Onto Darlington Raceway after a wild Daytona weekend for the NXS

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Daytona International Speedway has historically been known as a place of surprises and this past weekend’s Wawa 250 Powered by Coca-Cola was no exception. As if a rain delay wasn’t enough, Friday night’s Xfinity Series race went into not double, but triple overtime and sent a different winner into Victory Lane – Jeremy Clements.

Clements took the win under caution over Timmy Hill, AJ Allmendinger, Brandon Brown and Sage Karam who rounded out the top five. This win marked the second of Clements’ NASCAR Xfinity Series career. His first was at Road America in 2017 after working his way up from the 24th position.

With some pep in his step, the South Carolina native, Clements, will head to his home track – Darlington Raceway – in hopes of once again putting on a show. The No. 51 Jeremy Clements Racing Chevrolet driver has been making his way to Darlington in the Xfinity Series for 12 years. In his 14 starts, he has posted three top 10s and two of those top 10s were in the 2021 season.

The Xfinity Series was at Darlington Raceway earlier this year for the Mahindra Roxor 200. JR Motorsports’ Justin Allgaier won the event and Jeremy Clements finished in the 29th position. 

Show me the stats: Darlington edition

After a rain-delayed, triple overtime race this past weekend in Daytona, the NASCAR Xfinity Series sets its eyes on Darlington Raceway for the Sports Clips Haircuts VFW Help a Hero 200 on Saturday, September 3 at 3 p.m. on USA Network, the NBC Sports App, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR radio.

This will be the second trip to Darlington, South Carolina this season. The first race in May saw JR Motorsports’ Justin Allgaier take the win over his JRM teammate Noah Gragson in runner-up by a margin of victory of .259 seconds. If Allgaier wins again this Saturday, he’ll become the ninth different driver to post back-to-back wins at the track, following Ron Bouchard (1984 sweep), Darrell Waltrip (1985, 1986), Dale Earnhardt (1986, 1987), Harry Grant (1989, 1990), Dale Jarett (1990, 1991), Mark Martin (1993, 1994 sweep, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2000 sweep), Jeff Burton (2001, 2002 sweep) and Denny Hamlin (2006, 2007).

Heading into this weekend, this will be the 65th Xfinity Series race at ‘the track too tough to tame.” The previous 64 races have produced 35 different race winners and 30 different pole winners. NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin sits as the track’s winningest driver with eight trips to Victory Lane. He also leads with most poles (eight), top fives (14), top 10s (18) and laps led (972).

The track has been a place of “firsts” for a few drivers. Justin Ashburn (2003), Denny Hamlin (2004) and John Jackson (2011) got their first Xfinity Series starts at The Lady in Black while Kyle Busch (2004) and Ross Chastain (2018) each won their first poles here. There is yet to be a driver to post their first career Xfinity Series win at Darlington Raceway.

The on-track action will begin with practice on Saturday, September 3 at 10:05 a.m. ET followed by qualifying at 10:35 a.m. ET. Both practice and qualifying can be streamed on the NBC Sports App. 

Xfinity Playoff picture shapes up with three races to go

Daytona International Speedway has always been known as a place where everyone has a chance to win and that theory proved to be true last Friday when Jeremy Clements took the checkered flag. Although Clements posted the win, he will not be making an appearance in the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs due to a L2-level penalty being issued to the No. 51 team Tuesday afternoon. With that said, the current Playoff picture goes as follows: 

Already Clinched

The following seven drivers have clinched a spot in the 12-driver postseason field: AJ Allmendinger, Ty Gibbs, Justin Allgaier, Noah Gragson, Josh Berry, Austin Hill, Brandon Jones.

Can Clinch Via Points

If there is a repeat winner or a win by a driver who cannot advance to the playoffs, the following drivers could clinch by being 111 points above the fourth winless driver in the standings.  The same point requirements listed below would hold true if a new win comes from among Riley Herbst, Sam Mayer or Daniel Hemric.

  • Riley Herbst: Could only clinch with help
  • Sam Mayer: Could only clinch with help

If there is a new winner from Landon Cassill or another winless driver lower in the standings but still eligible to advance to the playoffs, the following drivers could clinch by being 111 points above the third winless driver in the standings.

  • Riley Herbst: Could only clinch with help

Can Clinch Via Win

The following drivers would clinch on their win alone: Riley Herbst, Sam Mayer, Daniel Hemric, Landon Cassill, Ryan Sieg, Sheldon Creed, Anthony Alfredo, Brandon Brown

The following drivers could clinch with a win:

  • Myatt Snider: Could only clinch with help
  • Jeb Burton: Could only clinch with help

Denny Hamlin running double duty at Darlington

In the last few years, it has seemed that Cup Series regular Denny Hamlin only joins in on Xfinity Series fun once per season – Darlington Raceway weekend. In his 14 starts, he’s posted five wins (2006, 2007, 2010, 2015 and 2017), 10 top fives and 12 top 10s. Every one of his wins has been won from the pole or first starting position.

Hamlin has created quite the buzz around himself at Darlington in the Xfinity Series, currently leading all active drivers in poles (five), wins (five), top fives (10), top 10s (12) and laps led (629). He’s also the most recent driver to have won a Xfinity Series Darlington race from the pole or first starting position (2017).

His Cup Series Darlington stats don’t fall too far behind. In his 20 starts, he’s posted four wins (2010, 2017, 2020 and 2021), 11 top fives and 15 top 10s.

Hamlin will be making his first Xfinity Series start of the 2022 season behind the wheel of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, but he won’t be the only Cup Series driver entered in this weekend’s Sports Clips haircuts VFW Help A Hero 200 Ty Dillon, Kyle Larson, and Ross Chastain will also be getting some extra track time in this weekend.

Dillon will be piloting the No. 02 Our Motorsports Chevrolet for his fourth Xfinity Series start of the season. He’s posted seven Xfinity Series starts at Darlington with three top 10s and a best finish of seventh in 2017. 

Larson will be driving the No.17 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports. This will be his third Xfinity Series start of the season and if all goes like the last two, he could very well find himself in Victory Lane. His first start was at Road America where he finished runner-up and his most recent start was at Watkins Glen where he took home the checkered flag. He’s posted four Xfinity Series starts at Darlington Raceway and racked up one top five and four top 10s. 

Chastain will be teaming up with Big Machine Racing to drive the No. 48 Chevrolet for his fourth Xfinity Series start of the 2022 season. In his six Xfinity Series starts at Darlington, he’s posted one top five and three top 10s. 

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year update – The regular season is starting to wrap up and Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Hill has really separated himself from the rest of the rookie class. Going into this weekend’s race at Darlington, he leads the group with 703 points. 

RCR teammate Sheldon Creed comes in next with 493 points. He has posted two top fives and nine top 10s this season.

Kyle Sieg sits in third with 190 points and Jesse Iwuji slides in next with 84 points.

Ryan Ellis to honor Jeff Gordon with a throwback paint scheme – Alpha Prime Racing announced that Keen Parts/ CorvetteParts.net will be running a throwback paint scheme on Ryan Ellis’ No. 44 Chevrolet this weekend at Darlington Raceway to honor NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon. It’ll be the iconic flames scheme that Gordon drove for many years.

“Jeff was definitely my favorite driver growing up, so it’s really cool to be able to run this scheme with Keen Parts,” said Ellis. “I had so much ‘24’ apparel and dressed up as Jeff for Halloween, so it’ll be really meaningful to put a similar looking fire suit on and strap into the CorvetteParts.net Chevy at Darlington Raceway.”

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