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The final race in the IndyCar series is set for Saturday. Meanwhile, the first of 10 playoff races for NASCAR takes place Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet.

While mainstream fans will opt for college football or the NFL over either race, motor sports faithful will be watching. But, if they could only view IndyCar or NASCAR, what would be the pick?

A couple years ago, it seemed NASCAR had passed IndyCar in popularity. However, someone with far more racing knowledge has informed me that IndyCar is back ahead and may even be pulling away from NASCAR.

NASCAR has tried to keep fans interested by going to a playoff format in 2004. It has been tinkered with about every year since, which only adds to the confusion.

From the 16 drivers eligible to claim the championship starting at 2 p.m. Sunday in the Tales of the Turtles 400 (not making this name up) on NBCSN, it will be whittled down to four battling it out Nov. 19 in the Ford Ecoboost 400 in a winner-take-all format.

IndyCar is so much easier to figure out. Six drivers still have a mathematical chance for the season title Saturday in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (6 p.m. NBCSN). Josef Newgarden, who has won three of the last five races, leads the standings with 560 points.

Trying to emulate the four professional leagues — MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL — with some kind of playoff scenario doesn't seem to have helped NASCAR or the PGA Tour.

This week's BMW Championship (2 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday on NBC) is the third of four FedEx Cup playoff tournaments for the PGA Tour.

While the ultimate winner gets a $10 million check, bet he still would rather have the green jacket given to Masters champion Sergio Garcia in April. 

MLB: Cardinals at Cubs (Comcast, FSM, 3 p.m. Saturday, 1:20 p.m. Sunday): Every time it appears St. Louis is dead, the Cardinals suddenly are back in the race. Chicago just can't put away the NL Central and may pay the price. 

College FB: Clemson at Louisville (ABC, 7 p.m. Saturday): Lamar Jackson is off to another flying start. Beating the defending champs could put him on road to second straight Heisman. 

NFL: Cowboys at Broncos (Fox, 3:25 p.m. Sunday): Ezekiel Elliott's off-the-field drama didn't seem to hurt Dallas last week. Denver wasn't exactly awe-inspiring against the San Diego — oops, LA Chargers.

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Contact Jim Benson at



Reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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