This Week in Motorsports: September 13-19, 2021
· NCS/NXS/NCWTS: Bristol Motor Speedway – September 16-18
· ARCA/ARCA EAST: Bristol Motor Speedway – September 16
PLANO, Texas (September 15, 2021) –The NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series experience their first Playoff cutoff this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, while the NASCAR Xfinity Series sets the 12-driver field. The ARCA Menards Series kicks off the action at Bristol on Thursday, where the series will crown a 2021 champion.
NASCAR National Series – NCS| NXS| NCWTS
Hamlin, Truex clinched… Toyota has had a great start to the Playoffs – winning the first two races with Denny Hamlin at Darlington Raceway and Martin Truex Jr. at Richmond Raceway on Saturday. Hamlin added three additional Playoff points with his opening stage win in Darlington and the sweep of the stages at Richmond.
Busch success at Bristol… When you think Bristol, you have to think Kyle Busch. Across the top three series of NASCAR, Busch has driven to over 20 victories, including two weekend sweeps of all three races in the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Currently, Busch sits 10th in the standings – eight points above the cutoff heading into Saturday’s race.
Bell strong in early Playoff races… In his first Playoffs, Christopher Bell has shown strength – highlighted by a third-place finish at Richmond Raceway on Saturday. Currently, the 26-year-old is eighth in the point standings with a 17-point advantage heading into Bristol. Bell scored a Xfinity Series win at Bristol in 2019 and scored his second career Cup Series top-10 finish at the track last year.
Playoff field set in Xfinity… Daniel Hemric and Harrison Burton have clinched their spots in the Xfinity Series Playoffs, which begins next weekend in Las Vegas. Brandon Jones can earn his spot at Bristol on Friday if there are no new winners outside of the current top-12 in points.
Gdovic returns… Brandon Gdovic is back behind the wheel of the No. 26 Toyota Supra for Sam Hunt Racing this weekend. The team earned its first top five finish last weekend at Richmond Raceway as John Hunter Nemechek came home in third. Gdovic looks to continue the run of momentum with another strong finish this weekend at Bristol. The Virginia-native earned the team’s first top-10 finish in Daytona earlier this year.
Friesen earns best finish of the year… Stewart Friesen has picked a great time to have his best back-to-back finishes of the season. In the first race of the Playoffs, he drove to a fourth-place finish at Gateway and followed that with a season-best third at Darlington. Friesen sits a comfortable 33 points above the Playoff cutoff heading into Bristol.
Truck Playoff picture… Bristol features the first Playoff cutoff for the Truck Series as the field goes from 10 to eight drivers. Nemechek has already clinched his spot after his runner-up finish in Darlington, and former champion Matt Crafton and Friesen are both 30 points above the cutoff in their quest to move to the Round of 8. Ben Rhodes is 15 points to the good and Austin Hill sits on the cutline – five points ahead of ninth. Rookie of the Year contender Chandler Smith is currently in 10th, but he could move up inside the top-eight with a good run as he is only 12 points below eighth.
NASCAR Regional Series – ARCA | ARCA EAST
ARCA East title in Smith’s sights… After a stellar season, Toyota development driver Sammy Smith has a title in his gasps heading into the final race of the ARCA Menards Series East season. Smith has a 24-point advantage over second and the 17-year-old must finish 19th or better to score the title.
National ARCA title battle rages on… With three races remaining in the national ARCA Menards Series schedule, the battle for the championship continues. After a second-place finish in DuQuoin, Ty Gibbs holds a 16-point advantage over Corey Heim. It is Gibbs’ second start at Bristol after the 18-year-old finished second there one year ago. Heim will make his ARCA track debut.
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