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Race Weekend Preview – September 21-22, 2018

This weekend we are watching three races:

Friday, Sept. 21
1. NASCAR Xfinity GoBowling 250, Richmond Raceway (0n TSN2 at 7:30P)

Saturday, Sept 22
2. NASCAR MENCS Federated Auto Parts 400, Richmond Raceway (on TSN2 at 7:30P)
3. NASCAR Pinty’s Series Visit New Hampshire 100, NHMS, Loudon, NH (no live broadcast; first broadcast on September 31 on TSN2 at 12:30P)

NASCAR MENCS at Richmond

This weekend’s Cup race is the second race in the ten-race playoff season, and the second race in the three-race Round of Sixteen which will see four drivers eliminated from the playoff group after the race at Charlotte, the third and final race in the first round of eliminations.

Brad Keselowski won the first playoff race last week at Las Vegas, extending his remarkable three-race winning streak. This week’s race is the second race at Richmond this year, the first being run on April 21st; it was won by Kyle Busch. Last year’s fall race ran on September 9th; this night race was won by Kyle Larson. All the drivers will be hoping for a good result here at Richmond because the Charlotte race a week later will be run on the new ‘Roval’ road course and in preliminary testing it proved to be treacherous catching a number of drivers out. A win at Richmond would guarantee the driver a spot on the next round and eliminate any worries about a bad result at Charlotte.

NASCAR Xfinity at Richmond

The Richmond Xfinity race marks the start of the seven-race playoff season for this series. It will be made up of a Round of 12, then a Round of 8, and then, after another four drivers are eliminated, the finale, the Championship 4 race at Homestead.

The 12 Xfinity drivers who have qualified for the playoffs are: Justin Allgaier. Christopher Bell, Elliott Sadler, Cole Custer, Tyler Reddick, Ross Chastain, Daniel Hemric, Brandon Jones, Matt Tifft, Ryan Truex, Austin Cindric and Ryan Reed. While it is possible that any one of these 12 drivers might make their way through to the finale at Homestead and emerge as the champion, in reality, the champion will most likely be one of the current top five drivers – Allgaier through to Reddick. Allgaier is the Xfinity driver with the most regular season wins (5) and he has been on a hot streak recently while Bell is close behind with four wins so far.

Ross Chastain, who was making his second start in the No. 42 Ganassi car dominated last week’s race at Las Vegas. He will be driving this same car in the playoffs so he may give us some surprisingly good results. It would be a huge upset if he were to snatch the championship from the better-known drivers. Last year, Brad Keselowski won the September Xfinity race at Richmond but this year he and the other Cup drivers are barred from racing in any of the Xfinity Series playoffs. Daniel Hemric, who finished fourth, was the highest placed Xfinity regular in last year’s race.

NASCAR Pinty’s at New Hampshire

This year, for the first time ever, the Pinty’s Series will race outside Canada. A new triple-header race weekend at the one-mile New Hampshire Motor Speedway oval will include feature race for three series – the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and the NASCAR Pinty’s Series. The Pinty’s series race will be a 100-lap race called the Visit New Hampshire 100. This will be the longest oval the series has ever run on and, combined with its modest banking, this is expected to be the fastest race ever for the series. While some Pinty’s drivers have high-speed experience – such as Alex Tagliani who won the pole for the Indy 500 in 2011 with an average speed of 227 mph – this will be a new experience for many of the series regulars.

Going into the NHMS race, L.P. Dumoulin leads in the points standings with 452 points to Tagliani’s 447. Cole Powell, a ‘rookie’ in the Pinty’s series who is third in the points standings, has run at Loudon in a NASCAR modified car four times and he is probably the only driver in the Pinty’s race with actual prior race experience here.

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