Talladega Superspeedway is known for its intense racing, wild wrecks and unexpected winners and Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff race did not disappoint.
Brandon Brown, driver of his family-owned No. 68 Brandonbilt Motorsports Chevrolet, took home his first victory after rain and darkness loomed over the track. The win marked his first in 115 Xfinity Series races and his ninth top-10 finish in 2021.
Since Brown isn’t a part of the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs this season, seven spots in the Round of 8 are still up for grabs as Austin Cindric clinched a spot in the Round of 8 at Talladega Superspeedway on points. Brandon Jones finished runner-up to Brown, the highest finishing Playoff driver, with Justin Allgaier in third and Daniel Hemric in fourth. Jordan Anderson finished fifth – a career-best for driver/owner in the series.
This weekend, the NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course for the Drive for the Cure 250 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina on Saturday, October 9 at 3 p.m. ET on NBC, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. The race marks the cutoff for the Round of 8 and right now, Cindric is the only driver locked in and for the remaining eleven drivers looking to make it to the next round, everything is on the line.
This weekend’s Xfinity Series race determined its starting lineup by Metric Qualifying and as a result Team Penske’s Austin Cindric will lead the field to green with JR Motorsport’s Justin Allgaier joining him on the front row. Hemric will start third with Josh Berry, Justin Haley, and Brandon Jones occupying the first three rows.
This weekend’s race will be 155.44 miles and 67 laps with Stage 1 ending on Lap 20 and Stage 2 ending on Lap 40.
Next Race: Drive for the Cure 250 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina
The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course
The Date: Saturday, October 9
The Time: 3 p.m. ET
TV: NBC, 3 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR (Channel 90)
Distance: 155.44 miles (67 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 20),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 40), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 67)
Facts and Figures: Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course
Saturday’s Drive for the Cure 250 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) will be the fourth race on the 17-turn, 2.32-mile road course.
The inaugural NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course was run on September 29, 2018 and was won by Chase Briscoe. AJ Allmendinger has won the last two races run at the Charlotte Road Course; including starting from deep in the field in 22nd position last season.
There have been two different pole winners and only two different race winners in the three events held. None of the three races have been won from the first starting position.
Last season’s race had 38 cars in total. There were 14 lead changes and six leaders. There were 10 cautions for 24 laps and only 24 cars finished on the lead lap. There were 27 cars running at the finish and Allmendinger led only 12 laps en route to the victory. The Margin of Victory was 0.446 seconds.
Allmendinger and Austin Cindric are the two active drivers with the best numbers at road courses this season heading into this weekend. In six road course starts in 2021, Cindric has one win, four top fives and five top 10s and has led 122 laps.
Allmendinger has one pole, one win, five top fives, five top 10s and 56 laps led in six road course races this season.
Ty Gibbs is also a noticeably good road-course racer grabbing his first career win in his first Xfinity Series start at the Daytona International Speedway Road Course. He has one pole, two wins, three top fives and three top 10s in five road course races this season. He’s led 79 laps as well. Gibbs, who runs a part-time schedule for Joe Gibbs Racing, is entered to run this weekend at the Charlotte Road Course.
Clinch Scenarios: Xfinity’s Round of 12 finale at Charlotte Road Course
Just one race remains in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs Round of 12 for the postseason contenders to guarantee a spot in the Round of 8. With Josh Berry and Brandon Brown, both non-Playoff drivers winning at Las Vegas and Talladega, and only Austin Cindric clinching his spot on points, seven spots are still up for the taking as the series heads to the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course this Saturday.
The following driver has clinched a spot in the 8-driver field of the next round: Austin Cindric.
Can Clinch Via Points
If there is a win by a driver who cannot advance to the next round, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the 9th winless driver in the standings. The same point requirements listed below would hold true if a new win comes from among Austin Cindric, Justin Allgaier, Daniel Hemric, AJ Allmendinger, Justin Haley, Brandon Jones, Noah Gragson or Harrison Burton.
- Justin Allgaier: Would clinch regardless of finish
- Daniel Hemric: Would clinch with 15 points
- AJ Allmendinger: Would clinch with 23 points
- Justin Haley: Would clinch with 32 points
- Brandon Jones: Would clinch with 34 points
- Noah Gragson: Would clinch with 38 points
- Harrison Burton: Would clinch with 48 points
- Jeb Burton, Myatt Snider, Riley Herbst and Jeremy Clements: Could all only clinch with help.
If there is a new winner from Jeb Burton or another winless driver lower in the standings but still eligible to advance to the next round, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the 8th winless driver in the standings.
- Justin Allgaier: Would clinch with 8 points
- Daniel Hemric: Would clinch with 23 points
- AJ Allmendinger: Would clinch with 31 points
- Justin Haley: Would clinch with 40 points
- Brandon Jones: Would clinch with 42 points
- Noah Gragson: Would clinch with 46 points
- Harrison Burton, Jeb Burton, Myatt Snider and Riley Herbst: Could all only clinch with help.
Can Clinch Via Win
All 12 drivers would clinch on their win alone this weekend: Justin Allgaier, Daniel Hemric, AJ Allmendinger, Justin Haley, Brandon Jones, Noah Gragson, Harrison Burton, Jeb Burton, Myatt Snider, Riley Herbst, Jeremy Clements.
Scouting the 2021 Xfinity Playoff Drivers at the Charlotte Road Course
We are one race away from the start of the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs Round of 8. This weekend, the 11 drivers still fighting for their spot in the 8-driver field will compete on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course. Two non-Playoff drivers, Josh Berry and Brandon Brown, took home the victories in the first two races of the Round of 12, leaving all but Austin Cindric – who clinched on points – looking for their way in. Below is a look at the Playoff drivers’ past performances at the Charlotte Road Course.
Austin Cindric: The driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford will make his fourth start at the road course this weekend. In the inaugural race in 2018, Cindric started from the pole and led the field to green. He has two top fives and three top 10s in only three starts. He has two third-place finishes (2018 and 2019) and last season, he finished sixth. He’s led 14 laps of 190 completed.
AJ Allmendinger: The driver of the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet and the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series Regular Season Champion will make his third start at the Charlotte Road Course on Saturday. In his first two starts (2019 and 2020), he won both races. In 2019, he started from the fifth position and in 2020, he started from 22nd and rallied to the front for the win. He’s led 32 of 135 laps completed.
Justin Allgaier: The driver of the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet has competed in all three races at the Charlotte Road Course. He has one top five and one top 10 to his name. He best finish came in 2019 after he started seventh and finished fourth. Last season, he started 10th and finished 23rd. Allgaier has an average start of 9.7 and an average finish of 14.0 at the 2.32-mile track.
Noah Gragson: The driver of the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet will make his third start at the Charlotte Road Course on Saturday. In his first start in 2019, he started 12th and finished fifth and last season, he started from the pole position and finished runner-up to AJ Allmendinger. He led 16 laps in 2020 and has an average start of 6.5 and an average finish of 3.5.
Jeb Burton: The driver of the No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet will make his Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course debut on Saturday. He has never competed on the 17-turn road course before.
Daniel Hemric: The driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota will make his third start on Saturday at the road course. His first start was in 2018, when he started second and finished 10th for Richard Childress Racing. In 2020, he was back again at the road course for JR Motorsports, this time he started third and finished third. He led four laps in his two starts and has an average start of 2.5 and an average finish of 6.5. He completed all 123 laps attempted.
Harrison Burton: The driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota is making his third start on Saturday at the road course. His first start was in 2019 and he started 22nd and finished 13th. Last season, he started ninth but had a transmission issue that forced him to finish 33rd. He completed only 37 of 68 laps in 2020.
Myatt Snider: The driver of the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet has made one start at the Charlotte Road Course, and it was last season. He started 21stt and finished 14th, completing all 68 laps.
Brandon Jones: The driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota will make his fourth start at the Charlotte Road Course this weekend. In three starts, he has one top-10 finish that came last season. He started fourth and finished 10th. He has an average start of 13.7 and an average finish of 16.0.
Justin Haley: The driver of the No. 11 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet will make his third start at the ROVAL this weekend. Haley has struggled at this track specifically, with finishes of 31st (2019) and 35th (2020) in the starts. Last season, he was involved in a crash and only completed 34 of 68 laps. He has an average start of 5.5 and an average finish of 33.0.
Riley Herbst: The driver of the No. 98 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford will be making his second series start at the Charlotte Road Course. Last season in his series track debut, he started 13th and finished 12th for Joe Gibbs Racing. He led seven laps and completed all 68 laps.
Jeremy Clements: The driver of the No. 51 Jeremy Clements Racing Chevrolet has made three starts at the Charlotte Road Course. His best finish of 11th came in 2019 after starting eighth. Last season, he started 18th and finished 16th. He has an average start of 15.0 and an average finish of 15.0.
Playoff Bubble: One Race Remains
The Playoff standings got shaken up after last weekend’s wild race at Talladega Superspeedway.
Team Penske’s Austin Cindric managed to clinch his spot in the Xfinity Playoffs’ Round of 8 on points with an eighth-place finish last weekend at Talladega. Justin Allgaier and Daniel Hemric jumped up in the standings to second and third, while AJ Allmendinger dropped to fourth in the standings after an incident at Talladega relegated him to a 39th-place finish.
Justin Haley and Brandon Brown moved up in the standings as well with their top-five finishes. Noah Gragson and Harrison Burton are in the seventh and eighth positions in the standings post-Talladega. Harrison Burton is eight points above the cutline while Jeb Burton is eight points below the Round of 8 cutline. Myatt Snider, Riley Herbst and Jeremy Clements are all in must-win situations at the Charlotte Road Course.
Allgaier and Hemric have a pretty good points cushion, but nothing is guaranteed in the Playoffs.
NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs Standings Post-Talladega-2:
|Rank||Driver||Points||Race Wins||Stage Wins||Playoff Pts||Pts From Cutoff|
|1||Austin Cindric||2,131||5||9||44||Clinched on Points|