Chase Update – The Monster Has Spoken!

The “Round of 16” in the Chase for the Sprint Cup has concluded, and the tour is heading to Charlotte for the start of the “Round of 12.” Meanwhile, the Xfinity Chase gets set for its “Round of 12” cut-off next weekend at Charlotte and the Camping World Trucks Chase takes a breather in anticipation of its “Round of 8” finale at Talladega.

Check out the Grid standings here: Sprint Cup, Xfinity, Camping World Trucks.

Here’s a quick look at what’s happening…

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

motorsports-sprint cup seriesMartin Truex Jr. continued his emergence as a NASCAR Sprint Cup Superstar with a convincing win at his hometown track, leading 187 of the 400 laps in the “Citizen Soldier 400” at Dover International Speedway. His commanding seven and a half-second win over Kyle Busch served notice that the Mayetta, New Jersey native will be tough beat in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

There were 14 lead changes among six drivers in the race that spun off at an average speed of 130.969 mph on Dover’s one-mile high-banked concrete track. Truex Jr. and Busch combined for a total of 289 laps led in the event. There were six cars on the lead lap at the finish.

Last week’s winner, Kevin Harvick, finished a dismal 37th following his sixth-place start, 46 laps down at the end due to mechanical problems experienced early in the race. Not a big deal, though, since he’s automatically advanced to the next round as a result of his New Hampshire win last week. He goes into the “Round of 12” tied with Denny Hamlin for sixth place in the standings. Overall points leader now is Brad Keselowski, who finished fourth at Dover, with Truex Jr. just one point back.

The bad news, of course, is the elimination of the bottom four in the standings at the end of this round. That means that the Championship hopes of Chris Buescher, Tony Stewart, Kyle Larson, and Jamie McMurray are ended for 2016. Buescher, on a Cinderella mission as a result of his improbable Pocono win, finished 16th in the first round standings, with  McMurray, Larson, and Stewart ahead of him in that order but below the 12th place cut-off.

So, the tour moves to Charlotte for the first race of the “Round of 12.” Charlotte, of course, is where Martin Truex Jr. turned in one of the most dominant performances in recent history in the Coca Cola 600, so look for a continuation of his storybook season. But don’t overlook guys like Jimmie Johnson, who has seven career wins at Charlotte’s 1.5 mile oval, or Brad Keselowski, Harvick, Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch, or Matt Kenseth, all relatively recent winners at Charlotte.

Click here for NASCAR’s website for a full schedule of this weekend’s events.

Xfinity Series

motorsports-xfinity seriesWith one race to go in the “Round of 12,” Daniel Suarez punched his ticket to the next round with a convincing victory at Dover’s Monster Mile. Leading 123 of the 200 laps in the Drive Sober 300 on the demanding one-mile concrete surface, Suarez moved to the top of the standings, two points ahead of seventh place finisher Elliott Sadler.

Six of the “Round of 12” Chasers finished in the top 10 at Dover, while the entire field of Chasers sported a finishing average of just outside the top 10 (10.3). The Xfinity series moves to Charlotte for the “Drive for the Cure 300 Presented By Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC” on Friday, October 7. Last year, Suarez finished 4th in this event and Sadler finished 10th, so it’s a good bet that they’ve got Charlotte pretty much figured out, although Erik Jones was runner-up last year and Ty Dillon finished 6th. Don’t count them out!

Click here for NASCAR’s website for a full schedule of Charlotte’s events.

Camping World Trucks Series

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Non-Chaser Tyler Reddick grabbed his first win of the season in the DC Solar 350 at Las Vegas, adding a bit of scramble to the Camping World Truck Series 2016 Chase for the Championship. Leading a race-high 70 laps, Reddick beat Chaser Daniel Hemric to the line by 1.4 seconds, with seven of the “Round of 8” Chasers finishing in the top ten. Only Chaser John Hunter Nemechek finished outside the top 10, consequently dropping to a tie for last place in the Chase standings.

The “Round of 8” now heads to Talledega for the “Fred’s 250 Powered by Coca Cola” on October 22 in tight formation, with a mere 43 points separating the Chase grid from top to bottom. With a maximum field of 32 entries, this translates to a must-win situation for both Hemrick and Nemechek, and a not-all-that-comfortable situation for Ben Kennedy, Timothy Peters, and Johnny Sauters. But, then, it’s Talladega, and anything can happen on ‘Dega’s 2.66 mile high banks!

Click here for NASCAR’s website for a full schedule of this weekend’s events.

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