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Race Weekend Preview – October 27-28, 2018

This weekend we are watching three major races:

Saturday, Oct. 27
1. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Texas Roadhouse 200, Martinsville Speedway (on Fox Sports Racing at 1:00P)

Sunday, Oct 28
2. NASCAR MENCS, First Data 500, Martinsville Speedway (TSN3 at 2:30P)
3. FIA Formula One Mexican Grand Prix, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City (on ABC/TSN2 at 2:05P)

F1 Mexican Grand Prix

This Sunday’s Grand Prix at the 4.304-km (2.674-mi) Mexico City circuit is the third-last race of this year’s season – to be followed by GPs at Brazil and Abu Dhabi. This is the 19th championship Mexican GP, the first being held on 1963.

Last year’s race was won by Max Verstappen (Red Bull). The most recent GP this year was the USGP, which was won by Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari). Lewis Hamilton Mercedes) finished third behind Verstappen while Hamilton’s challenger for the title, Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), was fourth.

Coming into the Mexican GP, Hamilton has a dominant 70-point lead over Vettel (346 points to 276). Hamilton needs only to earn another five points to clinch the championship; if he finishes anywhere in the top seven at Mexico Vettel’s hopes of winning the title are gone.

NASCAR MENCS at Martinsville

The NASCAR Cup series returns to the 0.526-mile Martinsville Speedway on Sunday for the second time this year. Racing on this short, tight ‘paperclip’ shaped oval is difficult because the cars are bunched up together and it is very hard to pass here – and the brakes have to work overtime, leading to brake and tire failures. Qualifying is important because track position is everything.

Last year Brad Keselowski won here in February and Kyle Busch won in October. The most recent race here was in March of this year and it was won by Clint Bowyer. Last week’s race at Kansas was won by Chase Elliott, his second win in three weeks.

This Martinsville race in the first of the three races in the Round of 8. This round concludes with the Phoenix race and the top four in the playoff standings will go on to fight it out for the championship in the finale at Homestead. Going into Martinsville, the top four in the playoff standings are Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex, and Chase Elliott. The bottom four of the eight remaining playoff drivers who are on the bubble are Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Kurt Busch and Aric Almirola. Of course, a lot can happen in the next three races and the playoff system for determining the championship is designed to make it possible for any one of these drivers to emerge at the winner. It is not over yet.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Martinsville

This race is the first race in the three-race Round of 6 for the truck series. After the Talladega race, the bottom two playoff drivers were eliminated (Ben Rhodes and Stewart Friesen) leaving just six still in contention. After the third race in this round (Phoenix) the bottom two playoff drivers will be eliminated and the top four will go forward to the truck series finale at Homestead. Going into Martinsville, the top four are Johnny Sauter, Brett Moffitt, Noah Gragson and Grant Enfinger. The two on the bubble are Justin Haley and Matt Crafton.

Last year, the spring race here was won by Chase Elliott and the October race was won by Noah Gragson. Elliott, as a Cup driver, is not eligible to compete in the truck series playoff races. The most recent truck series race, at Talladega, was won by part-time driver Timothy Peters.


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