NASCAR: Richard Petty ‘Sets the Stage’ for Darlington Playoffs

by Madison Miller

It’s a beyond exciting time for NASCAR fans as the playoffs are about to kick off with 16 drivers.

To get the playoff season started racers will show up to compete on Sunday, September 5 for the Cook Out Southern 500. It is taking place at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. The race begins at 6 p.m. ET.

Richard Petty and Promo Video for Playoffs

In an iconic promo video, NASCAR recruited Richard Petty to set the stage for the future of the playoff season. The video is set to the famous Beach Boys song “Heroes and Villains,” as viewers get a look into South Carolina. As Petty says, Darlington is most known for “cotton, peanuts, and racing.”

He shares that the 16 drivers have been competing in 19 different states for seven months. During this time, there have been 26 different races as well as 14 different winners.

The upcoming race will “put teammates against teammates, friends against friends … it’s a do or die battle for the championship.” Labor Day weekend will be the first chance for one driver to get one race closer to the final Cup Series crown.

There are few people who can set the stage for the 2021 playoffs like Richard Petty, deemed “The King.” He raced from 1958 to 1992 and was notorious in his No. 43 Plymouth/Pontiac for Petty Enterprises. He was also the very first driver to ever win the Cup Series championship seven times (this is now tied with Dale Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson).

Richard Petty has had an astounding 200 winning races during his long career. Since he’s retired from racing, Petty still remains a king in the world of motorsports. He is a team owner for Richard Petty Motorsports as well as the modification show called Petty’s Garage.

NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Format

The postseason format to get to the cup will look different than the preseason competition.

The 16 drivers, including faces like Kyle Larson, Tyler Reddick, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, and Kyle Busch, have to compete in 10 races. The playoffs have four rounds as well as three sets of eliminations. The drivers will rack up points until the final race in November at the Phoenix Raceway.

“Every point is gonna matter, every detail is gonna matter. Ten weeks is a long time; it’s a long playoffs if you think about it. You’re gonna have to go through some serious adversity. At some point you’re gonna have to overcome something, and that’s part of it,” the 2018 champion Joey Logano said, according to USA Today.

The first round of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs consists of Darlington, Richmond Raceway, and Bristol Motor Speedway. The best way to advance is to win, which is the mentality most of the drivers have going forward.