Clay Campell

Bristol, Martinsville will be elimination races in 2020 Cup playoffs

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The end of each playoff round will have a rock’em, sock’em feel with the changes NASCAR announced Tuesday to the 2020 schedule.

Bristol Motor Speedway’s August race will move to Sept. 19 and be the elimination race in the first round.

Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Roval, which saw Ryan Blaney win from third on the last lap after Jimmie Johnson and Martin Truex Jr. crashed just before the finish line, will again be the cutoff race in the second round.

Martinsville Speedway’s fall race will be Nov. 1 and mark the final race of the third round. It will be the last chance for drivers to qualify for the Nov. 8 championship race, which moves to ISM Raceway in Avondale, Arizona.

The playoffs begin Sept. 6 at Darlington. The first round will have Darlington, Richmond (Sept. 12) and Bristol.

“If NASCAR fans thought they’ve seen tempers flare and sparks fly under the lights at the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, just wait until they experience a real pressure-packed NASCAR playoff elimination race at Bristol Motor Speedway,” said Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager at Bristol Motor Speedway. “We’re thankful to the fans that voiced their opinions and rooted for more short-track racing in the playoffs, and appreciative of NASCAR collaborating with its many stakeholders to deliver a schedule with many positive adjustments.”

The second round of the playoffs will be Las Vegas (Sept. 27), Talladega (Oct. 4) and the Charlotte Roval (Oct. 11).

The third round of the playoffs will be Kansas (Oct. 18), Texas (Oct. 25) and Martinsville (Nov. 1).

“We are going to move to one of the most important races on the schedule, setting up the Cup Series finale,” said Clay Campbell, president of Martinsville Speedway, in a statement. “Recent history has shown us that drivers will do whatever it takes to secure a spot in the championship race, and now the urgency and intensity will go to another level, as it’s the last shot for teams to have a chance at the championship.”