Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship favorites Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch locked up their spots in the Round of 12 with wins at Chicagoland and New Hampshire, respectively. Kyle Larson and Brad Keselowski are also guaranteed a spot in the next round based on playoff points.
In Sunday’s Apache Warrior 400 at Dover, four drivers will be eliminated from the playoffs with eight others joining Truex, Busch, Larson and Keselowski in the next three-race round before four additional drivers are eliminated on Oct. 22 at Kansas.
Entering Dover, Austin Dillon, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch and Kasey Kahne are on the outside of the playoffs looking in. Here’s a look at the playoff bubble.
|Rank||Driver||Points to cutoff|
|12.||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||0|
Kurt Busch and Kahne almost certainly must win at Dover to advance while McMurray and Stenhouse will certainly be looking in their rear-view mirrors to try to stay ahead of Richard Childress Racing teammates Dillon and Newman.
Newman, who has three wins at Dover has the best chance of the bubble drivers to sneak into the playoffs.
Kurt Busch, Dillon, and Stenhouse own just one top-10 finish at Dover in their career with the latter two owning average finishes of 22.6 and 21.1, respectively. Furthermore, Stenhouse (66.8), Dillon (70.7), and McMurray (78.4) have some of the worst driver rating at Dover among playoff drivers.
The first round for the Xfinity Series continues at the “Monster Mile,” while the Truck Series runs its second playoff race at Las Vegas.
NASCAR at Dover, Las Vegas schedule, TV channel info
(All times ET)
Friday, Sept. 29
10-11:25 a.m.: Cup Series practice, NBCSN
12-12:55 p.m.: Xfinity Series practice, NBCSN
2:30-3:25 p.m.: Xfinity Series final practice, NBCSN
3:40 p.m.: Cup Series qualifying, NBCSN
Saturday, Sept. 30
10:30-11:25 a.m.:Cup Series practice, CNBC
11:35 a.m.: Xfinity Series qualifying, CNBC
1-1:55 p.m.: Cup Series final practice, CNBC
2:45 p.m.: Xfinity Series Use Your Melon. Driver Sober 200 (200 laps, 200 miles), NBCSN
11:30 a.m.-12:25 p.m.: Truck Series practice
1-1:55 p.m.: Truck Series final practice
6:10 p.m.: Truck Series qualifying, FS2
8 p.m.: Truck Series Las Vegas 350 (146 laps, 219 miles), FS1
What TV channel is the NASCAR playoff race at Dover on?
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Apache Warrior 400 begins at 2 p.m. ET Sunday, Oct. 1 and can be seen on NBC Sports Network and the NBC Sports app.
What are the stage lengths for NASCAR’s Apache Warrior 400 at Dover?
The Apache Warrior 400, which is 400 laps and 400 miles, will be broken into three segments: Stage 1 ends on Lap 120, Stage 2 ends on Lap 240 and the final stage ends on Lap 400.
Which NASCAR Cup Series drivers are racing in the playoffs at Dover?
There are 40 Cup drivers entered in Sunday’s race, meaning all drivers will make the race with Friday’s qualifying setting their starting positions. Here is the list of participating Cup drivers in alphabetical order by first name:
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Martin Truex Jr.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.