This Week in Motorsports: September 9-15, 2019
· MENCS/NXS/NGOTS: Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Las Vegas, Nevada) – September 13-15
· NHRA: Maple Grove Raceway (Mohnton, Pennsylvania) – September 15
· FORMULA DRIFT: Texas Motor Speedway (Fort Worth, Texas) – September 14
· ARCA: Salem Speedway (Salem, Indiana) – September 14
· POWRi: Belle-Clair Speedway (Belleville, Illinois) – September 13
Macon Speedway (Macon, Illinois) – September 14
PLANO, Texas (September 11, 2019) – The NASCAR Cup Series starts itsPlayoff run, while the Xfinity Series and Truck Series have Playoff milestones. The NHRA starts their Countdown to the Championship in Pennsylvania, and Formula DRIFT, ARCA and POWRi are also on track this weekend.
NASCAR National Series – MENCS | NXS | NGOTS
Strong Playoff Starts Pay Off… In 2017, Martin Truex Jr. started the Playoffs with a win at Chicagoland Speedway. It was his fifth win of the season. He collected eight wins in total that season en route to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship.
Four Camrys in the Top 10… For the first time since 2016, all four Joe Gibbs Racing Camrys have qualified for the NASCAR Playoffs. Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. have a series-leading four wins each, while Erik Jones scored his second career win in his 100th career start at Darlington Raceway earlier this month. Busch, Hamlin and Truex start the Playoffs as the top three seeds and Jones sits 10th.
Looking Back on Xfinity… Busch scored his second Las Vegas Xfinity Series win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March. Busch led 98 (of 213) laps and took the lead for good with eight laps to go. Busch also scored a victory in the spring race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2016. This week, Las Vegas native, Riley Herbst, hopes for similar success as he pilots the No. 18 Supra in his ninth career Xfinity Series start.
The Race That Sets the Field… This is the final race of the regular season for the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Christopher Bell has clinched his spot in the postseason and currently leads the series with 43 Playoff points. Brandon Jones earned his third Playoff point by winning the first stage in Indianapolis and looks to officially clinch his Playoff spot at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Truck Series to Make the Cut… On Friday, the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS) has their first cutoff race as they move from eight Playoff drivers to six. Currently, Austin Hill is fifth with a four-point buffer over the seventh-place driver. Tyler Ankrum is currently eighth in the standings, 14 points behind the cut-off.
Rolling the Dice in Vegas… Toyota has eight NGOTS victories at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, including three of the last four. Earlier this year, Busch led 110 of the 134 laps to score his second Truck Series win at his home track. Harrison Burton and Todd Gilliland also had strong top-10 finishes in March.
NHRA – Top Fuel | Funny Car
Toyota Drivers Begin Run for 10th Title… All five Toyota-supported NHRA drivers have qualified for the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series’ Countdown to the Championship playoffs that kick off this weekend at Maple Grove Raceway in Pennsylvania. They will attempt to win the manufacturer’s 10th NHRA world championship in 12 years. During that span, Toyota drivers have won six Top Fuel titles and three Funny Car crowns, with the most recent by J.R. Todd, who drove his DHL Camry to the 2018 Funny Car world championship.
Kalitta on a Roll Heading into Countdown… Doug Kalitta will enter the Countdown second in Top Fuel and fresh off a regular season-ending victory at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis. The Mac Tools Toyota driver has scored more points in the final two races of the regular season than any other Top Fuel driver. Kalitta will be looking for his first Top Fuel world championship after four previous runner-up finishes (2016 , 2006, 2004, 2003). While never having won a NHRA title, he does have one championship under his belt – winning the 1994 USAC Sprint Car championship.
Winning at Maple Grove… Four of Toyota’s current drivers have registered victories at Maple Grove Raceway. Antron Brown won in both 2015 and 2016. Todd opened up the Countdown last year with a Funny Car victory and was also victorious in Top Fuel in 2006; Shawn Langdon has won in 2013 and Kalitta took home the Maple Grove Wally in 2006. Overall, Toyota-supported drivers have won eight times at the Pennsylvania track.
A Fight for the Title… Toyota driver Fredric Aasbø holds a one-point lead in the standings with just two races remaining in the Formula DRIFT season. Aasbø earned a third-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway one year ago, defeating his Toyota teammate Ryan Tuerck in the round of eight. Tuerck is currently fifth in the standings, 71 points behind Aasbø.
Regional Stock Car Racing – ARCA
Toyota Drivers Duel for the Championship… It is down to less than 100 points for the title between Venturini Motorsports’ drivers, Michael Self and Christian Eckes, with three races to go on the ARCA Menards Series schedule. The duo has combined for seven wins this season. Self has started from the pole five times and has 13 top-five finishes, while Eckes has earned 14 top-10’s and leads the series with a fifth-place average finish. The ARCA Menards Series heads to Salem Speedway, where Self won earlier this year, and Eckes scored a victory one year ago.
Midget Racing – POWRi
Seavey Attempts to Put Name in History Books… Logan Seavey will attempt to make history in the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League this weekend as the series head to Belle-Clair Speedway on Friday and Macon Speedway on Saturday. If Seavey can sweep the two races, he would tie Christopher Bell’s POWRi single-season record of 11 wins. Making Seavey’s feat even more impressive is that his nine wins this season have come in just 15 events. He earned a pair of victories in POWRi’s most recent events this past weekend.
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