Auto Racing Glance

9/15/2021 1:43:31 PM EST

NASCAR CUP SERIES: BASS PRO SHOPS NRA NIGHT RACE (500 laps, 266.5 miles around a .533-mile oval), Bristol Motor Speedway; Bristol, Tenn.

TV: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (Green flag approx. 7:43 p.m. ET) -- NBCSN (Radio: Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90).

THIS WEEK: This is the 29th of 36 races on the season and the final race of NASCAR's Round of 16, so four drivers will be eliminated from title contention Saturday night. ... The Bristol night race is one of the most storied events in NASCAR history. ... Bristol is one of the series' toughest tracks at just a little over a half mile, and with high banking that collects crashed cars at the bottom causing some serious bent bodywork. But many of the crashed cars soldier on and a few of them even manage to win. ... This will be the 121st series race at the track dating back to 1961, with Kevin Harvick winning the night race last year. ... Martin Truex Jr. won last week at Richmond, his first victory since May. "Yeah, it's been a while. We talked last week about how much speed we've had in these things, and just thanks to all my guys and everybody ... that helps us," he said. "We couldn't do it without them. Very lucky to get to do this, as I mentioned, and very proud to win here." ... Kyle Larson leads the points with 2,151, with *Denny Hamlin second (2,127), followed by *Truex (2,113), Joey Logano (2,093), Ryan Blaney (2,081), Kevin Harvick (2,078), Chase Elliott (2,072), Christopher Bell (2,070), Brad Keselowski (2,066), Kyle Busch (2,061), Aric Almirola (2,056), Kurt Busch (2,053), Alex Bowman (2,026), Tyler Reddick (2,048), William Byron (2,035) and Michael McDowell (2,015) making up the rest of the drivers currently in the playoffs.

BEST BETS: Kyle Busch is the favorite at 4/1, with Kyle Larson at 9/2, Denny Hamlin at 6/1 and Chase Elliott at 8/1 the last driver at better than 10/1. Austin Dillon is a good flyer at 45/1, and why not Erik Jones at 150/1?

*Denotes playoff race winner and berth into the next playoff round. Standings per

NASCAR XFINITY SERIES: NASCAR XFINITY SERIES: FOOD CITY 300 (300 laps, 159.9 miles around a .533-mile oval), Bristol Motor Speedway; Bristol, Tenn.

TV: Friday, 7 p.m. ET (Green flag approx. 7:12 p.m. ET) -- NBCSN (Radio: Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90).

THIS WEEK: The 26th of 33 races on the season, the series makes its first trip to Bristol this year. ... This will be the 78th series race at the track dating back to the inaugural season of 1982. ... Races here have been a showcase for up-and-coming drivers in recent years, with Chase Briscoe, Noah Gragson, Ryan Preece, Christopher Bell, Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones and Austin Dillon among young winners back to 2014. ... Briscoe won here last September, with Gragson winning the race earlier in 2020. ... This is the last race left for the Xfinity full-timers in the regular season before the playoffs begin at Las Vegas on Sept. 25. ... Gragson won last week at Richmond. ... 12 drivers qualify for the Xfinity playoffs, and if you win, you're in. No full-time driver outside the top 12 in points has won yet this season, and none of those will make the playoffs unless they win this week. ... *A.J. Allmendinger leads the points (993), followed by *Austin Cindric (988), *Justin Allgaier (872), Daniel Hemric (849), Harrison Burton (840), *Gragson (822), *Justin Haley (819), *Jeb Burton (775), Jeremy Clements (598), Brandon Jones (591), Riley Herbst (590) and *Myatt Snider (556) making up the 12 drivers who would currently make the playoffs.

*Denotes race winner and playoff berth. Standings per

NASCAR GANDER OUTDOORS TRUCK SERIES: (200 laps, 106.6 miles around a .533-mile oval), Bristol Motor Speedway; Bristol, Tenn.

TV: Thursday, 9 p.m. ET (Green flag approx. 9:12 p.m. ET) -- FS1 (Radio: Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90).

THIS WEEK: The playoffs continue at Bristol, where the wrecks are frequent and the bad feelings last a while. ... This will be the 18th of 22 races this season and the 25th race at the track dating back to the series' inception in 1995. ... Sam Mayer won this race last year. ... Sheldon Creed won two weeks ago at Darlington. ... The playoff field will be cut from 10 to eight after this race. ... *Creed leads the standings (2,128 points), followed by John Hunter Nemechek (2,126), Matt Crafton (2,094), Stewart Friesen (2,092), Ben Rhodes (2,074), Todd Gilliland (2,070), Carson Hocevar (2,067), Austin Hill (2,064), Zane Smith (2,059) and Chandler Smith (2,052) rounding out the 10 drivers currently in the seven-race playoffs.

*Denotes playoff race winner and berth into the next playoff round. Standings per

NTT DATA INDYCAR SERIES: FIRESTONE GRAND PRIX OF MONTEREY (90 laps, 212.61 miles around a 2.238-mile 11-turn permanent road course), WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca; Salinas, Calif.

TV: Sunday, 3 p.m. ET (approx. green flag 3:05 p.m. ET) -- NBC (Radio: Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 214, XM 209,, and on the INDYCAR Mobile app).

THIS WEEK: Coming off his third win of the season, this one Sunday in Portland, Ore., Spain's Alex Palou staked a major claim to the title with two races to go. ... Up this week, Laguna Seca is a storied venue in American racing and presents a technical challenge that requires concentration and daring from the drivers. The track has 300 feet of elevation change over its course, with Turns 8 and 8A - aka "The Corkscrew" - its most prominent watching spot. ... Last season's race was canceled during the pandemic, with Colton Herta winning the 2019 event to close the season. ... This will be the 23rd Indy-style race at the track and is the 15th of 16 races on the season. The 2019 race was the first under IndyCar sanction, but it was a staple of the defunct CART/Champ Car series from 1983-2004. ... The series heads to the season finale next week in Long Beach, Calif. ... Palou leads the standings (477) in his Honda-powered Dallara, with Mexico's Pato O'Ward (452) in second in a Chevrolet-powered Dallara. Josef Newgarden (443) in a Chevy is third, followed by New Zealander Scott Dixon (428) in his Honda and Sweden's Marcus Ericsson in a Honda (402).

Standings per


THIS WEEK: The series takes a week off but the sport is still abuzz after title frontrunners Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided on the 25th lap and took each other out of the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday. The FIA is investigating, but so far the race stewards have blamed Verstappen and given him a three-place grid penalty for next week's Russian Grand Prix in Sochi. ... Daniel Ricciardo of Australia won the race at Monza in a McLaren ... Belgium's Verstappen leads the standings (226.5 points) for Red Bull, with Great Britain's Hamilton in a Mercedes in second (222.5), followed by Finland's Valtteri Bottas (141) in a Mercedes, Britain's Lando Norris (132) in a McLaren, with Mexico's Sergio Perez (118) in a Red Bull rounding out the top five.

Standings per


TV: Eliminations, Sunday, 2 p.m. ET (live) Fox.

THIS WEEK: The Countdown to the Championship continues at the strip near Charlotte, N.C. ... 10 drivers in each class are still alive in the playoffs, but the separation has begun with one event in the playoff books and six more to go. ... This is the 15th of 20 events on the season. ... Winners last week in Pennsylvania were Billy Torrence in Top Fuel, Tommy Johnson Jr. in Funny Car, Greg Anderson in Pro Stock and Steve Johnson in Pro Stock Motorcycle. ... Steve Torrence leads the Top Fuel standings (2,179 points), followed by Brittany Force (2,167) and Billy Torrence (2,137). ... John Force (2,172) leads Funny Car, then Matt Hagan (2,167) and Ron Capps (2,157). ... Anderson (2,224) leads Pro Stock, followed by Erica Enders (2,183) and Aaron Stanfield (2,129). ... Johnson (2,195) leads Pro Stock Motorcycle, followed by Matt Smith (2,183) and Eddie Krawiec (2,159).

Standings per

--By K. Lee Davis, Field Level Media


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