Texas Size Racing in NASCAR Playoffs to Start Round of 12

NASCAR Cup Series cars racing at Texas Motor Speedway 9-25-22
NASCAR Cup Series cars racing at Texas Motor Speedway 9-25-22

The Round of 12 in the NASCAR Playoffs will go big in Texas this week in the AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400. However, this year’s race is 100 miles shorter.

They say everything is bigger in Texas. Racing at Texas Motor Speedway is no exception. Even though it is one of the intermediate tracks on the NASCAR circuit that is a mile-and-a-half long, it really seems to race faster with the wide track. Cars will get two, three, four … even five or six wide is possible in areas. Of course, racing at these high speeds with that many cars side-by-side and bumper-to-bumper also allows for some Texas size accidents.

The 12 playoff drivers still in the hunt for the Championship may be happy that the race has been sized down for this year’s post-season. This race in the past 18 years was a 500-mile race. This year NASCAR has shortened it to a 400-mile race. That means there will be less time for Playoff drivers to have issues that could put them in a bad position to continue navigating through the post-season.

That does not mean this will be an easy race for the playoff drivers or the rest of the field. In fact, with 100 miles less to race things could get more aggressive and intense earlier in the race. All of the drivers in the Round of 12 know that if they win this weekend in Texas, they advance automatically to the third round in the post-season. Below is where the NASCAR Playoff drivers are starting in the standings for the Round of 12.

Playoffs Outlook Heading to Texas 09-24-23
Drivers in red area in danger of being eliminated from Playoffs

Here is what the playoff drivers and non-playoff drivers will face equally at the track and in the race 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 400:
Season Race #: 30 of 36 (10-24-23)
NCS Playoff Race #: 4 of 10
Round of 12 Race #: 1 of 3
Race Length: 267 laps / 400.5 miles
Stage 1 & 2 Length: 80 laps (each)
Final Stage Length: 107 laps

These are the seven active drivers who have won a Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Kyle Busch4 Wins2020, ’18, ’16, ’13
Denny Hamlin3 Wins2019, ’10 sweep
Kevin Harvick3 Wins2019, ’18, ’17
Tyler Reddick1 Win2022
Kyle Larson1 Win2021
Austin Dillon1 Win2020
Joey Logano1 Win2014

Martin Truex Jr. was able to jump from under the cut line to second place in the standings last week in the Round of 16 elimination race. You can bet he will be looking to have much better results in this round of the playoffs to make sure he doesn’t face that situation again. We know he will be racing with a heavy heart after the passing of Sherry Pollex.

Ross Chastain, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney and Bubba Wallace will all be racing to at least gain enough points to move above the cut line. At best, they know if they win, they won’t have to worry about the cut line for the next two races.

Removing that cut line worry will also be on the mind of all the drivers above it. Win at Texas and relax at Talladega and Charlotte.

Last year Tyler Reddick was eliminated from after the Round of 16 in the playoffs. He then won this race to start the Round of 16 as a spoiler to the playoff drivers. Will another spoiler win the race this year?

We will find out how it all plays out starting at 2:30 p.m. central time (3:30 p.m. eastern time) in the AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400 at Texas Motor Speedway this Sunday, September 24th.

By: Buck Stevens

Buck Stevens