NASCAR XFINITY Series
Next Race: ToyotaCare 250
The Place: Richmond International Raceway
The Date: Saturday, April 29
The Time: 1 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 12:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 187.5 miles (250 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 75),
Stage 2 (Ends on lap 150), Final Stage (Ends on lap 250)
NASCAR XFINITY Series
A Look Back: Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s NASCAR XFINITY Series Career
One of the most iconic figures in NASCAR, Dale Earnhardt Jr., announced Tuesday that he will be retiring from NASCAR at the conclusion of the 2017 season. It just so happens that his last NASCAR XFINITY Series victory was this race at Richmond last year.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s career in the NASCAR XFINITY Series has been solid to say the least. He has posted two series titles (’98-’99), 24 wins (10th-most all-time), 67 top fives (tied with Clint Bowyer and Sam Ard for 21st-most all-time) and 90 top 10s (38th-most all-time). Below is a timeline of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s accomplishments in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.
June 22, 1996 – Made his first NASCAR national series start at Myrtle Beach Speedway in the NASCAR XFINITY Series driving the No. 31 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet; he started seventh and finished 14th.
March 28, 1998 – He won his first career NASCAR national series Coors Light pole at Bristol Motor Speedway in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, driving for Dale Earnhardt Inc. at a speed of 122.217 MPH.
April 4, 1998 – He won his first career NASCAR national series race at Texas Motor Speedway driving for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in just his 16th career series start.
November 15, 1998 – Won his first NASCAR national series title, claiming the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship by 48 points over second-place Matt Kenseth. Finished the ’98 season with seven wins, 16 top fives and 22 top 10s.
June 27, 1999 – Earnhardt Jr. becomes one of seven drivers in NASCAR XFINITY Series history to win three consecutive races (Dover, South Boston and Watkins Glen) following his victory at Watkins Glen International on this date. He joins Sam Ard, Kyle Busch, Mark Martin, Harry Gant, Larry Pearson and Ryan Newman.
November 13, 1999 – Becomes one of six drivers in NASCAR XFINITY Series history to win consecutive titles (1998-1999); joining Sam Ard (1983-84), Larry Pearson (1986-87), Randy LaJoie (1996-97), Martin Truex Jr. (2004-05) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2011-12).
November 19, 2005 – Fielded the first car as an owner under the JR Motorsports billing with driver Mark McFarland; the team started 18th and finished 20th.
July 2, 2010 – Drove the Richard Childress Racing No. 3 Wrangler Chevrolet, made famous by his father, to Victory Lane at Daytona International Speedway. This would be the final time he would drive the No. 3.
April 23, 2016 – His most recent win in the NASCAR XFINITY Series came at Richmond International Raceway in this event last season.
Dash 4 Cash Round 3 of 4: Richmond International Raceway
For third time this season NASCAR XFINITY Series championship contending drivers will have the chance to battle it out for the Dash 4 Cash, and the giant $100,000 check that comes with it. JR Motorsport’s driver Justin Allgaier snagged the first Dash 4 Cash win at Phoenix International Raceway, and then last week at Bristol, Richard Childress Racing’s Daniel Hemric grabbed the second installment of the program and his first Dash 4 Cash win.
Richmond International Raceway has been a part of the Dash 4 Cash program since 2011. Only two drivers have won the Dash 4 Cash at Richmond – Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in 2011 and Ty Dillon in 2016.
A Quick Reminder Of Dash 4 Cash Eligibility
- The top two finishing NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers who have declared for series points in each of the two stages will make up the four-driver Dash 4 Cash field for the Final Stage. Once Stage 1 is complete, the two drivers who lock into the main field won’t have their position counted against other Dash 4 Cash-eligible drivers following Stage 2 to ensure a four-driver field.
- The field will then begin the race with Stage 1, followed by Stage 2 and the Final Stage. At Richmond International Raceway: Stage 1 (Ends on lap 75), Stage 2 (Ends on lap 150), Final Stage (Ends on lap 250)
- The highest finisher in the final stage among the four Dash 4 Cash drivers wins the Dash 4 Cash and a $100,000 prize.
- Plus, don’t forget if a driver earns two Dash 4 Cash bonus wins over the four Dash 4 Cash races, that qualifies them for the NASCAR XFINITY Series playoffs.
JR Motorsport’s Elliott Sadler Extends Points Lead Over Teammate William Byron
Elliott Sadler’s stranglehold on the NASCAR XFINITY Series points continues. Just when it looked like second-place William Byron was going to catch Sadler following Texas, Sadler found another gear and opened the points gap back up to 16 following his third top five of the season.
Sadler is on a six-race streak of finishing inside the top 10; dating back to the second race of the season at Atlanta. In seven starts this season, Sadler has posted three top fives and an average finish of 9.0.
Expect the top 10 streak to continue at Richmond. In Sadler’s last 12 starts at the famous half-mile track, he has posted nine top-10 finishes.
Richard Childress Racing’s Daniel Hemric Arrives In The Top Five In Points
Richard Childress Racing’s Sunoco Rookie Daniel Hemric showed some signs of life last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway winning Stage 2 of the race and posting his first career series top-five finish as he took home the Dash 4 Cash $100,000 bonus. On top of all that, the young Kannapolis, North Carolina, native has moved into the top five in the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship standings, 80 points back from the standings lead and just four points back from fourth-place Ryan Reed.
In seven starts this season, Hemric has posted one top five, three top 10s and an average finish of 15.4.
Hemric will be making his NASCAR national series debut at Richmond International Raceway this weekend.
Kyle Benjamin To Make Series Debut For Joe Gibbs Racing At Richmond
Joe Gibbs Racing has tapped NASCAR Next graduate Kyle Benjamin to pilot the No. 20 Toyota Camry with crew chief Chris Gabehart at Richmond International Raceway in the ToyotaCare 250 this weekend.
Benjamin has built quite the resume working his way up the ranks. He became the youngest pole winner (15 years old) in ARCA Series history at Toledo Speedway in 2013. Later that same season, he became the series’ youngest winner when he took the checkered flag at Madison International Speedway. Not long after that he moved over to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, where over the past three seasons he has posted five wins, 14 top fives and 19 top 10s. He also finished a career-best second in the final NKNPSE championship points in 2016.
Benjamin is scheduled to compete in the NASCAR XFINITY Series for Joe Gibbs Racing at Richmond this weekend, and then Pocono Raceway (06/10/17), Iowa Speedway (07/29/17) and Kentucky Speedway (09/23/17).
A total of 79 drivers in NASCAR XFINITY Series history have made their series debut at Richmond International Raceway. Six of the 79 are competing this weekend – Ryan Blaney (04/27/12), Cole Custer (04/23/16), Austin Dillon (09/07/08), Brandon Brown (09/09/16), Daniel Suarez (04/25/14), and Ryan Reed (04/26/13).
NASCAR XFINITY Series Etc.
Virginia Natives To Look For: Three Virginia natives will be attempting to compete this weekend at Richmond International Speedway – series standings leader and JR Motorsports driver Elliott Sadler (Emporia), King Autosport’s driver Brandon Brown (Woodbridge) and Brandon Gdovic Racing’s driver Quin Houff (Weyers Cave).
Playoff Bubble Update: Dakoda Armstrong (11th in points) and Cole Custer (12th) are currently teetering on the playoff bubble following the seventh race of the season at Bristol Motor Speedway. Armstrong is only 11 points ahead and Custer is just two points ahead of 13th-place Brandon Jones. RCR’s Jones has made two starts at RIR, posting a 19.0 average finish.
JGR Tops In Wins Over Last Five Seasons: Over the last five full seasons (not including 2017), no other team has visited Victory Lane more than Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. From 2012 to 2016, the series has run 165 events and nine different organizations have posted at least one win. Joe Gibbs Racing leads the series in wins during that time with 64 (38.7%) victories, followed by Team Penske (33 wins), JR Motorsports (23), Richard Childress Racing (22), Roush Fenway Racing (12), Chip Ganassi Racing (six), HScott Motorsports (three), Biagi-DenBeste Racing (one) and Richard Petty Motorsports (one).
Monster Names To Watch This Weekend: This weekend at Richmond International Raceway, five Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers will attempt to compete in the ToyotaCare 250 – Austin Dillon, Ty Dillon, Daniel Suarez, Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson.
New RIR Winner Probability Is High: Of the 42 drivers entered this weekend in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Richmond International Raceway only one is a former winner – Morgan Shepherd – who won on Sept. 10, 1983. If Shepherd makes the race, the chances for a new winner are at 97.5%, if he doesn’t it goes up 100%.
Top 10 In Points Still Looking For A Win: Seven of the current top 10 in the NASCAR XFINITY Series standings are still looking for their first career series victory – William Byron, Daniel Hemric, Darrell Wallace Jr, Blake Koch, Brennan Poole, Matt Tifft and Michael Annett have yet win in the series. Richmond has hosted six first-time series winners in Victory Lane since 1982 – Kyle Busch (2004), Robby Gordon (2004), Jeff Purvis (1996), Bobby Hamilton (1989), Butch Lindley (1982) and Tommy Houston (1982).
Sunoco Rookie of the Year Update: William Byron continues to hold on to the rookie standings lead by 17 points over second-place Daniel Hemric followed by Cole Custer (-30), Matt Tifft (-33), and Spencer Gallagher (-41).
Car Owner Points Update: Team Penske’s No. 22 Ford Mustang team has opened the lead in car owner points to 53 markers over the second-place Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota Camry team through the first seven races despite not having a win. Penske is looking to win his fourth NASCAR XFINITY Series owner title this season.
NXS Milestones: Elliott Sadler will be making his 337th series start this weekend, tying Kevin Harvick for 13th on the NASCAR XFINITY Series all-time starts list. … BJ McCleod will attempt to make his 50th NASCAR XFINITY Series start this weekend.