NASCAR: 3 key differences in the playoff schedule

Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

While there are no more standalone NASCAR Xfinity Series race weekends, the playoff schedule is not the same as that of the Cup Series.

The NASCAR playoffs for both the Cup Series and the Xfinity Series are right around the corner following this past race weekend at Watkins Glen International. Daytona International Speedway is set to host both series this weekend.

Even though the schedules themselves are largely synced from this point forward and there are no more Xfinity Series standalone events, the Cup Series and Xfinity Series playoff schedules are not the same.

This Friday night’s Wawa 250 Xfinity Series race is not the regular season finale, while this Saturday night’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 Cup Series race is.

The NASCAR Cup Series playoffs are set to begin two weeks earlier than the Xfinity Series playoffs.

Unlike the Xfinity Series, the Cup Series playoffs consist of four rounds and 10 races, bringing the season race total to 36. The Xfinity Series playoffs consist of three rounds and seven races, bringing the season race total to 33.

While Darlington and Kansas Speedway are scheduled to host the first two races of the Cup Series playoffs, they are scheduled to host the final two races of the 26-race Xfinity Series regular season.

The Xfinity Series playoffs are scheduled to begin on Friday, September 15 at Bristol Motor Speedway, the host of the final race of the Cup Series round of 16. The Xfinity Series does not have a round of 16.

The only other difference is how the round of 12 is set up. The Cup Series round of 12 consists of races at Texas Motor Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, and the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval. However, the Xfinity Series has an off weekend when the Cup Series is scheduled to be at Talladega.

Other than those differences, the playoff schedules are identical. Both series are set to conclude the round of 12 at Charlotte, and both rounds of 8 include races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, and Martinsville Speedway. Both Championship 4 races are set to take place at Phoenix Raceway.

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