It's a packed weekend for USAC, including the James Dean Classic. (Jack Reitz Photo)

What To Watch For — Sept. 22-24

As the calendar nears October and colder weather creeps in, championship battles across multiple series heats up. NASCAR and NHRA continue their respective playoffs this weekend while a champion will be crowned in SuperMotocross. Those are among the highlights of what to watch for this weekend. 

James Dean

A busy weekend for USAC racers will kick off Thursday night at Indiana’s Gas City I-69 Speedway with the fifth running of the James Dean Classic at the quarter-mile dirt track. Both the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship and USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship will be in action. Sprint cars will compete for $5,000 to win, while the midget winner picks up a $4,000 check. From Gas City, both series head east to compete in the 4-Crown Nationals at Eldora Speedway.

4-Crown Nationals

The 41st running of the 4-Crown Nationals kicks off Friday night at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series and the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship running complete programs, with qualifying for the USAC Silver Crown Series also on the docket.

On Saturday, another full midget program shares the card with the Silver Crown Series, USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Series and the All Star Circuit of Champions winged sprint cars.

Texas Playoffs

The Round of 12 in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs kicks off at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon with William Byron leading the standings as the final 12 drivers look to secure a spot in the Round of 8 with a victory at the 1.5-mile race track.

The second round of the NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs will take place on Saturday.

SuperMoto Finale

Chase Sexton carries a two-point lead over Jett Lawrence into the final round of the SuperMotocross Championship three-race playoffs Saturday at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. Ken Roczen is third, 10 points behind Sexton.

zMAX Dragway

The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series heads to North Carolina for the second round of the Countdown to the Championship at zMAX Dragway.

Steve Torrence grabbed the point lead from regular season champion Justin Ashley and leads Ashley by seven points heading to zMAX Dragway. Robert Hight’s Funny Car triumph at Maple Grove Raceway pushed him into a three-point lead over Ron Capps, while Matt Hartford, who also won at Maple Grove, holds a 30-point advantage over Erica Enders in the Pro Stock class.

Going To Jackson

The 44th annual Jackson 100 dirt late model race will be a two-night program sanctioned by the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series at Indiana’s Brownstown Speedway.

A 50-lap $10,000-to-win main event will run on Friday, with Saturday’s 100-lapper scheduled to pay $30,000 to win. Point leader Ricky Thornton Jr. has won 20 of the 47 series features this year.

Asphalt Late Models

The race for the CARS Tour late model stock championship heads to South Carolina’s Florence Speedway on Saturday night with Carson Kvapil leading Brenden Queen by 34 points. Meanwhile, the ASA Midwest Tour super late model series returns to Minnesota’s Elko Speedway with Gabe Sommers on top of the standings.

Fall Jamboree

The 25th annual Fall Jamboree for Summit USMTS National Championship invades the Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn., for three days of racing capped by a $12,000-to-win feature on Saturday night.