NASCAR playoff storylines aplenty as race week arrives at Martinsville Speedway


MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WFXR) — It’s race week at Martinsville and the stakes couldn’t be any higher at the Paperclip on Sunday. The penultimate race of the NASCAR Cup Series season will see seven drivers vie for the remaining three spots in the Championship Four.

The Grandfather Clock is up for grabs for the driver that can get to victory lane. And if it’s a playoff driver other than Kyle Larson taking the checkered flag, then he would get an automatic spot in that final four.

Larson doesn’t need to win but he enters the weekend with three straight victories.

“We have been excited to be the penultamate race in the playoffs. You are right with what Kyle Larson has done in the playoffs, especially the last 3 races but all year long,” track president Clay Campbell said. “So that is good for him since Martinsville is not one of his better tracks.”

Meanwhile, it’s a guarantee that at least two playoff cars will contend for the Cup Series title based on points.

All of these storylines adding up to what should be an eventful weekend at the Half Mile of Mayhem.

“If you look at the seven guys that are chasing him and trying to get into the final four. There are a lot of scenarios, this one has to do this and this one has to do that,” Campbell said. “Those seven guys are good. You could not have picked a better eight guys to come to Martinsville and battle for that final four.”

Larson is already locked in to the Championship Four. Defending champ Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, a two-time winner in the Cup circuit this season, and Kyle Busch are also above the cutline based on points.

The drivers on the outside looking in include Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex, Jr., Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano. Truex was won three of the last four races at Martinsville. Any one of the drivers ranked two thru seven can clinch a spot in the final four with a win on Sunday.

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