Richard Childress Racing rookie Sheldon Creed put on quite the show last weekend at Darlington Raceway, finishing runner-up to JR Motorsports’ Noah Gragson after a last-lap, three car battle with Gragson and NASCAR Cup Series regular Kyle Larson.
Creed led a Xfinity Series career-high 47 laps but missed the win by a margin of victory of .794 seconds, which would’ve clinched his spot in the 2022 Playoffs. He now sits in the 13th position, the first spot outside the postseason cutoff, 16 points back from RSS Racing’s Ryan Sieg in the 12th and final Playoff spot on points.
Creed, and all Xfinity Series drivers without a win, now only have two opportunities to earn their spot in the postseason – this weekend at 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway in the Kansas Lottery 300 and next Friday under the lights in the Food City 300 at the famous half-mile Bristol Motor Speedway high-banked short track.
Looking to close the gap on Sieg this weekend, but this will be Creed’s first Xfinity Series start at Kansas Speedway in the series. Though Creed has run well on other 1.5-mile facilities this season, posting three top 10s in five races on 1.5-mile tracks – Las Vegas (seventh), Atlanta (ninth, 12th), Texas (26th), Charlotte (eighth).
Sieg, who currently sits in the final Playoff spot, has been making the trip to Kansas Speedway since 2013, posting three top fives and six top 10s in his 10 starts. His most recent finish at the track was fifth (2021).
Kansas Speedway and the NASCAR Xfinity Series
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After some action-packed racing at Darlington Raceway last weekend, the NASCAR Xfinity Series is back for more at Kansas Speedway for the Kansas Lottery 300 on Saturday, September 10 at 3 p.m. ET on USA, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
NASCAR Xfinity Series
- Next Race: Kansas Lottery 300
- The Place: Kansas Speedway
- The Date: Saturday, September 10
- The Time: 3 p.m. ET
- The Purse: $1,661,536
- TV: USA, 2:30 p.m. ET
- Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR (Channel 90)
- Distance: 300 miles (200 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45),
- Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)
Kansas Speedway, located just outside Kansas City, Kansas is a 1.5-mile track with variable banking in the turns (17 to 20 degrees). Kansas Speedway has hosted 22 NASCAR Xfinity Series races producing 15 different pole winners and 17 different race winners. The inaugural race was won by Jeff Green on September 29, 2001.
Only two races have been won from the pole or first starting position, most recently by Kyle Busch in 2016. Matt Kenseth set the qualifying record in 2015 with a speed of 184.906 mph while Christopher Bell set the race record in 2017 with a speed of 141.158 mph.
Kyle Busch is a known name at the track, currently holding the record for most wins (four), top fives (eight), top 10s (10), laps led (544) and is tied for most lead lap finishes at 10 with Justin Allgaier and Kevin Harvick in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Kansas Speedway is a very memorable place for some as it’s where Christopher Bell (2017), Brandon Jones (2019) and John Hunter Nemechek (2018) all scored their first Xfinity Series wins. Parker Kligerman (2009) and Tyler Reddick (2017) each won their first pole.
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ty Gibbs sits is the most recent winner at the track. If he goes back-to-back, he’ll become the fourth driver to do so, joining Joey Logano (2009, 2010), Kyle Busch (2014, 2015, 2016) and Brandon Jones (2019, 2020).
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will kick off its weekend with practice at 5:05 p.m. ET followed by qualifying at 5:35 p.m. ET on Friday, September 9 on the USA Network.
Two races. Five spots. Who’s in?
With two races remaining in the regular season before Playoffs kickoff for the Xfinity Series at Texas Motor Speedway on September 24, winless drivers are feeling the heat to cross the finish line and take their car to Victory Lane.
With more spots than races left in the regular season, points are going to weigh a lot more as we head into the Kansas Lottery 300 this weekend.
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 points
If there is a repeat winner or a win by a driver who cannot advance to the Playoffs, the following drivers could clinch by being 56 points above the fifth winless driver in the standings. The same point requirements listed below would hold true if a new win comes from among Riley Herbst, Sam Mayer, Daniel Hemric or Landon Cassill.
- Riley Herbst: Would clinch with 15 points
- Sam Mayer: Would clinch with 18 points
- Daniel Hemric: Could only clinch with help
- Landon Cassill: Could only clinch with help
If there is a new winner from Ryan Sieg or another winless driver lower in the standings but still eligible to advance to the Playoffs, the following drivers could clinch by being 56 points above the fourth winless driver in the standings.
- Riley Herbst: Would clinch with 33 points
- Sam Mayer: Would clinch with 36 points
- Daniel Hemric: Could only clinch with help
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, Brandon Brown, Anthony Alfredo, Myatt Snider
The following drivers could clinch with a win:
- Jeb Burton: Would clinch with 46 points
- Jeremy Clements: Could only clinch with help
Can clinch Regular Season Championship
Additionally, the Regular Season Championship could be clinched by the following drivers:
- AJ Allmendinger: Could only clinch with help
Stewart-Haas Racing’s Riley Herbst (651 points) and JR Motorsports’ Sam Mayer (648 points) are the highest ranked drivers without a win so you can be sure that they will be racing hard this weekend in hopes of taking the checkered flag.
Herbst has three starts at Kansas Speedway with one top 10 (2020). Mayer has one start at the 1.5-mile track where he posted an eight-place finish (2021).
NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.
Rajah Caruth is back in a Xfinity car – Rajah Caruth, a product of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Development Program, drives full time in the ARCA Menards Series but has been getting his feet wet in the Xfinity Series this season and will continue to do so this weekend at Kansas Speedway.
He’s had three starts thus far – Richmond, Dover and Pocono – and will post his fourth start in the Kansas Lottery 300 in the No. 45 Alpha Prime Racing Chevrolet.
Sunoco Rookie of the Year update – It’s crunch time in the regular season but Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Hill has created a pretty hefty cushion between himself and the competition. Going into this weekend’s race at Kansas, he leads the group with 740 points.
RCR teammate Sheldon Creed had a great performance last weekend and comes in next with 539 points. He has posted three top fives and 10 top 10s this season.
Kyle Sieg sits in third with 204 points and Jesse Iwuji slides in next with 84 points.