With only two races remaining in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, things are starting to get down to the nitty-gritty. Eight drivers look to lock into the Championship 4 spots when they take to the asphalt, and the tight corners, of Martinsville Speedway. Xfinity 500 – NASCAR Cup Playoffs (10/31/21) | How to Watch, Start Time
The shortest track on the NASCAR Cup Circuit has shown many classic battles over the years, and is the perfect place to filter out more drivers from the playoff picture. Heading into Sunday, Kyle Larson, who led the series in points during the regular season sits comfortably ahead of the pack thanks to winning each of the last three races, and has now taken the checkered flag four times this postseason.
The other drivers in the top four include Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch. On the outside sits Ryan Blaney (-1), Martin Truex Jr. (-3), Brad Keselowski (-6) and Joey Logano (-26). Truex Jr. had a great start to the playoffs, winning the second race of the Round of 16 at Richmond. Yet, he has stumbled since, including having tire trouble last week at Kansas. Blaney suffered a huge setback last week, crashing with just 46 laps to go, and was not able to finish the race.
What: Xfinity 500
Who: NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs (Round of 8)
When: Sunday, October 31
Time: 2:00 p.m. ET
Where: Martinsville Speedway (Martinsville, Va.)
Channel: NBC Sports Network
The NASCAR Cup Series is headed to Ridgeway, Virginia for its Halloween day playoff race. The circuit will be running the race at the Martinsville Speedway starting at 2 p.m. ET. The race will air on NBC.
If you are not in front of a TV, you can view the race via live online stream at NBCSports.com/live or through the NBC Sports App. You will need a cable log-in to stream the race, so if you don’t have one, you can get a trial from YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, AT&T TV Now, FuboTV, or Sling TV to stream it.
Kyle Larson is on a roll heading into the final race before the Cup Series Championship next weekend in Phoenix. He has won three straight races and four in the playoffs this year. He has already clinched a spot in the final four, and awaits the remaining three. Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, and Kyle Busch currently top the list of drivers projected to make the Championship 4.
Larson is installed at +500 to win Sunday’s race, a notch behind Martin Truex, Jr., who is +450. Truex won the 2019 version of this race, and has also won the spring Martinsville race two straight years. Last year’s Xfinity 500 champ, Chase Elliott, is installed at +600 to win.
Just one race remains to determine the Championship Four, and it’ll be run Sunday at Martinsville Speedway.
The Xfinity 500 is set for Sunday afternoon from Ridgeway, Va., and three spots still are up for grabs in the final round of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
At present, only Kyle Larson, winner of the last three races, has secured a spot in the final round. The other spots will be determined in Sunday’s final Round of 8 race.
Joey Logano sits in eighth place and is far enough out to where it’s unlikely he will make the cut. Kyle Busch is the last man in at the moment despite his awful finish in Kansas. However, his hold on the fourth spot is razor thin, with Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr. and Brad Keselowski all narrowly trailing him.
This should be a fun one.
You can see the full starting lineup for the race here. See below for how to watch the Xfinity 500 online and on TV.
Sunday is elimination day. After the Xfinity 500, the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs field will be cut from eight drivers to a final four who will compete for the championship next week in Avondale, Arizona. Kyle Larson sits at the top of the playoff standings with Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch currently in position to advance. Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr. and Joey Logano will need to make something happen on Sunday to move up into one of the top four spots.
The Xfinity 500 is the final Round of 8 race before the championship race on Nov. 7. The Xfinity 500 takes place at the Martinsville Speedway on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET (11 a.m. PT) and will be broadcast on NBC.
The NASCAR Cup Series roars into Martinsville Speedway in Virginia this Sunday for the Xfinity 500, where the last three playoff finalists will be confirmed.
Kyle Larson, who has won four of this postseason’s eight races, has already earned his spot in the Championship 4 and holds a 74-point lead over the second-place driver in the standings, Chase Elliott.
Just like last week at Texas Motor Speedway, Larson will be on the pole and looking to continue his winning ways, but he’ll have seven other drivers trying to keep him off Victory Lane.
Martinsville Speedway is the shortest track on the schedule, but it will be long on excitement as this is the last chance for the other seven drivers on the outside looking in to stamp their ticket to Phoenix.
Right now, Elliott, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch stand the best chance to get into the final four, but don’t count out drivers like Joey Logano.
The driver of the Team Penske car will start from the fifth spot at Virginia and likely needs to win outright to advance.
But that will be a tall order for the 31-year old native of Middletown, Conn.
He has to outpace some capable drivers like Martin Truex Jr., who is the favorite to win on Sunday and has won three of the last four races held at Martinsville.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver sits in sixth place, so a win would clinch his place in the Championship 4.
“As you whittle the field down and there’s less cars, obviously you feel like the cream rises to the top,” Truex told NASCAR two weeks ago. “The challenge becomes more, as there’s less cars. You feel like they’re the best teams and it’s more difficult to outrun them on average, so that’s just what it’s all about.
“We just have to execute to the best of our abilities. We know what we’re capable of: We’re capable of winning races.”
Truex Jr. will have his hands full with Ryan Blaney, who has his own strong record of performances at Martinsville.
Blaney holds a two-point lead on Truex Jr. in the standings and is only one point behind Busch in fourth.
So look for the Team Penske driver to deliver one of the strongest races of his six-year career as he tries to make the Championship 4 for the first time.
“We’ve been in the Round of 8, this is the third time, and just haven’t been able to make the championship race yet,” Blaney told Terrin Waack of NASCAR.com. “So, yeah, I think that’s a big, big hurdle for us, for myself personally. It would be a great accomplishment to be able to that, not only for myself but everyone working on this 12 car – and give Todd a shot to run for a championship in his last season.”
Buckle up, NASCAR fans; with seven drivers vying for three spots, the Xfinity 500 will be one of the most thrilling rides of the postseason.