The race for the NASCAR Cup Series championship rolls into Las Vegas this weekend for a 400-mile race on Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s 1.5-mile oval.
Eight drivers remain in the hunt. They are led by 2020 champion Chase Elliott, who sits atop the standings with a 20-point lead over Joey Logano entering Sunday’s race. Elliott is 31 points above the cutline.
Also in the title competition are Ross Chastain, Christopher Bell (Sunday’s winner at Charlotte), Ryan Blaney, William Byron, Denny Hamlin and Chase Briscoe.
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Blaney, Byron, Hamlin and Briscoe are below the cutline entering the event. After the next three races, four drivers will advance to the season finale at Phoenix Raceway Nov. 6. The top-finishing driver of the quartet in that race will win the championship.
Drivers to watch Sunday (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC) at Las Vegas:
- Points position: 4th
- Last three races: Won at Charlotte, 17th at Talladega, 34th at Texas
- Past at Las Vegas: Best career finish is 7th
Bell might be still breathless from Sunday at Charlotte, where he charged late to win in a must-win race and saved what has been a grand season. He has two wins, four poles, 11 top fives and 419 laps led this year, but he needed the Charlotte victory to stay in the playoffs.
- Points position: 2nd
- Last three races: 18th at Charlotte, 27th at Talladega, 2nd at Texas
- Past at Las Vegas: Two career wins
Logano won at Vegas in 2019 and 2020 and has the best average finish (8.9) at the track among active drivers. His worst finish in the past 14 Vegas races is 14th.
- Points position: 9th
- Last three races: 35th at Charlotte, 18th at Talladega, 9th at Texas
- Past at Las Vegas: Won in 2021, five straight top 10s
Larson dropped out of the playoffs with an off day Sunday in Charlotte, but he’ll still be among the favorites at Las Vegas. He has led 251 laps over his last seven Vegas starts.
QUESTIONS TO ANSWER
- Points position: 8th
- Last three races: 9th at Charlotte, 10th at Talladega, 5th at Texas
- Past at Las Vegas: Best career finish is 14th (three starts)
Can Briscoe follow up on his late-race success at Charlotte with a big run at Las Vegas? He’s eighth — and last — in the playoff standings.
- Points position: 3rd
- Last three races: 37th at Charlotte, 4th at Talladega, 13th at Texas
- Past at Las Vegas: Best career finish is third
The season’s breakout driver remains firmly in the chase for the championship although he has only one top-five finish in the past 13 races. Prior to finishing third in this season’s first race at Vegas, he had seven straight finishes of 20th or worse at the track.
- Points position: 5th
- Last three races: 26th at Charlotte, 2nd at Talladega, 4th at Texas
- Past at Las Vegas: Best career finish is 5th
A winner only in the All-Star Race this year, Blaney continues to ride the playoff wave despite being blocked from Victory Lane. He has three top sevens in the past four Vegas races.