NASCAR viewer’s guide: Richmond Raceway


The NASCAR Cup Series regular-season countdown clock has reached three, and Sunday’s 400-lap, 300-mile race at Richmond Raceway will be the final short-track event before the playoffs begin Sept. 4 at Darlington Raceway.

After Richmond, the remaining regular-season races are at the Watkins Glen road course Aug. 21 and at Daytona International Speedway Aug. 27.

Kevin Harvick added a slice of drama to the remaining regular-season schedule by winning Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, putting his name on the playoff grid. Fifteen race winners have claimed spots, leaving Ryan Blaney as the only driver currently qualified via points.

The Richmond race weekend includes an 8 p.m. ET Saturday playoff race for the Camping World Truck Series. Sunday’s Cup race (3 p.m., ET) will be televised by the USA Network. The Xfinity Series is idle this week.

Elliott On The Edge

Chase Elliott, the season’s dominant driver with four wins (no one else has more than two), can lock up the Cup regular-season title at Richmond.

Entering Sunday’s race, Elliott has a 119-point edge over second-place Ryan Blaney in the regular-season standings. If he leaves Richmond with a 121-point edge over second, he’ll nail down the regular-season title with two races remaining.

Elliott has hit a bit of a dip the past two weeks after scoring six consecutive top-10 finishes, including three wins. He finished 16th at Indianapolis and 11th Sunday at Michigan.

Blaney In The Twilight Zone

Ryan Blaney is sitting on the edge of the precipice.

With Kevin Harvick becoming the season’s 15th winner Sunday, there is only one spot vacant on the playoff grid for a driver qualifying via points. Entering Richmond, Blaney sits in that position, only 19 points in front of Martin Truex Jr., the first driver below the cutoff line.

Oddly enough, thanks to a generally consistent season, Blaney is second in the seasonal point standings. If a winless driver scores a victory in the next three races and claims the 16th playoff position, Blaney could find himself in the unlikely position of finishing second in points but missing the playoffs.

Over the past four races, Blaney has lost 52 points to Truex, making the potential race for the final playoff spot very tight.

Looking at Blaney vs. Truex over the final three races of the regular season:

  • Truex has four wins at the three tracks; Blaney has one.
  • Truex has six short-track wins; Blaney has none.
  • Truex has four road-course wins; Blaney has one.
  • Blaney’s average running position this year is 11.16. Truex’s is 11.31.
  • Truex has won three of the past six races at Richmond.
  • Blaney has an average finish of 21st at Richmond, making it one of his worst tracks.
  • Truex has led 1,285 laps at Richmond, his best track in that category.
  • Truex is the first driver with seven consecutive top-five finishes at Richmond since Rusty Wallace from 1992-95.

Kyle Busch‘s Struggles Continue

Kyle Busch is recognized as one of the best wheelmen in NASCAR’s modern era, but his recent record is quite perplexing.

Busch’s finishes over the past eight races: 30th, 21st, 29th, 20th, 12th, 36th, 11th, 36th. A crash at Michigan Sunday left him next-to-last there.

Busch has not had a top-10 finish over that stretch, the longest such run of his career.

Richmond Raceway could provide some salve. Busch is the track leader in wins (six) among active drivers, and he also has the best average finish (6.94) there among active drivers with at least three starts.

Busch has won eight times at Bristol Motor Speedway, the only track where he has had more success than Richmond.

Busch is eighth all-time on the Richmond lap-leader list with 1,529. He has a distance to go to catch the all-time leader — Richard Petty with 5,128.

Entry lists

Thirty-six drivers are entered in Sunday’s Cup race. Among the non-regulars are JJ Yeley, Noah Gragson and Landon Cassill.

Richmond Cup entry list

Forty-two drivers are entered for 36 slots in Saturday’s Truck race. Included are Norm Benning, Chad Chastain, Rajah Carruth, Kaden Honeycutt and Layne Riggs.

Hailie Deegan will have a new crew chief this weekend. Jerry Baxter has moved from the Tanner Gray truck to Deegan’s team. Mike Hillman Jr. moves from Deegan to Gray within the David Gilliland Racing operation. Gray has two top fives and five top 10s this season. Deegan has one top 10. Neither driver has won a race.

Richmond Truck entry list

This weekend’s schedule and forecast

(All times Eastern)

Saturday, August 13

Forecast: Sunny. High of 81.

  • 3:05 – 3:35 p.m. — Camping World Truck Series practice (FS1)
  • 3:35 – 4:30 p.m. — Camping World Truck Series qualifying (FS1)
  • 5:05 – 5:50 p.m. — Cup Series practice (USA Network)
  • 5:50 – 7 p.m. — Cup Series qualifying (USA Network, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 8 p.m. — Camping World Truck Series race (250 laps, 187 miles; FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, August 14

Forecast: Partly cloudy. High of 84.

  • 3 p.m. — Cup Series race (400 laps, 300 miles; USA Network, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Portland Xfinity race results, driver points

Portland Xfinity results
Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

Cole Custer went from fourth to first on the overtime restart when the top three cars made contact and went on to win Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Portland International Raceway. Custer is the 10th different winner in 13 races this season.

MORE: Portland Xfinity race results

MORE: Driver points after Portland Xfinity race

JR Motorsports took the next three spots: Justin Allgaier placed second, Sam Mayer was third and Josh Berry was fourth. Austin Hill completed the top five.

John Hunter Nemechek remains the points leader after 13 races. He has a 14-point lead on Hill. Nemechek leads Allgaier by 44 points.

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.

MORE: Race results, driver points

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


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.