The Playoffs semi-final eliminator takes places on Sunday at Martinsville – on Halloween, but which drivers are winners when NASCAR races on October 31st?
NASCAR races at Martinsville on Halloween
The semi-final eliminator for the Playoffs takes place on the Martinsville short track on Sunday.
Seven of the eight drivers still in championship contention are fighting for just three spots in the Championship 4 race.
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Kyle Larson locked himself in at Texas two weeks, before winning at Kansas last week – just because he’s Kyle Larson and it’s 2021.
Should one of the other Playoff drivers, they will advance.
If not, it will come down to points.
Current Cup points standings ahead of Martinsville
- Kyle Larson – locked in
- Chase Elliott – 4107
- Denny Hamlin – 4105
- Kyle Busch – 4074
- Ryan Blaney – 4073
- Martin Truex Jr – 4071
- Brad Keselowski – 4068
- Joey Logano – 4048
After 500 laps at Martinsville, four drivers will be going home.
But before some get their treats and others a trick at the short track, let’s go back.
NASCAR has raced on Halloween in the past, but how many times, and who won them races?
When has NASCAR raced on Halloween?
There have been 2,671 NASCAR races since the Cup Series began back in 1949.
Since 2001, 36 points races have been the norm.
In all that time, only five previous races have been run on October 31st in the Cup Series.
Martinsville on Sunday will be the sixth.
The most recent winner came back in 2010 at Talladega.
Clint Bowyer was at the wheel of the #33 Richard Childress Chevy at the superspeedway.
As the cars took the white flag, AJ Allmendinger was launched into a barrell-roll, which brought out the caution flags.
Bowyer and teammate Kevin Harvick were fighting for the lead at the time.
After a lengthy inspection of the data, NASCAR awarded Bowyer the win as he was ahead at the time of the caution.
Harvick estimated he lost by about six inches.
Before that Jimmie Johnson won at Atlanta in 2004.
Back then, Johnson was not yet a Cup champion.
The win came in a rich streak for Johnson.
He had won at Charlotte and Martinsville in the previous two races.
Atlanta was the first race after the tragic death of Johnson’s bosses son Ricky Hendrick in a plane crash.
Johnson would ultimately finish second in the standings to Kurt Busch in 2004.
Hall of Famers join the fun
Along with Johnson, two more Hall of Famers are NASCAR winners on Halloween.
In 1993, Mark Martin took honours at Phoenix.
It was Martin’s fifth win of the campaign in the #6.
He beat home Ernie Irvan and Kyle Petty with series champion Dale Earnhardt fourth.
Back in 1982, Darrell Waltrip took the chequered flag first at Rockingham on October 31st.
It was his final win of a dominant championship campaign.
Driving for Junior Johnson and Associates, DW hauled 12 wins in 1982.
Rockingham was his fourth in five races.
It was enough for him to defend his crown and become a two-time Cup champion.
Rockingham is also the only circuit to host two Cup races on Halloween.
Back in 1965, Curtis Turner took the win.
It was the first ever NASCAR Cup race at the North Carolina venue.
Turner’s win came after being banned from NASCAR for four years.
President Bill France would not allow a member of a trade union, as Turner was, to race in his series.
NASCAR Halloween winners
- 1965 – Curtis Turner – Rockingham
- 1982 – Darrell Waltrip – Rockingham
- 1993 – Mark Martin – Phoenix
- 2004 – Jimmie Johnson – Atlanta
- 2010 – Clint Bowyer – Talladega