NASCAR Xfinity Series News & Notes – Phoenix Raceway

Last year’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year and Joe Gibbs Racing driver, Ty Gibbs, won his first race of the 2022 season in the ALSCO Uniforms 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last weekend.

The win marked the fifth victory in his NASCAR Xfinity Series career, having previously won at the Daytona Road Course, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Watkins Glen International and Kansas Speedway during his rookie campaign last season. Now the rising star is looking to keep the momentum going this weekend at Phoenix Raceway.

It’s no surprise that the 19-year-old, Gibbs, has had success in his NASCAR Xfinity Series career thus far. With Coy Gibbs and NASCAR Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs to show you the ropes, one can assume that Ty Gibbs is gaining a lot of expertise – and it shows. Last season. Gibbs became the sixth driver in NASCAR Xfinity Series history to win in his series debut, joining Dale Earnhardt (Daytona, 1982), Joe Ruttman (Dover, 1982), Ricky Rudd (Dover, 1983), Terry Labonte (Charlotte, 1985) and Kurt Busch (Texas, 2006). That same season, he also won the ARCA Menards Series Championship and of course, the NASCAR Xfinity Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors.

Gibbs will look to post his second win of the season at Phoenix Raceway this weekend. He currently sits in second place in the series driver standings with 127 points, just 17 points behind Noah Gragson in the standings lead. Gibbs was impressive in his series track debut at Phoenix Raceway last season (Spring race); he started 27th and raced his way up to a runner-up finish.

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: United Rentals 200

The Place: Phoenix Raceway

The Date: Saturday, March 12

The Time: 4:30 p.m. ET

The Purse: $1,344,059

TV: FS1, 3:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 200 miles (200 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)

2021 Race Winner: Austin Cindric

NASCAR Xfinity Series stays in the desert

For the fourth race of the season, the NASCAR Xfinity Series is jumping from Las Vegas Motor Speedway to Phoenix Raceway for the United Rentals 200 on Saturday, March 12 at 4:30 p.m. ET (FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

This will be the 41st NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the 1-mile track that has had 20 different pole winners and 21 different race winners in the series. Kyle Busch leads the Xfinity Series with 11 wins (2007, 2008, 2010, twice in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2019) and 10 poles at Phoenix.

Fans were last in Phoenix for the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship and saw Daniel Hemric beat Austin Cindric by a margin of 0.030-second, which is the smallest margin of victory in Phoenix Raceway history for a NASCAR Xfinity Series race.

Hemric returns to Phoenix Raceway this weekend hoping to become the third different driver to win back-to-back races at the 1-mile track; joining Kyle Busch (2007-2008; 2013 sweep-2014; 2015-2016 sweep) and Austin Cindric (2020-2021).

Joining Hemric for a shot at a second victory at Phoenix Raceway is his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Brandon Jones who won in 2020. Also, on the list of previous winners competing this weekend is JR Motorsport’s Justin Allgaier, who is looking for a three-peat after having won in 2017 and 2019.

It appears the three drivers are itching for their first win of the season as they all posted a top-10 finish last weekend at Las Motor Speedway – Hemric (third-place), Allgaier (fifth-place) and Jones (10thplace).

Xfinity Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Update

Through three this season the 2022 Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings are starting to tighten up. Following his Daytona win to open the season Austin Hill still leads the rookie standings with 74 points, followed by Sheldon Creed with 66 points, Kyle Sieg with 21 points and Jesse Iwuji with 14 points.

For the driver of the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, things are starting look up. Sheldon Creed posted his second top-10 finish this season, finishing the ALSCO Uniforms 300 in seventh. His other top 10 was in Daytona where he placed sixth.

But for Creed’s RCR teammate Austin Hill, things haven’t gone as planned after his win in Daytona. This past weekend in Las Vegas, he was involved in an incident that left him in 31st place.

Jesse Iwuji also met the same fate in Las Vegas, finishing in 34th-place after an incident with 44 laps to go.

Heading into Phoenix, three of the four rookies made their NASCAR Xfinity Series track debut at Phoenix Raceway last November with Sheldon Creed putting up the best finish with a 10th, followed by Kyle Sieg’s 27th and Jesse Iwuji’s 30th. Austin Hill is the lone rookie this weekend making his series track debut.

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Different Faces in Familiar Places – This weekend in Phoenix Raceway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series garage fans will notice several different faces piloting the cars they have become familiar with in the United Rentals 200 on Saturday.

Joe Gibbs Racing has tapped 2011 Daytona 500 winner, Trevor Bayne to jump back in the No. 18 Toyota this weekend in Phoenix. Bayne has made 10 Xfinity Series starts at Phoenix collecting one top-five and six top-10 finishes. His last start at Phoenix in the series was back in 2014.

Sam Hunt Racing will have NASCAR Camping World Truck Series star John Hunter Nemechek grappling the No. 26 Toyota this weekend in Phoenix. Look for Nemechek to have a good run this weekend, in his four previous starts at the 1-mile track he has posted one top five and four top 10s.

And Reaume Brothers Racing is welcoming our international friend Loris Hezemans, from Eindhoven, Netherlands, to pilot the No. 33 Toyota this weekend. Hezemans will attempt to make his 2022 season debut and just his second series career start at Phoenix Raceway. In his first start at the 1-mile track he started 40th and finished 31st in this race last season.

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