Last Chance to Advance in NASCAR Playoffs at Martinsville Elimination Race

Ross Chastain crossing finish line just ahead of Denny Hamlin at Martinsville Speedway 10-30-22
Ross Chastain crossing finish line just ahead of Denny Hamlin at Martinsville Speedway 10-30-22 (Photo credit: YouTube)

The Round of 8 in the NASCAR Playoffs will come to an end this week on the short track of Martinsville Speedway in the Xfinity 500!

Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell have locked themselves in the Championship Four with their wins in the first two races in the Round of 8. That leaves two spots open for the other six remaining playoff drivers to have a shot at the championship. Below is what the 2023 Playoff Outlook is heading to Martinsville.

2023 NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Outlook heading to Martinsville
Drivers in red area in danger of being eliminated from Playoffs; Drivers in grey already eliminated

This is what all of the drivers and teams will be facing this weekend at the track and in the race.

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 (10-29-23)
Playoff Race #: 9 of 10
Round of 8 Race #: 3 of 3
Race Length: 500 laps / 263 miles
Stage 1 & 2 Length: 130 laps (each)
Final Stage Length: 240 laps

These are the active drivers that have won a Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway during their careers.

Denny Hamlin5 Wins2015, ’10 sweep, ’09, ’08
Martin Truex Jr3 Wins2021, ’20, ’19
Brad Keselowski2 Wins2019, ’17
Kyle Busch2 Wins2017, ’16
Kyle Larson1 Win2023
Christopher Bell1 Win2022
William Byron1 Win2022
Alex Bowman1 Win2021
Chase Elliott1 Win2020
Joey Logano1 Win2018
Ryan Newman1 Win2012
Kevin Harvick1 Win2011

It will be a battle for the playoff drivers to gain enough points or win the race to advance one last time in the post-season. Short track racing in NASCAR is often a complete melee during a regular season race. Add the importance of a playoff elimination race and things can really get crazy!

You remember the last lap, up against the wall, gas pedal to the floor move Ross Chastain made in this race last year to make the Championship Four, don’t you? NASCAR has since made that move illegal for safety reasons. However, who knows what move might be invented this year to reach a goal at the end of the race.

We will all get to see the beating and banging together starting at 1 p.m. central time (2 p.m. eastern time) in the Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway Sunday, October 29th.

By: Buck Stevens

Buck Stevens