Saturday’s EchoPark 250 race preview (5 p.m. ET, FS1, PRN)

Georgia on my mind
The NASCAR Xfinity Series is back on the east coast this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the EchoPark 250 at 5 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

The Xfinity Series race will be the second of the day as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series kicks off a doubleheader at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Austin Cindric was victorious once again, this time at Phoenix Raceway, earning his second win in the opening five races of the season. The driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford beat 18-year-old rookie Ty Gibbs by .360 seconds on the final restart with two laps remaining.

The win marked the second consecutive win on the Phoenix oval for Cindric, as he won there last November en route to being crowned the NASCAR Xfinity Series 2020 champion. He led a race-high 119 of 200 laps and held off the field on three late-race restarts.

Gibbs, who finished second in the Xfinity race, started out the weekend at Phoenix with a win on Friday night in the ARCA Menards Series race. Brandon Brown finished in third in the Xfinity race and claimed a career-best finish for his No. 68 Brandonbilt Motorsports team. Riley Herbst was fourth and AJ Allmendinger, who won the previous weekend at Las Vegas, rounded out the top five.

Jeb Burton, Bayley Currey, Justin Allgaier, Brett Moffitt and Jeremy Clements all finished out the top 10. The finish marked Currey’s first top-10 finish of his career.

This weekend’s race will be 251.02 miles and 163 laps with Stage 1 ending on Lap 40 and Stage 2 ending on Lap 80.

Cindric will start from the pole with Jeb Burton joining him on the front row. Allmendinger will start third, Brown will start fourth and Harrison Burton will round out the top five.

Allmendinger is the only current driver in the Xfinity Series with a previous win at Atlanta Motor Speedway and it came last season. He will look to get his second win of 2021 this weekend and go back-to-back.

Dude Perfect: Cindric reaching new heights in performance

This weekend marked the second time in Austin Cindric’s career that he had a perfect driver rating. The first time he accomplished this was at Mid-Ohio in 2019. This weekend also marked the 15th perfect driver rating for Team Penske in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Perfect Driver Ratings are rare, as they have only happened in the series 79 times (including last weekend) since the inception of Loop Data in 2005.

TrackSeasonDriverDriver RatingOrganization
Phoenix2021Austin Cindric150Team Penske
Mid-Ohio2019Austin Cindric150Team Penske
Auto Club2018Joey Logano150Team Penske
Texas2018Ryan Blaney150Team Penske
Bristol2015Joey Logano150Team Penske
Iowa2015Ryan Blaney150Team Penske
Phoenix2015Joey Logano150Team Penske
Las Vegas2014Brad Keselowski150Team Penske
Loudon2014Brad Keselowski150Team Penske
Mid-Ohio2013AJ Allmendinger150Team Penske
Road America2013AJ Allmendinger150Team Penske
Chicago2011Brad Keselowski150Team Penske
Kansas2011Brad Keselowski150Team Penske
Michigan2010Brad Keselowski150Team Penske
Richmond2010Brad Keselowski150Team Penske

Brandon Brown adds to strong 2021 season start

Brandon Brown left Phoenix Raceway with the best finish of his NASCAR Xfinity Series career, a third-place podium finish at the one-mile track.

Until this past weekend, Brown’s best finish in 90 starts was fifth at Texas Motor Speedway last year.

2021 has been a career season to start out for the No. 68 Brandonbilt Motorsports – a small, family-owned team. In the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway, he finished sixth and the following weekend at the Daytona Road Course, he finished eighth. Homestead wasn’t as good to Brown, as he finished 34th and was out of the race early due to an overheating issue.

In Las Vegas, he finished 11th and last week at Phoenix, he finished third. Brown and his team still have a handful of races without a sponsor.

“This is huge,” Brown said. “This is what the sponsors that are on board need to see. This is what potential sponsors need to see.”

Brown finished 12th in the NASCAR Xfinity Series regular-season finale last year and was able to clinch the final Playoff spot based on his points. It was the first time he ever qualified for the Playoffs. It was also the first time for Brandonbilt Motorsports in their third full-time season as a team.

Momentum will be on Brown’s side this weekend as he heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway coming off a third-place finish. In three starts at the Georgia track, Brown has a 23rd-place finish, 13th-place finish and most recently, finished 12th last season.

Sieg and Jones head to home turf with lots of momentum

Two drivers from Georgia entered in this weekend’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race, the EchoPark 250 (5 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), are extra revved-up about racing at their home track, Atlanta Motor Speedway – RSS Racing’s Ryan Sieg from Tucker and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Brandon Jones from Atlanta.

The 33-year-old driver Ryan Sieg and his family-owned organization, RSS Racing, are based in Tucker, Georgia, Sieg’s hometown. The team is run by Ryan’s father, Rod Sieg, and the duo have competed in the NASCAR Xfinity Series since 2013 when they made their series debut at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Last season Sieg had a career-best season, racking up seven top fives and 11 top 10s as well as a run at the championship title.

This weekend, Sieg will head to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the eighth time of his career. He’s completed 1,042 of 1,173 laps attempted, which is 88.8 percent and has an average start of 17.4 and an average finish of 21.3. He has a best finish of 11th at the track in 2019.

Because of his finish last weekend at Phoenix Raceway, Sieg will start 35th on Saturday with hopes of moving his way to the front of the pack.

Atlanta, Georgia’s own Brandon Jones of Joe Gibbs Racing has had a strong start to his 2021 season. In the first five races of the season, he’s posted three top fives, three top 10s and has an average start of 11.0 and average finish of 16.0. Last weekend at Phoenix didn’t go as planned for the No. 19 team as they were involved in a crash that put them out of the race early. However, with each race at Atlanta, Jones has seen improvements. He will be making his sixth start on Saturday at the track with one top five and two top 10s.

Jones goes into this weekend seventh in the series points standings, 61 points from the Playoff cutline. He will start 16th for the EchoPark 250 on Saturday.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Driver Playoff Outlook Following Phoenix-1:

RankDriverPointsWinsStage WinsPlayoff PtsPts From Cutoff
1Austin Cindric2482414In On Wins
2AJ Allmendinger162116
3Myatt Snider149105
4Daniel Hemric201022108
5Jeb Burton17200079
6Harrison Burton16200069
7Brandon Jones15401161
8Justin Haley14900056
9Brandon Brown13700044
10Jeremy Clements13400141
11Justin Allgaier11400021
12Riley Herbst9800058

Truex taking on Atlanta in Xfinity Series
Last weekend’s Cup Series winner at Phoenix Raceway will be hitting the track this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the EchoPark 250 on Saturday, March 20 at 5 p.m. ET (FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) behind the wheel of the No. 54 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

Truex competed in the Xfinity Series for 103 races beginning in 2001 and until 2010. He has not raced in the series since the season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2010.

Of his 103 Xfinity starts, he has 13 wins, 40 top fives, 61 top 10s and 10 pole awards. He led 1,863 laps and has an average start of 9.2 and average finish of 11.4.

Saturday’s race will be Truex’s third race at the Georgia track in the Xfinity Series. The first was in 2004, when he started second and finished ninth. In 2005, he started 16th and finished 11th.

Truex will start 18th in Saturday’s race.

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Sunoco Rookie Update – Ty Gibbs took back the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings lead for the Xfinity Series. Gibbs has 88 points and two awards. Josh Berry is in second in the rookie standings with 75 points and Ryan Vargas is in third with 54.

Goodyear Fast Facts – For the sixth race of the Xfinity Series season, the tire utilized will be the Goodyear Eagle Speedway Radials. Xfinity will have five sets for the race and it will be the same tire setup as last season. The right-side tire in a multi-zone tread tire with two different tread compounds on the same tire. The worn, asphalt surface of Atlanta Motor Speedway is abrasive and continues to make for really exciting racing and strategy. Driving style comes into play because of the way the track wears on tires. Tire strategy could make or break a team this weekend.

RCR partners with Alsco Uniforms in ‘21 – Richard Childress Racing and Alsco Uniforms have renewed their sponsorship in 2021. Along with Tyler Reddick’s No. 8 NASCAR Cup Series Chevrolet, Alsco will be on the No. 2 Chevrolet driven by Myatt Snider in the Xfinity Series. Alsco will be featured as the primary partner on Snider’s car as well as a full-season associate partner for both cars.

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