NASCAR Playoffs Going Big at Texas Motor Speedway to Start Round of 12

NASCAR Cup Series cars wrecking at Texas Motor Speedway 10-17-21
NASCAR Cup Series cars wrecking at Texas Motor Speedway 10-17-21 (Photo credit: YouTube)

The NASCAR Playoffs have moved to the Round of Twelve. Those drivers that still have a shot at the Championship will look to go big at Texas Motor Speedway without wrecking big.

The 2021 Playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway was a wild one. Just 32 laps into the race there was a 12-car wreck. The 12 drivers remaining in the Playoffs this year will hope that does not repeat this year and involve them.

The Round of 16 saw no Playoff drivers win one of the three races in that round. The 12 drivers in this second round of the Playoffs will be trying to change that statistic for this round in the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500. If one of them can win that driver gets an automatic advance to the next round.

Here are the 12 drivers that are still in championship contention in the Round of 12…

RankDriverPointsRace WinsStage WinsPlayoff Pts+/- Cutoff
1Chase Elliott3,040454031
2Joey Logano3,025252516
3Ross Chastain3,020252011
4Kyle Larson3,019231910
5William Byron3,01524156
6Denny Hamlin3,01323134
7Christopher Bell3,01314134
8Ryan Blaney3,01305134
9Chase Briscoe3,009149-4
10Alex Bowman3,007127-6
11Daniel Suarez3,007127-6
12Austin Cindric3,006116-7
*The drivers in 9th through 12th are currently below the cutline for this round of the Playoffs.

The racing at Texas Motor Speedway is typically fast and side-by-side because of the room on the intermediate size track. That makes for excitement for the fans and potential calamity for the drivers. Here is what all the drivers and teams will be facing this weekend.

Texas Motor Speedway Data
Track Size: 1.5-mile
Banking/Turn 1 & 2: 20 degrees
Banking/Turn 3 & 4: 24 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 5 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 5 degrees
Frontstretch Length: 2,250 feet
Backstretch Length: 1,330 feet

Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 Data
Season Race #: 30 of 36 (10-25-22)
Playoff Race #: 4 of 10
Race Length: 334 laps / 501 miles
Stage 1 & 2 Length: 105 laps (each)
Final Stage Length: 124 laps

Now let’s look at how the 12 remaining NASCAR Playoff drivers stack up at Texas Motor Speedwway.

RankDriverRacesPolesWinsTop FivesTop 10sDNFsAverage FinishDriver Rating 
1Chase Elliott110026011.589.5 
2Joey Logano26011114214.090.0 
3Ross Chastain50000027.641.3 
4Kyle Larson140145418.488.5 
5William Byron70013114.489.0 
6Denny Hamlin3103714113.788.8 
7Christopher Bell3002209.083.3 
8Ryan Blaney131037316.495.1 
9Chase Briscoe10000015.077.7 
10Alex Bowman120022424.562.9 
11Daniel Suárez90023017.372.3 
12Austin Cindric0000000.00.0 
* – Based on last 33 races at Texas Motor Speedway (2005 – 2022).

Denny Hamlin has the most Texas wins among the Playoff drivers with three trips to Victory Lane there. However, he has been having some really bad luck as of late.

Joey Logano and Kyle Larson each has won a single time at Texas. Neither of these two drivers have been looking very dominant in the post-season to make them a favorite to win this week.

No other Playoff driver has a win in the NASCAR Cup Series at Texas Motor Speedway. As pointed out earlier, no Playoff driver has won a race in the post-season this year. That makes you wonder if any Playoff driver can be considered a favorite to win this weekend.

If there is another spoiler and 2022-first-time-winner it will be something never before seen in NASCAR. The all-time most winners in a single season for NASCAR is 19. That happened in 1956, 1958, 1961 and 2001. That is also where we are to date in this season. One more new winner for the season and 2022 marks a new record in the NASCAR history book.

We will see what happens when the green flag waives to start the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway Sunday, September 25th at 2:30 p.m. central time (3:30 p.m. eastern time).

By: Buck Stevens

Buck Stevens