CONCORD, North Carolina — Like Chase Elliott in the NASCAR Cup Series, AJ Allmendinger brings a worry-free approach to Saturday’s Drive for the Cure 250 presented by BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course (3 p.m. ET on NBC, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
In reality, that probably would be the case even if Allmendinger hadn’t won at Talladega last weekend to gain automatic advancement to the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs. Allmendinger is undefeated in three starts at the 2.32-mile, 17-turn layout.
The driver of the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet is looking forward to a double-duty weekend in the wake of an announcement that he will return to full-time Cup Series racing next year.
“This is a big doubleheader weekend for us,” Allmendinger said. “On Saturday in the Xfinity Series, we will be going for four in a row. We’re locked into the next round of the Playoffs, so it does take a little bit of pressure off everyone.
“Then on Sunday, we’re hoping to sweep the weekend. The ROVAL is my favorite track on the NASCAR circuit, so I’m definitely looking forward to this weekend.”
Allmendinger and Noah Gragson have locked up the first two spots in the Round of 8 with victories. The same is not true of Daniel Hemric, Allmendinger’s Kaulig Racing teammate and the defending Xfinity Series champion.
Hemric enters Saturday’s race six points below the cut line for the Round of 8, chasing Ryan Sieg in eighth place. But there’s cause for optimism on Hemric’s part. He has finished third in his last two starts at the ROVAL. In last year’s Playoff race, he led 17 laps.
“I’m super excited for the ROVAL this weekend and to race in front of family and friends,” Hemric said. “We understand the situation and where we stand in the Playoffs. There’s no better time to go have one of our best weeks of the year at my home track.”
Sieg, on the other hand, has a best finish of 21st and an average result of 29.8 in four starts at the ROVAL.