Who can break through Round of 8 to Cup title race?


Kyle Busch’s elimination guarantees that there will be at least one driver in next month’s Cup championship race at Phoenix who wasn’t in last year’s title event.

But who will it be?

Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman and Kurt Busch seek their first championship race appearance. Brad Keselowski looks to make the title race for a second time but first since 2017. Joey Logano attempts to keep his unique streak going. He’s made it to the title race in even-numbered years (2014, ’16 and ’18) but never in an odd-numbered year.

“I feel like we got a good shot at getting to the Championship 4,” Logano said.

Last year’s championship race had Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin.

The Round of 8 begins Sunday at Kansas Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC).

MORE: Winners and losers at Charlotte Roval 

This marks Elliott’s fourth consecutive year in the Round of 8, but he’s never advanced to the championship event.

“We see the same people make the final four every year,” Elliott said after Sunday’s win at the Charlotte Roval. “We’ve been very close to asserting ourselves amongst that group. I think we’re very capable of it. I think when we’re at our best, we run with those guys. I think we’ve proved that in the past.

“We just have to be a little more consistent, eliminate those bad racetracks, I think we can make some noise.”

Crashes and mechanical issues have kept the sport’s most popular driver from a chance at the crown.

Last year, he did not finish better than 32nd in any of the three Round of 8 races. He crashed at Texas and Phoenix. Mechanical woes doomed him at Martinsville.

“We’ve progressively gotten better and better and better,” said Alan Gustafson, Elliott’s crew chief, after the Roval win. “I think we were much better than our results showed last year, our performance in the Round of 8 showed last year.”

It wasn’t just last year that the Round of 8 tracks created bad memories for Elliott.

He saw his title hopes end in 2018 at Phoenix when he was collected in a crash and finished 23rd. Elliott was turned while leading in the final laps by Denny Hamlin and finished 27th at Martinsville in 2017.

His teammate, Bowman, hopes to avoid such problems.

Bowman, who will take over teammate Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 ride next year, advanced after finishing eighth at the Roval.

“I feel like sometimes my team at least doesn’t get the respect they deserve,” Bowman said Sunday. “I feel like (advancing) kind of like validates all their hard work.”

Keselowski could be one to watch in this round. He won a stage and finished second in the July 23 race at Kansas. Keselowski placed third at Martinsville and was ninth at Texas. He and Kurt Busch are the only remaining playoff drivers to finish in the top 10 at those tracks this season. Kurt Busch was eighth at Texas, ninth at Kansas and ninth at Martinsville.

“I feel like you’re going to have to win out in this Round of 8 and the championship race in Phoenix,” Kurt Busch said. “This group, the elite eight … are the best of the best and can win each and every week.”

Points entering Round of 8

4067 — Kevin Harvick

4054 — Denny Hamlin

4035 — Brad Keselowski

4027 — Chase Elliott

4022 — Joey Logano

4017 — Martin Truex Jr.

4009 — Alex Bowman

4006 — Kurt Busch

Points scored at Round of 8 tracks this year

Points scored by playoff drivers at Kansas, Texas and Martinsville

119 — Kevin Harvick

113 — Brad Keselowski

106 — Martin Truex Jr. (won Martinsville)

103 — Kurt Busch

96 — Joey Logano

95 — Chase Elliott

94 — Denny Hamlin (won Kansas)

79 — Alex Bowman

Cole Custer wins Xfinity race at Portland in overtime


Cole Custer held off Justin Allgaier at the finish to win Saturday’s Xfinity Series race in overtime at Portland International Raceway. It is Custer’s first victory of the season.

JR Motorsports placed second, third and fourth with Allgaier, Sam Mayer and Josh Berry. Austin Hill finished fifth.

Custer went from fourth to first on the overtime restart when Parker Kligerman, who restarted third, attempted to pass Allgaier, who was leading. Sheldon Creed was on the outside of Allgaier. All three cars made contact entering Turn 1, allowing Custer to slip by. Creed finished seventh. Kligerman placed 14th.

Custer won the second stage when John Hunter Nemechek made contact with Creed’s car while racing for the lead on the final lap of the stage. The contact spun Creed and Custer inched by Nemechek at the line.

Early in the final stage, Creed gained revenge with contact that spun Nemechek, who went on to finish 10th. A few laps later, Nemechek and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Sammy Smith had issues. Smith spun Nemechek. After getting back around, Nemechek quickly caught Smith and turned into Smith’s car, damaging it.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Sheldon Creed

STAGE 2 WINNER: Cole Custer

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Despite the contact on the overtime restart, runner-up Justin Allgaier managed to score his fourth consecutive top-three finish. … Sam Mayer’s third-place finish is his best on a road course. … Austin Hill’s fifth-place finish gives him four consecutive top-five results.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Daniel Hemric finished 33rd after a fire in his car. … Riley Herbst placed 32nd after an engine issue. After opening the season with six top 10s in a row, Herbst has gone seven races in a row without a top 10.

NEXT: The series competes June 10 at Sonoma Raceway (8 p.m. ET on FS1).

Truck race results at WWT Raceway: Grant Enfinger wins

Truck race results WWT Raceway
Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Grant Enfinger took the lead when the leaders wrecked in the final laps and held off the field in overtime to win Saturday’s Craftsman Truck Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway.

It is Enfinger’s second win in the last five races. He also collected a $50,000 bonus for winning the Triple Truck Challenge.

MORE: Truck race results

MORE: Driver points after WWT Raceway

Christian Eckes finished second and was followed by Stewart Friesen, Carson Hocevar and Chase Purdy.

Ty Majeski and Zane Smith wrecked while racing for the lead with six laps to go. Majeski, running on the inside of Smith, slid up the track and clipped Smith’s truck. Both hit the wall. That put Enfinger in the lead.

Smith finished 20th. Majeski placed 30th.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Grant Enfinger

STAGE 2 WINNER: Stewart Friesen

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Grant Enfinger’s victory is his fourth top 10 in the last five races. … Carson Hocevar’s fourth-place finish is his fourth consecutive top-five result. … Stewart Friesen’s third-place finish moved him into a playoff spot with four races left in the regular season. … Matt DiBenedetto‘s sixth-place finish is his third consecutive top 10. … Jesse Love finished ninth in his series debut.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Ty Majeski had a chance to take the points lead with series leader Corey Heim out because of illness, but Majeski’s 30th-place finish after running at the front most of the day, leaves him behind Heim. … Hailie Deegan finished 32nd after contact sent her truck into the wall hard. … After finishing a career-high third last week at Charlotte, Dean Thompson placed 34th Saturday due to an engine issue.

NEXT: The series races June 23 at Nashville Superspeedway (8 p.m. ET on FS1)

Xfinity starting lineup at Portland: Sheldon Creed wins pole


Sheldon Creed scored his first career Xfinity Series pole by taking the top spot for Saturday’s race at Portland International Raceway.

Creed, making his 50th career series start, earned the pole with a lap of 95.694 mph on the 1.97-mile road course.

MORE: Portland Xfinity starting lineup

Cole Custer will start second with a lap of 95.398 mph. He is followed by Josh Berry (94.242 mph), John Hunter Nemechek (95.127) and Charlotte winner Justin Allgaier (94.897). Road racing specialist Jordan Taylor, driving for Kaulig Racing, qualified sixth at 94.772 mph.

The green flag is scheduled to wave 4:46 p.m. ET Saturday on FS1.

Sunday Cup race at WWT Raceway: Start time, TV info, weather


Twelve races remain until the playoffs begin in early September. Ten drivers have won races. The pressure to secure a playoff spot builds as the Cup Series heads into the summer months.

Details for Sunday’s Cup race at WWT Raceway

(All times Eastern)

START: Six-time Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee will give the command to start engines at 3:32 p.m. … The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:42 p.m.

PRERACE: Cup garage opens at 12:30 p.m. … Drivers meeting is at 2:40 p.m. … Driver intros are at 2:55 p.m. … Tim Bounds, pastor at The Crossing Church St. Louis, will give the invocation at 3:24 p.m. … The national anthem will be performed by Bebe Winans and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra at 3:25 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 240 laps (300 miles) on the 1.25-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 45. Stage 2 ends at Lap 140.

STARTING LINEUP: Cup starting lineup

TV/RADIO: FS1 will broadcast the race at 3:30 p.m. … Coverage begins at 2 p.m. … Motor Racing Network coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. and also will stream at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.


FORECAST: Weather Underground — Partly cloudy with a high of 90 degrees and a 15% chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST YEAR: Joey Logano won the inaugural Cup race at this track. Kyle Busch was second. Kurt Busch placed third.


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