3 Series Playoff Weekend at Texas Features Sunday Doubleheader with NASCAR Cup & Trucks

  • Kevin Harvick seeks to continue Playoff race domination in Cow Town.
  • Austin Cindric needs a decisive rebound after catastrophe in Kansas Xfinity race.
  • GMS Racing trio is in good shape in Truck Playoff; ThorSport Threesome—not so much

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All three of NASCAR’s top touring series race this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway in the second events of the Round of 8 in their respective Playoffs. The NASCAR Xfinity Series kicks off the weekend with Saturday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300.

On Sunday, the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series opens a doubleheader with the Speedycash.com 400, followed by the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 in the NASCAR Cup Series. After these races in Fort Worth and three the following week at Martinsville Speedway, the Playoff fields in each division will be cut to the final four.

Kevin Harvick Seeks to Maintain Playoff Race Domination at Texas

After a frustrating second-place finish to Joey Logano last Sunday at Kansas Speedway, driver Kevin Harvick comes to Texas hoping to win the fall Playoff race at the 1.5-mile track for the fourth straight year. Should he win Sunday’s event, Harvick would tie seven-time series champion Jimmie Johnson for most consecutive victories in a Texas Playoff race.

In all likelihood, Harvick doesn’t need a victory to remain in a controlling position in the Cup Series Playoff. On the strength of his nine wins this season, Harvick tops the standings, with a 21-point lead over second-place Denny Hamlin, who had a rough day at Kansas—finishing 15th after an early brush with the outside wall.

That doesn’t mean, however, that Harvick won’t be trying to win.

Harvick, who will start from the pole on Sunday, said:

The preparation and the level of expectations are the same on week one as it is on week 35 or 34 as you go into the Playoffs, so we’re not going to try to count points or anything along those lines. You count points as a second move, as your backup plan just because of the fact the thing that you can control the most of moving forward is to win the race. I think our team believes in that and I think you have to race to win and then see where it all falls in the end.

How to Watch Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500

Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 Information
What Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 NASCAR Cup Series race
Where Texas Motor Speedway
When Sunday, Oct. 25, 3:30 p.m. EST
How to Watch NBCSN

 

Austin Cindric Needs a Texas Turnaround after Kansas Catastrophe

Team Penske driver Austin Cindric entered last Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Kansas Speedway in a comfortable position. By the time the race was over, Cindric’s hold on a potential place in the Championship 4 race at Phoenix Raceway was tenuous at best.

Cindric’s No. 22 Ford tangled with Noah Gragson’s No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet early in the race. Though his crew did yeoman work to repair Cindric’s damaged car, he finished 28th and dropped to fourth in the series standings, just two points ahead of fifth-place Justin Haley.

Texas is a good place for Cindric to right the ship. After all, he won there in July during a stretch of five victories and a runner-up finish in six races.

Cindric said of the Kansas wreck:

It’s really unfortunate to have our race end so early. We had a fast Mustang… We were racing for the lead, and I just got hit from behind. My guys did a good job repairing my Menards Mustang to keep us in it. They never gave up. We will put this behind us and move on to Texas.

How to Watch O’Reilly Auto Parts 300

O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 Information
What O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race
Where Texas Motor Speedway
When Saturday, Oct. 24, 4:30 p.m. EST
How to Watch NBCSN

GMS Racing in Great Playoff Position; ThorSport Racing—not so much

Brett Moffitt picked an ideal time to get his first victory of the 2020 season. The driver of the No. 23 GMS Racing Chevrolet triumphed last Saturday at Kansas to earn a guaranteed spot in the Championship 4 race at Phoenix.

Two of Moffitt’s teammates also are in the top four spots in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series standings. Sheldon Creed finished second to Moffitt at Kansas and holds second place in the series. Despite an 11th-place run, Zane Smith is fourth in the standings, seven points above the current Playoff cut line.

On the other hand, all three of the ThorSport Racing drivers are below the cutoff with two races left in the Round of 8. Grant Enfinger, Matt Crafton, and Ben Rhodes are fifth, sixth, and seventh in the standings, respectively, all in danger of being eliminated from the Playoff after Martinsville.

There’s a bit of good news—for Crafton, at least. The driver of the No. 88 Ford has two victories at Texas, and he’s the only Playoff driver to have visited Victory Lane there.

How to Watch Speedycash.com 400

Speedycash.com 400 Information
What Speedycash.com 400 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race
Where Texas Motor Speedway
When Sunday, Oct. 25, 12 noon EST
How to Watch FS1

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Reid Spencer

Expert on NASCAR

Award-winning motorsports writer Reid Spencer has served as lead writer for the NASCAR Wire Service for 16 years, having also spent a four-year stint as NASCAR columnist and beat writer for Sporting News. He is currently serving as president of the National Motorsports Press Association. Email: [email protected]