NASCAR Xfinity Series – Friday Night Under Lights at Daytona International Speedway

Just four races remain in the NASCAR Xfinity Series regular season (Daytona, Darlington, Kansas and Bristol) and a lot can happen to shake up the standings as the 2022 season winds down. After a weekend of road course racing at Watkins Glen International, the Xfinity Series returns to the World Center of Racing – Daytona International Speedway – for the Wawa 250 Powered by Coca Cola on Friday, August 26 under the lights at 7:30 p.m. ET  on USA, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).

This weekend marks the second time the Xfinity Series has competed at Daytona International Speedway this season. The last time the Xfinity competitors battled it out in Daytona was in February for the season opener, where Richard Childress Racing’s rookie Austin Hill took the checkered flag.

The iconic track has produced 35 different race winners and 42 different pole winners in 61 Xfinity Series races.

Veteran Joe Nemechek leads the NASCAR Xfinity Series in poles at Daytona with four poles (2001, 2002 sweep and 2005). Seven of the 42 Xfinity Series pole winners are active this weekend.

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NASCAR Hall of Famers Dale Earnhardt and Tony Stewart are tied with the series-most Xfinity wins at Daytona with seven each. Only four of the 35 different Xfinity winners are active this weekend at Daytona – Joe Nemechek (two wins: 1998, 2002), Justin Haley (two wins: 2020, 2021), Noah Gragson (2020) and Austin Hill (2022). Haley is looking to become the first driver to win three consecutive Xfinity Summer Daytona races since the series started coming to the 2.5-mile track twice a year in 2002.

Five Xfinity Daytona races have been won from the pole or first starting position, most recently by Austin Cindric in the 2021 season opener. William Byron currently sits as the track’s youngest Xfinity winner, a feat he accomplished in 2017 at 19 years, six months and one day; while Bobby Allison sits as the oldest winner at 50 years, two months and 10 days old.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will be skipping practice this weekend and will dive straight into qualifying at 3:05 p.m. ET on Friday, August 26 on USA Network.

NASCAR Xfinity Series

  • Next Race: Wawa 250 Powered by Coca-Cola
  • The Place: Daytona International Speedway
  • The Date: Friday, August 26
  • The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
  • The Purse: $1,756,567
  • TV: USA, 7 p.m. ET
  • Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR (Channel 90)
  • Distance: 250 miles (100 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 30),
  • Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 100)

Need a win? Daytona might just be the place

In the 61 NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Daytona International Speedway, eight have granted drivers their first series career win and with just four races left in the 2022 regular season, several drivers entered this weekend would like to add their name to the winner’s column.

NASCAR Hall of Famers Dale Earnhardt (1982) and Tony Stewart (2005) are joined by Chad Little (1995), James Buescher (2021), Ryan Reed (2015), Michael Annett (2019), Noah Gragson (2020) and Austin Hill (2022) as the eight competitors that earned their first career Xfinity Series win at Daytona.

This weekend, 27 of the 43 drivers entered are looking for their first NASCAR Xfinity Series career victory.

Austin Hill looks for the 2022 sweep at Daytona

Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Hill hoped to kick off his first full-time season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with a bang, and that he did.

In his second-ever Xfinity Series start at Daytona International Speedway, Hill snatched the win from veteran AJ Allmendinger, who finished in the runner-up position, followed by Noah Gragson in third, Riley Herbst in fourth and Justin Allgaier rounded out the top-five.

But Hill wasn’t done touting his superspeedway prowess as the Georgia native went on to win again at the second Atlanta Motor Speedway race of the season back in July

With two wins, nine top fives and 14 top 10s racked up this season thus far, the rookie Hill will look to join NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Jr. and become just the second driver all-time to sweep both NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Daytona in a single season.

Prior to Watkins Glen, Hill was on an eight-week streak that consisted of one win, four top fives and eight top 10s. Hill will definitely have his work cut out for him as a couple previous Daytona winners are entered for this Friday’s Wawa 250 Powered by Coca Cola – Justin Haley (2020, 2021) who will be making his first Xfinity Series start of the 2022 season in the No. 14 Chevrolet with Kaulig Racing, veteran Joe Nemechek (1998, 2002) and JR Motorsports’ Noah Gragson (2020).

Clinch Scenarios: It’s Crunch Time!

With a Kyle Larson win last weekend at Watkins Glen International, drivers will be pushing the limits at Daytona for one of the five remaining spots in the 12-driver Playoff field. Below is a look at the clinch scenarios heading into Friday’s race at Daytona International Speedway:

Already Clinched

The following seven drivers have clinched a spot in the 12-driver postseason field: AJ Allmendinger, Ty Gibbs, Justin Allgaier, Noah Gragson, Josh Berry, Austin Hill, Brandon Jones.

Can clinch via win

The following drivers would clinch on their win alone:

  • Riley Herbst, Sam Mayer, Daniel Hemric, Landon Cassill, Ryan Sieg, Sheldon Creed

The following drivers could clinch with a win:

  • Anthony Alfredo: Could only clinch with help
  • Brandon Brown: Could only clinch with help

For the drivers that could clinch on their win alone, let’s take a look at how they’ve done at Daytona:

  • Riley Herbst – Has posted two top fives and three top 10s in six starts
  • Sam Mayer – Two starts with a best finish of 12th in this race last season
  • Daniel Hemric – Has posted one top five and three top 10s in eight starts
  • Landon Cassill – Has made 10 starts with one top five and one top 10
  • Sheldon Creed – Has made two starts with a best finish of sixth earlier this season

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Double duty for some Xfinity Series drivers – Four Xfinity Series regulars will be getting extra time on the track this weekend – Ty Gibbs, Noah Gragson, Landon Cassill and Daniel Hemric.

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ty Gibbs had to unexpectedly step in for Kurt Busch earlier this season and will continue to pilot the No. 45 Toyota through Daytona. Although this will be his first Cup Series start at the track, he has posted one Xfinity Series start in Daytona (2022) where he finished 11th.

Noah Gragson has already punched his ticket to the NASCAR Cup Series in 2023, so some extra time getting a feel for the Next Gen car doesn’t hurt. He’ll be driving the No. 62 Beard Motorsports Chevrolet for his second Cup Series Daytona start.

Landon Cassill will be making his 18th Cup Series Daytona start in the No. 77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet this weekend. His best finish at the 2.5-mile track was 11th in the 2019 summer race.

Daniel Hemric will be making his fourth Cup Series start at Daytona in the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet. His best finish was 12th earlier this season.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. joining Big Machine Racing at Daytona – NASCAR Cup Series regular and two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion (2011-2012) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will kick off his double-duty weekend with Big Machine Racing in the No. 48 Chevrolet in the Wawa 250 Powered by Coca Cola. This will be his second Xfinity Series start of the 2022 season.

Stenhouse is yet to post a Xfinity Series win at Daytona. His last stint at the 2.5-mile track in the Xfinity Series was in 2012 where he started the race in the first starting position and finished runner-up.

Father-son duo in Daytona – Joe and John Hunter Nemechek will be competing against each other this weekend not only as father and son, but also as teammates. They both will be joining Sam Hunt Racing, Joe in the No. 24 Toyota and John Hunter in the No. 26 Toyota.

This will not be the first time they have competed against each other. They first lined up on the grid together in 2017 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in Daytona. Since then, they have run three Cup races, 13 Xfinity races and 29 Truck races against each other. However, the last time they competed as teammates was in 2019 at Phoenix Raceway.

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