Over the last year and a half, I’ve become a NASCAR fan. As I approach the end of my first full racing season, I thought I’d do a little preview for NASCAR’s championship weekend. Halloween weekend saw the three series head to Martinsville, Virginia. That’s roughly two hours or so away from where I’m at in the Virginia mountains. The Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity Series raced Saturday, and the “big boys,” the NASCAR Cup Series raced Sunday around “The Paperclip,” Martinsville Speedway. This weekend, NASCAR heads out west to Phoenix Raceway. The Camping World Truck Series is Friday, November 5, at 8:00 PM. On Saturday, November 6, the Xfinity Series races at 8:30 PM. On Sunday, November 7, The NASCAR Cup Series races at 3:00 PM. All those times are Eastern Standard. The cool thing about the NASCAR playoffs is any driver in the race can win the race, but only a few can advance each round, and only one driver can win the championship. The championship driver doesn’t even need to win the championship race. They just have to beat the other three drivers in the “final four.”
Camping World Truck Series:
We had a wild and exciting truck race at Martinsville Saturday afternoon. Zane Smith won his first race of the year and advanced to the final four in a must-win situation. He made it the “final four” last season. John Hunter Nemechek posted a “DNF” after a wreck, but advanced on points thanks to a great regular season. We saw post-race flare-ups between defending series champion Sheldon Creed and Matt Crafton, and Crafton’s crew chief and Stewart Friesen’s crew chief. Of the four drivers competing, I’m pulling for Nemechek. He drives for Kyle Busch, and that’s my guy. Really, I’d be happy with three of the four winning, so long as it isn’t Ben Rhodes. The “final four” competing for the championship are: Zane Smith in the #21 for GMS Racing, Ben Rhodes in the #99 for ThorSport Racing, Matt Crafton in the #88 for ThorSport Racing, and John Hunter Nemechek in the #4 for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
There wasn’t a lot of drama in the Xfinity series race Saturday. After stage two, Austin Cindric and my driver of this series, AJ Allmendinger, advanced on points. Two spots remained. We had a similar finish to the truck race. Noah Gragson, who I’m becoming a big fan of, won in a must-win situation to advance to the “final four.” I want to see “The Dinger” get the championship, but if he can’t, my next pick is Gragson. The “final four” competing for the championship are: Noah Gragson in the #9 for JR Motorsports, Austin Cindric in the #22 for Team Penske (the defending series champion), Daniel Hemric in the #18 for Joe Gibbs Racing (who’s never won a race), and AJ Allmendinger in the #16 for Kaulig Racing.
NASCAR Cup Series:
The “big boys.” Sunday at Martinsville was full of drama, mostly at the end. Unfortunately, my driver, Kyle Busch, got eliminated by the closest of margins. One playoff spot got locked up before the race by Kyle Larson after winning previously in the round. After the winning the first two stages, defending Cup series champion Chase “Bill’s Boy” Elliott advanced on points. Two spots for Hendrick Motorsports. The final two would go to teammates from Joe Gibbs Racing. The end was wild with Alex Bowman wrecking Denny Hamlin and Hamlin blocking the burnout after the checkered flag. He also gave a “pro wrestling” style post-race interview. Bowman drives for Hendrick, and I wonder how this flows in the championship race. The “final four” competing for the championship are: Kyle Larson in the #5 for Hendrick Motorsports, Chase Elliott in the #9 for Hendrick Motorsports, Martin Truex, Jr. In the #19 for Joe Gibbs Racing, and Denny Hamlin in the #11 for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Copyright © Drew Martin 2021