Last year: Chase Elliott won after starting on the pole.
Last race: Alex Bowman won at Martinsville.
Fast facts: Elliott, the defending series champion, will go for the repeat against Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson and Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. … Truex edged teammate Kyle Busch for his spot and the Penske Racing trio of Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano also was eliminated from contention. … The four championship contenders have combined to win 17 of 35 races, led by Larson with nine, Truex with four, and Elliott and Hamlin with two each.
Last race: Noah Gragson passed Daniel Hemric for the lead in overtime and won.
Fast facts: Gragson will battle for the title against Cindric, the defending series champion, A.J. Allmendinger and Hemric, who has never won in 119 career starts in the series. … Gragson’s victory knocked JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier out of the final four for the first time in four years. Also eliminated were Harrison Burton, Brandon Jones and Justin Haley. … Gragson won last week by 0.064 seconds, the series’ closest finish ever at Martinsville.
Last year: Sheldon Creed won after starting third.
Last race: Zane Smith clinched a berth in the championship final four under caution after Todd Gilliland and Stewart Friesen made contact during a three-wide battle for the lead in overtime.
Fast facts: Smith, who needed the victory to advance, will contend for the title against three-time series champion Matt Crafton, Ben Rhodes and John Hunter Nemechek. … Among the drivers eliminated was Creed, the defending series champion. … Nemechek’s five victories are more than the other three contenders combined. Smith’s victory was his first of the season, Rhodes won twice — the first two races of the season. Crafton is winless in 2021.
Next race: Feb. 18, Daytona Beach, Florida.
Mexican Grand Prix
Site: Mexico City, Mexico.
Schedule: Friday, practice, 1:30 and 5 p.m.; Saturday, practice, 1 p.m., and qualifying, 4 p.m.; Sunday, race, 2 p.m.
Track: Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.
Race distance: 71 laps, 189.738 miles.
Last year: Did not race.
Last race: Max Verstappen outran seven-time series champion Lewis Hamilton in Texas and claimed his series-high eighth victory of the year.
Fast facts: Verstappen leads Hamilton by 12 points with five races remaining. … Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas is third, 102.5 points back. … Verstappen and Hamilton (5) have combined to win 13 of the 17 races so far this year. … Verstappen had led 504 of the 904 laps he’s run.
Next race: Nov. 14, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Last race: Colton Herta won the season finale at Long Beach, California, as Alex Palou wrapped up the series championship.
Next race: Feb. 27, St. Petersburg, Florida.
NHRA DRAG RACING
Last event: Steve Torrence won in Top Fuel and Cruz Pedregon won in Funny Car in Las Vegas.
Next event: Nov. 11-14, NHRA Finals, Pomona, California.
WORLD OF OUTLAWS
Next event: Nov. 4-6, World of Outlaws Finals, Concord, North Carolina.
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