Category Archives: Xfinity Series

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 TaxSlayer.com 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 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet, celebrates winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series PowerShares QQQ 300 at Daytona International Speedway (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

race. 

“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.

NASCAR XFINITY SERIES News and Notes.

 

2016 Season Brings Some Change And Lots Of Excitement
With a new season brings tons of excitement and also some great new ideas to the table for the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Much like the successful NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase, the NASCAR XFINITY Series has now adopted a new version of NASCAR’s playoff system. Also the fan and driver adorned Dash 4 Cash program returns for 2016, but this time with a tweak to the process. Below are details to the biggest changes the NASCAR XFINITY Series will see in 2016.

NASCAR XFINITY SERIES CHASE – The seven-race NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase will begin at Kentucky Speedway on Sept. 24, and feature 12 drivers and two elimination rounds, with four drivers competing in the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

A win in the first 26 races all but guarantees a driver entry into the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase, provided the driver is in the top 30 in points and has attempted to qualify for each race. Drivers who win two Dash 4 Cash bonuses are also all but guaranteed a Chase berth.

The first round, called the Round of 12, consists of the races at Kentucky, Dover and Charlotte. All drivers will start with their points adjusted to 2,000, with three additional bonus points added to their total for each win in the first 26 races. If a driver wins a race in the Round of 12, the driver automatically advances to the next round. The remaining available positions (1-8) that have not been filled by wins will be filled on points.

Each driver who advances to the Round of 8 (Kansas, Texas, Phoenix) then will have their points reset to 3,000. Drivers who win a race in the Round of 8 automatically advance to the Championship 4. The remaining available positions (1-4) that have not been filled by wins will be filled on points.

The four drivers who advance to the Championship 4 at Homestead will have their points reset to 4,000. The highest finishing Championship 4 driver will be crowned the NASCAR XFINITY Series champion.

NASCAR XFINITY SERIES DASH 4 CASH – The NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash will be comprised of Two Heats and a Main at four tracks: Bristol Motor Speedway (April 16), Richmond International Raceway (April 23), Dover International Speedway (May 14) and Indianapolis Motor Speedway (July 23).

 
Qualifying for each Dash 4 Cash event will set the 40-car field and the starting positions for the Two Heats with the fastest qualifier awarded the Coors Light Pole Award. Odd-numbered qualifiers (1st, 3rd, 5th, etc.) will start in the first Heat in respective order, while even-numbered qualifiers (2nd, 4th, 6th, etc.) will start the second Heat in respective order.

The Two Heats will set the starting positions for the Main with the top two NASCAR XFINITY Series regulars in each Heat becoming eligible for the Dash 4 Cash bonus. The highest finishing driver among the four Dash 4 Cash eligible drivers will be awarded a $100,000 bonus. If any driver wins two of the four Dash 4 Cash bonuses available, he/she is all but guaranteed a spot in the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase. In short, two Dash 4 Cash bonuses are equivalent to one race win in the new NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase format.

Drivers must have declared to earn NASCAR XFINITY Series points in order to be eligible for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash bonus.

Championship Or Bust For Dillon
Ty Dillon has one goal on his mind for the 2016 – a NASCAR XFINITY Series title. 

“It’s winning races or bust for me,” Dillon said. “I know with that will come a championship opportunity. So we get locked in that Chase, you have to win the races, just like they have in the Sprint Cup Series.”

The No. 3 Richard Childress racing driver placed third in the series last year on the strength of 12 top fives and 25 top 10s. In 2014, he finished fifth in the final standings with one win, seven top fives and 24 top 10s.

He begins his title quest in Saturday’s PowerShares QQQ 300 at Daytona International Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET). Dillon placed third in the same race last season and has an average finish of 14.8 in five XFINITY Series starts at DIS.

Ryan Reed Looks To Kick 2016 Off Like Last Year… With A Win
As the NASCAR XFINITY Series field roared down the Superstretch and towards Turn 3 on the final lap at Daytona last season, Ryan Reed faked going into the turn high and dove his No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford to the bottom of the track and locked it to the double yellow line as he flew into the lead passing Brad Keselowski. Reed was then able to hold off the remaining ensuing efforts at his position as he glided his Ford across the start/finish line and into Victory Lane. It was Reed’s sole win of 2015, but he returns to Daytona looking to become the fifth driver in series history to win back-to-back season-opening races, joining Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Dale Earnhardt and Darrell Waltrip.

Reed has made four career NASCAR XFINITY Series starts at Daytona, posting one win (2015), two top fives and an average finish of 9.0. 

Moving On Up: Erik Jones Takes Truck Championship And Graduates To XFINITY Series
Most pundits will agree Erik Jones is the next big thing rising through the ranks of NASCAR. After claiming the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title last season, the 19-year-old Michigan native has turned his full attention to the NASCAR XFINITY Series.

Jones has been tapped to drive the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota with crew chief Chris Gabehart in 2016.

Jones is no stranger to the NASCAR XFINITY Series. He has already made 26 starts over the last two seasons posting two wins (Texas and Chicago), 13 top fives, 20 top 10s and average finish of 8.9.

The young JGR prodigy has made two series starts at Daytona, posting one top 10 and an average finish of 13.0.

Super Sophomores: Suárez, Wallace Go For Championship In Second XFINITY Series Season
A year after battling for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award, Daniel Suárez and Darrell Wallace Jr. are both back ready to compete for the championship.

Suárez, who ended up taking home the rookie honors, finished fifth in the final standings, posted eight top fives, 18 top 10s and three Coors Light Pole Awards last season. He had an average start of 8.1 and an average finish of 11.7. He won the pole in last year’s Daytona summer race.

Last season, Wallace finished seventh in the series standings on the strength of three top fives and 14 top 10s. He recorded an average start of 12.7 and an average finish of 11.8. Wallace has a high finish of seventh at Daytona International Speedway.

Suárez and Wallace are alumni of both NASCAR Next and NASCAR Drive for Diversity.

Former Series Champions Are No Slouches In Daytona 500 Qualifying  
Last Sunday, 2014 NASCAR XFINITY Series champion Chase Elliott added his name to a prestigious list of former series champions who have gone on to win the pole for the Daytona 500. Elliott is the ninth driver in NASCAR History to win the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship and go on to start on the pole for the Daytona 500, joining Austin Dillon, Carl Edwards, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr., Greg Biffle, Jeff Green and Bobby Labonte. 

Elliott is just the sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie to win the pole for the Daytona 500 joining Austin Dillon, Danica Patrick, Jimmie Johnson, Loy Allen Jr and Mike Skinner.

Familiar Faces – New Teams In 2016
Don’t be too surprised seeing several drivers wheeling for new teams in 2016. The front offices of several of the race teams were definitely busy during the off-season with roster management. Below is a look at a few drivers who will be competing for a new team in 2016.

Former series champion, Bobby Labonte (1991) will be driving part-time in the No. 18 for Joe Gibbs Racing this season. Labonte will have a full-schedule this weekend as he will be running Saturday with Joe Gibbs Racing before jumping in a car for Go Fas Racing and running his 24th career Daytona 500 on Sunday. 

Labonte has made eight series starts at Daytona, posting two top 10s and an average finish of 20.9.

JR Motorsports will be welcoming a whole new cast of drivers. Elliott Sadler will now be in the No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet. Returning to the series this season is Justin Allgaier in the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet. Sadler has made 13 series starts at Daytona, posting four top fives, six top 10s and an average finish of 15.3. Sadler finished second in the July race at Daytona last season. Allgaier, on the other hand, hasn’t driven an NASCAR XFINITY Series car since 2013, but when he did, he made 10 starts at Daytona, posting five top 10s.

Sunoco Rookies to Watch In 2016
Everyone knows the awkward feeling of your first day of school. You don’t know your way around anywhere, and you don’t know very many people, but the excitement of the next stage in your life gets you through it. Many of the 2016 Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidates will likely feel like that this weekend as they embark on their first season in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.

As of this week, there are four drivers entered as Sunoco Rookies for 2016: Brandon Jones (Richard Childress Racing), Brennan Poole (Chip Ganassi Racing), Ryan Preece (JD Motorsports) and Erik Jones (Joe Gibbs Racing).

Brandon Jones is from Atlanta, Georgia and turns 19 on Thursday, Feb. 18. He has one top five and two top 10s in five career XFINITY Series starts.

Poole, from The Woodlands, Texas is 24 years old. Poole made 17 XFINITY Series starts last season, logging two top 10s.

Preece is a graduate of the NASCAR Next program. He hails from Berlin, Connecticut is 25 years old. Preece mad three XFINITY Series starts from 2013-14.

Erik Jones, 19, calls Byron, Michigan home. The NASCAR Next alum has made 26 starts over the last two seasons, posting two wins (Texas and Chicago), 13 top fives, 20 top 10s and average finish of 8.9.

NASCAR XFINITY Series Track Facts – Daytona International Speedway

Below is a quick look at some NASCAR XFINITY Series statistics for Daytona International Speedway: Number Races: 48

Number Of Winners: 24

Wins Leader: Dale Earnhardt and Tony Stewart (7 each)

Number Of Pole Winners: 35

Poles Leader: Joe Nemechek (5)

Most Race Leaders: 20 (2/23/2013)

Most Lead Changes: 41 (07/06/2012)

Most Laps Led (Single Event): 105 (Joe Nemechek, 1998)

Most Cautions: 11 (2/18/2006)

Most Caution Laps: 35 – three times (most recently: 2/25/2012)

Last Season’s Green Flag Passes for the Lead: 56

NASCAR Announces Innovation For NASCAR XFINITY Series

XFINITY Dash 4 Cash Races To Include Two Heats & Main

 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 19, 2016) – NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell announced today several racing-related innovations to the NASCAR XFINITY Series.

In the NASCAR XFINITY Series, where “Names Are Made,” each event in the popular Dash 4 Cash program now will be comprised of Two Heats and a Main. Drivers who win two of the four Dash 4 Cash bonuses available also are all but guaranteed a spot in the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase.

“These innovations contain the elements of racing that our fans want the most,” said O’Donnell. “The enhancements put a premium on in-race strategy, and will create an unprecedented level of excitement as teams make tactical decisions that could impact their spot in the Chase.”

NASCAR XFINITY SERIES DASH 4 CASH

The NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash will be comprised of Two Heats and a Main at four tracks: Bristol Motor Speedway (April 16), Richmond International Raceway (April 23), Dover International Speedway (May 14) and Indianapolis Motor Speedway (July 23).

Qualifying for each Dash 4 Cash event will set the 40-car field and the starting positions for the Two Heats with the fastest qualifier awarded the Coors Light Pole Award. Odd-numbered qualifiers (1st, 3rd, 5th, etc.) will start in the first Heat in respective order, while even-numbered qualifiers (2nd, 4th, 6th, etc.) will start the second Heat in respective order.

The Two Heats will set the starting positions for the Main with the top two NASCAR XFINITY Series regulars in each Heat becoming eligible for the Dash 4 Cash bonus. The highest finishing driver among the four Dash 4 Cash eligible drivers will be awarded a $100,000 bonus. If any driver wins two of the four Dash 4 Cash bonuses available, he/she is all but guaranteed a spot in the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase. In short, two Dash 4 Cash bonuses are equivalent to one race win in the new NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase format.

Drivers must have declared to earn NASCAR XFINITY Series points in order to be eligible for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash bonus.