Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL paves the way for Round of 12 Playoff cutoff for The Cup Series

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The NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs have reached the Round of 12 cutoff event, the Bank of America 400 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL this Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Two drivers, Denny Hamlin and Kurt Busch, have locked themselves into the Round of 8 on wins, leaving six spots still up for grabs this weekend at Charlotte.

The 2020 season marks the first time the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff’s sixth race has been held at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL.  Prior to 2020, the ROVAL hosted the third race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs for two seasons (2018, 2019) – Ryan Blaney won the Playoff event in 2018 and Chase Elliott won in 2019.   The Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL is the fourth different track to host the sixth race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs; joining Martinsville Speedway (2004-2010), Talladega Superspeedway (2011, 2013-2016) and Kansas Speedway (2012, 2017-2019).

Sixth Race of the Playoffs – Race Winners
SeasonTrackPlayoff Race Winners
2019KansasDenny Hamlin
2018KansasChase Elliott
2017KansasMartin Truex Jr
2016TalladegaJoey Logano
2015TalladegaJoey Logano
2014TalladegaBrad Keselowski
2013TalladegaJamie McMurray
2012KansasMatt Kenseth
2011TalladegaClint Bowyer
2010MartinsvilleDenny Hamlin
2009MartinsvilleDenny Hamlin
2008MartinsvilleJimmie Johnson
2007MartinsvilleJimmie Johnson
2006MartinsvilleJimmie Johnson
2005MartinsvilleJeff Gordon
2004MartinsvilleJimmie Johnson

A total of 10 different drivers have won the sixth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, led by Hendrick Motorsport’s driver Jimmie Johnson with four victories – all at Martinsville Speedway (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008).

Four times the winner of the sixth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs has gone on to win the title later that season; once at Kansas Speedway and three times at Martinsville Speedway: 

o    In 2006, Jimmie Johnson won at Martinsville, then the sixth race in the Playoffs, and went on to win his first NASCAR Cup Series title later that season.

o    In 2007, Jimmie Johnson won at Martinsville, then the sixth race in the Playoffs, and went on to win his second consecutive NASCAR Cup Series title later that season.

o    In 2008, Jimmie Johnson won at Martinsville, then the sixth race in the Playoffs, and went on to win his third consecutive NASCAR Cup Series title later that season.

o    In 2017, Martin Truex Jr. won at Kansas, then the sixth race in the Playoffs, and went on to win his first NASCAR Cup Series title later that season.

The worst finish by a driver in the sixth Playoff race that went on to win the series title was: 

o    At Kansas Speedway (2012, 2017-2019) – Brad Keselowski in 2012 and Joey Logano in 2018 each finished eighth in the sixth race of the Playoffs at Kansas Speedway and then went on to win the title later that same season.

o    At Talladega Superspeedway (2011, 2013-2016) – Jimmie Johnson in 2016 finished 23rd in the sixth race of the Playoffs at Talladega Superspeedway and went on to win the title later that season.

o    At Martinsville Speedway (2004-2010) – Jimmie Johnson in 2010 and Kurt Busch in 2004 each finished fifth in the sixth race of the Playoffs at Martinsville Speedway and then went on to win the title later that same season.

Last season’s Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course winner, Chase Elliott, finished the season 10th in the final championship standings and the 2018 Charlotte ROVAL winner, Ryan Blaney, finished the season 10th in the 2018 final standings.

Three non-Playoff drivers have won the sixth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs – one at Martinsville Speedway and two at Talladega Superspeedway:

o    In 2005, NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon won the sixth race in the Playoffs at Martinsville Speedway, he was ranked 15th in the series standings at the time of the win.

o    In 2011, Clint Bowyer won the sixth race in the Playoffs at Talladega Superspeedway, he was ranked 13th in the series standings at the time of the win.

o    In 2013, Jamie McMurray won the sixth race in the Playoffs at Talladega Superspeedway, he was ranked 14th in the series standings at the time of the win. 

In total there have been 124 NASCAR Cup Series points races at Charlotte Motor Speedway (includes road course configuration), two races per year since the track opened in 1960. A total of 122 races on the oval track and two races on the road course. In 2017, the track underwent renovations to add what is now known as the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL a 2.32-mile, 17-turn, multi-elevational road course that incorporates part of the oval. With only two previous NASCAR Cup Series Playoff races to its credit, the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL is the youngest of the 10 Playoff tracks. The Charlotte road course configuration has produced two different pole winners (Kurt Busch in 2018 and William Byron in 2019) and two different winners (Ryan Blaney in 2018 and Chase Elliott in 2019).

Starting on the front row for the Bank of America 400 this weekend will be last Sunday’s Talladega winner Denny Hamlin on the pole and defending Charlotte ROVAL winner Chase Elliott on the outside front row.

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