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NASCAR viewer’s guide for Las Vegas Motor Speedway

The Motormouths crew unpacks Christopher Bell's tough victory at the Charlotte Roval, where he came all the way back from seventh place at the final caution to pick up his third career win and second this season.

It’s down to four races and eight drivers.

The Cup playoffs will continue Sunday (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC) at Las Vegas Motor Speedway as the Round of 8 opens.

After the wild finish to last Sunday’s race at the Charlotte Roval, eight drivers remain in the hunt for the Cup championship. In order of their point standing, they are Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Ross Chastain, Christopher Bell, Ryan Blaney, William Byron, Denny Hamlin and Chase Briscoe.

The list has Hendrick Motorsports with two spots, Team Penske with two, Joe Gibbs Racing with two and Stewart-Haas Racing and Trackhouse Racing with one each.

MORE: NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings

Bell made the round with a comeback victory last Sunday at Charlotte, and Briscoe squeezed into the last spot with a late-race rally.

Where have the champions gone?

Of the eight drivers remaining in the championship chase, only two -- Chase Elliott and Joey Logano -- own Cup titles, Elliott winning in 2020 and Logano in 2018.

Kyle Larson, the defending champion, was eliminated from playoff contention last Sunday at Charlotte.

Three active champions -- Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr. -- failed to qualify for the playoffs, Busch losing his shot because of injury. Former champs Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick departed in the Round of 16.

Welcome, youngsters

By average age, this season’s Round of 8 driver list is the youngest -- at 30.1 years old -- in playoff history.

At 24, William Byron is the youngster championship contender. The oldest, at 41, is Denny Hamlin. Other than Hamlin and Logano (32), the field is made up of 20-somethings.

MORE: Playoff grid resets after Charlotte win by Christopher Bell

Byron, Bell, Briscoe and Chastain are making their first appearances in the Round of 8. Logano has been in the Round of 8 eight times and is the leader in that category.

Calculating the Round of 8

Is there a favorite in the Round of 8?

The numbers say it’s Denny Hamlin, now in his 17th full-time Cup season and still searching for his first championship.

Hamlin and Joey Logano are the only Round of 8 drivers who own race victories at each of the three tracks in the round -- Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway and Martinsville Speedway. Hamlin was won once at Vegas, three times at Homestead and five times at Martinsville. No one else in the playoffs is close to that total.

Next is Logano, with two wins at Vegas and one each at Homestead and Martinsville.

Ryan Blaney, Ross Chastain, Chase Briscoe and Christopher Bell have not won at any of the Round of 8 tracks in the Cup Series.

Entry lists

Thirty-six teams are entered in Sunday’s Cup race at Las Vegas. Xfinity invader AJ Allmendinger is on the list.

Las Vegas Cup entry list

Thirty-eight entries are on the list for Saturday’s Xfinity race (3 p.m. ET, NBC), including Hailie Deegan, Trevor Bayne, John Hunter Nemechek and Jeffrey Earnhardt.

Las Vegas Xfinity entry list

This week’s schedule and forecast

(All times Eastern)

Friday, Oct. 14

Forecast: Sunny. High of 92.

8:35 - 9:05 p.m. -- Xfinity practice (USA Network)

9:05 - 10 p.m. -- Xfinity qualifying (USA Network)

Saturday, Oct. 15

Forecast: Sunny. High of 90.

12:05 - 12:50 p.m. -- Cup practice (NBC Sports App, USA Network coverage begins at 12:30 p.m.)

12:50 - 2 p.m. -- Cup qualifying (USA Network)

3 p.m. -- Xfinity race (201 laps, 301 miles; NBC, Peacock, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, Oct. 16

Forecast: Mostly sunny. High of 85.

2:30 p.m. -- Cup race (267 laps, 400 miles; NBC, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)