Saturday’s Alsco Uniforms 302 (3 p.m. ET, NBC, PRN) race preview

The 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway track has hosted 30 NASCAR Xfinity Series races producing 22 different race winners and 18 different pole winners. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ty Gibbs became the track’s youngest winner when he took the checkered flag earlier this season at 19 years, five months and one day old. Mark Martin sits as the oldest winner with his 2011 win at 52 years, one month and 24 days old.


Cup Series regular Kyle Busch holds both the qualifying record at 185.58 mph and the race record at 145.415 mph in the Xfinity Series at Las Vegas. He has also led the most laps (619) and is tied for most poles with Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin and Cole Custer at two each. Playoff driver Justin Allgaier holds the record for most top fives (eight), top 10s (13) and lead lap finishes (14). NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin holds the record for the most Xfinity wins at Las Vegas with four (1999, 2005, 2008, 2011)


The most recent winner at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is Playoff driver Ty Gibbs. If he snags another win at the track, not only will he be the first to clinch his spot in the Championship 4, but he will also become the second driver in Las Vegas Motor Speedway Xfinity Series history to post a back-to-back wins. The first and only driver to accomplish the feat is Chase Briscoe (2020 sweep).


This will be the first time that Las Vegas Motor Speedway kicks off the Round of 8 in the Xfinity Series Playoffs. In the 2020 and 2021 seasons, the Las Vegas track was the first race in the post season with Chase Briscoe winning the race in 2020 and Josh Berry winning in 2021. Las Vegas Motor Speedway was not a postseason track from 2016-2019.


The Xfinity Series will get the weekend rolling with practice at 8:35 p.m. ET followed by qualifying at 9:05 p.m. ET on Friday, Oct. 14 on the USA Network.


The field is set for the Round of 8

After a wild elimination race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course that went into overtime with Kaulig Racing’s AJ Allmendinger taking his fourth consecutive win at the track, the field is set for the first race in the Round of 8 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The eight drivers still in the hunt for the championship are Noah Gragson, AJ Allmendinger, Ty Gibbs, Justin Allgaier, Josh Berry, Austin Hill, Brandon Jones and Sam Mayer. 


With a new round comes three new opportunities to make it to the Championship 4 at Phoenix Raceway on Nov. 5. The first stop is Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 15 followed by Homestead-Miami Speedway on Oct. 22 then Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 29.


Any of the eight Playoff drivers could clinch their spot into the Championship 4 with a win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend but let’s take a look at how they look heading into the race. 


As of right now, Noah Gragson, AJ Allmendinger, Ty Gibbs and Justin Allgaier sit above the cutline. Gragson leads the pack with 3,056 points. Not far behind is Allmendinger with 3,044 points. Gibbs slides into third in the standings with 3,038 points followed by Justin Allgaier in the final Championship 4 spot with 3,033 points.

Just outside the cutline is Josh Berry (-11) with rookie Austin Hill (-15) sixth in the standings. In the last two spots in the Round of 8 are Brandon Jones (-22) and Sam Mayer (-28). 


Sittin’ pretty in ‘Sin City’

Saturday’s Alsco Uniforms 302 will be sure to have fans at the edge of their seats as most of the Playoff field has been pretty lucky at the 1.5-mile track set in Las Vegas, Nevada. 


Multiple Playoff drivers have posted wins at the track while even more drivers have consistently finished in the top 10. Let’s dive into how the Playoff field has performed at the track in ‘Sin City.’ 


Noah Gragson: The driver of the No.9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet has seven starts at the track with six top fives and seven top 10s. He finished runner-up when the Xfinity Series was there earlier this season and has an average start of 14.3 and an average finish of 3.6.


AJ Allmendinger: The driver of the No.16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet has three starts at the Las Vegas track with one win (2021), one top five, three top 10s and one pole (2022). He has an average start of 4.3 and an average finish of 5.7.


Ty Gibbs: The driver of the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota is the most recent Xfinity Series winner at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In his two starts, he has posted one win (2022), one top five and one top 10.


Justin Allgaier: The driver of the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet has 16 starts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with eight top fives and 13 top 10s. He has a best finish of second (2011, 2018, 2021) and an average start of 10.3 and an average finish of 7.9.


Josh Berry: The driver of the No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet has three starts at the track with one win (2021), two top fives and three top 10s. He has an average start of 8.7 and an average finish of 4.0.


Austin Hill: The driver of the No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet has two starts at the track with a best finish of 17th. 


Brandon Jones: The driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota has 11 starts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with two top fives and eight top 10s. He has a best finish of third (2019, 2021), an average start of 12.1 and an average finish of 9.3.


Sam Mayer: The driver of the No.1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet has two starts at the track with a best finish of 25th. 


NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.


Daniel Hemric returning to Kaulig Racing in 2023 – Daniel Hemric, who originally signed on for a one-year deal with Kaulig Racing in 2022, has signed an extension with the team and will once again be behind the wheel of the No.11 Chevrolet.


“We are so excited to have Daniel back next year in the car that started all of this, our No. 11 Chevrolet,” said team owner, Matt Kaulig. “Over the past year, Daniel has embraced what it is like to be a part of the Kaulig Racing family and has been instrumental in growing our team. We can’t wait for another great season together next year.”


Hemric made it to the Round of 12 in the postseason and has scored two top fives 10 top 10s and one pole this season thus far.


Hailie Deegan to make Xfinity Series debut this weekend – NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Hailie Deegan will be making her Xfinity Series debut this weekend in the No. 07 Ford with SS Green Light Racing. Deegan will look to become the 23rd different female competitor to compete in the NASCAR Xfinity Series all-time. 


“I really just wanted to make my debut, for sure, on a mile-and-a-half because that’s where I feel the most comfortable,” said Deegan. “I wanted to get my feet wet in the Xfinity Series.”


Deegan is in her second full-time season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with David Gilliland Racing. She has posted three top 10s in her 44 starts and finished a career-high sixth earlier this month at Talladega Superspeedway. 


The best finish by a female driver in her NASCAR Xfinity Series career debut is 15th by Shawna Robinson on June 8, 1991 at Rougemont. The all-time best starting position by a female driver in the NASCAR Xfinity Series is the pole position – won by Shawna Robinson in 1994 at Atlanta and Danica Patrick in 2021 at Daytona. The all-time best finish by a female driver in the NASCAR Xfinity Series is fourth by Danica Patrick in 2011 at this weekend’s track, Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Las Vegas NXS Track Trends

  • The last 3 race winners each started 10th, 15th and 11th respectively here.
    • However, prior to this, there were 16 straight winners from the top 4 rows
    • 6 of the 10 prior were won from the front row at that.
  • Chevrolet has won 2 of the last 3 Vegas races
  • There’s been 4 straight different organizations to win: Stewart-Haas Racing, Kaulig Racing, JR Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing
  • The playoff race has seen 4 different winners in as many years: Ross Chastain, Tyler Reddick, Chase Briscoe, Josh Berry
  • The race winner has scored stage points in 9 of the 10 first stages including 8 of the 9 in the top 4.
  • The race winner scored stage points in all 10 of the second stages including a top 6 each time. 7 of the last 9 finished in the top 3
  • 4 of the last 6 races saw the driver to lead the most laps fail to win. That comes after the first 4 races they did lead the most laps.

Who Wins?

  1. 9 Gragson – He’s never finished worse than 6th in 7 career starts here. He was 2nd and 3rd respectively the last 2 Vegas playoff races as well as 2nd this past spring. In Kansas, he just won there as well.
  2. 7 Allgaier – He’s led a combined 152 laps in the last 2 races here with finishes of 2nd and 5th respectively. Allgaier has 5 top 8 finishes in his last 6 Vegas starts to go along with being runner-up at Kansas last month.
  3. 11 Hemric – 3rd, 2nd, 5th and 3rd respectively for his last 4 Vegas starts. While he hasn’t had a top 5 in any of his last 12 starts on the season, I feel like his Vegas past gets him there on Saturday. He isn’t fighting for a championship anymore but would love a win here.
  4. 54 Gibbs – He won the spring race and was 3rd in Kansas. Gibbs has 6 top 7’s in his last 7 starts on the year too.
  5. 8 Berry – He won here last year and was 4th this spring. He also has 6 top 8 finishes in his last 6 starts on the season too.

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