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Race Weekend Preview – October 6-7, 2018

This weekend we are watching three races:

Saturday, October 6
NASCAR Xfinity Series, Bar Harbor 200, Dover, DE (on TSN3/5 at 3:00P)

Sunday, October 7
FIA Formula One Honda Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, Japan (on TSN1/5 at 1:05A)
NASCAR MENCS , Gander Outdoors 400, Dover, DE (on TSN1/4/5 at 2:00P)

F1 Japanese GP

This week’s Grand Prix will be held at the 5.807 km (3.609 mi) Suzuka Circuit with its ‘figure-eight’ crossover configuration. The Japanese GP has been run every year since 1987 at the Suzuka circuit each year except for two at the Fuji circuit (2007-2008). Previously the Japanese GP had been held at Fuji in 1976 and 1977.

Including this race, there are five more GPs in this year’s 21-race calendar. Lewis Hamilton, the winner of the previous race at Sochi, Russia, comes into Japan with a massive 50-point lead over his only credible remaining rival for the title, Sebastian Vettel. Hamilton won here last year with his teammate Valtteri Bottas second and Vettel third.

NASCAR MENCS at Dover

This weekend’s race at Dover is the fourth race in the ten-race playoffs to determine the 2018 season champion. It is the first of three races in the second round, the so-called ‘Round of 12'. After the Charlotte race, four of the original sixteen playoff contenders were eliminated. Now there are 12 drivers competing in this round, four to be eliminated after the third race, Kansas.

The 12 remaining playoff drivers are Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex, Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Aric Almirola and Alex Bowman. Based on their results so far this year, the first four are the ones that seem most likely to become the champion this year.

Last year, the fall Dover race was won by Kyle Busch over Elliott and Jimmie Johnson. Last week’s crazy race at Charlotte saw Ryan Blaney winning ahead of Jamie McMurray and Clint Bowyer – but don’t put much stake on that result given the quirky ending of the race which produced this unexpected finish.

NASCAR Xfinity at Dover

This week’s Xfinity race at Dover is the third race in the seven-race playoff series to determine the 2018 Xfinity champion. The playoffs are split up into two rounds of three races followed by the finale at Homestead, with four drivers eliminated at the end of each of the first rounds.

The 12 drivers who qualified for the championship playoffs are: Christopher Bell, Daniel Hemric. Tyler Reddick, Cole Custer, Matt Tifft, Elliott Sadler, Justin Allgaier, Ross Chastain. Austin Cindric, Ryan Truex, Ryan Reed and Brandon Jones. Four of these drivers will be eliminated after the Dover race reducing the playoff field to eight.

Last year Ryan Blaney, who is not eligible to compete this year given his status as a Cup driver, won the fall Dover race. Last week at Charlotte, the Xfinity race was won by the part-time driver Chase Briscoe ahead of another part-time driver, Justin Marks. Cindric, who finished in third place, was the highest finisher among the Xfinity regulars. Briscoe will be back this week as will Ryan Preece, another part-time Xfinity driver who has done well this year, including a win at Bristol. Both of those drivers will be hoping to challenge the championship-eligible contenders at Dover.

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