced the cancellation of qualifying for Cup and Xfinity. The field was set by last year’s owner’s points.

If the race resumes tonight, coverage will be on FS2.

Check back for more.