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Race Weekend Preview – October 20-21, 2018

This week we are watching three races:

Saturday, October 20
1. NASCAR Xfinity Kansas Lottery 300, Kansas Speedway (on NBC/TSN1 at 3:00P)

Sunday, October 21
2. FIA Formula One Pirelli United States Grand Prix, Circuit of the Americas, Austin, TX (on ABC/TSN3 at 2:05P)
3. NASCAR MENCS, Hollywood Casino 400, Kansas Speedway (on NBC/TSN5 at 2:30P)

F1 US Grand Prix at COTA

This is the seventh annual running of the USGP at the purpose-built Circuit of the Americas at Austin, TX. Since the first world championship Formula One race was run in the United States at Sebring in1959 there have been 57 championship F1 races held in the United States. In some years there were two USGPs – and East and a West event – and once, in 1982, there were three including the ones at Long Beach, Detroit and Las Vegas.

Going into this year’s USGP, Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) holds a 67-point lead (331 points to 264) over Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) with four Grands Prix yet to run. At the previous GP at Japan, Hamilton started from the pole and led every lap to win the race while Vettel started eighth and finished in sixth place. Last year Hamilton won at COTA with Vettel second.

The 2018 championship may well be settled here at Texas. If Hamilton wins he will clinch the championship if Vettel finishes third or worse.

NASCAR MENCS at Kansas

The NASCAR Cup series will be at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway this Sunday. Last year the October race here at Kansas was won by Martin Truex. This year, the most recent race was run at Talladega and was won by Aric Almirola in a Stewart-Haas Ford.

The Kansas race is the third race in the Round of 12 playoffs. Of the 12 playoff drivers in this race, only the top 8 will move on after this to the following three-race Round of 8 series. Two of the 12 hopefuls – Chase Elliott and Almirola – have race wins in the current round and are thereby guaranteed to move on to the next elimination round. Going into Kansas the four drivers on the bubble are Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson, and Alex Bowman.

NASCAR Xfinity at Kansas

The Xfinity race will run at Kansas on Saturday. Last year, the October Xfinity race here was won by Christopher Bell. He ran the full 2017 Camping World Truck Series season and won the championship. He also raced in eight Xfinity races but, as a full-time truck series driver, he was ineligible for Xfinity championship points. Bell is running the full Xfinity season in 2018.

This year, the most recent Xfinity race was run at Dover, two weeks ago. That race was won by Bell, who is now hoping to win this year’s Xfinity championship. Bell also won at Richmond, the first race in the Xfinity playoff series. Chase Briscoe, a part-time driver in this series, won the second race in the Round of 12 but he is ineligible for the championship playoffs.

The Kansas race is the first race in the three-race Round of 8. The eight drivers still in contention are: Bell, Justin Allgaier, Daniel Hemric, Cole Custer, Elliott Sadler, Tyler Reddick, Matt Tifft, and Austin Cindric.

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