This weekend, September 8-9, Seekonk Speedway kicks-off the second annual Sunoco Drive For The Cup. The playoff format will crown champions in all nine Seekonk divisions during championship weekend on September 29-30, after a four-week battle to find the title holder.
With the playoffs moving up to four weeks instead of three this season, let’s break down the format and rules leading into the excitement.
The first round of the playoffs is set for September 8-9, with the second round set for September 15-16. No one will be eliminated from any division until the conclusion of the September 15-16 weekend of racing. Unlike last year, eliminations in the first round will be done based on a points format. Both Bandolero divisions will trim from six drivers to five, while all others will go from eight to six after round one going into round two.
Playoff drivers will be given points with 10 going to the highest finishing playoff car, 9 to the second, 8 to the third, all the way down to the final playoff car. The highest five amounts of points after two weeks in the Bandolero divisions will advance to round two, while the highest six amounts in all other divisions will advance. On NASCAR Saturday, heat points of 5-4-3-2-1 will also be given and used in the final totals. If a race is rained out in round one, only points that are counted for the other event will determine who moves on. If both races were to rain out, then the regular season points would be used to determine who advances and who is eliminated.
In the second round of the playoffs (September 22-23), eliminations are based off where drivers finish in a feature race. In all nine Seekonk divisions, the top four playoff finishers in the race during round two will go to the Final Four. The championship weekend, September 29-30, will have the Final Four race each other to determine the champion. The driver who beats the other three in that feature event will be crowned the 2023 track champion.
For all events in the Sunoco Drive For The Cup, Seekonk Speedway’s General and Technical rules are in effect. For all playoff rounds, the qualifying and feature lineups will follow the same format as they did in 2022. The first in the lineup will be those who qualified through heat races but are not playoff cars. The qualified playoff cars will line up next based on a blind draw. The highest of the points drivers going into the race will draw first for the starting spot, followed by second, etc. Nothing from previous rounds/races in the playoffs matters when it comes to lineups.
On Fast Friday, normal lap counts will be used for each round except the final, where the Pure Stocks, Legends Cars and Sport 4’s will run 30 laps. The Bandolero divisions will remain at 15 laps for all rounds.
On NASCAR Saturday, round one will be normal lap counts. Round two will see each division run five extra laps - for example, the Pro Stocks will run 45. In the final NASCAR Saturday championship races, each division will run 10 extra laps. For example, the Sport Trucks will run 35 laps in the final race of the season.
In the event the final race cannot be completed due to unforeseen circumstances on scheduled date and rain dates, the champion will be decided by highest points total of remaining championship cars.
Seekonk Speedway will honor the winner of the Drive For The Cup as the 2023 track champion in their respective division. Seekonk Speedway will continue a points grid, recognizing drivers from both Fast Friday and NASCAR Saturday all year. The points grid started on opening day and will end on September 29-30, just like the playoffs will.
The driver that wins the championship will be placed as the leader in the division for the season. However, from second on back, the final points will be calculated with the driver who earned the most points in the overall season highest, in second. For example, if Johnny Smith was eliminated in round one of the playoffs, but scored the most points among playoff cars for the season, he would finish second in points.
It all begins Friday and Saturday — the next four weeks will crown Seekonk Speedway’s 2023 champions. Fast Friday racing begins at 7 p.m. and Saturday action goes green at 6 p.m.
Tickets for all playoff racing at Seekonk Speedway, including round one for both nights this weekend, are available now by visiting SeekonkSpeedway.com. Fans are also encouraged to follow the track on social media for the latest news and updates surrounding the 2023 Sunoco Drive For The Cup and upcoming events.
Seekonk Speedway Features stories on the Stars and Cars that race at Seekonk Speedway