NASCAR playoff clinching scenarios for Martinsville

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The NASCAR Cup, NASCAR Xfinity and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series all host Round of 8 playoff elimination races this weekend at Martinsville Speedway.

These races will finalize the Championship 4 drivers who will compete for series titles during the season finale weekend Nov. 5-7 at Phoenix Raceway.

Here’s a look at the clinching scenarios for all three series entering Martinsville.

NASCAR Cup Series

Kyle Larson has already clinched a Championship 4 berth with his win Oct. 17 at Texas Motor Speedway. He also won last week at Kansas Speedway.

As a result, three remaining Championship 4 spots will be decided in Sunday’s Cup race (2 p.m. ET, NBC and Peacock Premium).

The other seven playoff drivers – Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano – can clinch a Championship 4 berth with a win.

At least two playoff drivers will clinch a Championship 4 berth on points.

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 fourth winless driver in the standings. The same point requirements listed below would hold true if a new win comes from among Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin or Kyle Busch.

  • Chase Elliott: Would clinch with 20 points, 22 points if Kyle Busch wins
  • Denny Hamlin: Would clinch with 23 points, 24 points if Kyle Busch wins
  • Kyle Busch: Would clinch with 54 points
  • Ryan Blaney: Would clinch with 55 points, would need help if Kyle Busch wins
  • Martin Truex Jr.: Would clinch with 55 points, would need help if Kyle Busch wins
  • Brad Keselowski: Could only clinch with help
  • Joey Logano: Could only clinch with help

If there is a new winner from Ryan Blaney 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 third winless driver in the standings.

  • Chase Elliott: Would clinch with 22 points
  • Denny Hamlin: Would clinch with 25 points
  • Kyle Busch: Could only clinch with help
  • Ryan Blaney: Could only clinch with help
  • Martin Truex Jr.: Could only clinch with help
  • Brad Keselowski: Could only clinch with help

NASCAR Xfinity Series

With non-playoff drivers winning the first two races in the Round of 8, all four Championship 4 spots will be decided in Saturday night’s Xfinity race (6 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

The eight remaining playoff drivers – Austin Cindric, AJ Allmendinger, Justin Allgaier, Daniel Hemric, Justin Haley, Noah Gragson, Brandon Jones and Harrison Burton – can clinch a Championship 4 berth with a win.

At least three playoff drivers will clinch a Championship 4 berth on points.

Can clinch via points

If there is a win by a driver who cannot advance to the next round, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the fifth winless driver in the standings. The same point requirements listed below would hold true if a new win comes from among Austin Cindric, AJ Allmendinger, Justin Allgaier or Daniel Hemric.

  • Austin Cindric: Would clinch with 9 points
  • AJ Allmendinger: Would clinch with 9 points
  • Justin Allgaier: Would clinch with 47 points
  • Daniel Hemric: Would clinch with 49 points
  • Justin Haley: Could only clinch with help
  • Noah Gragson: Could only clinch with help
  • Brandon Jones: Could only clinch with help
  • Harrison Burton: Could only clinch with help

If there is a new winner from Justin Haley 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 fourth winless driver in the standings.

  • Austin Cindric: Would clinch with 15 points
  • AJ Allmendinger: Would clinch with 15 points
  • Justin Allgaier: Would clinch with 53 points
  • Daniel Hemric: Would clinch with 55 points
  • Justin Haley: Could only clinch with help
  • Noah Gragson: Could only clinch with help
  • Brandon Jones: Could only clinch with help
  • Harrison Burton: Could only clinch with help

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

With non-playoff drivers winning the first two races in the Round of 8, all four Championship 4 spots will be decided in Saturday afternoon’s Truck race (1 p.m. ET, FS1).

The eight remaining playoff drivers – John Hunter Nemechek, Ben Rhodes, Matt Crafton, Sheldon Creed, Stewart Friesen, Chandler Smith, Carson Hocevar and Zane Smith – can clinch a Championship 4 berth with a win.

At least three playoff drivers will clinch a Championship 4 berth on points.

Can clinch via points

If there is a win by a driver who cannot advance to the next round, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the fifth winless driver in the standings. The same point requirements listed below would hold true if a new win comes from among John Hunter Nemechek, Ben Rhodes, Matt Crafton or Sheldon Creed.

  • John Hunter Nemechek: Would clinch with 20 points
  • Ben Rhodes: Would clinch with 21 points
  • Matt Crafton: Would clinch with 46 points
  • Sheldon Creed: Would clinch with 51 points
  • Stewart Friesen: Could only clinch with help
  • Chandler Smith: Could only clinch with help
  • Carson Hocevar: Could only clinch with help
  • Zane Smith: Could only clinch with help

If there is a new winner from Stewart Friesen 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 fourth winless driver in the standings.

  • John Hunter Nemechek: Would clinch with 25 points
  • Ben Rhodes: Would clinch with 26 points
  • Matt Crafton: Would clinch with 51 points
  • Sheldon Creed: Could only clinch with help
  • Stewart Friesen: Could only clinch with help
  • Chandler Smith: Could only clinch with help
  • Carson Hocevar: Could only clinch with help
  • Zane Smith: Could only clinch with help

Talladega Xfinity starting lineup: Austin Hill wins pole

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TALLADEGA, Ala. — Austin Hill will lead the field to the green flag Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway after scoring his first career Xfinity Series pole.

Hill won the pole Friday with a lap of 182.036 mph. He will be joined on the front row by fellow playoff contender Ty Gibbs (181.981 mph).

MORE: Talladega Xfinity starting lineup

Playoff drivers will start in seven of the top eight spots. The exception is Sheldon Creed, who will start third after a lap of 181.870 mph. Hill and Creed give Richard Childress Racing the first and third starting spots.

Justin Allgaier (181.529) qualified fourth and Brandon Jones (181.305) completed the top five. Noah Gragson, who has won four races in a row, starts sixth after a lap of 181.134 mph and is followed by playoff drivers Josh Berry (181.052) and AJ Allmendinger (180.932).

The Xfinity Series race is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET Saturday on USA Network.

Talladega Truck starting lineup: John Hunter Nemechek wins pole

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TALLADEGA, Ala. — John Hunter Nemechek will start on the pole for Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race.

Nemechek earned the pole with a lap of 178.767 mph.

Nemechek is one of four playoff drivers starting in the top six: Chandler Smith (second, 177.732 mph), Zane Smith (fourth, 177.061) and Ty Majeski (sixth, 176.744). Majeski clinched a spot in next month’s championship race at Phoenix with his Bristol win.

MORE: Talladega Truck starting lineup

Also qualifying in the top five were Carson Hocevar (177.068) in third and Matt Crafton (176.960) in fifth.

Failing to qualify are Tim Viens, Spencer Boyd, Jason White and Natalie Decker.

Saturday Talladega Xfinity race: Start time, TV info, weather

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The second race of the opening round of the Xfinity playoffs takes drivers to Talladega Superspeedway.

Noah Gragson secured his spot in the next round by winning last weekend at Texas. Ryan Sieg holds the final transfer spot. Riley Herbst is the first driver below the cutline, one point behind Sieg. Also below the cutline are reigning series champion Daniel Hemric (-8 points), Brandon Jones (-12) and Jeremy Clements (-28).

Details for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Talladega Superspeedway

(All times Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 4:09 p.m. … Green flag is scheduled to wave at 4:21 p.m.

PRERACE: Xfinity garage opens at 1 p.m. … Driver introductions are at 3:30 p.m. … The invocation will be given at 4 p.m. … The Brookwood High School choir will perform the anthem at 4:02 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 113 laps (300.58 miles) on the 2.66-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 25. Stage 2 ends at Lap 50.

TV/RADIO: USA Network will broadcast the race at 4 p.m. Countdown to Green begins at 3:30 p.m. on USA Network. … Motor Racing Network coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. and also will stream at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.

STREAMING: NBCsports.com

FORECAST: Weather Underground — Sunny with a high of 78 degrees and no chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Noah Gragson won and was followed by Jeffrey Earnhardt and AJ Allmendinger.

 

Could Talladega open door for a record 20th winner?

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Talladega Superspeedway is known for fast speeds, huge drafting packs, sensational wrecks and tight finishes.

On Sunday (2 p.m. ET on NBC), it could be the site of an unexpected record.

Nineteen different drivers have won Cup races this season, tying a record. If a new winner shows up in Talladega victory lane Sunday, it will mark the first time in the sport’s history that 20 drivers have won races in a single season.

One of the remarkable things about that possibility is that the driver who has far and away the best record at Talladega among active drivers is among the group still looking for a win in 2022. That’s Brad Keselowski, who has won six times at NASCAR’s biggest track. No other active driver has more than three. (Keselowski is tied for second on the all-time Talladega win list with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon. Dale Earnhardt tops that list with 10).

Talladega and Daytona tend to reject repeat winners. The past nine races at the two tracks have been won by nine different drivers.

Other seasonal non-winners who could break through at Talladega:

Ryan BlaneyBlaney’s only win this year is in the All-Star Race, so he’s still looking for his first points win while continuing to chase the championship. He won at Talladega in 2019 and 2020.

Martin Truex Jr. — Superspeedways have been a pox on Truex’s career. In 70 races at Talladega and Daytona, he has failed to win.

Aric Almirola — In what has been a disappointing season, Almirola’s best finish is a fifth — twice. He won at Talladega in 2018 but hasn’t had a top 10 in his last four runs there.

Michael McDowell — McDowell’s best finish at Talladega is a third, but he is usually very competitive in the Talladega and Daytona drafts, winning the 2021 Daytona 500.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — Stenhouse won at Talladega in 2017 and usually is a factor in the draft.

Harrison Burton — Burton has had a tough rookie season, but the peculiarities of the Talladega draft should play in his favor. The No. 21 team’s next win will be its 100th.

Justin Haley — Haley has no top-10 runs in five Talladega starts, but he showed potential last week with a third-place finish at Texas.

Corey LaJoie — LaJoie has started nine Cup races at Talladega and has led exactly one lap. His best finish is a seventh.

Noah Gragson — Gragson, the star of this Xfinity season, is in the No. 48 for Hendrick Motorsports with Alex Bowman out because of concussion-like symptoms. In the Talladega draft he could be a threat.