One Last Chance: Championship 4 spots still up for grabs
It was another win by a non-Playoff driver at Kansas Speedway last weekend, when Ty Gibbs took the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 54 Toyota to Victory Lane giving the team its series leading 11th win of the season and second in a row. The win marks Gibbs’ fourth win in his rookie Xfinity Series season. The win also means that all four Championship 4 spots are up for grabs with only one race left to make it into the round.
This weekend, the NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Martinsville Speedway, also known as “The Paperclip,” for the Dead On Tools 250 on Saturday, October 30 at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio closing out a Saturday doubleheader with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series under the lights.
With all four spots in the Championship 4 Round available, all eight Playoff drivers still have a chance to make it in. By the end of Stage 1, there’s a possibility that some of the eight drivers will clinch a spot on points. However, for some, the only way they can make it in is with a win this weekend.
Aside from Gibbs’ win, Playoff drivers Austin Cindric, AJ Allmendinger and Justin Halley finished 2-4. Justin Allgaier finished ninth and Brandon Jones finished 11th. Daniel Hemric finished 15th and Harrison Burton and Noah Gragson finished 34th and 35th, respectively, after being involved in an incident on Lap 178.
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The starting lineup for this weekend’s Xfinity Series race was set by Metric Qualifying and as a result Austin Cindric will lead the field to green with Ty Gibbs joining him on the front row. Gibbs and Michael Annett are the only drivers not in the Playoffs starting in the top 10. Allmendinger and Haley will take row two and Allgaier and Annett row three. Hemric, Jones, Gragson, and Harrison Burton will round out the top-10 starting spots.
The race will be 131.5 miles (250 laps) and will be broken up into three stages with the first stage ending on Lap 60 and the second stage ending on Lap 120.
Xfinity Facts and Figures: The Paperclip Edition
The NASCAR Xfinity Series takes on Martinsville Speedway on Saturday night under the lights for the Dead On Tools 250, the cutoff race for the Playoffs’ Round of 8 and the last chance for the Playoff drivers to secure their spot in the Championship 4 Round. Martinsville Speedway has quite the history, especially when it comes to great racing and crazy finishes. Here’s a look at some of the Virginia track’s facts and figures.
There have been 36 NASCAR Xfinity Series races in Martinsville history, with the inaugural race on March 28, 1982 won by Sam Ard. There have been 22 different race winners in those 36 races.
There have been 18 different pole winners and only six races have been won from the pole or first starting position. The last time a driver won the race from the pole was in 1987 by Jimmy Hensley.
Harrison Burton won this race last season and became the youngest winner in Martinsville Xfinity Series history at 20 years, 22 days. Harry Gant holds the record for the oldest winner at 51 years, nine months, 17 days in 1991.
Ard’s victory in 1982 is still the race record at 79.607 mph and Clint Bowyer holds the qualifying record from 2006 at 95.951 mph.
In the most recent Xfinity Series race at Martinsville Speedway, there were 40 cars entered and only 35 running at the finish. There were 13 lead changes among nine different leaders. There were 12 cautions for 75 laps and only 19 cars finished on the lead lap. The race winner, Josh Berry, led 95 laps and the Margin of Victory was 0.590 seconds.
The win marked Berry’s first Xfinity Series career victory. Brad Teague is the only other Xfinity Series driver who got their first win at the track. No drivers in history got their first pole at Martinsville.
Clinch Scenarios: Last Chance at Martinsville Speedway
The NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs Round of 8 ends this weekend at Martinsville Speedway but with a non-Playoff driver winning the first two events in the round, all eight drivers in the Playoffs are still fighting for their spot in the Championship 4 Round. Currently none of the eight drivers have clinched a spot in the final round.
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 fifth winless driver in the standings. The same point requirements listed below would hold true if a new win comes from among Austin Cindric, AJ Allmendinger, Justin Allgaier or Daniel Hemric.
- Austin Cindric: Would clinch with 9 points
- AJ Allmendinger: Would clinch with 9 points
- Justin Allgaier: Would clinch with 47 points
- Daniel Hemric: Would clinch with 49 points
- Justin Haley, Noah Gragson, Brandon Jones and Harrison Burton: Could only clinch with help.
If there is a new winner from Justin Haley 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 fourth winless driver in the standings.
- Austin Cindric: Would clinch with 15 points
- AJ Allmendinger: Would clinch with 15 points
- Justin Allgaier: Would clinch with 53 points
- Daniel Hemric: Would clinch with 55 points
- Justin Haley, Noah Gragson, Brandon Jones and Harrison Burton: Could only clinch with help.
Can Clinch Via Win
The following drivers would clinch on their win alone: AJ Allmendinger, Austin Cindric, Justin Allgaier, Noah Gragson, Daniel Hemric, Justin Haley, Harrison Burton, Brandon Jones.
NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs Standings Post-Kansas:
|Rank||Driver||Points||Race Wins||Stage Wins||Playoff Pts||Pts From Cutoff|
|9||Jeb Burton||2,140||1||1||9||Eliminated From The Playoffs|
Exploring the 2021 Round of 8 Xfinity Playoff Drivers at Martinsville
This weekend’s race at Martinsville Speedway will conclude the Playoffs’ Round of 8 for the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Currently, there are no drivers locked into the Championship 4, so let’s take a look at the driver performances at Kansas Speedway.
Austin Cindric: The driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford has made two Xfinity Series starts at Martinsville. His first came at this race in the 2020 season when he started on the pole and finished 10th. Earlier this season, Cindric started sixth and finished sixth at the track. He has led 42 laps at the half-mile track, and he has an average start of 3.5 and an average finish of 8.0.
AJ Allmendinger: The driver of the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet will visit Martinsville Speedway for the third time in his career this weekend. His first start at the track was in 2020 and he started 36th and finished 26th. Earlier this season, he started third and finished 13th. In his two starts, he completed 498 laps of 500 attempted and led 68 laps total. He has an average start and finish of 19.5.
Justin Allgaier: The driver of the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet will also make his third start on Saturday at Martinsville. In his first start in 2020, he started sixth and finished runner-up and earlier this season, he started second and finished ninth. He has an average start of 4.0 and an average finish of 5.5.
Daniel Hemric: The driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota will make his second career Xfinity Series start at Martinsville on Saturday night. His first start came earlier this season where he started fourth and finished third. He also led 28 laps during the 250-lap event.
Justin Haley: The driver of the No. 11 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet will also make his third career start at Martinsville on Saturday evening. In his first start in 2020, he started third and finished 12th and most recently, earlier this season, he started fifth and finished eighth.
Noah Gragson: The driver of the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet has made two Xfinity Series start at The Paperclip. In his first start in 2020, he started second and finished third and earlier this season, he started eighth and finished second. Gragson is very strong at Martinsville and has an average start of 5.0 and an average finish of 2.5.
Brandon Jones: The driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota has made two starts at Martinsville in his Xfinity career. He started seventh in his debut in 2020 and finished ninth. Earlier this season, he started 24th and finished fifth. He has an average start of 15.5 and an average finish of 7.0.
Harrison Burton: The driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota is the only driver in the Playoffs with a previous win at Martinsville Speedway. He won last season in his first ever start at the track from the 10th position. Most recently, earlier this season, he started on the pole and finished seventh. He has led 133 laps of 500 completed at the track.
Sunoco Rookie of the Year Update: Gibbs extends lead after Kansas
It’s been a back-and-forth between rookies Ty Gibbs and Josh Berry for the entire 2021 season in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings. But, after another win last weekend at Kansas Speedway, Gibbs extended his lead in the standings to 120 with 10 awards and has mathematically clinched the 2021 Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors but will not be officially awarded until he finishes the season in good standing, per the program guidelines and eligibility.
Sunoco Rookie of the Year
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ty Gibbs has made 17 series starts in 2021 putting up four wins, nine top fives and 10 top 10s.
NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.
Manufacturers Championship Update – Martinsville Speedway this weekend Chevrolet currently leads the NASCAR Xfinity Series Manufacturers Championship standings by 43 points over Toyota in second. If Chevrolet leaves Martinsville with at least a 41 point margin ahead of whichever manufacturer is ranked second, they will clinch the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series Manufacturers Championship.
|NXS Manufacturers Championship|
If Chevrolet wins the Manufacturers Championship in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this season it will be their series leading 22nd title in the series.
|NXS Manufacturer Champions|
|OEM||No. of Manufacturers Championships||Most Recent|
Dale Jr. running ’22 Xfinity Spring Martinsville race: On the Dale Jr. Download this week, Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced he will make his single 2022 Xfinity Series start at Martinsville Speedway. He will drive the fifth JR Motorsports Chevrolet on Friday, April 8. Since retiring from full-time competition, Earnhardt has four Xfinity Series starts and three top-five finishes.
Preston Pardus making oval debut this weekend: Preston Pardus has 13 NASCAR Xfinity Series starts to his name but has never made a short-track or oval debut. That will change this weekend when he pilots the No. 90 DGM Racing Chevrolet. The last time Pardus raced on a track with only left turns was when he was a kid in a quarter midget. Over the past 30 days, Pardus won the NASA and SCCA championships and notched a career-best Xfinity Series finish of seventh at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL earlier this month.
Akinori Ogata making first start with BJ McLeod Motorsports at Martinsville: Akinori Ogata will return to the NASCAR Xfinity Series this weekend for the second time in 2021, this time at Martinsville Speedway with BJ McLeod Motorsports. Akinori, who is from Kanagawa, Yokohama has competed on a part-time basis in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series since 2014. His first Xfinity Series start was in 2018 and most recently, he competed at Richmond Raceway in 2021, finishing 34th. Shinano Pneumatic Tools will be back with Ogata as the primary partner this weekend.
Colin Garrett promoting veteran and active military health at Martinsville: Sam Hunt Racing announced that Colin Garrett will pilot the No. 26 Veterans Grow America Toyota in his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series start at his home track at Martinsville Speedway.
Garrett, an Elmo, Va. native, is a former South Boston Speedway track champion in the Limited Late Model division and current competitor for Sellers-Burton out of Danville, Va. in the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series. Garrett will be representing the 11/11 Veteran Project campaign, a movement that means a lot to him.
The 11/11 Veteran Project serves as a way to expand access to veteran and active-duty military programs to prevent suicide and assist veterans, active-duty military and their families across the country. Veterans Grow America will also be on the No. 26 this weekend. VGA provides a forum for veteran and military spouses to showcase and grow their businesses by partnering with local, state and federal veteran organizations to increate brand awareness. Garrett comes from a family of veterans and active-duty military and has dedicated his life to promoting and finding resources for them and their families. Garrett is also a driving instructor for active-duty military and first responders alongside his partner Racing for Heroes Tactical Mobility in Danville. He instructs tactical mobility training at Summit Point Raceway in Summit Point, West Virginia.