AUTO RACING: NASCAR playoffs open at Darlington

Published Sep. 1, 2021 2:14 p.m. ET

All Times Eastern


Cook Out Southern 500

Site: Darlington, South Carolina.


Schedule: Sunday, race, 6 p.m.

Track: Darlington Raceway

Race distance: 367 laps, 501.3 miles.

Last year: William Byron won after starting sixth.

Last race: Ryan Blaney won his second race in a row and third of the season on a wild final lap of overtime at Daytona.

Fast facts: Tyler Reddick finished fifth and claimed the 16th and final spot in the playoffs, which begin this weekend. ... Kyle Larson won the regular-season championship with a 28-point edge over Blaney and Martin Truex Jr. Winless Denny Hamlin, who led the points most of the season, will start seventh on the playoff grid and Kevin Harvick, who won a series-high nine races last year but none this season, will start 16th.

Next race: Sept. 11, Richmond, Virginia.



Sport Clips Haircuts VFW Help A Hero 200

Site: Darlington, South Carolina.

Schedule: Saturday, race, 3:30 p.m.

Track: Darlington Raceway.

Race distance: 147 laps, 200 miles.

Last year: Brandon Jones won after starting eighth.

Last race: Justin Haley barely beat teammates A.J. Allmendinger and Jeb Burton in a three-wide finish to win at Daytona.

Fast facts: Three races remains before the round of 12 drivers is set for the playoffs. ... Allmendinger passed defending series champion Austin Cindric as the series points leader by 17 points. Justin Allgaier is a distant third, 125 points behind. ... Cindric has five wins to Allmendinger's three, but Allmendinger had 15 top-five finishes in 23 races to Cindric's 14. ... Fourth-place Daniel Hemric and fifth-place Harrison Burton are both winless.

Next race: Sept. 11, Richmond, Virginia.



In It To Win It 200

Site: Darlington, South Carolina.

Schedule: Sunday, race, 1:30 p.m.

Track: Darlington Raceway.

Race distance: 147 laps, 200 miles.

Last year: Ben Rhodes won after starting fifth.

Last race: Defending series champion Sheldon Creed dominated the playoff opener, leading 142 of 163 laps and winning in overtime at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.

Fast facts: Creed is just two points behind points leader John Hunter Nemechek and one ahead of Rhodes. Three-time series champ Matt Crafton is fourth, just 22 points off the pace. ... Nemechek finished 22nd, five laps down. ... The victory was Creed’s second of the season and seventh of his career.

Next race: Sept. 16, Bristol, Tennessee.



Dutch Grand Prix

Site: North Holland, Netherlands.

Schedule: Friday, practice, 5:30 a.m. and 9 a.m.; Saturday, practice, 6 a.m., and qualifying, 9 a.m.; Sunday, race, 9 a.m. (ESPN)

Track: Circuit Zandvoort.

Race distance: 72 laps, 190.5 miles.

Last year: Did not race (pandemic).

Last race: Max Verstappen won the rain-shortened Belgian Grand Prix where points were cut in half.

Fast facts: The weird ending in Belgium allowed Verstappen to trim Lewis Hamilton’s points lead from eight to just three with 11 scheduled races remaining as their season-long championship battle heats up. ... The Formula One calendar has been modified for the rest of the season with races in Turkey, Mexico and Brazil shifted back by one week and the venue for another race yet to be decided. The change comes after the Oct. 10 race in Japan was canceled because of the pandemic.

Next race: Sept. 12, Monza, Italy.



Last race: Josef Newgarden won for the second time this season after starting third.

Next race: Sept. 12, Portland, Oregon.



Last event: Steve Torrence won in Top Fuel and Matt Hagan won in Funny Car in Brainerd, Minnesota.

Next event: Sept. 1-5, Indianapolis, Indiana.



Next events: Sept. 3-5, Burlington, Washington. Sept. 6, Elma, Washington.



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