All You Need to Know About the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Elimination Race at Martinsville Speedway

Published 10/31/2020, 8:00 AM EDT
Oct 18, 2020; Kansas City, Kansas, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliott (9) leads the field at the start of the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

It all comes down to Martinsville for the NASCAR Cup Series drivers in the Xfinity 500 this Sunday. Kyle Busch’s win at Texas means as many as three spots are yet to be decided for the championship race at Phoenix next Sunday.


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Kevin Harvick is right up there on points and should comfortably take one spot. However, Harvick and the rest of the field know very well that Martinsville presents no room for complacency for anyone at all. This is why the track has the reputation of “The Half Mile of Mayhem.”

Short-track racing can be chaotic, and with so much on the line, it will all be about sealing that spot in the season finale for the playoff contenders, no matter how it comes.


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When and where to watch the NASCAR Cup Series race?

The race starts at 2 pm E.T. Fans can catch the race on NBC and the NBC Sports App. It will also be live on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Sep 27, 2020; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick (4) and driver Kyle Busch (18) lead the field for the start of the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

About the track

The half-mile track contains an asphalt surface and is the shortest track on the NASCAR Cup Series calendar. It is a tight track and the turns are almost flat. There are only 11 degrees of banking on the turns. However, a lot of close-quarters racing is usually witnessed at Martinsville.

The 500-lap race will be divided into two stages of 130 laps each, and the final stage will run for 240 laps.

What will the weather be like for the NASCAR Cup Series race?

After the troubles in Texas, much better weather is expected for Martinsville, less than 20% chance of rain is on the radar for Sunday’s race, with temperatures in the low 50s expected around race time.

With Hurricane Zeta in the vicinity, rain is expected over the weekend, but nothing that troubles the race.

Oct 26, 2020; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; A general view of Texas Motor Speedway during the weather delayed conclusion of the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500. Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

Are fans allowed for the race?

Yes. Up to 1,000 fans are allowed for each of the three NASCAR races this weekend.

Which tires will be used for the NASCAR Cup Series elimination race?

Goodyear Eagle Short Track Radials tires will be used for the race on Sunday. The playoff race is a fall race, and drivers and teams will need to make necessary adjustments for cooler temperatures.

The last thing a playoff driver would want is having his shot at Phoenix taken away due to tire issues. So, there will be pressure on the crews to get it right.

Starting line-up for the race

Brad Keselowski bagged pole position for the Martinsville race. Martin Truex Jr., who won the last two races at Martinsville, will share the front row with Keselowski. Alex Bowman, Denny Hamlin, and Kurt Busch will complete the top-five.

Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, and Chase Elliott take the next three spots.


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What happened in the last playoff race at Martinsville?

Truex Jr. dominated the field, leading as many as 464 laps in the 2019 playoff race. It was a stunning performance, which he carried forward to the race earlier this season at Martinsville.

Two spots for Phoenix will be decided on points. This makes earning stage points very important as well throughout the race.


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What makes Martinsville such an important race to win is also the unique trophy on offer. One thing is certain – an enthralling race is on the cards.


All You Need to Know About the Iconic and Unique Trophy for the NASCAR Race at Martinsville Speedway

11 months ago



Aayush Majumdar

1006 articles

Aayush Majumdar is a NASCAR content strategist, a Tennis Writer, and a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. He is well-tenured as a tennis and NASCAR writer, with over 900 articles across both sports. After pursuing a Post Graduate program in Sports Management, Aayush explored various roles in Sports Media, including a Sports Reporting role at a leading English daily.