MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES: 1000BULBS.COM 500 (188 laps, 500.08 miles around a 2.66-mile D-shaped oval), Talladega Superspeedway; Talladega, Ala.
TV: Sunday, 2 p.m. ET (Green flag approx. 2:20 p.m. ET) -- NBC (Radio: Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90).
THIS WEEK: Every driver knows it's coming, and that doesn't make a trip to Talladega any easier, but it sure is eagerly anticipated by most race fans. The gargantuan superspeedway sees the highest speeds and biggest wrecks almost every year, and Sunday likely will be no different. ... This will be the 31st of 36 races on the season and serves as the middle race of the playoffs' second round of three, the Round of 12. ... Tapered spacers are used to reduce air intake into the engine and reduce power so the cars can safely navigate the high-banked track. ... This will be the 101st race at Talladega, a track that opened in 1969. ... Aric Almirola won this race last year, and Chase Elliott won this April's race. ... Kyle Larson got his sixth career victory Sunday at Dover and broke a winless drought of over two years. He is now safely through to the next round of the playoffs, leaving the other 11 playoff drivers sweating "The Big One" at Talladega, a wreck that could gather up more than 20 cars in one fell swoop, and one that no amount of talent guarantees a driver can avoid. ... Wins put a driver atop the standings, but the points are more important at this stage, with as many as seven more and as few as five drivers advancing to the next round based on points at the conclusion of next week's race at Kansas. ... *Larson leads the standings (3,063 points) followed by Martin Truex Jr. (3,095), Denny Hamlin (3,080), Kyle Busch (3,080), Kevin Harvick (3,074), Brad Keselowski (3,052), Alex Bowman (3,049), William Byron (3,032), Joey Logano (3,032), Clint Bowyer (3,028), Elliott (3,025) and Ryan Blaney (3,010) comprising the playoff field.
BEST BETS: Joey Logano is the favorite at 8/1 and has won three times at Talladega. Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott come in at 10/1, followed by Denny Hamlin at 12/1 with Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch at 14/1. Taking the "Field" at 40/1 is a solid play and Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr. is pretty sweet at 80/1.
*Victory and advancement to the next round. Stats and standings per NASCAR.com.
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES
THIS WEEK: The series takes off a week before returning at Kansas on Oct. 19 to kick off its Round of 8. ... Cole Custer won at Dover to conclude the first round of the playoffs, his seventh win of the year and first in the playoffs. ... Christopher Bell leads the standings (3,062), followed by Custer (3,050), Tyler Reddick (3,044), Austin Cindric (3,017), Justin Allgaier (3,014), Chase Briscoe (3,013), Michael Annett (3,009) and Noah Gragson (3,005). John Hunter Nemechek (2,097), Justin Haley (2,076), Ryan Seig (2,067) and Brandon Jones (2,063) were eliminated after Dover.
Stats and standings per NASCAR.com.
NASCAR GANDER OUTDOORS TRUCK SERIES: SUGARLANDS SHINE 250 (94 laps, 250.04 miles around a 2.66-mile D-shaped oval), Talladega Superpeedway; Talladega, Ala.
TV: Saturday, 1:30 p.m. ET (Green flag approx. 1:50 p.m. ET) -- Fox (Radio: Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90).
THIS WEEK: After nearly a month off for the Trucks, the 20th of 23 races looms at Talladega, with the playoff field already whittled down to six on its way to four for the season finale four races from now. ... This will be the 14th series race at Talladega, where the trucks have made one visit a year since 2006. ... Austin Hill won the previous race at Las Vegas with Timothy Peters winning here last season. ... Brett Moffitt leads the standings (3,034 points), followed by Hill (3,017), Ross Chastain (3,016), Stewart Friesen (3,014), Matt Crafton (3,011) and Tyler Ankrum (3,005).
Stats and standings per NASCAR.com.
NTT INDYCAR SERIES
NEXT UP: The 2020 season kicks off March 15 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in Florida, for the first of 17 races.
FORMULA ONE: JAPANESE GRAND PRIX (53 laps, 191.277 miles around a 3.609-mile 18-turn permanent road course), Suzuka Circuit; Suzuka, Japan.
TV: Sunday, 1 a.m. ET (Green flag approx. 1:10 a.m. ET) - ESPN (Radio: SiriusXM Radio Channel 132).
THIS WEEK: One of the highlights of the racing calendar, Suzuka is fast and technical and also has a Figure 8 layout with the track snaking under itself between Turns 9 and 10, leading to a unique view at the top level of motorsport. ... Three turns that stand out come in a row over the last half of a lap, with "Spoon," "130R" and "Casio Triangle" often figuring in to who wins and who does not. ... Originally built as a test track for Honda Motor Co. in 1962, Suzuka hosted its first F1 race in 1987. ... This will be the 31st GP at the track. ... Suzuka is the 17th of 21 races on the season and the last one before the series makes its swing through the Americas in Mexico, Texas and Brazil from Oct. 27-Nov. 17. ... Great Britain's Lewis Hamilton leads the standings with 322 points in his Mercedes, with Finland's Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, second (249), followed by Monaco's Charles Leclerc, Ferrari (215), Belgium's Max Verstappen, Red Bull (212) and Germany's Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari (194).
Stats and standing per F1.com.
NATIONAL HOT ROD ASSOCIATION: NTK NHRA CAROLINA NATIONALS, Friday-Sunday, at zMAX Dragway; Concord, N.C.
TV: Eliminations, Sunday, 1-5 p.m. ET FS1 (Live)
THIS WEEK: The series heads to Charlotte for the 21st of 24 events on the season following a week off after results at Madison, Ill., tightened some of the Countdown to the Championship races. ... Winners at Madison were Steve Torrence in Top Fuel, Robert Hight in Funny Car, Tanner Gray in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle. ... Doug Kalitta leads the Top Fuel standings (2,232 points), followed by Torrence (2,230), Mike Salinas (2,191), Brittany Force (2,184), Leah Pritchett (2,170), Antron Brown (2,159), Richie Crampton (2,159), Austin Prock (2,153), Billy Torrence (2,152) and Clay Millican (2,125). ... Hight leads Funny Car (2,235), followed by John Force (2,222), Jack Beckman (2,211), Ron Capps (2,191), J.R. Todd (2,182), Bob Tasca III (2,156), Shawn Langdon (2,155), Tommy Johnson Jr. (2,138), Matt Hagan (2,132) and Tim Wilkerson (2,109). ... Jason Line is on top in Pro Stock (2,254), followed by Erica Enders (2,243), Bo Butner (2,232), Matt Hartford (2,197), Alex Laughlin (2,171), Jeg Coughlin Jr. (2,160), Greg Anderson (2,147), Deric Kramer (2,132), Chris McGaha (2,113) and Val Smeland (2,062). ... Hines lead Pro Stock Motorcycle (2,266), followed by Karen Stoffer (2,232), Eddie Krawiec (2,215), Matt Smith (2,205), Jerry Savoie (2,200), Hector Arana Jr. (2,169), Angelle Sampey (2,136), Angie Smith (2,116), Ryan Oehler (2,075) and Hector Arana (2,064).
Standings per NHRA.com.
--By K. Lee Davis, Field Level Media