Saturday’s Alsco Uniforms 250 (5 p.m. ET, USA, PRN) race preview

NASCAR Xfinity Series is back in Atlanta

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will be at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the second-time this season for the Alsco Uniforms 250 on Saturday, July 9 at 5 p.m. ET on USA Network, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR radio.

This will be the 33rd NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The previous 32 races have produced 17 different pole winners and 20 different race winners with Kevin Harvick leading the way with five wins under his belt. Harvick also holds the record for poles (six), top fives (11), top 10s (13), lead lap finishes (13), laps completed (3,135) and laps led (973).

Earlier this season, fans saw 19-year-old Joe Gibbs Racing phenom Ty Gibbs take the checkered flag in his first stint at the 1.54-mile track in Atlanta. His victory made him the youngest winner at Atlanta Motor Speedway at 19 years, five months, and 15 days old.

Coming off a win last weekend at Road America (the eighth of his Xfinity Series career), Gibbs has now put up the third-most wins in a driver’s first 34 NASCAR Xfinity Series starts all-time, behind NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip with 11 wins and Harry Grant with nine wins. Gibbs will look to keep the momentum going and attempt to become the fifth different driver to win back-to-back Xfinity races at Atlanta Motor Speedway, joining Mark Martin (1997, 1998), Jeff Burton (2006, 2007), Kevin Harvick (2013, 2014, 2015) and Kyle Busch (2016, 2017) on the consecutive winners list.

The on-track action for the Xfinity Series will kick off with qualifying at 10:05 a.m. ET on Saturday, July 9 streamed on the NBC Sports App.

Three drivers to watch at Atlanta Motor Speedway

This weekend Atlanta Motor Speedway offers the NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers a second chance at wrestling the newly reconfigured 1.54-mile track.

Richard Childress Racing’s rookie, Austin Hill, will be looking to snag his second checkered flag of the season after landing himself in Victory Lane in his first Xfinity Series race as a full-time driver in the season-opener at Daytona. In his 16 starts this season, he has posted one win, seven top fives and nine top 10s. Although he’s hit a few bumps this season, he’s been very consistent in the last few weeks, posting three top fives and five top 10s in the past six races. With a runner-up finish in March’s Atlanta race, Hill will surely be looking to get the job done this go around.

Kaulig Racing’s veteran driver AJ Allmendinger has been stellar all season long, already with two wins, seven top fives and 14 top 10s under his belt, it’s no surprise for his name to come up as a possible favorite this weekend. Earlier this season, Allmendinger posted a top five-finish in Atlanta and in 2020, he proved he knows his way around 1.54-mile track by racing his way to Victory Lane after starting in the 30th position.

Although Justin Allgaier fell victim to an incident at Atlanta Motor Speedway earlier this season, there’s no doubt that he will be coming into this weekend looking for redemption. Allgaier joins Gibbs and Allmendinger as one of three Atlanta race winners entered in this weekend’s Xfinity race. In his 13 starts at the 1.54-mile track, he’s posted one win (2021), three top fives and eight top 10s. He’s done very well this season, already with two wins (Darlington, Nashville), seven top fives and 10 top 10s. Both of his wins this season have been on tracks similar in length to Atlanta and he’s posted top 10 finishes at the other 1.5-mile tracks on the schedule (Las Vegas, Texas and Charlotte) as well.

Playoff Bubble: Who will snag the final spots?  

With another Ty Gibbs win following Road America, not much has changed in the Playoff standings and there are still five spots up for grabs on points as the NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend.

Seven drivers have earned spots in the Xfinity Series Playoffs on wins – Ty Gibbs, AJ Allmendinger, Justin Allgaier, Noah Gragson, Josh Berry, Brandon Jones and Austin Hill.

Sam Mayer (+169), Riley Herbst (+136) Daniel Hemric (+99) Ryan Sieg (+82) and Landon Cassill (+72) currently sit above the postseason cutline and take up the remaining Playoff spots on points. Just outside the Playoff cutoff sits Anthony Alfredo in the 13th position buried in a massive 72-point deficit behind Cassill in the 12th and final Playoff transfer spot on points. 

Of the drivers in the Playoff outlook above the cutline without wins yet, here how they have performed at Atlanta Motor Speedway over the years:

  1. Sam Mayer (8th): Two starts – one top 10
  • Riley Herbst (9th): Four starts – one top five, two top 10s
  • Daniel Hemric (10th): Six starts – one top five, three top 10s
  • Ryan Sieg (11th): 10 starts – two top 10s
  • Landon Cassill (12th): Six starts – one top five, one top 10

Home track racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway 

There’s always a sense of home field advantage when racing in your hometown in front of friends and family and a few drivers will have that privilege this weekend – brothers Ryan and Kyle Sieg, Brandon Jones and Austin Hill. If any of the three Georgia native drivers win this weekend, they would become the first drivers from the state of Georgia to win a NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The Sieg brothers are from Tucker, Georgia and are both running with their family-owned team, RSS Racing. Ryan Sieg has yet to post a Xfinity Series win but came extremely close earlier this season when he was leading the field in the final laps of the race before Gibbs took the lead in the last lap, leaving him with a 10th-place finish. Although he hasn’t always had the best of luck in Atlanta (he’s posted two top 10s in his 10 starts), he has been having a good 2022 season, posting one top five and nine top 10s thus far and currently sits 82 points above the Playoff cutline in 11th. Still fairly new to the Xfinity Series, 21-year-old little brother Kyle Sieg will be making his second start in Atlanta after a 24th-place finish in March.

Atlanta Georgia’s very own Brandon Jones has already secured his spot in the Playoffs with a win at Martinsville along with three top fives and seven top 10s on the season. He’s heading back home to Atlanta after a top-10 finish (seventh) there earlier this season. In Jones’ eight starts at his home track, he’s posted one top five, three top 10s and has completed 1,235 of 1314 laps (94%).

Winston, Georgia’s Austin Hill will be back at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the second time in his career hoping to find Victory Lane after a second-place finish earlier this season. Hill has been the standout rookie of the 2022 season winning the season-opener at Daytona back in February.

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Double Duty Drivers at Atlanta – Two drivers will be pulling double duty this weekend and competing in both the NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday and the NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday – Tyler Reddick and Noah Gragson.

The most recent NASCAR Cup Series winner, Tyler Reddick, will be taking his talents to the No. 48 Big Machine Racing Chevrolet this weekend in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in addition to his fulltime duties on Sunday with the Richard Childress Racing’s No. 8 team. Reddick has made two Xfinity Series starts at Atlanta posting one top-five finish.

Noah Gragson will be taking his turn in the Kaulig Racing No. 16 Chevrolet this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race. He will also be in the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race. Gragson has five Xfinity career starts at Atlanta posting three top fives and four top 10s.

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