NASCAR Xfinity Series News & Notes – Daytona International Speedway

The wait is finally over! The NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers are well-rested and ready to kick off the 2023 season at Daytona International Speedway with the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. 300 on Saturday, February 18 at 5 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR radio.

Last year’s action-packed season opener proved that Daytona International Speedway is a place where anyone can find themselves in Victory Lane as fans saw rookie Austin Hill take the checkered flag, holding off Xfinity Series vets, AJ Allmendinger and Noah Gragson, on his dash to the finish line.

This will be the 63rd Xfinity Series race at the 2.5-mile Daytona track. The inaugural NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona was on February 13, 1982 and was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt. He went on to win six more Xfinity Series races in Daytona (1986,1990,1991,1992,1993,1994).

There have been 42 different pole winners and 36 different race winners with William Byron earning the title of youngest winner in 2017 at 19 years, six months and one day old and Bobby Allison becoming the oldest winner in 1988 at 50 years, two months and 10 days old.

Only five races have been won from the pole or first starting position, most recently by Austin Cindric in 2021.

A few drivers are etched in the Daytona International Speedway Xfinity Series record book – Geoff Bodine set the race record in 1985 with a speed of 157.137 mph and Tommy Houston holds the qualifying record with his 1987 speed of 194.389 mph. Joe Nemechek holds the record for most poles (five) and laps completed (3,526) while Dale Earnhardt and Tony Stewart are tied for most Xfinity Series wins at seven each.

Drivers will hit the grid for practice on Friday, February 17 at 4:35 p.m.ET followed by qualifying on Saturday, February 18 at 11:30 a.m. ET.

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. 300

The Place: Daytona International Speedway

The Date: Saturday, February 18

The Time: 5 p.m. ET

The Purse: $3,327,595

TV: FS1, 4 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 300 miles (120 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 30),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 120)

Coming in hot: Three previous winners entered this weekend at Daytona

Daytona International Speedway is a historic track that every driver wants to conquer, and three drivers entered in this weekend’s Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. 300 already have – Justin Haley, Austin Hill and Jeremy Clements.

Justin Haley joins a short list of drivers that have multiple Xfinity Series wins at Daytona with his 2020 and 2021 trips to Victory Lane. In total, he has eight starts at the track with two wins, three top fives and four top 10s.

This weekend, he will be behind the wheel of the No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet for his shot to add a third Daytona win to his resume. If he accomplishes the feat, he will be the sixth different driver to win three or more Xfinity Series races at Daytona; joining Dale Earnhardt (seven wins), Tony Stewart (seven wins), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (six), Darrell Waltrip (three) and Randy Lajoie (three).

Austin Hill made headlines this time last year with his season-opening win at Daytona International Speedway as a rookie with Richard Childress Racing. He will be back this weekend with some experience under his belt, once again behind the wheel of his No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet for his fourth stint at the iconic superspeedway.

Daytona’s most recent Xfinity Series winner is veteran Jeremy Clements. He will be piloting his No. 51 Jeremy Clements Racing Chevrolet for his 26th start at the 2.5-mile track. In his previous 25 starts, he has posted one win, one top five and three top 10s.

New Year. New Sunoco Rookie of the Year Class

Last year, four drivers competed for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors, but it was Austin Hill who snagged the title with his two wins, 11 top fives and 21 top 10s.

Now, we’re seeing some new, yet familiar faces vying for the 2023 title – Sammy Smith, Parker Retzlaff, Chandler Smith and Blaine Perkins.

Sammy Smith will be in the running this season behind the wheel of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. He made his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut last season at Road America and went on to make another eight starts, posting one top five and three top 10s. He joins the Xfinity Series this season as the back-to-back ARCA Menards Series East champion (2021, 2022). Smith will be working with crew chief Jeff Meendering this season.

Parker Retzlaff will be piloting the No. 31 Jordan Anderson Racing Chevrolet this weekend to kick off his quest of becoming the Sunoco Rookie of the Year. He made his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut last season at Richmond Raceway, where he posted a top 10. Retzlaff will be collaborating with crew chief Joshua Graham this season.

Chandler Smith will also be in the running behind the wheel of the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet. Smith is no stranger to winning the Sunoco Rookie of the Year title, as he won the honors in 2021 in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series. He comes into this season with three Xfinity Starts, all of which were last season with Sam Hunt Racing. He posted one top 10 at Homestead Miami Speedway. Smith will be working with crew chief Bruce Schlicker.

Blaine Perkins closes out the competition. He will be driving the No. 07 SS-Green Light Racing Chevrolet. He made his debut in the Xfinity Series in 2021 at Phoenix Raceway and made five starts last season, posting one top-10 finish. Perkins will be working with crew chief Mike Hillman Jr.

Click on the driver’s names for links to their NASCAR Digital Bios on

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Dash 4 Cash returns in 2023 – The NASCAR Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash program was designed to add elements of unpredictability and drama leading up to and during four designated races, increase on-track competition, engage fans and reward / recognize NASCAR Xfinity Series regular competitors.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash will take place at four tracks in 2023, with the qualifier being at Circuit of The Americas:

  • Richmond Raceway (April 1)
  • Martinsville Speedway (April 15)
  • Talladega Superspeedway (April 22)
  • Dover Motor Speedway (April 29)

Kyle Busch to run select Xfinity Series races in 2023 – Kaulig Racing announced that Kyle Busch will be in the No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet and will run in five Xfinity Series races this season, starting with his home track of Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 4. He will also run at Phoenix Raceway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Watkins Glen International and Darlington Raceway.

Although Busch did not compete in the Xfinity Series last season, he is the all-time wins leader in the series, with 102 career victories.

“I’m looking forward to having some fun in the Xfinity Series again,” Busch said in a team release. “What Matt Kaulig and (team president) Chris Rice have built in just a few short years at Kaulig Racing is impressive, and with the team’s alliance with Richard Childress Racing, this made for an easy decision to be back competing in a series that I’ve had success in over the years.”

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