This Week in Motorsports: September 14-20, 2020
· NCS/NXS/NGROTS/ARCA: Bristol Motor Speedway (Bristol, Tennessee) – Sept. 17-19
· ARCA: Winchester Speedway (Winchester, Indiana) – September 19
PLANO, Texas (September 16, 2020) – NASCAR is back at Thunder Valley to compete in four races this weekend, including the NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) Round of 16 elimination race and the beginning of the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series (NGROTS) Playoffs. After competing at Bristol on Thursday, the ARCA Menards Series will have a quick turn-around as the series also races at Winchester Speedway on Saturday.
NASCAR National Series – NCS| NXS| NGROTS
Hamlin Clinched… After earning an additional Playoff point on Saturday at his home track, Richmond Raceway, Denny Hamlin has clinched his spot in the Round of 12. Hamlin can breathe easy going into Bristol, where he owns two victories, including a win at this race one year ago.
Nine of 10 for Truex…Richmond runner-up Martin Truex Jr. has scored nine top-five finishes in the past 10 races and holds 38-point advantage over the Playoff cutline heading into Bristol Motor Speedway. The 2017 NCS champion is looking for his first win at Thunder Valley with a track-best finish of second scored in this race in 2011.
Busch Ready for Another Bristol Triumph… When you think Bristol, you have to think Kyle Busch. The two-time Cup Series champion has driven to eight NASCAR Cup Series victories, including one win each of the past three seasons.
Toyota Xfinity Series Drivers are Playoff Clinched… With Riley Herbst clinching his spot in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) Playoffs on Saturday in Richmond, all three Toyota drivers are locked into the Playoff field going into Friday’s event at Bristol Motor Speedway. Veteran Brandon Jones earned a NXS Playoff berth on the strength three victories this season, while rookie Harrison Burton is in the Playoffs for the first time after driving to two wins in his debut NXS season.
Regular Season Champion… Austin Hill earned the NGROTS regular season championship after his 14th top-10 finish at Richmond, and the 15 Playoff points that came with it. Hill’s average finish (6.9) is two spots better than any other driver. He has earned a spot in the Playoff field for the second consecutive season and is looking for his first championship.
Rookie in the Field…Rookie of the Year contender Christian Eckes is also in the running for the NGROTS crown. The 19-year-old driver from New York is one of two rookies (Zane Smith) to qualify for the NGROTS Playoffs. He could also be the fifth Toyota driver to earn the Rookie of the Year title after Erik Jones in 2017, and former Toyota drivers Tyler Ankrum (2019), William Bryon (2016) and David Reutimann (2004).
NASCAR Regional Series – ARCA
Two For ARCA… As the ARCA Menards Series continues to adjust its schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the series races twice this weekend starting at Bristol Motor Speedway on Thursday and a return to Winchester Speedway on Saturday. The ARCA Menards Series last raced at Winchester Speedway in 2017 with former Toyota driver Kyle Benjamin scoring the win and Eckes finishing second.
Closing in on the Sioux Chief and East Championships… Bristol Motor Speedway marks the next-to-last race in both the Sioux Chief Showdown and ARCA East championship races. In the Sioux Chief Showdown, Ty Gibbs and Chandler Smith are tied for second-place, just five points out of the lead. Gibbs is also in second in the ARCA East championship race.
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