Dust them Cowboy hats off in Victory Lane and fire-up that Big Hoss TV on the backstretch because the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs are headed to Texas Motor Speedway this Sunday, Oct. 25, for the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
The NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs began in 2004 and Texas Motor Speedway was added to the postseason in 2005, replacing Darlington Raceway. Texas Motor Speedway has hosted the eighth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs since being added in 2005. Only two tracks have hosted the eighth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs: Phoenix Raceway in the Playoff’s inaugural season in 2004 and Texas Motor Speedway from 2005-Present.
Six different drivers have won the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff races at Texas Motor Speedway, led by Jimmie Johnson with five victories (2007, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015); followed by Carl Edwards (2005, 2008, 2016), Kevin Harvick (2017, 2018, 2019), Tony Stewart (2006, 2011), Denny Hamlin (2010) and Kurt Busch (2009). Seven different drivers have won the
|NASCAR Cup Series|
|Playoff Race No. 8 – Race Winners|
|2004||Dale Earnhardt Jr||Phoenix|
eighth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, the six winners at Texas Motor Speedway and Dale Earnhardt Jr. won at Phoenix Raceway in 2004.
Kevin Harvick has won the last three consecutive Texas Playoff races and can tie Jimmie Johnson’s record of four consecutive with a victory this weekend.
Three times the winner of the eighth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs has gone on to win the title later that same season – all three at Texas Motor Speedway:
o In 2007, Jimmie Johnson won from the eighth starting position at Texas Motor Speedway and went on to win his second consecutive NASCAR Cup Series title later that season (2006, 2007). The Playoff win at Texas was his third of four consecutive victories in the 2007 Playoffs – the only driver to win four straight in the NASCAR Cup Series postseason (Martinsville, Atlanta, Texas, Phoenix).
o In 2011, Tony Stewart won from the fifth starting position at Texas Motor Speedway and went on to win his third NASCAR Cup Series championship later that year. The Texas Playoff win was Stewart’s fourth of his record setting five NASCAR Cup Series Playoff wins in a single postseason run in 2011 (Chicago, New Hampshire, Martinsville, Texas, Miami).
o In 2013, Jimmie Johnson won from the third starting position at Texas Motor Speedway and went on to win his sixth NASCAR Cup Series championship later that season. The Texas Playoff win was Johnson’s second postseason victory (Dover, Texas) in 2013.
The worst finish in the eighth NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race by a driver that went on to win the title at Texas Motor Speedway was 38th by Jimmie Johnson in 2009 and at Phoenix Raceway it was 10th by Kurt Busch in 2004. The 2018 series champion, Joey Logano, finished third in the 2018 Texas Playoff race and last season’s champion, Kyle Busch,finished seventh in the 2019 Texas Playoff race.
Three times a non-Playoff driver has won the Playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway:
- In 2006, Tony Stewart was ranked 11th in the point standings at the time of the win.
- In 2014, Jimmie Johnson was 11th in points at the time of the win. Johnson had made the Playoffs in 2014 but was eliminated in the Round of 12.
- In 2015, Jimmie Johnson was 12th in points at the time of the win. Johnson had made the Playoffs in 2015 but was eliminated in the Round of 16.
|NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Outlook Following Race No. 33|
|Rank||Driver||Points||Starts||Race Wins||Stage Wins||Playoff Pts||Pts from Cutoff|
|1||Joey Logano||4,064||33||3||6||22||In on Wins|
|7||Martin Truex Jr.||4,051||33||1||5||17||-31|
In total, Texas Motor Speedway has hosted the NASCAR Cup Series 39 times producing 25 different pole winners and 20 different race winners. The first NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway was on April 6, 1997 – the event was won by Jeff Burton. Chip Ganassi Racing’s Playoff contender Kurt Busch leads the series in poles at Texas with three (Spring 2015, Playoffs 2017, Spring 2018). Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson leads the series in wins at Texas Motor Speedway with seven victories (2007, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 sweep and 2017).
Earlier this season at Texas Motor Speedway, Richard Childress Racing teammates Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick finished 1-2, respectively. This weekend, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick will lead the field to the green flag with last weekend’s winner Joey Logano on the outside front row. Dillon will start 12th and Reddick will start 19th.
Team Penske’s Joey Logano is first to lock into the Championship 4
In an impressive performance holding off nine-time 2020 winner and Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick, Team Penske’s Joey Logano grabbed the checkered flag at Kansas Speedway and jumped to the top of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings becoming the first to lock himself into the Championship 4. The move has sent ripples through the postseason points as the 2018 series champion, Logano, entered Kansas seeded fifth in the Playoff standings, five markers back from the Championship 4 cutoff. Now, the 30-year-old from Middletown, Connecticut, can hit the cruise control and start to prepare for the season finale championship race at Phoenix Raceway; which Logano just so happens to be the most recent winner at back in March.
Making the Championship 4 round is tough, only 10 drivers have accomplished the feat since the inception of the elimination-style format in 2014. Logano’s win at Kansas last weekend has locked him into the Championship 4 round for the fourth time in his career (2014, 2016, 2018, 2020).