NASCAR Xfinity Series Prepares for Pocono’s Tricky Triangle

In a fun-filled Saturday doubleheader of racing at Pocono Raceway, the NASCAR Xfinity Series will take to the 2.5-mile track for the Explore The Pocono Mountains 225 at 5 p.m. ET (USA Network, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) just after the conclusion the of the CRC Brakleen 150 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular season finale that starts at noon ET (FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

The three-turn, 2.5-mile paved Pocono Raceway has produced six different winners in as many races and three different pole winners.

Kyle Benjamin became the youngest pole winner in 2017 at 19 years, seven months and seven days old while Cole Custer became the oldest pole winner in 2019 at 21 years, four months and nine days old. Custer also earned the title of youngest winner in 2019, having won the race from the pole. Brad Keselowski became the oldest series winner at Pocono in 2017 at 33 years, three months and 29 days old.

Last season, Team Penske’s Austin Cindric took the win over Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ty Gibbs by .331-seconds after starting in the 13th position. Fan favorites Justin Allgaier, Noah Gragson and AJ Allmendinger rounded out the top five.

Among those entered this weekend, Justin Allgaier, Jeremy Clements, Ryan Sieg and Brandon Jones are the only full-time Xfinity Series drivers that have made every start at the track and will make their seventh start at the track this weekend. And of the drivers entered in this weekend’s Xfinity race, Cole Custer is the only previous winner at the 2.5-mile raceway (2019). This weekend, Custer will be back in the No. 07 SS-Greenlight Racing with Jeff Lefcourt Ford, the same team he won with earlier this season at Auto Club Speedway.

The on-track activity for the Xfinity Series will kick off with practice on Saturday, July 23 at 9:35 a.m. ET followed by qualifying at 10:05 a.m. ET. Both events will be televised on the USA Network starting 9:30 a.m. ET.

NASCAR Xfinity Series

  • Next Race: Explore The Pocono Mountains 225
  • The Place: Pocono Raceway
  • The Date: Sunday, July 23
  • The Time: 5 p.m. ET
  • The Purse: $1,337,905
  • TV: USA, 5 p.m. ET
  • Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
  • Distance: 225 miles (90 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 20),
  • Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 40), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 90)

Hot Streak: Will the Xfinity Pocono different winners streak continue?

Could one of the NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers entered this weekend be ‘Lucky No. 7’? The seventh different Xfinity Series Pocono Raceway winner that is, as the last six races have produced a hot streak of six different winners from 2016-2021. Only one of the six former winners is entered this weekend, Cole Custer, making the odds in the favor of the streak to continue, but they don’t call it the Tricky Triangle for nothing.

Pocono Raceway has seen a different driver in Victory Lane every year since Kyle Larson won the inaugural event in 2016, since then Brad Keselowski (2017), Kyle Busch (2018), Cole Custer (2019), Chase Briscoe (2020) and Austin Cindric (2021) have all hoisted a trophy in the famed Victory Lane.

Interestingly, all the previous Xfinity Pocono winners are now full-time NASCAR Cup Series drivers, but Cole Custer will be driving the No.07 SS Greenlight Racing with Jeff Lefcourt Ford for this weekend’s Pocono Xfinity race in hopes of becoming the series’ first repeat winner at the unique track. The 24-year-old driver has three starts at the 2.5-mile speedway, posting two poles, one win (2019), two top fives and three top 10s.

Another driver to watch this weekend that might possibly keep the streak alive, was last season’s Pocono Raceway runner-up finisher, Ty Gibbs. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver almost won last season’s Pocono event and this year leads the series in wins with four victories through 18 races.

JRM’s Justin Allgaier vying for his first title 

JR Motorsports’ Justin Allgaier snagged his third victory of the season, and 19th of his NASCAR Xfinity Series career, last weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and doesn’t seem to be letting up in his hunt for a first career title any time soon.

The 36-year-old veteran driver, Allgaier, has been putting up numbers all season long, currently sitting with three wins (Darlington, Nashville, New Hampshire), eight top fives and 12 top 10s – second-most wins this season behind Ty Gibbs’ four.

His record number of wins for one single season is five – a feat he accomplished in 2018 – and with 15 races left this year, he could very well set a new record for himself.

Of the races left on the schedule – Pocono, Indianapolis RC, Michigan, Watkins Glen, Daytona, Darlington, Kansas, Bristol, Texas, Talladega, Charlotte, Las Vegas, Homestead, Martinsville and Phoenix – he has posted top-five and/or top-10 finishes at all 15 tracks and has wins at Darlington (two), Bristol (one) and Phoenix Raceway (two).

Looking to this weekend at the Tricky Triangle, Allgaier will be making his seventh career start. In his previous six starts he’s posted two top fives and three top 10s. He finished third in tis event last season.

Playoff Bubble: Cassill holds on thanks to another repeat winner

Several drivers were hoping to post a win in New Hampshire this past weekend and secure their spot in the Playoffs, but Justin Allgaier stole that opportunity, and now the drivers vying for the final five spots in the postseason will have to try their luck again this weekend at Pocono Raceway.

Seven drivers can breathe easy going into this weekend’s Explore The Pocono Mountains 225 on Saturday, July 23 (USA Network, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) as they’ve already earned their spot in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs on wins – Ty Gibbs (four), Justin Allgaier (three), AJ Allmendinger (two), Noah Gragson (two), Josh Berry (two), Austin Hill (two) and Brandon Jones (one).

Sam Mayer (the highest ranked driver in the points without a win) still sits in the eighth-place position and hopes to join his JR Motorsports teammates Allgaier, Berry and Gragson in the Playoffs. The 19-year-old driver is 151 points above the cutline and has posted eight top fives and nine top 10s in his 18 starts this season. Mayer made his Xfinity Series debut last season at Pocono Raceway, finishing in 18th-place.

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Riley Herbst slides into the ninth position in the Playoff outlook, 132 points above the cutline with two Pocono starts under his belt. In 2020, he raced his way to a top-10 finish after starting in the 24th position, but last year, fell victim to an incident and finished in 35th.

2021 Xfinity Series champ and current Kaulig Racing driver, Daniel Hemric, holds the 10th position in the Playoff outlook with 465 points, 104 points above the cutline after he’s posted two top fives and seven top 10s this season. The North Carolina native is still looking for first win of the season, but has four starts at the Tricky Triangle, posting one top five and three top 10s.

In the final two slots on the Playoff outlook are drivers Ryan Sieg and Landon Cassill. Sieg sits 78 points above the cutline and Cassill, despite being disqualified in post-race inspection last weekend at New Hampshire, is 61 points above the Playoff cutoff. Sieg is one of only four drivers that has made every start at the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway, but he hasn’t had the best of luck with a best finish of 12th in his six starts. Cassill’s only Xfinity Series start at Pocono was last season and he finished 21st.

For several weeks, Anthony Alfredo was sitting just outside the cutline in 13th but after last weekend’s race, Brandon Brown now takes the spot while Alfredo moved down to 15th. Brown has given the Pocono track a go three times and has a best finish of 13th (2019).

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Regular Season Championship chase heats up – Kaulig Racing’s AJ Allmendinger still leads the NASCAR Xfinity Series driver standings with 702 points, but with Justin Allgaier’s win last Saturday at New Hampshire, he now claims the second-place spot 16 points back and Ty Gibbs sits in third 28 points back as the series heads to Pocono Raceway with eight races left in the regular season .

Whoever wins the NASCAR Xfinity Series Regular Season championship will guarantee their spot in the postseason and pocket 15 bonus Playoff points.

Since the inception of the regular season title in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2017, five different drivers have won the prestigious award – Elliott Sadler (2017), Justin Allgaier (2018), Tyler Reddick (2019), Austin Cindric (2020) and AJ Allmendinger (2021).

Sunoco Rookie of the Year Update – The 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year class now have 18 races under their belts heading into this weekend’s event at Pocono Raceway.

With two wins (Daytona and Atlanta), Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Hill is leading the competition with 569 points and currently sits in sixth in the series driver standings. In 18 starts, Hill has put up two wins, eight top fives and 11 top 10s. He has also led 219 laps this season.

Hill’s RCR teammate, Sheldon Creed slides in next in the rookie points this season with 359 points. Creed is currently two slots back from the Playoff cutline (-79) in the postseason outlook. In 18 starts, Creed has managed one top five and seven top 10s.

Kyle Sieg and Jesse Iwuji close out the rookie standings with 132 points and 58 points, respectively.

Drivers pulling double duty at Pocono – Along with Cole Custer, NASCAR Cup Series regular Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will be getting extra laps this weekend by competing in the Explore The Pocono Mountains 225 on Saturday, July 23.

The two-time Xfinity Series champion, Stenhouse Jr., will sit behind the wheel of the No. 48 Big Machine Racing Chevrolet. This will be his ninth ever Xfinity Series start. The last time he ran a Xfinity Series race was at Phoenix Raceway in 2016 where he posted a third-place finish.

Xfinity drivers Noah Gragson and JJ Yeley will be vying for a win in the NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday, as well. Gragson will be driving the No. 16 Chevrolet for Kaulig Racing while JJ Yeley will get behind the No. 15 Rick Ware Racing Ford.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular Timmy Hill will also be running two races this weekend. He will be piloting the No. 13 MBM Motorsports Toyota for his fourth Xfinity Series start of the season. His other three starts this season were at Darlington, Texas, and Charlotte.

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