MARTINSVILLE, VA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team Penske’s Joey Logano is locked into the NASCAR Cup Series Championship November 8 at Phoenix Raceway. The other three spots are up for grabs and will be decided this Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. Here is a breakdown on the contenders:
Kevin Harvick/Stewart Haas Racing:
- Harvick sits 42-points above the cut line going into the Xfinity 500. Harvick can clinch a spot with a win or if there is a new winner Harvick would clinch by being 37-points ahead of the third winless driver. If there is a repeat winner, Harvick would need to be 14-points ahead of the fourth winless driver. Harvick has one win (2011), five Top 5’s and 19 top 10’s at the half-mile track.
Denny Hamlin/Joe Gibbs Racing:
- Hamlin enters Martinsville 27-points above the 5th place cut line. Hamlin clinches with a win or if there is a new winner he would need to be 53-points ahead for the third winless driver. If there is a repeat winner Hamlin would clinch with 29-points. Hamlin has the best record of any playoff driver at Martinsville with 5-wins (spring 2008, 2009 playoffs, 2010 sweep, spring 2015), 15 top 5’s and 21 top 10’s.
Brad Keselowski/Team Penske:
- Keselowski currently sits in the fourth and final spot, 25-points above the cut line. Keselowski can clinch with a win or if there is a new winner he would need to finish 55-points ahead of the third winless driver. If there is a repeat winner, he would need to finish 31-points ahead of the fourth winless driver. Keselowski has 2-wins (spring 2017, spring 2019) at Martinsville along with 10 top 5’s and 15 top 10’s.
Alex Bowman/Hendrick Motorsports:
- Bowman sits fifth in the points, 25-points out of the fourth and final spot. Bowman can clinch with a win and would need a significant amount of help to try to make it in on points. Bowman has nine career starts at Martinsville with a career-best finish of sixth that he posted earlier this season. Bowman also has two 10’s at the paper clip shaped track.
Chase Elliott/Hendrick Motorsports:
- Elliott is tied with Bowman, 25-points below the cut line. The second-generation driver from Georgia has three top 5’s and 5 top 10’s in ten career starts. Elliott finished fifth at Martinsville this past June.
Martin Truex Jr./Joe Gibbs Racing:
- Truex finds himself 36-points behind the Championship 4 despite his second place finish at Texas Motor Speedway on Wednesday. Truex is also in a must-win situation but has won the last two races at the Virginia half-mile so he feels good about his chances. Truex has seven top 5’s and 13 top 10’s in 29-career starts.
Kurt Busch/Chip Ganassi Racing:
- Busch is in the eighth and final spot and obviously needs to win to advance since he is 81-points behind the Championship 4. Busch has 2-wins (2006 playoffs, 2017 playoffs), 3 top 5’s and 8 top 10’s in 40-career starts. Busch’s situation allows him and the No. 1 Monster Energy/Gearwrench team to off-strategy in search of the victory. Busch finished ninth at Martinsville earlier this year.
The race starts at 2 p.m. on Sunday with coverage beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET. The race will be televised by NBC and can be heard on Motor Racing Network affiliates and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
William Byron Wins NASCAR Cup Series Race At Homestead-Miami Speedway
HOMESTEAD, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Hendrick Motorsports William Byron picked up the win in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Byron led race-high 102 laps en route to his second career Cup Series victory.
“This car was just awesome,” said Byron, who credited his crew chief Rudy Fugle. “The track was super slick to start. We had to start pretty far back but made our way up and just had to keep adjusting on the car and kind of finding those little bits.”
Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick was chasing down Byron in final laps of the race but simply ran out of time to catch the leader.
“It’s beyond frustrating,” said Reddick. “2 or 3 different decisions on a restart would have put me miles ahead and I would have been in-reach (of Byron). 2nd’s great but I saw how much faster I was than those guys at the end so naturally it’s frustrating.”
Martin Truex Jr finished third followed by Kyle Larson in fourth and Kevin Harvick and in fifth.
“My balance got off their the last 40-laps or so,” said Truex. “So close.”
Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell finished sixth follow by Roush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Newman in seventh.
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch finished eighth and his teammate Ross Chastain finished 17th.
The races featured 20-lead changes among 16-drivers and was slowed by 6-caution flags for 36-laps.
Myatt Snider Wins NASCAR Xfinity Race At Homestead Miami Speedway
HOMESTEAD, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Myatt Snider held off a hard-charging Tyler Reddick to win the Contender Boats 250 Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The victory was Snider’s NASCAR Xfinity Series win.
“It’s amazing to finally be in this position of having won a NASCAR Xfinity Series race,” said Snider.
Snider spun his tires on the first restart and Reddick got the lead before the eighth and final caution flag flew for AJ Allmendinger, who spun in Turn 1.
“I yelled ‘damn it’ to myself when they told me on the radio that Tyler was ahead of me,” Snider said after that restart. Snider made the most of the next restart.
“I guess I got a great second chance there,” said Snider. “I saw Tyler (Reddick) happened to do the same thing on the second restart, so I knew that if I could just lay as much power down as I could and get out ahead of everybody then I had a great chance.”
Reddick may have crossed the finish line second but that was short-lived as his car failed NASCAR’s post-race inspection because the ride height in the right rear measured too low.
Reddick’s penalty moved Brandon Jones up to second.
“Those restarts are crazy,” remarked Jones. “That’s a big one there at the end, getting your tires picked up and trying to regroup and you’re going three or four-wide.”
Daniel Hemric finished third with Jeb Burton and Austin Cindric rounding out the top 5.
Snider beat Reddick by .085-seconds. The race featured 20-lead changes among 11-drivers. There were 8-caution flags for 42-laps. The average speed of the race was 103.72 MPH.
Chip Ganassi Fined And Suspended By NASCAR
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team owner Chip Ganassi ended up on the NASCAR penalty report following this weekend’s events at Daytona International Speedway.
Ganassi was fined $30,000 and suspended from the next NASCAR Cup Series Championship Points Event which is Sunday at Homestead Miami Speedway.
Ganassi violated section 12.8.1.b of the NASCAR Rule Book “for bringing into the competition area a non-essential individual that was restricted from the footprint”, essentially brining someone not authorized inside the ‘bubble’ which part of the sanctioning body’s COVID-19 protocol.
Chip Ganassi Racing will be permitted to enter their cars, the No. 1 Monster Energy/Gearwrench Chevrolet driven by Kurt Busch and the No. 42 McDonald/Clover Camaro driven by Ross Chastain, in the event.