NXS Race Previews For Doubleheader At Kentucky

Doubling up at Kentucky Speedway

The NASCAR Xfinity Series kicks off a five-race weekend at Kentucky Speedway on Thursday evening, July 9, for the Shady Rays 200 (8 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) as the first race of the doubleheader for the series. The second race for the series at Kentucky will be on Friday, July 10, at 8 p.m. for the Alsco 300 (FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

This weekend will mark the second doubleheader weekend for the series since the return to racing in mid-May after the break in sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The first was at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The doubleheader comes after a weekend of road course racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, the inaugural race on the road course for the series. Chase Briscoe was victorious for the fourth time this season and the third time in the last four events.

The Indiana native led 30 laps and won Stage 2. Briscoe also won the second race of the doubleheader at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Austin Cindric was the only driver who finished in the top five who doesn’t have a win so far this season.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course Top Five Results:

1-    Chase Briscoe*

2-    Justin Haley*

3-    Noah Gragson*

4-    AJ Allmendinger*

5-    Austin Cindric

Thursday’s Xfinity Series race will be 201 miles and 134 laps with Stage 1 ending on Lap 30 and Stage 2 ending on Lap 60. Friday evening’s Xfinity Series race will be 300 miles and 200 laps with Stage 1 ending on Lap 45 and Stage 2 ending on Lap 90.

This will be the 26th NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Kentucky, with the inaugural race on June 16, 2001, won by Kevin Harvick in a Chevrolet.

Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch hold the record for the most wins at Kentucky (three), Austin Dillon and Logano have the record for the most poles (three), Busch has the most top fives (nine) and Keselowski, Busch, Elliott Sadler and Justin Allgaier have the most top 10s (nine). Chevrolet has the most wins by a manufacturer with 10.

Last season’s race has the fewest finished on the lead lap with five.

Eight of the 25 races run at Kentucky have been won from the pole. Joe Gibbs is the winningest car owner with six wins.

Busch holds the qualifying record at the track from July 8, 2016 at 187.318 mph. Tyler Reddick holds the race record from September 23, 2017 at 151.728 mph.

The track 1.5-miles in length with 17 degrees of banking in Turns 1 and 2 and 14 degrees of banking in Turns 3 and 4. The frontstretch has eight degrees of banking and the backstretch has four degrees of banking. The frontstretch is 1,662 feet and the backstretch is 1,600 feet.

Driver to Beat: Chase Briscoe dominating Xfinity Series

It is very clear that Chase Briscoe seems to be the driver to beat week in and week out. With five wins in 13 starts, Briscoe has the most wins of any other driver in the series.

As the series heads to Kentucky Speedway, taking a look at Briscoe’s stats at the track show that this could be another strong showing for the driver of the No. 98 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford. Last season was his first start at the track for the Xfinity Series and he started ninth and finished fifth. He also led 14 laps.

With momentum on his side after having won the last two races (Pocono, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course), making Kentucky Speedway the third win in a row doesn’t seem too far off.

Briscoe mentioned having a goal of winning eight races this season to prove himself and with five wins to his name already, he’s within reach of obtaining his goal.

“It’s weird to say but I feel like I’ve always thrived under pressure. I set a goal for myself and the team has stuck behind me, but it’s kind of like Babe Ruth calling his shot. I knew if I did that, I had to back it up. I’ve always fed on the pressure. You go back to the Roval and I won it. A lot of people don’t realize I didn’t have a ride if I didn’t win that race. Sleeping on couches, volunteering in race shops, and only having one race to prove myself, I had to do the best I could. So, I put a number out there. I want to win more races and prove my worth. I felt like that was an attainable goal and that if I put the pressure on myself it would give me something to shoot for,” Briscoe said.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Points Standings

Rank

Driver

Points

Points Behind

Race Wins

Stage Wins

Playoff Pts.

1

Chase Briscoe

556

0

5

3

28

2

Noah Gragson

535

-21

2

5

15

3

Ross Chastain

501

-55

0

0

0

4

Austin Cindric

494

-61

0

4

4

5

Justin Haley

451

-105

1

1

6

6

Justin Allgaier

434

-122

0

5

5

7

Harrison Burton

421

-135

2

0

10

8

Brandon Jones

383

-173

1

2

7

9

Michael Annett

373

-183

0

0

0

10

Ryan Sieg

329

-227

0

2

2

11

Riley Herbst

298

-258

0

0

0

12

Brandon Brown

285

-271

0

0

0

13

Myatt Snider

279

-277

0

0

0

14

Daniel Hemric

254

-302

0

0

0

15

Alex Labbe

253

-303

0

0

0

 

Chase Briscoe’s back-to-back wins at Pocono Raceway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course have kept him at the top of the Playoff standings with his fifth win of the season. He is now sitting 21 points ahead of second-place Noah Gragson in the standings and has 13 more Playoff points (28) than his nearest competitor.  

Ross Chastain is still holding onto the third spot in the standings and is the highest-ranked driver in the standings without a win this season. Austin Cindric’s performance at Indianapolis pushed him back up to fourth in the standings, 61 points back from the leader.

Brandon Jones dropped to eighth in the series standings but is already locked into the Playoffs with a win this season. He’s the lowest-ranked driver with a win this season.

Harrison Burton dropped significantly in the standings after Indianapolis and is now in seventh, but he is still the highest-ranked rookie. Riley Herbst, another Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, is sitting in 11th and Brandon Brown jumped up one spot and is currently holding onto the last Playoff slot. Myatt Snider has dropped to 13th but is only six points below Brown in 12th.

JR Motorsports’ Noah Gragson currently has the best driver rating in the Xfinity Series at 112.0. Briscoe is right behind him in second at 109.6 and Cindric has the third-best at 105.9. Burton has the best driver rating of the rookies in sixth at 97.4. 

Chevrolet is currently dominating the Xfinity Series points with six drivers in the top 10. Ford only has two drivers in the series and both of them are in the top 10, too. Toyota has two in the top 10 and Harrison Burton is the only rookie in the top 10.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Driver, Owner Playoff Outlook

Driver Playoff Standings:

RANK

DRIVER

POINTS

PTS FROM CUTOFF

1

Chase Briscoe

556

IN ON WINS

2

Noah Gragson

535

IN ON WINS

3

Harrison Burton

421

IN ON WINS

4

Justin Haley

451

IN ON WINS

5

Brandon Jones

383

IN ON WINS

6

Ross Chastain

501

222

7

Austin Cindric

495

216

8

Justin Allgaier

434

155

9

Michael Annett

373

94

10

Ryan Sieg

329

50

11

Riley Herbst

298

19

12

Brandon Brown

285

6

13

Myatt Snider

279

-6

14

Alex Labbe

253

-26

15

Jeremy Clements

236

-43

Owners Playoff Standings:

RANK

OWNER

POINTS

PTS FROM CUTOFF

1

Stewart-Haas Racing

556

IN ON WINS

2

JR Motorsports

535

IN ON WINS

3

Joe Gibbs Racing

421

IN ON WINS

4

Kaulig Racing

451

IN ON WINS

5

Joe Gibbs Racing

383

IN ON WINS

6

Team Penske

495

197

7

Kaulig Racing

482

184

8

JR Motorsports

434

136

9

JR Motorsports

373

75

10

JR Motorsports

373

75

11

Richard Childress Racing

362

64

12

RSS Racing

329

31

13

Joe Gibbs Racing

298

-31

14

Brandonbilt Motorsports

285

-44

15

Our Motorsports

237

-92

All in on Allgaier

Justin Allgaier hasn’t seemed to be able to catch a break so far this season. The driver of the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet has been pushing to get out of a streak of bad luck but unfortunately, it didn’t happen last weekend at Indianapolis.

Allgaier, who has been running up front in a majority of the 13 races so far this season, has been involved in multiple crashes, pit road penalties and a few cases of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He has, however, been able to rally for decent track position before the final lap of a race and still has two top fives, six top 10s and an average start of 9.5. He’s led 319 laps so far this season, too.

Allgaier heads to Kentucky Speedway this weekend as one of the veterans. He has 13 starts at the 1.5-mile track with four top fives, nine top 10s and 62 laps led. Allgaier hasn’t finished outside of the top 10 at Kentucky in the last five races. He has a best finished of fourth from 2018.

His average start at the track is 7.2 and average finish is 10.5. With two chances to get it done this weekend, this could be the weekend Allgaier turns his season around. Although he’s sitting fourth in the points standings, the only way he knows he’s in the Playoffs for sure is with a win.

Allgaier had a big weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as he also filled in for seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson on Sunday for the Brickyard 400. Johnson tested positive for COVID-19 and was unable to race and Chevrolet and Hendrick Motorsports announced that Allgaier had been on standby and would be filling in for the No. 48. Unfortunately, Sunday didn’t go so well for Allgaier as he was involved in a wreck on pit road that put him out of the race early. He is definitely on the hunt for redemption this weekend.

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