NASCAR XFINITY Series – News and Notes from Bristol

NASCAR XFINITY Series
Next Race: Food City 300
The Place: Bristol Motor Speedway
The Date: Friday, August 18
The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN, 7 p.m. ET
Radio: 9RN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 159.9 miles (300 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 85),
Stage 2 (Ends on lap 170), Final Stage (Ends on lap 300)

Five To Go: Who Has The Best Shot To Win At Bristol

The countdown to the NASCAR XFINITY Series playoff continues and just five races are left in the regular season for drivers to lock themselves in.

Three title contenders have won this season doing just that – William Byron (three wins), Justin Allgaier (one) and Ryan Reed (one). This leaves nine spots up for grabs, but with just five races left in the regular season, four drivers are guaranteed to get in on points.

Of the nine drivers currently inside the top 12 in NASCAR XFINITY Series championship points without a win this season, JR Motorsport’s Elliott Sadler is the only competitor who has won at Bristol previously.

The current points leader, Sadler has a healthy cushion (+387 points) over the playoff cutoff-line heading into Bristol, but that isn’t slowing his urge to win this weekend. The Emporia, Virginia native has made 12 series starts at Bristol, posting two wins (1998 and 2012), seven top fives and 10 top 10s. A win will not only lock Sadler into the playoffs, but also give him five playoff points which he can use throughout the post season to advance.

Here are the remaining eight winless drivers inside the top 12 in order of their average finish at Bristol Motor Speedway – Daniel Hemric (5.0), Michael Annett (13.6), Brennan Poole (15.0), Brendan Gaughan (16.4), Matt Tifft (19.5), Dakoda Armstrong (23.7), Blake Koch (26.5) and Cole Custer (32.0).

 

Playoff Bubble: Annett Bounces To The Hot Seat

In impressive off-road fashion, Brendan Gaughan saved his No. 62 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet from wrecking to finish in the top-10 on the final restart in last weekend’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Mid-Ohio. As a result, the Las Vegas native leaped-frogged JR Motorsport’s driver Michael Annett in the NASCAR XFINITY Series driver championship standings, putting Annett in the hot seat a.k.a. the final playoff spot.

Annett is now 12th in the NASCAR XFINITY Series driver points, 34 points ahead of 13th-place Ryan Sieg, who is the first driver outside the playoff cutoff. In 21 starts this season, Annett has posted five top 10s and an average finish of 18.1.

Several drivers are still mathematically able to catch Annett in the points, but the three closest are Ryan Sieg (13th, -34); JJ Yeley (14th, -46) and Ross Chastain (15th, -47).

Fortunately for Annett, he has outperformed his closest combatants at Bristol, posting an average finish of 13.6 at the half-mile compared to the average finishes of Ryan Sieg (20.1), JJ Yeley (28.2) and Ross Chastain (25.8).

 

Joe Gibbs Racing Goes For The Bristol Sweep

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Erik Jones drove the No. 18 Toyota to Victory Lane at Bristol Motor Speedway earlier this season. This weekend, Jones is not entered, but his teammates Kyle Busch (No. 18), Matt Tifft (No. 19) and Daniel Suarez (No. 20) will take their shot at the season sweep and bringing home the trophy for the organization.

If one of Joe Gibbs’ drivers does win this weekend, it will be the second-time the owner has swept the NASCAR XFINITY Series Bristol races and the fifth-time overall; joining Gary Bechtel (1995), Teresa Earnhardt (2004), Joe Gibbs (2011) and Kyle Busch (2013).

Kyle Busch leads the series in wins at Bristol with eight. He also is the winningest driver in series history with 90 wins. Both Tifft and Suarez have yet to win at Bristol Motor Speedway. Tifft has two series starts at BMS with a best finish of 16th, earlier this season. Suarez has made five series starts at Bristol posting three top fives; including a third-place finish earlier this season.

 

Who Needs Lights With This List Of Stars For Bristol

Even though this weekend’s Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway will be raced under the lights, they might not need them with this star-studded lineup of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers –  Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Joey Logano, Daniel Suárez, Aric Almirola, Austin Dillon and Ty Dillon are all scheduled for the event.

The famous Monster Energy drivers will definitely raise the competition Saturday night as four of them are former BMS winners – Kyle Busch (eight wins), Joey Logano (two), Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Austin Dillon (each have one). Dillon is the event’s defending winner.

 

Tennessee And NASCAR

A total of 334 NASCAR national series races (MENCS 174, NXS 111, and NCWTS 49) among nine tracks have been held in the state of Tennessee.

The NASCAR XFINITY Series has hosted 111 events in Tennessee among four tracks – Bristol Motor Speedway (70), Nashville Superspeedway (21), Memphis Motorsports Park (11) and Nashville Speedway (9).

The first NASCAR XFINITY Series race held in the state of Tennessee was at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 13, 1982 – the race was won by Phil Parsons in a Pontiac.

The 70 series races at Bristol Motor Speedway have produced 47 different pole winners and 44 different race winners.

A total of 107 drivers who have made at least one start in a NASCAR national series race have their home state recorded as Tennessee. Of the 107 drivers, 37 (34.5%) have competed in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Of the 37 Tennessee drivers who have competed in the NXS, 10 have series wins, led by NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip (Franklin) with 13 victories.