Round of Eight Elimination Race at Martinsville to Set the NASCAR Championship Four Sunday

Denny Hamlin's car nose-to-nose with Alex Bowman's car at Martinsville Speedway following 2021 Xfinity 500 10-31-21
Denny Hamlin’s car nose-to-nose with Alex Bowman’s car at Martinsville Speedway following 2021 Xfinity 500 10-31-21 (Photo credit: YouTube)

This Sunday (10/30) will be the elimination race in the Round of Eight in the NASCAR Playoffs. When the Xfinity 500 is complete at Martinsville Speedway the Championship Four will be set.

Joey Logano is already locked in as one of the four drivers to have a shot at winner the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Championship. He won the first race of the Round of Eight in Las Vegas. Here are how all the remaining NASCAR Playoff drivers are positioned in the standings heading to Martinsville this weekend.

RankDriverPointsRace WinsStage WinsPlayoff Pts+/- Cutoff
1Joey Logano4,1063626In On Wins
2Ross Chastain4,101262119
3Chase Elliott4,093564611
4William Byron4,08724155
5Denny Hamlin4,0822313-5
6Ryan Blaney4,0690815-18
7Christopher Bell4,0542418-33
8Chase Briscoe4,043149-44
* – The drivers in 5th through 8th are currently below the cutline for this round of the Playoffs.

Should any of the Playoff drivers (other than Joey) win this week’s race they would advance to the final, winner-take-all Championship Race with a shot at the title. There will be at least two drivers that will advance on points … perhaps three if there is a non-playoff driver that wins the race.

Ross Chastain sits in the best position (other than where Joey is) among the Championship hopefuls. As long as he does not have a disaster of a day, he should be able to advance to the Championship Four on at least points.

Chase Elliott needs to have a good day to advance. Not a great day, but at least a good day.

William Byron and Denny Hamlin are right on the bubble. William five points to the good and Denny five to the bad. These two will have to battle hard and smart to have a chance to advance without taking themselves out of the chance to advance.

Ryan Blaney will also have to have a really good day with potentially some help with others having a bad day if he wants to advance.

For Christopher Bell and Chase Briscoe, it is pretty much a “must win” situation for either of them to advance.

Making the task even harder for all of these drivers is that NASCAR will be short trackin’ this weekend at Martinsville. Here is what they will be facing.

Martinsville Speedway Data:
Track Size: 0.526-mile
Banking/Turn 1 & 2: 12 degrees
Banking/Turn 3 & 4: 12 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 0 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 0 degrees
Frontstretch Length:  800 feet
Backstretch Length:  800 feet

Xfinity 500 Data
Season Race #: 35 of 36 (10-30-22)
Playoff Race #: 9 of 10
Race Length: 500 laps / 263 miles
Stage 1 & 2 Length: 130 laps (each)
Final Stage Length: 240 laps

Here are how the Playoff drivers in the Round of Eight stack up at Martinsville Speedway.

RankDriverRacesPolesWinsTop FivesTop 10sDNFsAverage FinishDriver Rating
1Joey Logano2751915011.797.6
2Ross Chastain70011124.350.6
3Chase Elliott141158013.4101.1
4William Byron90145215.190.6
5Denny Hamlin33451622210.7103.9
6Ryan Blaney130067010.298.9
7Christopher Bell50001017.480.3
8Chase Briscoe30001019.361.2
* – Based on last 34 races at Martinsville Speedway (2005 – 2022).

With win being so very important to the Playoff drivers, but also to the non-playoff drivers, here are the active drivers that have won at Martinsville in the Cup Series before.

Active Martinsville WinnersWinsSeasons
*Denny Hamlin52015, ’10 sweep, ’09, ’08
Martin Truex Jr32021, ’20, ’19
Brad Keselowski22019, ’17
Kyle Busch22017, ’16
*William Byron12022
*Chase Elliott12020
*Joey Logano12018
Kevin Harvick12011
*2022 Round of Eight Playoff Driver

What will it be? Will one of the Round of Eight not locked in the Championship Four win to clinch their spot? Will Joey Logano capture a second win in the round to serve notice the others will have to beat him as the favorite to win the championship? Will there be another spoiler with a non-playoff driver winning the race? Which three drivers will join Joey in the Championship Four?

It is Halloween weekend, so who will get tricks and who will get treats on the track? (Come on, you know I had to say it!)

All of these questions will be answered (potentially with drama added) when the NASCAR Playoffs go short trackin’ at Martinsville Speedway in the Xfinity 500 Sunday, October 30th starting at 1 p.m. CT (2 p.m. ET).

By: Buck Stevens

Buck Stevens