Race Day Schedule
8:30 am: Garage Opens
2:25 pm: Drivers To Cars
2:30 pm: Driver Intros
2:52 pm: Invocation
2:53 pm: National Anthem
2:59 pm: Command
3:10 pm: Green Flag
Coverage: 3 p.m. ET
Green Flag: 3:10 p.m. ET
Phone: NASCAR App
Race Distance: 200 Laps/300 Miles
Stage Lengths: 45-45-110
Competition Caution: Lap 20
Race Official: Lap 90
Playoffs: Round 2, Race 2
Track: Kansas Speedway
Who Win’s Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300?
The second race of the semifinal round is here. The top eight remained the same last week without really any movement. We still have four spots on the line to Phoenix with us knowing at least two of them will go to wildcard drivers. That’s due to the third time in four postseason events that a non playoff driver won.
Josh Berry won in Vegas, Brandon Brown in Talladega and now John Hunter Nemechek at Texas last Saturday. In turn, this is shaking up the playoff field in the sense no one is really earning automatic spots into the next round via wins. AJ Allmendinger did two weeks ago in the Charlotte ROVAL but that was already a cut race.
Last Saturday’s race at Texas was the first of the Round of 8 and if one of the eight championship eligible drivers could have won, they’d automatically end up in the Championship 4 in Phoenix. Instead, 75% of the postseason races have been won by a non playoff driver.
Allmendinger sits on top at +30. He entered the round +34 as he scored nine stage points and finished sixth at Texas. He has eight top seven’s in his last 11 starts on the season but just two top fives in 11 starts on intermediate tracks this season
Austin Cindric is +26 as he lost two points too in having 10 stage points via his opening stage win as well as a fifth place run. The Team Penske driver has six top eight’s in his last seven starts on the year but like Allmendinger, hasn’t been at his best on 1.5-mile tracks this year. He’s not won on them in 2021, but does have seven top fives in the same races.
The thing is, JR Motorsports has been arguably the top team on these tracks this season.
JRM teammates of Justin Allgaier and Noah Gragson hold the final two spots at +4 and +2 respectively but Allgaier had 10 stage points, finished fourth and now has nine straight top 10’s and 12 in his last 13 tries overall on the season. He’s also had 10 of those 12 in the top six at that. His JRM teammate in Gragson has nine top seven’s in his last 11 starts.
Allgaier, has two wins, three runner-ups and eight top sevens on 1.5-mile tracks. Gragson, has eight top sevens himself including four straight in the top three.
Good luck getting by these four.
Daniel Hemric still has six straight top 10’s, seven in the last eight overall and six to sixes in his last eight. He also has six top five’s on intermediates this season. Justin Haley was seventh last Saturday for his eighth straight top 10, 14 of which in the last 15 races as well as seen top seven’s in his last eight.
Harrison Burton and Brandon Jones are likely going to have to win and neither have won this season with Burton’s last win coming 31 races ago at Martinsville last Halloween and Jones’ 40 races ago on Labor Day weekend of 2020 in Darlington. Hemric, has never won either. These are three of the four below the cutline.
FORT WORTH, TEXAS – OCTOBER 16: John H. Nemechek, driver of the #54 Romco Equipment Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Andy’s Frozen Custard 335 at Texas Motor Speedway on October 16, 2021 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
54 Car Winning at JGR, But They Need The Others To
JGR has won 10 times in the Xfinity Series this season. Unfortunately though, all 10 were from the No. 54 Toyota. That car serves as the entry where part time drivers fill. Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Christopher Bell, Ty Gibbs, Ty Dillon and John Hunter Nemechek have all driven this car. They’ve combined to win those 10 races.
The other three cars in the operation all feature full-time drivers. These guys are going for this year’s Xfinity Series championship. With none of them winning, it’s costing them precious points.
Take last Saturday as a prime example.
Nemechek won in the 54 car. Daniel Hemric was second in the second stage, led 55 of 200 laps and came home second in the end. The thing is, he’s still two points below the cut line while doing so. Harrison Burton earned four stage points, gambled by not pitting in the end and it gained him one spot on track with him entering that sequence ninth on track and wound up finishing eighth. Still, he’s now 21 points below the bubble spot. Brandon Jones didn’t have any stage points and finished 10th. He’s now 32 points down.
So, on a day that they won their fifth Texas race in the last six tries with four different driers as well as four of the last five in the Fall race with four different drivers too as well as leading 152 of 200 laps and going 1-2, their championship hopes in the drivers standings took a hit. Three of the four spots below the cutline belong to them.
- 54 Gibbs – Won ARCA race at Kansas this past May, swept NXS/ARCA doubleheader at Charlotte too. 54 car again with a 4th non playoff winner?
- 18 Hemric – Runner-up last week too on another 1.5-mile track.
- 9 Gragson – He was 3rd in 3 of the last 4 races on 1.5-mile tracks
- 22 Cindric – 3 straight top 5’s on 1.5-mile tracks, why not a 4th?
- 7 Allgaier – 4 top fives in his last 6 starts on 1.5-mile tracks