Thursday, October 27, 2022

PREVIEW: LASTCAR Cup and XFINITY Clinch Scenarios for Martinsville

by Brock Beard Editor-in-Chief

While Spencer Boyd secured the LASTCAR Truck Series Championship last week in Homestead, the remaining two series face two very different championship scenarios.

The 2022 LASTCAR Cup Series Championship comes down to just two drivers:

#7-Corey LaJoie
#78-B.J. McLeod

With a two-finish deficit, LaJoie is on the verge of elimination. The only way he can force a title showdown in Phoenix is by finishing last in Sunday’s race while McLeod finishes 31st or better. If this does not happen, McLeod will secure the title this weekend.

Current LASTCAR XFINITY Standings,
including drivers still eligible for the title
with two races to go.
The 2022 LASTCAR XFINITY Series Championship remains wide open heading into these final two races as only these three drivers have finished last twice all year:

Brennan Poole
#27-Jeb Burton
#44-Rajah Caruth

The lead is held by Brennan Poole, who is not entered in this week’s race. This is critical as he would have been able to lock-up the title by finishing last if Jeb Burton didn’t finish in the Bottom Five. Instead, Burton, who is just one Bottom Five behind Poole, has a chance to take the lead with either a last-place finish or a Bottom Five. Caruth can only take the lead by finishing last. Even if either Burton or Caruth finish last, neither can lock-up the title on Saturday since Poole is entered in Phoenix. 

#2-Sheldon Creed
#4-Bayley Currey
#5-Matt Mills
#66-J.J. Yeley
#91-Mason Massey
#07-Joe Graf, Jr.
#08-Brandon Brown

Poole, Burton, and Caruth each have so few Bottom Fives and Bottom Tens that these seven drivers can take the lead simply by finishing last in Martinsville, regardless where the other three finish. But each would still remain tied with Poole, Burton, and Caruth with two last-place finishes, and the trio would have a chance to respond with a last-place run in Phoenix. Sheldon Creed is the biggest longshot of this group. Had Poole been entered and finished Bottom Five while Creed finished last, Creed would have the lead on a slim Bottom Fifteen tiebreaker of 12-9.

#1-Sam Mayer
#6-Ryan Vargas
#10-Landon Cassill
#39-Ryan Sieg
#68-Kris Wright
#98-Riley Herbst

A last-place finish by any of these six drivers won’t put them in the lead after Martinsville, but they may be close enough to challenge Poole, Burton, or Caruth at Phoenix, depending where they finish. Of this group, Vargas has more Bottom Tens than any of the three leaders, which would put him in the best spot for a tiebreaker.

#7-Justin Allgaier
#9-Noah Gragson
#11-Daniel Hemric*
#18-Sammy Smith
#31-Myatt Snider*
#34-Jesse Iwuji*
#38-C.J. McLaughlin*
#51-Jeremy Clements*
#92-Josh Williams*

These nine drivers would need to finish last at both Martinsville and Phoenix to win the title, but may still fall short depending where Poole or Burton finish. Drivers marked with a * indicate drivers who have not yet finished last yet this season, but their Bottom Five and Bottom Ten totals may be competitive if they sweep both last-place finishes.

Caesar Bacarella
Jade Buford
Jeffrey Earnhardt
Tommy Joe Martins
Timmy Hill
Sage Karam
Will Rodgers
Chandler Smith
David Starr*
Kyle Weatherman

These ten drivers are also still mathematically in contention if they finish last in both races, but none are entered this week, and will thus be eliminated at the command to start engines on Saturday. Among the eliminated is defending LASTCAR XFINITY Series Champion David Starr, who is out of the #08 this week.

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