Following the conclusion of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 16 at Bristol Motor Speedway, a total of 12 drivers have advanced, and now prepare for the AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway this Sunday, September 25 at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA Network, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio – the first race of the Round of 12.
The 2022 season marks the first-time the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 12 has opened at Texas Motor Speedway (Race No. 30 of the season). Texas is the seventh different track to host the fourth race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs; joining Kansas Speedway (2004, 2005, 2011, 2013, 2014), Talladega Superspeedway (2006, 2007, 2008, 2012), Auto Club Speedway (2009, 2010), Charlotte Motor Speedway (2015, 2016, 2017), Dover Motor Speedway (2018, 2019) and Las Vegas Motor Speedway (2020, 2021).
The inception of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs was in 2004 and Texas Motor Speedway was added to the postseason schedule in 2005 – at the time replacing Darlington Raceway – and ever since the 1.5-mile track has been hosting Playoff events (2005-2022). Texas Motor Speedway has occupied three spots on the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs schedule throughout the years. From 2005 – 2020, Texas Motor Speedway hosted the eighth race in the Cup Series Playoffs (Race No. 34 of the season). Then in 2021, Texas Motor Speedway hosted the seventh race in the Playoffs (Race No. 33), and this season, Texas will host the fourth race in the Playoffs (Race No. 30).
A total of 14 different drivers have won the fourth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, led by Jimmie Johnson with three postseason victories (2009, 2011, 2016). Team Penske’s Joey Logano leads all active NASCAR Cup Series drivers with two wins (2014, 2015). Four of the 14 drivers that have won the fourth Playoff race in the NASCAR Cup Series are active in the postseason this weekend – Denny Hamlin (2021), Kyle Larson (2019), Chase Elliott (2018) and Joey Logano (2014, 2015).
|Fourth Race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs – Race Winners|
|Track||Playoff Race Winners||Date|
|Las Vegas||Denny Hamlin||Sunday, September 26, 2021|
|Las Vegas||Kurt Busch||Sunday, September 27, 2020|
|Dover||Kyle Larson||Sunday, October 6, 2019|
|Dover||Chase Elliott||Sunday, October 7, 2018|
|Charlotte||Martin Truex Jr||Sunday, October 8, 2017|
|Charlotte||Jimmie Johnson||Sunday, October 9, 2016|
|Charlotte||Joey Logano||Sunday, October 11, 2015|
|Kansas||Joey Logano||Sunday, October 5, 2014|
|Kansas||Kevin Harvick||Sunday, October 6, 2013|
|Talladega||Matt Kenseth||Sunday, October 7, 2012|
|Kansas||Jimmie Johnson||Sunday, October 9, 2011|
|Auto Club||Tony Stewart||Sunday, October 10, 2010|
|Auto Club||Jimmie Johnson||Sunday, October 11, 2009|
|Talladega||Tony Stewart||Sunday, October 5, 2008|
|Talladega||Jeff Gordon||Sunday, October 7, 2007|
|Talladega||Brian Vickers||Sunday, October 8, 2006|
|Kansas||Mark Martin||Sunday, October 9, 2005|
|Kansas||Joe Nemechek||Sunday, October 10, 2004|
Nine different drivers have won the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff races at Texas Motor Speedway, led by Jimmie Johnson with five postseason Texas victories (2007, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015). Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick leads all active drivers with three Texas Playoff wins (2017-2019). Denny Hamlin (2010) and Kyle Larson (2021) are the only former Texas Playoff race winners still competing in this season’s Playoffs.
|Texas Motor Speedway Playoffs Race Winners|
|Track||Playoff Race Winners||Date|
|Texas||Carl Edwards||Sunday, November 6, 2005|
|Texas||Tony Stewart||Sunday, November 5, 2006|
|Texas||Jimmie Johnson||Sunday, November 4, 2007|
|Texas||Carl Edwards||Sunday, November 2, 2008|
|Texas||Kurt Busch||Sunday, November 8, 2009|
|Texas||Denny Hamlin||Sunday, November 7, 2010|
|Texas||Tony Stewart||Sunday, November 6, 2011|
|Texas||Jimmie Johnson||Sunday, November 4, 2012|
|Texas||Jimmie Johnson||Sunday, November 3, 2013|
|Texas||Jimmie Johnson||Sunday, November 2, 2014|
|Texas||Jimmie Johnson||Sunday, November 8, 2015|
|Texas||Carl Edwards||Sunday, November 6, 2016|
|Texas||Kevin Harvick||Sunday, November 5, 2017|
|Texas||Kevin Harvick||Sunday, November 4, 2018|
|Texas||Kevin Harvick||Sunday, November 3, 2019|
|Texas||Kyle Busch||Sunday, October 25, 2020|
|Texas||Kyle Larson||Sunday, October 17, 2021|
Three times the winner of the fourth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs has gone on to win the title in the same season: 2009, 2016 and 2017.
- In 2009, Jimmie Johnson won the fourth race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs at Auto Club Speedway and went on to win his fourth-straight series title in the same season (2006-2009). The victory was his second of four wins during his postseason run that year.
- In 2016, Jimmie Johnson won at Charlotte Motor Speedway (oval) and went on to win his record tying seventh NASCAR Cup Series title that same season (2006-2010, 2013, 2016). The win was Johnson’s first of three that postseason.
- In 2017, Martin Truex Jr. won at Charlotte Motor Speedway and went on to win the series title that same season. It was his first of three wins that postseason run.
Three times the winner of the NASCAR Cup Series Texas Motor Speedway Playoff race has gone on to win the title later that same season: 2007, 2011 and 2013.
- 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 Playoffs (Martinsville, Atlanta, Texas, Phoenix).
- 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 season. 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, Homestead-Miami) – Larson’s five Playoff wins last year tied Stewart’s record.
- 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.
Twice a non-Playoff driver has won the fourth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs: 2004 and 2006.
- In 2004, Joe Nemechek won the fourth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs at Kansas Speedway, he was ranked 21st in the point standings at the time of the victory.
- In 2006, Brian Vickers won the fourth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs at Talladega Superspeedway, he was ranked 16th in points at the time of the victory.
Three times a non-Playoff driver has won the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs race at Texas Motor Speedway: 2006, 2014, and 2015.
- In 2006, Tony Stewart was ranked 11th in the point standings at the time of his Texas Playoff race win.
- In 2014, Jimmie Johnson was ranked 11th in points at the time of his Texas Playoff 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.
The worst finish by a driver in the fourth NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs race that later went on to win the series title that same season was the 24th-place finish by Jimmie Johnson in 2006 at Talladega Superspeedway.
The worst finish by a driver in the NASCAR Cup Series Texas Motor Speedway Playoffs race that later went on to win the title that same season was a 38th-place finish by Jimmie Johnson in 2009.
Looking Back: NASCAR at Texas Motor Speedway
The stage is set for the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs at Texas Motor Speedway and another great weekend of racing action on the 1.5-mile high-speed oval is on tap as the series jumps into the Round of 12.
Texas Motor Speedway has hosted the NASCAR Cup Series 41 times producing 25 different Busch Light Pole winners and 21 different race winners. The first NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway was on April 6, 1997, and the race was won by Jeff Burton in a RFK Racing Ford (125.111 mph). The first NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway was held on November 6, 2005, and the race was won by RFK Racing driver Carl Edwards (151.055 mph). Hendrick Motorsport’s driver Kyle Larson is the most recent points-paying race winner at Texas Motor Speedway, grabbing the checkered flag in last season’s Playoff race. Larson also won the 2021 NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway as well. This season’s All-Star Race winner at Texas Motor Speedway was Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney.
A total of 25 different NASCAR Cup Series drivers have won the pole at Texas Motor Speedway, and six of the 25 NASCAR Cup Series Texas Motor Speedway pole winners are active this weekend. Kurt Busch leads the NASCAR Cup Series in poles at Texas with three (Spring 2015, Playoffs 2017, Spring 2018). Kevin Harvick (2017, 2019) and Martin Truex Jr. (2007, 2012) lead all active drivers in NASCAR Cup Series poles at Texas Motor Speedway with two each.
|Active Texas Pole Winners||Poles||Season|
|Kevin Harvick||2||2019, ’17|
|Martin Truex Jr||2||2012, ’07|
A total of 21 different NASCAR Cup Series drivers have won at Texas Motor Speedway, and six of the 21 Cup Series Texas winners are active this weekend. Jimmie Johnson leads the NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Texas Motor Speedway with seven victories (2007, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 sweep and 2017) in 35 starts. Kyle Busch leads all active NASCAR Cup Series drivers in wins at Texas Motor Speedway with four victories (2013, 2016, 2018, 2020).
|Active Texas Race Winners||Wins||Seasons|
|Kyle Busch||4||2020, ’18, ’16, ’13|
|Denny Hamlin||3||2019, ’10 sweep|
|Kevin Harvick||3||2019, ’18, ’17|
Last season’s NASCAR Cup Series Texas Motor Speedway Playoff race winner, Kyle Larson, returns to Texas to defend his win and get his first postseason victory of 2022. Larson has made 14 career starts at Texas Motor Speedway posting one win (2021), four top fives and five top 10s.
If Larson were to win this weekend, he would become the fourth different driver to win consecutive points-paying races at Texas Motor Speedway; joining Jimmie Johnson (2014 Playoff race and 2015 sweep), Carl Edwards (2008 sweep) and Denny Hamlin (2010 sweep).
Clinch Scenarios: Texas Motor Speedway
Following an intense NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 16 elimination-race at Bristol Motor Speedway, four postseason contenders were eliminated from the Playoffs – Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick and Austin Dillon, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick. Now, the Playoffs rerack as the Round of 12 gets underway at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend with the AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500 on Sunday, September 25 at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
With this weekend’s race being the first of the Playoffs’ Round of 12, the clinch scenarios are quite simple.
No drivers have clinched a spot in the eight-driver field of the next round.
Can Clinch Via Win
The following drivers would clinch on their win alone: Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Ross Chastain, Kyle Larson, William Byron, Christopher Bell, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Chase Briscoe, Alex Bowman, Daniel Suarez, and Austin Cindric.
Heading into this weekend at Texas, the entire NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 12 field is only separated by 34 points. Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney is currently sitting in the eighth and final transfer spot on points to the Round of 8 and holds a four-point lead on Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe in the ninth position – the first spot outside the next round’s cutoff.
|NASCAR Cup Series Driver Playoffs Outlook Following Race No. 29|
|Rank||Driver||Points||Race Wins||Stage Wins||Playoff Pts||+/- Cutoff|
|13||Tyler Reddick||2,067||2||2||12||Eliminated from the Playoffs|
Up Next: Round of 12 tracks offer slew of challenges
Tabbed by many of the competitors this season as the ‘Wild Card’ round, the NASCAR Cup Series Round of 12 offers a bevy of challenges for the drivers and teams as they try to navigate through the next three races at vastly different racetracks.
Texas Motor Speedway is first up, and this 1.5-mile track is unlike any other on the schedule. The facility is located in Fort Worth, Texas, just outside Dallas and boast 20 degrees of banking in Turns 1 and 2 and 24 degrees of banking in Turns 3 and 4. This weekend’s race the AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500 on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will be 501 miles (334 laps) and will be broken up into three stages. The first two stages will be 105 laps each and the final stage will be 124 laps. Though probably considered the most-tame of the three tracks this round, Texas is still unpredictable and has seen five different winners in the last five races – Denny Hamlin (03/2019), Kevin Harvick (11/2019), Austin Dillon (7/2020), Kyle Busch (10/2020) and Kyle Larson (10/2021).
Talladega Superspeedway is next on the Playoff schedule following Texas, the behemoth 2.66-mile superspeedway is one of the most unpredictable on NASCAR Cup Series schedule. With 33 degrees of banking in all four turns, Talladega produces some of the closest racing action the series has to offer. Next weekend’s race the YellaWood 500 on October 2 at 2 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will be 500.08 miles (188 laps) and will be broken up into three stages. The first two stages will be 60 laps each and the final stage will be 68 laps. Much like Texas, Talladega has produced five different winners in its last five Cup races – Ryan Blaney (10/2019), Denny Hamlin (10/2020), Brad Keselowski (04/2021), Bubba Wallace (10/2021) and Ross Chastain (04/2022).
Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL is scheduled for the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 12 elimination-race in two weeks, cutting the postseason’s 12-driver field down to eight competitors. Though a road course, the Charlotte ROVAL is as unpredictable with its NASCAR Cup Series finishes as Talladega. The 17-turn course spans the infield and parts of the oval at Charlotte Motor Speedway making it a unique challenge for the Playoff competitors. The Bank of America ROVAL 400 on October 9 at 2 p.m. ET on NBC, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will be 252.88 miles (109 laps) and will be broken up into three stages. The first two stages will be 25 laps each and the final stage will be 59 laps.