AJ Allmendinger has made three starts at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course, including on Saturday for the Drive for the Cure 250 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, and he has won all three of the races.
He won his third straight race at the 2.32-mile, 17-turn road course and clinched his spot in the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs. The win was his fifth of the season and 10th of his career. Winning for the sixth time on a road course, Allmendinger is now the winningest Xfinity Series driver on road courses in the series.
Saturday’s race was also the final chance for drivers to make their way into the Round of 8. Four drivers – Jeb Burton, Myatt Snider, Jeremy Clements, and Riley Herbst – were eliminated from the Playoffs.
This weekend, the series heads to Texas Motor Speedway for the Andy’s Frozen Custard 335 on Saturday, October 16 at 3 p.m. ET on NBC, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90). The race marks the first of the Round of 8. The series heads to Kansas Speedway after Texas and then to Martinsville Speedway to decide the Championship 4.
The race will be 300 miles and 200 laps with Stage 1 ending on Lap 45 and Stage 2 ending on Lap 90.
Metric Qualifying set the field for this weekend and AJ Allmendinger will lead the field to green with Austin Cindric joining him on the front row. Hemric, Haley, Gragson, Allgaier, Jones and Harrison Burton will make up the top eight starting positions.
Xfinity Facts and Figures: Texas Motor Speedway Edition
There is not time to cool off for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs this weekend in the Andy’s Frozen Custard 335 on Saturday, October 16 at 3 p.m. ET on NBC, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio as the Round of 8 is about to get underway.
There have been 41 Xfinity Series races at Texas Motor Speedway. The first Xfinity Series race took place on April 5, 1997 and was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin.
There have been 24 different pole winners and 21 different race winners in the 41 Xfinity races at Texas Motor Speedway. Erik Jones holds the record for the youngest pole winner at 18 years, nine months, 11 days in 2015. Mark Martin holds the record as the oldest pole winner at 47 years, nine months, 26 days in 2006.
Only six races in history have been won from the pole or first starting position and most recently, Ryan Blaney won from the pole in 2018.
Kyle Busch holds the race record at Texas Motor Speedway from April 5, 2008, at 151.707 mph. Jeff Green holds the qualifying record from April 6, 2002 at 193.493 mph.
In the most recent race at the Fort Worth, Texas track in June, there were 40 cars in the field with 14 lead changes and eight different leaders. There were 10 cautions for 52 laps and 26 cars finished on the lead lap. Thirty-two cars were running at the finish and 94 laps were led by the race winner, Kyle Busch.
The Margin of Victory was 0.433 seconds. The largest Margin of Victory in track history was 5.561 seconds in 2019 and the smallest was in 2007 at 0.128 seconds.
Kyle Busch leads the Xfinity Series in most stat categories at Texas. He has the most poles (four), most wins (10), most top fives (17), most top 10s (18), most lead lap finishes (20), most laps completed (4,463) and most laps led (1,795).
Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chase Elliott, and Erik Jones all got their first Xfinity Series wins at Texas Motor Speedway. Alex Bowman, Denny Hamlin and David Ragan all got their first pole at the track, too.
Scouting the 2021 Round of 8 Xfinity Playoff Drivers at Texas
This weekend’s race at Texas Motor Speedway will kick off the Round of 8 for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs. All eight drivers will be fighting for their spot in the Championship 4 Round – with only three chances to do so at Texas, Kansas, and Martinsville. Currently, there are no drivers locked into the Championship 4 but let’s take a look at the Playoff drivers stats at Texas Motor Speedway.
Austin Cindric: The driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford has made seven starts at Texas, with his first start coming in 2018. In his seven career starts, he has one win (2020), five top fives, six top 10s and has led 106 laps. He has an average start of 8.7 and an average finish of 4.9. Most recently, he finished third earlier this season at the track after starting fourth. In this race last season, he started seventh and finished fourth.
AJ Allmendinger: The driver of the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet and the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series Regular Season Champion will make only his second Xfinity Series start at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. In his first start earlier this season, he started on the pole and ended up finishing sixth. He led eight of 171 laps.
Justin Allgaier: The driver of the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet will make his 23rd career start at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday. His first start at the track was in 2008. In his 22 starts, he has three top fives and 11 top 10s. He has led 193 laps and has an average start of 12.5 and an average finish of 12.4. Most recently, he started 16th at the track earlier this season and finished runner-up.
Noah Gragson: The driver of the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet has made five starts at Texas. He has one top five and two top 10s in those starts. Most recently, he started 30th and finished seventh earlier in 2021. He has a best finish of runner-up in this exact race in 2020. He has led 56 laps and has an average start of 14.8 and an average finish of 16.4.
Daniel Hemric: The driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota will make his sixth Xfinity start at Texas on Saturday. In his five starts, he has two top fives and three top 10s. Most recently, he started fifth earlier this season and finished fourth. He has led laps (94 total) in his last three starts. He has a best finish of third from 2018.
Harrison Burton: The driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota will make his fifth start this weekend at Texas. Burton won this race in 2020 after starting from the 12th position. Earlier this season, he started 18th but was involved in a wreck that forced him to finish 30th. He has one win, two top fives and three top 10s in his four starts at the track. He’s also led 43 laps.
Brandon Jones: The driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota has 11 starts to his name at Texas. He made his first start in 2016 and started ninth and finished ninth. Most recently, he started third and finished ninth in early 2021. He has two top fives and five top 10s in his 11 starts. He has a best finish of fourth in 2019. He’s led 47 laps and has an average start of 7.6 and an average finish of 17.4.
Justin Haley: The driver of the No. 11 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet will make his sixth start at Texas on Saturday. He has four top 10s in those five starts. Most recently, he started second and finished ninth earlier this season. He has a beset finish of seventh (2019 and 2020) at the track. He has an average start of 12.8 and an average finish of 12.6.
Clinch Scenarios: Reset After the Road Course
The Round of 8 begins this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway where eight drivers will be fighting for their spot in the Championship 4 Round. Currently none of the eight drivers have clinched a spot in the final round.
No drivers have clinched a spot in the 4-driver field of the next round.
Can Clinch Via Win
The following drivers would clinch on their win alone: AJ Allmendinger, Austin Cindric, Justin Allgaier, Noah Gragson, Daniel Hemric, Justin Haley, Harrison Burton, Brandon Jones.
Heading into this weekend, AJ Allmendinger, Austin Cindric, Justin Allgaier and Noah Gragson are the four drivers above the cutline while Daniel Hemric, Justin Haley, Harrison Burton and Brandon Jones are the four below.
But, when it comes down to these final races in the season, those numbers can be shaken up fairly easy. If a driver has one bad race, they can find themselves going from above the cutline to below.
Allmendinger is 34 points above the cutline and has 50 Playoff points after his fifth win of the season at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course last weekend. He has the most comfortable points buffer of all the drivers as he’s ranked first in the standings. Cindric is 28 points above the cutline. But, from there, Allgaier is only five points above and Gragson is one point above.
Hemric is only one point below the cutline. Jones has the biggest deficit to fight back from as he is 14 points below the cutline in eighth, but as we know, anything can happen in the Playoffs.
All it takes is a win and you’re in – for all eight Playoff drivers.
NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs Standings Post-Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course:
|Rank||Driver||Points||Race Wins||Stage Wins||Playoff Pts||Pts From Cutoff|
|9||Jeb Burton||2,082||1||1||9||Eliminated From The Playoffs|
NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.
Big Machine Racing partnering with RCR in ’22: Big Machine Racing announced that it will return to the Xfinity Series in 2022 with Jade Buford as its driver and the team will also work with Richard Childress Racing in an enhanced partnership. Big Machine Records CEO Scott Borchetta said, “To be able to join Richard Childress and the iconic RCR means we just put a turbocharger on our Big Machine Racing program. As a racer and fan, I’ve always looked up to Richard, all of his accomplishments and his organization. He’s a winner in the truest sense and I look forward to the day that we can share our first victory together.”
Michael Annett retiring from fulltime competition after ’21 season: Michael Annett announced that he will retire from full-time driving duties at the end of the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series season. Annett’s NASCAR career spans over 16 years, spending 11 of them in the Xfinity Series and three of them in the Cup Series and Camping World Truck Series. Annett’s first and only Xfinity Series career win, so far, came at Daytona International Speedway in the season-opener in 2019. He also won at Kentucky Speedway in 2008 in the Truck Series. Annett suffered from an injury in 2021, forcing him to miss a handful of races for JR Motorsports. Annett, 35, has competed in more than 430 races across all of NASCAR’s national series.
Creed announced ’22 sponsorship: Sheldon Creed and Richard Childress Racing announced earlier this season that Creed would pilot the No. 2 Chevrolet for the team in 2022. RCR and Creed also announced that Whelen Engineering, Inc., a global leader in the emergency warning industry, will be the primary partner for Creed’s rookie year in the No. 2 for the full season.