Category Archives: Xfinity Series

Points Leader Sadler Readies To Roll The Dice In Vegas

Bright lights, big casinos, world-class accommodations and Las Vegas Motor Speedway welcome the NASCAR XFINITY Series for Saturday’s Boyd Gaming 300 (4 p.m. ET on FS1). For the second-straight week Elliott Sadler has held command of the standings lead as the series embarks on the three-race NASCAR Goes West swing. Following LVMS, the series where names are made will head to Phoenix International Raceway and Auto Club Speedway (Fontana). 

Sadler holds a three-point edge over second-place Daniel Suárez and he has a five point advantage over third-place Ty Dillon.

The JR Motorsports veteran Sadler has made nine starts at Las Vegas, posting two top fives, three top 10s and a pole. His average finish at Las Vegas is a 12.3.

NASCAR’s Loop Data dives deeper into Sadler’s success at Las Vegas. He’s ranked seventh in average running position (8.5), eighth in driver rating (97.6) and third in percentage of laps in the top 15 (97.8%). 

Suárez On The Bumper Of The Standings Lead
Standings leader Elliott Sadler currently has a mirror full of second-place Daniel Suárez, who is just three points behind him after the first two races of the season. This is Suárez’s career-best NASCAR XFINITY Series points position. 

Suárez launched 2016 off with a great run at Daytona, finishing eighth and then backed that up with a seventh at Atlanta, propelling him from fourth in the standings to second just three points back from the lead.

The 24-year-old Joe Gibbs Racing driver has made just one start at Las Vegas. Last season, he started 15th and finished 10th.

Jones & Dillon Make Moves In The Points
Two drivers made titanic moves in the points this past weekend. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Erik Jones climbed 11 spots and Richard Childress Racing’s Ty Dillon jumped five spots following their top-five finishes at Atlanta.

Jones, last year’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion, was caught in an accident at Daytona that ultimately had him finish 31st to open the season. He then rebounded at Atlanta with a solid third-place that vaulted him from 22nd in points to 11th. Jones is now 22 points behind standings leader Elliott Sadler.

Jones has made one NASCAR XFINITY Series start at LVMS. It resulted in a 29th-place finish due to an accident. The NASCAR Next alum won the NCWTS race at Las Vegas in 2014.

Ty Dillon is picking up where he left off last season – in the center of the championship conversation.

Dillon vaulted five spots in the series standings following his fifth-place finish at Atlanta. He is now third in points just five markers back from the series lead.

Dillon has made three starts at Las Vegas, posting a pole, one top 10 and an average finish of 10.0.

Close Competition: Top Six Drivers In The Standings Separated By 10 Points
The NASCAR XFINITY Series is seeing some tight competition just two races into the 2016 season.

The top six drivers in the standings are separated by only 10 points – the most in the last five seasons following the second race of the year.

2016: Six drivers: Elliott Sadler, Daniel Suárez (-3), Ty Dillon (-5), Brandon Jones (-6), Justin Allgaier (-7) and Brendan Gaughan (-10)

Below are the last five seasons and how many drivers were separated by 10 points following the second race of the season:

2015: Three drivers – Chris Buescher, Ty Dillon (-0), Ryan Reed (-8)

2014: Three drivers – Regan Smith, Trevor Bayne (-5), Elliott Sadler (-6)

2013: Four drivers – Sam Hornish Jr., Justin Allgaier (-0), Brian Scott (-6), Elliott Sadler (-10)

2012: Two drivers – Elliott Sadler, Austin Dillon (-10)

2011: Three drivers – Reed Sorenson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (-5), Jason Leffler (-7)

Sunoco Rookie Update: Jones Is The Man To Catch, Erik That Is
Last week Brandon Jones led the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings. This week it’s Erik Jones. A slim two points separate the young rising stars in the rookie standings as the series rides out to Las Vegas this weekend.

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Erik Jones looked stellar this past weekend at Atlanta finishing third and moving into the rookie standings lead ahead of Brandon Jones. Erik Jones was caught in an accident at Daytona, finishing 31st, but rebounded quickly at Atlanta, finishing third.

Last season at Las Vegas, Erik Jones, 19, started third and led seven laps before getting in an accident and finishing 29th. Prior to his accident at LVMS, Jones posted a driver rating of 99.9. The 29th at Las Vegas is his worst finish on a 1.5-mile speedway. In 12 series starts on 1.5-mile tracks, he has two wins (Chicagoland, Texas) and an average finish of 7.3.

Richard Childress Racing’s newest standout is Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Brandon Jones. Jones currently sits second in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings.

Brandon Jones, 19, is also fourth in the NASCAR XFINITY Series driver standings just six points back from the standings lead, the highest ranked Sunoco Rookie candidate. Jones’ season has been consistent through the first two races. He finished seventh in the season opener at Daytona and 11th at his home track last weekend. 

This weekend will be Jones’ series track debut at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Jones has limited series experience on 1.5-mile tracks. He’s only made two series starts at the distance – at Kentucky last season (fifth), and Atlanta last weekend (11th).

Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings following Atlanta: E. Jones (27 points); B. Jones (-2 points, behind the leader), Brennan Poole (-9), B.J. McLeod (-11), Ryan Preece (-13), Ray Black Jr. (-16), Garrett Smithley (-20) and Cody Ware (-22).

Austin Dillon Looks To Become First To Repeat At LVMS
Las Vegas Motor Speedway has had 13 different winners in 19 NASCAR XFINITY Series races, and none have visited Victory Lane in consecutive events. Austin Dillon plans to change that this weekend. As the defending winner of the Boyd Gaming 300, Dillon looks to become the first driver to win back-to-back series races at Las Vegas. 

Dillon has made three starts at Las Vegas posting one win (2015), three top 10s and an average finish of 4.7.

He leads the series in LVMS driver rating (122.7) and average running position (3.895).

Competitive Balance: Seven Different Winners Last Seven Races At LVMS
In the last seven NASCAR XFINITY Series races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway there have been seven different winners, boding the question – Who will be number eight?

There have been 13 different NXS winners at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, led by Mark Martin with four victories (1999, 2005, 2008 and 2011). Jeff Burton (three) and Kevin Harvick (two) are the only other drivers with multiple series wins at LVMS.  

The last seven winners at Las Vegas are Austin Dillon (2015), Brad Keselowski (2014), Sam Hornish Jr. (2013), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2012), Mark Martin (2011), Kevin Harvick (2010) and Greg Biffle (2009).

NASCAR In Nevada: Gaughan & Busch Come Home
NASCAR national series have been competing in the state of Nevada consistently since 1996. The first NASCAR race held in Nevada was in 1955 at Las Vegas Park Speedway won by Norm Nelson (Chrysler, 44.449 mph, 2:29:50). There have been a total of 57 NASCAR national series races held in Nevada at two tracks – Las Vegas Motor Speedway (18 NSCS, 19 NXS and 19 NCWTS) and Las Vegas Park Speedway (one NSCS).

Twenty-four different drivers with their home state recorded as Nevada have made at least one start in a NASCAR national series race. This weekend two drivers from the state of Nevada are entered in the Boyd Gaming 300 – Kyle Busch and Brendan Gaughan (both are from Las Vegas).

Kyle Busch added to his legend last weekend by extending his series record of most wins to 77 after capturing the checkered flag at Atlanta.

Busch has made 11 starts at Las Vegas, posting three top fives and an average finish of 18.2.

Brendan Gaughan is currently sixth in the standings just 10 points back from the standings lead. Gaughan’s family owns South Point Resort and Casino in Las Vegas and the company is the primary sponsor on his No. 62 Chevrolet.

Gaughan has made five series starts at Las Vegas, posting one top five, three top 10s and an average finish of 9.4.

Air Force Thunderbirds Take Reed up: Roush Fenway Racing driver of the No. 6 Ford, Ryan Reed, will be taking a ride with the famous Air Force Thunderbirds in Las Vegas on Thursday, March 3 at 1 p.m. PT.

Double The Action, Double The Fun: The following NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stars are entered in this weekend’s Boyd Gaming 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race: Brad Keselowski, Austin Dillon, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott and Aric Almirola. …

Series Milestones: Mike Harmon will attempt to make his 200th series start. He is 58th on the all-time list. … Blake Koch will attempt to make his 150th series start. He is 85th on the all-time list. … Austin Dillon will attempt to make his 100th series start. He is 123rd on the all-time list. … Ryan Reed will attempt to make his 75th series start. He is 166th on the all-time list.

Kyle Busch Captures Coors Light Pole, Ryan Preece Takes the 21st Qualifying Spot at Atlanta.

Stephen Furst Photo

HAMPTON, GA - FEBRUARY 27: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Heads Up Georgia 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2016 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota,. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)

Kyle Busch took the Coors Light pole for today’s Xfinity Heads Up  Georgia 250 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.  Former NASCAR Whelen Modified champion Ryan Preece qualified 21st on his first visit to the lightning fast speedway. This weekend was the first of many races where Ryan will be racing on tracks across the country he has never even seen.  Fox Sports1 will have all the action at 1;30 this afternoon. #NASCAR #RyanPreece #Atlantamotorspeedway


Chase Elliott outduels Joey Logano for XFINITY win at Daytona

Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Feb. 20, 2016
By Reid Spencer
NASCAR Wire Service

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The finish of Saturday’s Powershares QQQ 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway left winner Chase Elliott out of gas on the cool-down lap and runner-up Joey Logano pounding his steering wheel in frustration.

But it was the high-speed chess game seconds before the first and second-place cars crossed the finish line that made all the difference.

Fearing he wouldn’t get help from Kasey Kahne, Elliott’s JR Motorsports teammate, Logano pushed Elliott clear of the pack on the final lap, hoping to make a move to the outside as the cars sped off Turn 4.

But when Logano went high, Elliott moved to his right, and repeated contact between Elliott’s No. 88 Chevrolet and Logano’s No. 22 Team Penske Ford—hard enough to pound a deep dent into Elliott’s right rear quarter panel—broke Logano’s momentum and allowed the No. 88 to cross the stripe .043 seconds ahead of the No. 22.

“He blocked it—I got there a little bit late,” Logano acknowledged. “And then I got hooked on his right rear, and that’s what killed my momentum… That contact just stopped

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Darrell Wallace Jr, driver of the #6 Selfeo Ford, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR XFINITY Series PowerShares QQQ 300 at Daytona International Speedway on February 20, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr, driver of the #6 Selfeo Ford, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR XFINITY Series PowerShares QQQ 300 (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

my car.”

So the pole winner for Sunday’s Daytona 500 (on FOX at 1 p.m. ET) beat the winner of the 2015 Daytona 500 by a small fraction of a second, and Logano was runner-up for the third time during Speedweeks, having run second to Denny Hamlin in last Saturday’s Sprint Unlimited and second to JR Motorsports co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. in Thursday’s first Can-Am Duel. 

Kasey Kahne finished third and XFINITY regular Elliott Sadler fourth in the season opener, as JR Motorsports grabbed three of the top four positions. Austin Dillon ran fifth, followed by Darrell Wallace Jr. and rookie Brandon Jones.

“That was a heck of a battle, man,” said Elliott, who survived early contact during a six-car incident on Lap 13 and rallied to win his first XFINITY race at Daytona and the fifth of his career. “I had such a great car, and we just found ourselves in the right place at the right time.

“Luckily we just barely had enough to get in front of Joey there.”

Elliott duly impressed his car owner, an acknowledged superstar when it comes to restrictor-plate racing.

“Chase obviously did what he had to do there at the end of the race,” Earnhardt said. “I thought that was very gutsy to be able to really put such an aggressive block on the 22… He did what he had to do to keep the guy behind him, and it won him the

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 20:  Chase Elliott, driver of the #88 Chevrolet, celebrates winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series PowerShares QQQ 300 at Daytona International Speedway on February 20, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #88 Chevrolet, celebrates winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series PowerShares QQQ 300 at Daytona International Speedway (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)


“I’m proud of Chase. It’s such a cool thing to be a part of his career. He’s going to do some amazing stuff in his career, and it’s awesome to be a little part of it.”

After Ray Black Jr. stalled on the backstretch to cause the fourth caution of the race on Lap 102 of 120, ending a 76-lap green-flag run, Logano led the field to green on Lap 108 with Elliott beside him. While Sadler pushed Elliott to the lead, Logano got hung out of line and drifted back.

Forced to fight back to the front over the final 11 laps, Logano got a strong push in the outside lane from Kahne, who in turn was getting a strong push from Dillon. Logano didn’t get back to the front until the final lap, when he opted to push Elliott and tried to make a last-ditch move. 

“It’s three races and three seconds, and I guess it is nothing to hold your head down about, but, gosh, when you see the lead that many times and are that close to winning and don’t pull it off, it’s frustrating,” Logano said.

NASCAR XFINITY Series Race – PowerShares QQQ 300
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, Florida
Saturday, February 20, 2016

               1. (19) Chase Elliott(i), Chevrolet, 120

               2. (8) Joey Logano(i), Ford, 120

               3. (15) Kasey Kahne(i), Chevrolet, 120

               4. (10) Elliott Sadler, Chevrolet, 120

               5. (4) Austin Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 120

               6. (12) Darrell Wallace Jr, Ford, 120

               7. (7) Brandon Jones #, Chevrolet, 120

               8. (2) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 120

               9. (9) Blake Koch, Chevrolet, 120

               10. (6) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 120

               11. (24) Aric Almirola(i), Ford, 120

               12. (16) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 120

               13. (1) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 120

               14. (18) Dakoda Armstrong, Toyota, 120

               15. (37) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 119

               16. (11) Ryan Reed, Ford, 119

               17. (14) John Wes Townley(i), Chevrolet, 119

               18. (23) David Starr, Toyota, 119

               19. (28) Joe Nemechek(i), Toyota, 119

               20. (25) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 119

               21. (20) Matt Tifft(i), Toyota, 119

               22. (36) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 118

               23. (3) Bobby Labonte(i), Toyota, 118

               24. (38) BJ McLeod #, Ford, 118

               25. (21) Jeb Burton, Ford, 118

               26. (29) Anthony Kumpen, Chevrolet, 118

               27. (13) Brennan Poole #, Chevrolet, 117

               28. (35) Chris Cockrum, Chevrolet, 117

               29. (30) Scott Lagasse Jr, Chevrolet, 117

               30. (33) Eric McClure, Chevrolet, 117

               31. (5) Erik Jones #, Toyota, 115

               32. (39) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, 114

               33. (32) Ray Black Jr #, Chevrolet, 114

               34. (17) Kyle Larson(i), Chevrolet, 111

               35. (22) Benny Gordon, Toyota, Transmission, 103

               36. (26) Morgan Shepherd, Chevrolet, Rear Gear, 59

               37. (40) Jeff Green, Chevrolet, Transmission, 50

               38. (34) Martin Roy, Chevrolet, Accident, 22

               39. (27) Bobby Gerhart, Chevrolet, Accident, 6

               40. (31) Ryan Preece #, Chevrolet, Accident, 5 

Average Speed of Race Winner:  151.176 mph.

Time of Race:  01 Hrs, 59 Mins, 04 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.043 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  4 for 17 laps.

Lead Changes:  19 among 9 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   T. Dillon 0; A. Dillon(i) 1-2; J. Logano(i) 3-14; C. Elliott(i) 15-18; B. Gaughan 19; A. Dillon(i) 20-21; B. Gaughan 22-26; K. Kahne(i) 27; A. Dillon(i) 28; T. Dillon 29-30; K. Kahne(i) 31-56; J. Nemechek(i) 57-58; A. Almirola(i) 59-67; B. Gaughan 68-70; K. Kahne(i) 71-73; J. Logano(i) 74-95; C. Elliott(i) 96; E. Sadler 97-100; J. Logano(i) 101-106; C. Elliott(i) 107-120.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  J. Logano(i) 3 times for 40 laps; K. Kahne(i) 3 times for 30 laps; C. Elliott(i) 3 times for 19 laps; A. Almirola(i) 1 time for 9 laps; B. Gaughan 3 times for 9 laps; A. Dillon(i) 3 times for 5 laps; E. Sadler 1 time for 4 laps; T. Dillon 1 time for 2 laps; J. Nemechek(i) 1 time for 2 laps.

Top 10 in Points: E. Sadler – 38; D. Wallace Jr – 35; B. Jones # – 34; D. Suarez – 33; B. Koch – 32; B. Gaughan – 32; J. Allgaier – 29; T. Dillon – 29; D. Armstrong – 27; J. Clements – 26.