2020 NASCAR Playoffs track-by-track breakdown
By Chase Wilhelm | Friday, September 4, 2020
Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images
1 of 10
Race 1 of 10
When: Sept. 6
Where: 1.366-mile oval in Darlington, South Carolina
2019 recap: In a rain-delayed Southern 500, Erik Jones took home his second career victory, holding off Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch. The win locked Jones into the 2019 NASCAR Playoffs.
2020 outlook: This is the first year Darlington is in the postseason. In 2019, Darlington was the penultimate race in the regular season. A doubleheader at Darlington earlier in the year kicked off the sport's return after the COVID-19 stoppage. The winners of those two races were Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin. Look for those two drivers to be up at the front of the field battling for victory to kick off the 2020 playoffs.
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2 of 10
Race 2 of 10
When: Sept. 12
Where: .75-mile oval in Richmond, Virginia
2019 recap: Martin Truex Jr. earned back-to-back victories at Richmond after winning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to kick off last year's playoffs. Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin finished second and third, respectively, making it a 1-2-3 finish for JGR. It was the first time in Truex's career he earned two consecutive race wins.
2020 outlook: Look for Joe Gibbs Racing to be strong once again. The Toyota brigade has won four straight at the track, part of a successful stretch of seven wins in the last nine races there.
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3 of 10
Bristol Motor Speedway
Race 3 of 10
When: Sept. 19
Where: .533-mile concrete oval in Bristol, Tennessee
2019 recap: Denny Hamlin passed Matt DiBenedetto in the closing laps to win the Bristol Night Race. It served as Hamlin's second victory at the concrete short track.
2020 outlook: This is Bristol's first appearance in the postseason after holding the third-to-last race spot in 2019. Now, it serves as the Round of 16 elimination race. Kyle Busch has won three of the last six races. But Team Penske could give Toyota a run after Brad Keselowski won the day race at Bristol earlier this year.
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4 of 10
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Race 4 of 10
When: Sept. 27
Where: 1.5-mile oval in Las Vegas
2019 recap: Martin Truex Jr. began the 2019 playoffs with a victory at Las Vegas, beating Kevin Harvick by 4.173 seconds. It was Truex's fifth victory of the season.
2020 outlook: In the past nine races at Las Vegas, four drivers have taken home victory: Harvick, Truex, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano. Logano also won the spring race here earlier in the year. Look for all those drivers to make another run at the checkered flag this time around to kick off the Round of 12.
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5 of 10
Race 5 of 10
When: Oct. 4
Where: 2.66-mile oval in Talladega, Alabama
2019 recap: Ryan Blaney edged out Ryan Newman by .007 seconds in a photo finish at Talladega last October. It was Blaney's first victory there, which locked him into the playoffs' Round of 8.
2020 outlook: Team Penske has earned four wins in the last six races at Talladega, led by Blaney's back-to-back triumphs. Look for the Penske bunch to be solid once again, but Chevrolet drivers could give them a run after William Byron's win at Daytona International Speedway to end the regular season.
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6 of 10
Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval
Race 6 of 10
When: Oct. 11
Where: 2.28-mile oval-road course layout in Concord, North Carolina
2019 recap: After hitting the tire barrier nose-first earlier in the race, Chase Elliott came back to win at the Roval in the series' second trip to the oval-road course combination. Ryan Blaney won the first race at the track in 2018.
2020 outlook: The Roval serves as the Round of 12 elimination race. This year, it's going to be really hard to bet against Elliott. The Hendrick Motorsports driver has won the past three road-course races held in the Cup Series: Watkins Glen International, the Roval and the Daytona Road Course. Look for Martin Truex Jr. to also make a run for it.
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7 of 10
Race 7 of 10
When: Oct. 18
Where: 1.5-mile oval in Kansas City, Kansas
2019 recap: Last year, Kansas was the Round of 12 elimination race where Denny Hamlin secured his fifth victory of the season to lock into the next round. In a nail-biter, Elliott grabbed the final Round of 8 spot in the closing laps.
2020 outlook: Kicking off the Round of 8 this year, Kansas has been good to Hamlin recently. The No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing driver also earned victory here earlier in the season. His teammates, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr., usually run well here, too.
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8 of 10
Texas Motor Speedway
Race 8 of 10
When: Oct. 25
Where: 1.5-mile oval in Fort Worth, Texas
2019 recap: Overcoming pit-road troubles earlier in the race, Kevin Harvick earned victory to seal a spot in the Championship 4. Harvick's Stewart-Haas Racing teammate, Aric Almirola, finished second.
<2020 outlook: Harvick has won three of the last six races at the Fort Worth track, and all signs point toward this trend continuing. But you also never know what could happen, as we saw earlier in the year when Austin Dillon used strategy to steal a win away from the field back in July.
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9 of 10
Race 9 of 10
When: Nov. 1
Where: .526-mile oval in Martinsville, Virginia
2019 recap: Martin Truex Jr. was able to keep William Byron at bay to earn his first victory at Martinsville and capture a spot in the Championship 4. Truex swept both stages and led a dominating 464 of the 500 laps.
2020 outlook: Martinsville now serves as Round of 8 elimination race, drivers' last chance to lock themselves into the Championship 4. Truex has won the past two races here, so don't be surprised if that trend continues. Prior to that, Team Penske drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano recorded one victory apiece, so look for them at the front, as well.
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10 of 10
Race 10 of 10
When: Nov. 8
Where: 1-mile oval in Avondale, Arizona
2019 recap: Denny Hamlin secured his spot in the Championship 4 with a victory in the penultimate race of the Cup Series season, holding off Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney to make it happen. Hamlin led 143 of the 312 laps for the second Phoenix victory of his career.
2020 outlook: Phoenix moves from the second-to-last race of the season to the Championship 4 finale. Kevin Harvick leads the field with nine career victories at the track. But this race will be unpredictable as Busch, Hamlin and Joey Logano have all earned victories since Harvick's last win here in 2018.