The NASCAR Cup Series will set its Championship Four after this weekend’s trip to the half-mile paperclip-shaped Martinsville Speedway. Even though the spring race was a bit of a processional with the new car specifications, this time around there are seven drivers jockeying for three open spots, elbows will be out.
Here’s what you need to know heading into the weekend:
NASCAR Cup Series Martinsville playoff weekend schedule
Fans in the United States can watch the race on NBC or the NBC Sports app (cable or satellite subscription required) and pos-trace coverage will be on Peacock. Radio coverage is available on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM.
(All times ET)
Saturday, Oct. 29
Practice: Noon – 12:45 p.m. (NBC Sports app, MRN, SiriusXM, USA joins at 12:30)
Qualifying: 12:45 – 2 p.m. (USA, NBC Sports app, MRN, SiriusXM)
Sunday, Oct. 30
Pre-race show: 1:30 – 2 p.m. (NBC)
Xfinity 500: 2 – 5:30 p.m. (NBC, NBC Sports app, MRN, SiriusXM)
Top drivers and best bets for the Xfinity 500
Two drivers hoping to make the championship round in Phoenix – Ryan Blaney and Denny Hamlin – have the best average finish at Martinsville at 10th. William Byron won the spring race from fifth on the grid while teammate and fellow playoff competitor Chase Elliott won the pole but finished 10th.
Best odds for victory in the Xfinity 500
Chase Elliott +600
Denny Hamlin +700
Ryan Blaney +800
William Byron +800
Joey Logano +900
Martin Truex Jr. +900
Yahoo Sports’ Nick Bromberg suggests finding good mid-tier value in Kyle Busch and Ross Chastain (both +1400) pointing to Busch having finished in the Top 5 in half of his races there and Chastain finishing 5th in the spring after a 27th-place start.
NASCAR Cup Series playoff standings entering the weekend
Joey Logano – 4,106*
Ross Chastain – 4,101
Chase Elliott – 4,093
William Byron – 4,087 ______ Playoff cut line
Denny Hamlin – 4,082
Ryan Blaney – 4,069
Christopher Bell – 4,054
Chase Briscoe – 4,043
*Clinched a spot in the Championship Four
Weather for the Xfinity 500
The forecast for Martinsville is similar to the conditions for the spring race: Mostly cloudy and cold, with a high of 61 degrees. That’s bad news for anyone looking for good racing as the April 9th affair resembled more of a parade than a race with tire degradation barely a factor.