The NASCAR Xfinity Series will be taking on their fourth road course of the season this weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course for the Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard on Saturday, July 30 at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC, IMS Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90) as the second event of a tripleheader weekend with the NTT IndyCar Series and the NASCAR Cup Series.
- Next Race: Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard
- The Place: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course
- The Date: Saturday, July 30
- The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
- The Purse: $1,750,651
- TV: NBC, 3 p.m. ET
- Radio: IMS, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
- Distance: 151.22 miles (62 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 20),
- Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 40), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 62)
The Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard this weekend will be the third Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course. The previous two races have produced two different winners – Chase Briscoe (2020) and Austin Cindric (2021) and one pole winner – A.J. Allmendinger (2021). Qualifying was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Although Cindric is not entered in this weekend’s Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard to defend his 2021 win, Briscoe will be behind the wheel of the No. 07 SS Greenlight Racing Ford in hopes of becoming the track’s first repeat winner.
One driver looking to give Briscoe a run for his money this weekend is the NASCAR Xfinity Series winningest driver on road courses, Kaulig Racing’s A.J. Allmendinger, who won the pole and went on to post a runner-up finish in the Xfinity Series race before going on to win the NASCAR Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course last season.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will first fire-up the engines this weekend with practice at 3:01 p.m. ET followed by qualifying at 3:31 p.m. ET on USA Network and streamed on the NBC Sports app.
Ty Gibbs makes unexpected Cup Series debut at Pocono, will do it again at Indianapolis
With eight wins, 17 top fives and 21 top 10s in Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ty Gibbs’ 37 NASCAR Xfinity Series starts, there was a lot of speculation on when the 19-year-old driver would make his NASCAR Cup Series debut, but everyone got their answer last weekend after the driver of the No. 45 23XI Racing Toyota, Kurt Busch, was not cleared to run in Sunday’s M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400 at Pocono Raceway following an incident during Busch Light Pole Qualifying and Gibbs was asked to fill in.
Gibbs was coming off a runner-up finish in his Xfinity Series race last Saturday and had to quickly shift gears to prepare for his first-ever Cup Series start. Although his only prior experience in a Cup Series car was on a simulator, he stayed out of trouble, completed all 160 laps, and pulled off a 16th-place finish.
“It’s a learning day. I felt like I learned a lot,” said Gibbs following his Cup Series debut at Pocono. “I’m very thankful. It was close to almost a top 15. It was fun racing with Brad (Keselowski). Never thought I’d race with these guys. It was just cool being next to them on the track. So, to 10-year-old Ty, that means a lot.”
With confidence of a solid Cup start in his back pocket, Gibbs now turns his attention to this weekend’s Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course where he will be asked again to fill in for Busch in the No. 45 23XI Racing Toyota. The team made the following official announcement on Thursday, July 27.
“Following evaluations this week to gain medical clearance after his wreck at Pocono Raceway last weekend, Busch has not been cleared by the NASCAR medical team to return to competition this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course. Ty Gibbs will once again fill in for Busch in the No. 45 Monster Energy Toyota Camry TRD. Kurt’s health is of the utmost concern to the team, and we wish him all the best for a speedy return. Kurt Busch has been granted a medical waiver from NASCAR and remains eligible for the Playoffs. The team will not be making any further comments about the matter at this time.”
The North Carolina native, Gibbs, made his Xfinity Series track debut at the Indianapolis Road Course last season when he started fifth but finished 19th.
Gibbs currently leads the NASCAR Xfinity Series with four wins this season, the most recent on a road course – Road America on July 2. He also has Xfinity wins at the Daytona Road Course (2021) and Watkins Glen (2021).
Playoff Picture: Seven races to go, five postseason spots still open
The NASCAR Xfinity Series has had repeat winners in Victory Lane for seven consecutive weeks and as a result the pressure to make the Playoffs with seven races to go is palpable. Time is running out for the competitors vying for one of the five remaining postseason spots, as the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs start at Texas Motor Speedway on Sept. 24.
Seven drivers have already earned a spot in the 12-driver Playoff field by virtue of their wins this season – Ty Gibbs (four wins), Justin Allgaier (three), Noah Gragson (three), AJ Allmendinger (two), Josh Berry (two), Austin Hill (two) and Brandon Jones (one).
JR Motorsport’s driver Sam Mayer sits in the eighth position in the Xfinity Series Playoff outlook, the highest ranked driver without a win. Mayer is currently 139 points above the postseason cutline. This season, Mayer has posted eight top fives and 10 top 10s and is coming off a sixth-place finish last weekend at Pocono Raceway. He’ll be going into this weekend’s race looking for redemption after falling victim to an incident in last season’s Indianapolis race that relegated him to a 27th-place finish.
Stewart-Haas Racing’s Riley Herbst takes the ninth position the Xfinity Series Playoff outlook standings, 114 points above the cutline following Pocono and goes into this weekend’s race with a top-10 finish at the Indianapolis Road Course (2021). Although road courses haven’t been his strong suit this season (aside from a top-10 finish at Road America), he’s posted five top fives and 12 top 10s this season.
Kaulig Racing’s Daniel Hemric slides in at 10th in the Xfinity Series Playoff outlook and sits with 93 points up on the Playoff cutoff. The defending series champion has put up two top fives and eight top 10s this season. The Kannapolis, North Carolina native, made his series track debut at the Indianapolis Road Course and posted a 12th-place finish.
RSS Racing’s driver Ryan Sieg has managed to hold on to the 11th position on the Xfinity Series Playoff outlook, one of the last two positions to earn a spot in the postseason on points. Sieg is currently 57 points up on the postseason cutline heading into this weekend at Indianapolis. The Georgia native has made two series starts at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course posting a best finish of 17th (2020).
Kaulig Racing’s Landon Cassill, though hanging onto the 12th and final Playoff transfer position on points, is having the best NASCAR Xfinity Series season of his career. Cassill is currently 47 points up on the Playoff cutline. In 19 starts this season, he has posted three top fives and eight top 10s. Cassill has one start under his belt at the Indianapolis Road Course (2021) and worked his way up to a 17th-place finish after starting in the 33rd position.
Following the race in New Hampshire, Brandonbilt Motorsports’ Brandon Brown was sitting just outside the Playoff cutoff in 13th, but Richard Childress Racing’s rookie Sheldon Creed has been on a run these last few races making up points and taking the spot. Creed finished fifth at Pocono and is now 47 points back from Kaulig Racing’s Landon Cassill heading into this weekend. Brown is now 14th in the Xfinity Series Playoff outlook, 66 points below the postseason cutline. Creed will look to close the gap this weekend on Cassill but will have his work cut for him as this will be his series track debut at the 2.439-mile course.
Level Up: The more Cup contenders the merrier
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course seems to be a popular circuit amongst drivers as six NASCAR Cup Series regulars are entered to run double duty this weekend – Chase Briscoe, Ty Dillon, Alex Bowman, Bubba Wallace, Austin Dillon and Ross Chastain.
Briscoe will be looking for another Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course win in the No. 07 SS Greenlight Racing Ford. This will be his first Xfinity Series start of 2022 and his second start at the track where he won back in 2020.
Ty Dillon will be joining the JD Motorsports team in the No. 6 Chevrolet. This will be his third Xfinity Series start in 2022 (other starts were at Road America and New Hampshire) and his first at the track. Dillon’s lone Xfinity Series career win came at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (oval) in 2014.
Alex Bowman will be behind the wheel of the No. 17 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet for his first Xfinity Series start since 2018. Hendrick Motorsports is running a part-time schedule this season with the No. 17. Bowman has yet to give the Indianapolis Road Course a go in the Xfinity Series, but he does have one start in the Cup Series where he finished 17th.
Bubba Wallace will be piloting the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota for his second road course Xfinity Series start this season; his other start was earlier this season at COTA where he finished 28th. This will be his first Xfinity Series start at the Indianapolis Road Course but last season, he gave the circuit a go in the Cup Series and finished 13th after starting in the 27th position.
Austin Dillon will be driving the No. 68 Brandonbilt Motorsports Chevrolet for this weekend’s Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard. This will be his second Xfinity Series start of 2022 and his second at the track – he finished sixth in last season’s race.
Ross Chastain will be in the No. 92 DGM Racing Chevrolet for his second Xfinity Series start of the season, after running at COTA in March. He has one Xfinity start at the Indianapolis Road Course where he finished in sixth (2020).
NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.
Xfinity Drivers running double duty in Indianapolis – Aside from the six NASCAR Cup Series competitors that are getting two races in this weekend, a couple other drivers are getting a little extra track time this weekend as well – A.J. Allmendinger and Kaz Grala.
Allmendinger will hop into the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet on Sunday after running in the Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard for his 11th Cup Series start this season. In his 10 starts thus far, he has posted two top 10s, one of which was on a road course (Road America).
Grala will kick off his weekend at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park driving the No. 02 Young’s Motorsports Chevrolet in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, then make his way over to Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course to drive the No. 48 Big Machine Racing Chevrolet in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. This will be his sixth Xfinity Series start of 2022.
Back to the beginning – Two drivers have made their first NASCAR Xfinity Series career starts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course – Jade Buford and Sage Karam. While Buford won’t be competing in any NASCAR national series races this weekend, Karam, an NTT IndyCar and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship driver, will be back at his debut track in the No. 45 Alpha Prime Racing Chevrolet for his sixth Xfinity Series start of the season. His best finish this season was 16th, which was at COTA’s road course in Austin.
Santino Ferrucci on stand-by for Josef Newgarden– Santino Ferrucci has made one Xfinity Series start this season (Pocono) and is entered in this weekend’s Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard with the No. 26 Sam Hunt Racing Ford, but that is not all he has on his schedule this weekend.
Aside from his Xfinity Series responsibilities, Ferrucci will also be on stand-by for two-time NTT IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden. The 31-year-old driver had to go to the hospital following a race at Iowa Speedway on Sunday and has not yet been cleared to compete this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Per IndyCar protocol, Newgarden will be reevaluated on Thursday.