NASCAR Xfinity Series News & Notes – Daytona International Speedway

The 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series season is just around the corner and the stage has been set for Daytona International Speedway to host this weekend’s Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. 300 at 5 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. 300

The Place: Daytona International Speedway

The Date: Saturday, February 19

The Time: 5 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 4 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 300 miles (120 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 30),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 120)

2021 Race Winner: Austin Cindric

Last year’s action-packed season opener saw NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Austin Cindric hold off Brett Moffitt and Harrison Burton in a two-lap overtime to take the checkered flag. This victory marked his first on the 2.5-mile Daytona track.

The inaugural NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona was on February 13, 1982 and was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt. He went on to win six more Xfinity Series races in Daytona (1986,1990,1991,1992,1993,1994)

Saturday evening’s race will be 120 laps for 300 miles. Stage 1 will end on Lap 30 and Stage 2 will end on Lap 60.

The Xfinity Series’ first practice will be on Friday, Feb. 18 at 4:35 p.m. ET on FS1 and qualifying will take place at 11:35 a.m. ET on Saturday, Feb. 19.

Xfinity Series Champ Daniel Hemric is coming back for more

Daniel Hemric, the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion, will be competing in his No. 11 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet in hopes that his momentum from last season will carry over into this weekend. Last year, Hemric finished ninth in the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. 300.

Hemric’s 2021 victory in the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship race at Phoenix Raceway marked the first of his career. That season, he posted 15 top fives, 21 top 10s and led a career-high 663 laps.

He will also be doubling up his seat time this season and competing part-time in the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet in the NASCAR Cup Series where he won Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in 2019.

If Hemric goes back-to-back in Xfinity Series championships, he’ll be the eighth driver in series history to do so. Other drivers to achieve back-to-back Xfinity Series championships are Sam Ard, Larry Pearson, Randy LaJoie, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Tyler Reddick.

Xfinity Series: New Faces in New Places

This offseason, we saw some shuffling of drivers in the NASCAR Xfinity Series garage so don’t be surprised to see some new faces in new places.

Kaulig Racing picked up picked up a couple drivers that are sure to run well this season, including last year’s 2021 Xfinity Series Champ Daniel Hemric and Landon Cassill.

Hemric makes the jump to Kaulig Racing after driving with Joe Gibbs Racing last season where he made 33 starts. He has qualified for the Xfinity Series Playoffs three times and plans to come back to try for a fourth.

Cassill’s NASCAR career began in 2007 and since then, has polished his resume with impressive accomplishments such as being named the 2008 NASCAR Xfinity Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year and competing and posting top-five finishes in all three of NASCAR’s national series.

Another team to add some new names to the fulltime roster is JR Motorsports. This season, you can expect to see Sam Mayer and Josh Berry competing in bigger capacities.

Mayer made his Xfinity Series debut with JR Motorsports in the 2021 season but is coming back this season full-time. He tallied one top-five and six top-10 finishes and posted a best finish of fourth at Martinsville Speedway. In 2020, he won his first race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in just his seventh start.

Berry rejoins JR Motorsports fulltime after running part-time (22 starts) last season. He posted two wins at Martinsville and Las Vegas. He managed six top fives and 12 top 10s and was runner-up for the 2021 Sunoco Rookie of the Year award.

2022 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Class: Who will bring it home this year?

Last year, five drivers competed for NASCAR Xfinity Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year, but it was Ty Gibbs who won the title. He hit the ground running by winning his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut in Daytona and tallied four wins on the season to earn the award.

Now, we’re seeing some new, yet familiar faces vying for the title in 2022 – Sheldon Creed, Austin Hill and Jesse Iwuji.

Sheldon Creed: Creed has a diverse history of racing but his first stint with stock car racing began in 2016 after competing in the ARCA Menards Series, Trans-Am Series, ARCA Menards Series West and ultimately in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series events. In 2020, he was named the NASCAR Camping World Series champion, having won five races with GMS Racing. This season, he will be behind the wheel of the No. 2 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. In total, prior to this season he has made four starts in the Xfinity Series posting one top-10 finish.

Austin Hill: Hill is no stranger to NASCAR as he was a part of the NASCAR Next program in 2014 and 2015. During this time, he ran part-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and eventually made a name for himself. In 2019, he qualified for the Truck Series Playoffs for the first time in his career, posting four wins, seven top fives and 13 top 10s. (He has made the NCWTS Playoffs in both years following 2019).  That same year, he made his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and finished inside the top-10. This season, he will pilot the No. 21 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing.

Jesse Iwuji: Iwuji made his NASCAR national series debut in 2018 in the NASCAR Cup Series but cut his teeth in the ARCA Menards Series West in 2015 and has since worked his way to the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Before making his debut in the Xfinity Series in 2020 with MBM Motorsports, he was competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with Reaume Brothers Racing where he made four starts in 2020 and 2021, and five starts in 2019. Last year, Iwuji made one Xfinity Series start for Mike Harmon Racing.

Iwuji has partnered with National Football League Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith to form Jesse Iwuji Motorsports. He will be driving the No. 34 Chevrolet.

Daytona International Speedway: Quick Stats

Below are quick stats for the NASCAR Xfinity Series heading into the Beef. Its What’s for Dinner. 300 (5 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

  • Daytona International Speedway has hosted 60 NASCAR Xfinity Series races.
  • 34 different drivers have won at Daytona International Speedway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, led by Dale Earnhardt and Tony Stewart with seven wins each.
  • Only five races in history have been won from the pole or first starting position (2002, 2003, 2008, 2009, 2021).
  • Geoff Bodine still holds onto the race record from 1985 at 157.137 mph.
  • Qualifying Record – Tommy Houston (194.389 mph, 2/14/1987)
  • All-time Lap Leader – Dale Earnhardt Jr., 560 Laps Led
  • Single Race Laps Led Record – Joe Nemechek, 105 Laps Led (2/14/1998)

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Dash 4 Cash returns in 2022 – The NASCAR Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash program was designed to add elements of unpredictability and drama leading up to and during four designated races, increase on-track competition, engage fans and reward / recognize NASCAR Xfinity Series regular competitors.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash will take place at four tracks in 2022:

  • Circuit of The Americas (March 26)
  • Richmond Raceway (April 2)
  • Talladega Superspeedway (April 23)
  • Dover International Speedway (April 30)

Lots for Fans this week in Daytona – Fans can expect to enjoy more than just a great race. Rodney Atkins will be kicking things off on Tuesday, February 15 on the UNOH Fanzone stage at 8:00 p.m.

On Sunday, February 20, fans can get the fun started with Drew Parker at the UNOH Fanzone Stage then keep it going with Luke Combs for the DAYTONA 500 Pre-Race Show at 1:30 p.m.

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