Back in Action: Xfinity Series heads to The Glen

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

NASCAR had a two-week break in action due to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics but now the NASCAR Xfinity Series is heading to upstate New York for the Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey 200 on Saturday, August 7 at 4 p.m. ET on CNBC, NBC Sports App, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

This race marks the first back at the facility since the COVID-19 break in sports last season. Austin Cindric is the most recent winner at Watkins Glen International in the NASCAR Xfinity Series taking the checkered flag in 2019. 

Here’s some quick facts about Watkins Glen International in honor of NASCAR making its return to the seven-turn, 2.450-mile road course.

There have been 26 Xfinity Series events at the track producing 15 different race winners and 16 different pole winners. Joey Logano holds the record for the youngest pole winner at 25 years, two months, 15 days in 2015. In 2019, Cindric became the youngest winner in Watkins Glen history at 20 years, 11 months and one day.

Only nine races in history have been won from the first starting position. The last race won from the pole was in 2018 by Joey Logano.

Kurt Busch holds the race record at the track from 2011 at 106.582 mph and Logano also holds the qualifying record at the track from 2016 at 124.552 mph. There will be no qualifying or practice this weekend across all three NASCAR national series.

The most recent race had 37 cars, nine lead changes and six leaders. There were seven cautions for 16 laps and 24 cars finished on the lead lap. There were 26 cars running at the finish and the winner, Cindric, led only eight laps. The margin of victory was 1.168 seconds.

In the last five races at the track, four of the finishes had margins of victory under 1.6 seconds. The only race with a longer margin of victory was in 2018 at 3.362 seconds.

There are 41 cars entered to run this weekend at The Glen. Of note, two Cup Series regulars are in the field, Austin Dillon and Erik Jones will be pulling double duty and racing on Saturday and Sunday.

Justin Allgaier will start on the pole Saturday afternoon, his first pole of the season, and Cindric will join him on the front row. The Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey 200 will be 82 laps and 200.9 miles. Stage 1 will end on Lap 20 and Stage 2 will end on Lap 40.

Playoff Bubble: NASCAR Xfinity Series chances dwindling down
With seven races left in the regular season, it is time to take a look at the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff clinch scenarios heading into this weekend’s race at Watkins Glen International, the Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey 200 on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET on CNBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. A win gets you in, but drivers must still clinch their spot-on points by accumulating enough points that even with a win they do not fall out of the top 30 and become ineligible for the Playoffs.  

Already clinched:

The following three drivers have clinched a spot in the 12-driver Xfinity postseason field: Austin Cindric, AJ Allmendinger and Justin Allgaier. No new drivers clinched a spot at New Hampshire.

Can clinch at via points at Watkins Glen:

If there is a repeat winner, the following drivers could clinch by being 331 points above the second winless driver in the standings.

  • Jeb Burton would clinch regardless of finish
  • Myatt Snider would clinch with 53 points

Can clinch via win at Watkins Glen:

Jeb Burton would clinch on his win alone.

Clinching for Regular Season Championship:
Austin Cindric cannot clinch the regular season championship this weekend. Second-place has 715 points and can still reach 1,135 points.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs Standings Post-New Hampshire:

RankDriverPointsStartsRace WinsStage WinsPlayoff PtsPts From Cutoff
1Austin Cindric797194727In On Wins
2AJ Allmendinger715192515
3Justin Allgaier653192111
4Jeb Burton58919105
5Myatt Snider42619105
6Daniel Hemric68419055266
7Harrison Burton61519022197
8Justin Haley57718*033159
9Noah Gragson54419022126
10Brandon Jones4891901171
11Jeremy Clements4681900050
12Michael Annett45018*00032
13Riley Herbst41819000-32
14Brandon Brown40919000-41
15Ryan Sieg37519000-75
16Alex Labbe30919000-141

Sunoco Rookie Class Update: Berry still on top

Josh Berry has held off Joe Gibbs Racing’s up-and-coming talent Ty Gibbs in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings for several weeks. Berry has 397 points and six awards while Gibbs has six awards but only 330 points. Ryan Vargas is in third with Jade Buford in fourth and Sam Mayer in fifth.

Berry has run in 16 of 19 Xfinity Series race run. Most recently, he covered for Michael Annett in the No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and finished eighth. Annett was out with an injury waiver. In total, Berry has one win, four top fives and nine top 10s.

Gibbs has only competed in nine of 19 races. He has two wins, seven top fives and seven top 10s to his name. His most recent race run was at Road America. Gibbs is entered this weekend at Watkins Glen. 

Sunoco Rookie of the Year Standings
RookiesPointsAwards
Josh Berry3976
Ty Gibbs3306
Ryan Vargas1934
Jade Buford1291
Sam Mayer501

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Erik Jones pulling double duty at The Glen – Jordan Anderson Racing announced that Richard Petty Motorsport’s NSCAR Cup Series driver Erik Jones will make his first NASCAR Xfinity Series start since 2019 in the No. 31 Chevrolet at Watkins Glen on Saturday. Jones is currently in his fifth fulltime season in the Cup Series with 169 starts, two victories, 33 top fives and 64 top 10s. Jones, 25, is adding his name to a list of drivers that have piloted the No. 31 machine this season. Jones made history in 2017 becoming the first driver to win Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in all of NASCAR’s top-three national series. In three Xfinity Series starts at the track, he has a best finish of fourth in 2019 with an average finish of 6.3. He has two top fives and three top 10s and completed all 270 laps attempted.

Kyle Tilley running The Glen, Indy Road Course for Live Fast – Live Fast Motorsports and B.J. McLeod Motorsports announced that Kyle Tilley will compete for their respective teams in both the Cup Series and Xfinity Series events coming up at The Glen this weekend and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course the following week. Tilley was originally only scheduled to run Cup Series road-course events for Live Fast. This weekend will be Tilley’s Xfinity Series debut. He has two Cup Series starts under his belt from earlier this year at COTA and Road America. 

Martins Motorsports to become multi-driver team – Tommy Joe Martins confirmed via Twitter that there will be multiple drivers behind the wheel of the No. 44 Chevrolet beginning in 2022. Martins realized that in order to keep his family-run team going, he needed to bring more drivers on board with funding. In a tweet, Martins said that “Opening up the seat will take our team to the next level & me into the next phase of my career.” He will make announcements about driver lineups, etc. in coming months.

Congrats to the Moffitt family – Brett and Stephanie Moffitt announced that they are expecting their first child in February. Moffitt, who runs fulltime in the Xfinity Series for Our Motorsports in the No. 02 Chevrolet, is currently 22nd in the points standings and has seven top 10s and one top five so far this season. The ultrasound and onesie were displayed in their announcement photo with the message “Daddy’s sidekick.”

Sam Hunt Racing fielding two entries at Indy – For the first time since its inception, Sam Hunt Racing will field two entries in a NASCAR Xfinity Series race. During the race weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, SHR will field the No. 26 and 24 Toyotas with drivers Kris Wright and Will Rodgers. Wright will pilot the No. 26 and Rodgers will pilot the No. 24. Sam Hunt Racing has had multiple drivers behind the wheel for the team so far this season including Rodgers, Wright and others like John Hunter Nemechek and Santino Ferrucci. Rodgers will have sponsorship from GoodRX and RaceToEndHelpC.com.

Sage Karam running at Indy Road Course – Jordan Anderson Racing announced that IndyCar and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship driver Sage Karam will compete at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course in the No. 31 Chevrolet. The race will be Karam’s Xfinity Series debut. He has two top 10s in eight starts in the prestigious Indianapolis 500. Karam joins the growing list of drivers that have competed for Jordan Anderson Racing this season.