Cup Series Playoff’s Round of 12 drops the Green Flag under the lights at Las Vegas

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Under the bright lights of Las Vegas, the NASCAR Cup Series will kick off the Playoff’s Round of 12 in the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

2020 marks the first year the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 12 has opened at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Race No. 30 of the season). Las Vegas is the sixth different track to host the fourth race of the Playoffs. From 2004 to 2019 (Playoff Era) five different tracks have hosted the fourth race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs – Kansas Speedway (2004, 2005, 2011, 2013, 2014), Talladega Superspeedway (2006, 2007, 2008, 2012), Auto Club Speedway (2009, 2010), Charlotte Motor Speedway (2015, 2016, 2017) and Dover International Speedway (2018, 2019). Prior to the 2020 season, Las Vegas Motor Speedway hosted the first race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs in 2018 and 2019 – Brad Keselowski won the 2018 Las Vegas Playoff race and Martin Truex Jr. won in 2019.

A total of 12 different drivers have won the fourth NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race (2004-2019), led by Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson with three victories (2009, 2011, 2016). Six of the 12 former race winners of the fourth race of the Playoffs are entered this weekend – Jimmie Johnson (three wins), Joey Logano (two), Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth (each have one).

Fourth Race of the Playoffs – Race Winners
TrackPlayoff WinnersDate
DoverKyle LarsonSunday, October 6, 2019
DoverChase ElliottSunday, October 7, 2018
CharlotteMartin Truex JrSunday, October 8, 2017
CharlotteJimmie JohnsonSunday, October 9, 2016
CharlotteJoey LoganoSunday, October 11, 2015
KansasJoey LoganoSunday, October 5, 2014
KansasKevin HarvickSunday, October 6, 2013
TalladegaMatt KensethSunday, October 7, 2012
KansasJimmie JohnsonSunday, October 9, 2011
Auto ClubTony StewartSunday, October 10, 2010
Auto ClubJimmie JohnsonSunday, October 11, 2009
TalladegaTony StewartSunday, October 5, 2008
TalladegaJeff GordonSunday, October 7, 2007
TalladegaBrian VickersSunday, October 8, 2006
KansasMark MartinSunday, October 9, 2005
KansasJoe NemechekSunday, October 10, 2004

Since the inception of the Playoffs in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2004, three times the winner of the fourth race in the postseason has gone on to win the title that same year:

  • In 2009, Jimmie Johnson won the fourth race of the Playoffs at Auto Club Speedway and went on to win his fourth-straight series title that same season. The victory was his second of four during the 2009 Playoffs. 
  • In 2016, Jimmie Johnson won at Charlotte Motor Speedway and went on to win his record tying seventh NASCAR Cup Series title the same season. The win was Johnson first of three during the 2016 Playoffs.
  • In 2017, Martin Truex Jr. won at Charlotte Motor Speedway and went on to win the series title the same season. It was his first of three wins during the 2017 Playoffs.  

No non-Playoff driver has ever won the Playoff race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but twice a non-Playoff driver has won the fourth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs:

  • Joe Nemechek won the fourth race in the Playoffs at Kansas Speedway in 2004, he was ranked 21st in the point standings at the time.
  • Brian Vickers won the fourth race in the Playoffs at Talladega Superspeedway in 2006, he was ranked 16th in points at the time.

The worst finish in the fourth race of the Playoffs by the eventual series champion was:

  • At Kansas Speedway – 15th by Tony Stewart in 2011
  • At Talladega Superspeedway – 24th by Jimmie Johnson in 2006
  • At Auto Club Speedway – third by Jimmie Johnson in 2010
  • At Charlotte Motor Speedway – 20th by Kyle Busch in 2015
  • At Dover International Speedway – sixth by Kyle Busch in 2019.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway has hosted 25 NASCAR Cup Series races dating back to the inaugural event on March 1, 1998. The first Cup race at Las Vegas was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin driving for fellow NASCAR Hall of Famer Jack Roush. The 25 NASCAR Cup Series races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway have produced 17 different poles winners and 13 different race winners. Kasey Kahne leads the series in poles at Las Vegas with three (2004, 2007 and 2012). Nevada natives Kyle Busch (2008, 2009) and Kurt Busch (2010, 2016) lead all active drivers in poles at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with two each. Jimmie Johnson leads the NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with four victories (2005, 2006, 2007 and 2010). Seven of the 13 different series Las Vegas winners are entered this weekend – Jimmie Johnson (four), Matt Kenseth (three), Brad Keselowski (three), Kevin Harvick (two), Martin Truex Jr. (two), Joey Logano (two) and Kyle Busch (one). Joey Logano is the most recent winner at Las Vegas in the NASCAR Cup Series, taking the checkered flag at the 1.5-mile track back in February.

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