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NASCAR National Series News & Notes – Daytona International Speedway

NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: Coke Zero Sugar 400
The Place: Daytona International Speedway
The Date: Saturday, August 28
The Time: 7 p.m. ET
TV: NBC, 6:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR (Channel 90)
Distance: 400 miles (160 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 50),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 100), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 160)
 
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: Wawa 250
The Place: Daytona International Speedway
The Date: Friday, August 27
The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN, 7 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR (Channel 90)
Distance: 250 miles (100 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 30),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 100) 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Next Race: In It To Win It 200
The Place: Darlington Raceway
The Date: Sunday, September 5
The Time: 1:30 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 1 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR (Channel 90)
Distance: 200.1 miles (147 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 147)

NASCAR Cup Series
 
Regular Season Finale: Everybody has a chance at Daytona

It all comes down to this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series regular season finale, the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway, this Saturday, August 28 at 7 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and if history is any indicator of what to expect this weekend, everybody has a shot at the win.

A total of 15 different NASCAR Cup Series drivers have one last chance to etch their names in the 2021 Playoff grid, as this is just the second time Daytona International Speedway has hosted the regular season finale. Last season, William Byron won Coke Zero Sugar 400 and, in the process, claimed his spot in the postseason.

Since the inception of the Playoffs in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2004, Richmond Raceway held the regular season finale from 2004 to 2017 (14 years) and then from 2018-2019 Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosted the final regular season event.

The NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs is currently operating in its third iteration of the postseason’s points system since its inception in 2004. The first Playoff points system (from 2004 to 2009) had the top 10 to 12 drivers earn their position in the Playoffs by points only. The second version of the Playoff points system (2010 to 2013) incorporated the top 10 drivers to get in on points/wins with the addition of two extra drivers referred to as the Wildcards. The third version of the Playoff points system (2014 to Present) features drivers vying for the top 16 Playoff spots either by points or the ‘Win and You’re In’ rule. The third version of the Playoffs also instituted the elimination style format with four drivers being eliminated from the Playoffs at the conclusion of each postseason round culminating with the Championship 4 battling it out for the title in the season finale.

 Playoff Points System 1 (2004-2006 – Top 10 in on Points; 2007-2009 – Top 12 in on Points)

Four drivers have come from outside the postseason cut-off to make the Playoffs at Richmond in the first iteration of the Playoff championship format:

  • Jeremy Mayfield in 2004 made up a 55-point deficit
  • Ryan Newman in 2005 made up a one-point deficit
  • Kasey Kahne in 2006 made up a 30-point deficit
  • Brian Vickers in 2009 made up a 20-point deficit

Playoff Points System 2 (2010-2013 – Top 10 in on Wins/Points and Two Wildcards)

Seven drivers have come from outside the postseason cut-off to make the Playoffs at Richmond in the second iteration of the Playoff championship format that incorporates the Wild Card:

Greg Biffle and Clint Bowyer are the two drivers that clinched the Wild Card in 2010 to make the Playoffs. Biffle was 11th in points with one win; Bowyer was 12th in points with no wins heading into the regular season finale.

  • Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin are the two drivers that clinched the Wild Card in 2011 to make the Playoffs. Keselowski was 11th in points with three wins; Hamlin was 12th in points with one win heading into the regular season finale.
  • Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon are the two drivers that clinched the Wild Card in 2012 to make the Playoffs. Kahne was 11th in points with two wins; Gordon was 13th in points with one win heading into the regular season finale.
  • Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne are the two drivers that clinched the Wild Card in 2013 to make the Playoffs. Kahne was 12th in points with two wins; Newman was 14th in points with one win heading into regular season finale.
  • Due to a rare instance in the final race of the regular season that resulted in penalties being issued; a 13th car (Jeff Gordon’s No. 24) was added to the Playoffs. It was the second time in the Playoff Era the number of entries was expanded.

Playoff Points System 3 (2014 – Present – Top 16 in on Wins or Points/Elimination Style)

In the third iteration of the Playoff championship format from 2014-Present – Only one driver outside the Playoff cutoff has raced their way into the Playoffs in the regular season finale through points or last-minute wins.

  • From 2014 to 2018 – the drivers that won or were inside the top 16 that were expected to make the Playoffs did, no drivers raced their way into the Playoffs in the regular season finale on points or wins.
  • In 2019, heading into the regular season finale at Indianapolis, Ryan Newman was tied with Daniel Suarez for the 16th and final transfer position to the Playoffs. Newman finished eighth in the regular season finale to Suarez’s 11th-place finish, earning the final transfer spot into the postseason.
  • Last season (2020), six drivers inside the Playoff cutoff had not clinched a spot in the postseason heading into Daytona. But all six ultimately clinched their spots, led by William Byron, who became the first driver to win his way into the Playoffs by taking the victory in the regular season finale. No drivers outside the top 16 advanced into Playoffs in the regular season finale.

Daytona International Speedway: The perfect stage for the regular season finale

All eyes will be on the ‘World Center of Racing’ this weekend.

Daytona International Speedway, the 2.5-mile paved superspeedway oval, has hosted 148 NASCAR Cup Series races since the inaugural race in 1959:  63 have been 500 miles, 58 were 400 miles and four were 250 miles. There were also 23 qualifier races that were point races. But this weekend marks just the second time the summer (August) race will be the NASCAR Cup Series regular season finale.

The 148 NASCAR Cup Series races at Daytona have produced 62 different pole winners and 67 different race winners, 29 drivers have multiple Cup Series wins at Daytona. NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty leads the series in wins at Daytona with 10 victories (Feb. 1964, Feb. 1966, Feb. 1971, Feb. 1973, Feb. 1974, July 1975, July 1977, Feb. 1979, Feb. 1981, July 1984). Denny Hamlin (Feb. 2016, Feb. 2019, Feb. 2020) leads all active drivers in Daytona wins with three.

Of the 67 NASCAR Cup Series Daytona winners, 40 of them have won the summer race. A total of 14 NASCAR Cup Series Daytona winners are active this weekend and seven of those 14 have won a summer race at Daytona.

Rank Active Daytona Race Winners Wins Seasons
1 Denny Hamlin 3 2020 (Feb.), 2019 (Feb.), 2016 (Feb.)
2 Kevin Harvick 2 2010 (July), 2007 (Feb.)
3 Michael McDowell 1 2021 (Feb.)
4 William Byron 1 2020 (Aug.)
5 Justin Haley 1 2019 (July)
6 Erik Jones 1 2018 (July)
7 Austin Dillon 1 2018 (Feb.)
8 Ricky Stenhouse Jr 1 2017 (July)
9 Kurt Busch 1 2017 (Feb.)
10 Brad Keselowski 1 2016 (July)
11 Joey Logano 1 2015 (Feb.)
12 Aric Almirola 1 2014 (July)
13 Kyle Busch 1 2008 (July)
14 Ryan Newman 1 2008 (Feb.)

 

NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson leads the series in summer race victories at Daytona with five wins (1961, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1978).

Five drivers have posted consecutive summer race wins at Daytona International Speedway: Fireball Roberts (1962-1963), A.J. Foyt (1964-1965), Cale Yarborough (1967-1968) David Pearson (1972 – 1974) and Tony Stewart (2005-2006).

The youngest Daytona summer race winner is Justin Haley (07/07/2019 – 20 years, 2 months, 9 days); all-time track record – Trevor Bayne (02/20/2011 – 20 years, 0 months, 1 day). The oldest Daytona summer race winner is Bobby Allison (07/04/1987 – 49 years, 7 months, 1 day); all-time track record – Bobby Allison (02/14/1988 – 50 years, 5 months, 23 days).

This weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series regular season finale will be 400 miles (160 laps) and the event will be broken up into three stages. The first two stages are 50 laps each and the final stage will be 60 laps. This weekend’s starting lineups were determined by Metric Qualifying and as a result Kyle Larson will start from the pole and his Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron will join him on the front row.

A total of 22 different starting positions have produced winners in the NASCAR Cup Series summer races at Daytona. The first starting position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (nine) than any other starting position in the summer races at Daytona International Speedway. The most recent driver to win from the pole or first starting position at Daytona in the NASCAR Cup Series was NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the 2015 July race. The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Daytona is 42nd, by NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart in the 2012 July race.

First-time winners aplenty at Daytona

One thing Daytona International Speedway is known for is unpredictable finishes that on occasion produce first time winners in the NASCAR Cup Series. In fact, the last three NASCAR Cup Series summer races at Daytona International Speedway have fashioned just that – first-time winners.

A total of 22 different drivers have posted their first NASCAR Cup Series win at Daytona International Speedway; 11 of the 22 drivers posted their first win in the Summer races – the most recent was last season’s August race with race winner William Byron earning his spot in the Playoffs.

NASCAR Cup Series First-Time Winners at Daytona International Speedway (All-Time)

First-Time Race Winners (22) Date Driver’s Age
Michael McDowell Sunday, February 14, 2021 36
William Byron Saturday, August 29, 2020 22
Justin Haley Sunday, July 7, 2019 20
Erik Jones Saturday, July 7, 2018 22
Aric Almirola Sunday, July 6, 2014 30
David Ragan Saturday, July 2, 2011 25
Trevor Bayne Sunday, February 20, 2011 20
Greg Biffle Saturday, July 5, 2003 33
Michael Waltrip Sunday, February 18, 2001 37
John Andretti Saturday, July 5, 1997 34
Jimmy Spencer Saturday, July 2, 1994 37
Sterling Marlin Sunday, February 20, 1994 36
Derrike Cope Sunday, February 18, 1990 31
Greg Sacks Thursday, July 4, 1985 32
Pete Hamilton Sunday, February 22, 1970 27
Mario Andretti Sunday, February 26, 1967 26
Sam McQuagg Monday, July 4, 1966 28
Earl Balmer Friday, February 25, 1966 30
A.J. Foyt Saturday, July 4, 1964 29
Bobby Isaac Friday, February 21, 1964 31
Tiny Lund Sunday, February 24, 1963 33
Johnny Rutherford Friday, February 22, 1963 24

 

Clinch Scenarios: One spot, one shot to clinch

This weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series regular season finale at Daytona International Speedway is the last opportunity for the drivers who have not clinched a spot in the Playoffs to earn their position in the postseason. A total of 15 drivers have already clinched their Playoff spot, leaving just one spot left for drivers to battle it out in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 this Saturday at 7 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Already Clinched

The following 15 drivers have clinched a spot in the 16-driver postseason field: Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, William Byron, Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch, Christopher Bell, Michael McDowell, Aric Almirola.

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 ahead of the 4th winless driver in the standings. The same point requirements listed below would hold true if a new win comes from among Denny Hamlin or Kevin Harvick.

  • Tyler Reddick: Would clinch with 31 points
  • Austin Dillon: Could only clinch with help

Can Clinch Via Win

The following drivers would clinch on their win alone:

Tyler Reddick (Average finish at Daytona 27.8)

Austin Dillon (14.8)

Matt DiBenedetto (21.3)

Chris Buescher (21.0)

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (19.5)

Ross Chastain (18.2)

Bubba Wallace (15.1)

Chase Briscoe (19.0)

Erik Jones (22.6)

Daniel Suarez (31.6)

Ryan Newman (19.1)

Ryan Preece (22.4)

Cole Custer (26.0)

Anthony Alfredo (32.0)

Corey LaJoie (18.7)

2021 Driver Playoff Outlook Following Race No. 25
Rank Driver Points Wins Stages Playoff Pts Pts From Cutoff
1 Kyle Larson 1004 5 12 37 In On Wins
2 Martin Truex Jr. 789 3 5 20
3 Alex Bowman 674 3 0 15
4 Kyle Busch 838 2 5 15
5 Chase Elliott 820 2 2 12
6 Ryan Blaney 787 2 4 14
7 William Byron 833 1 3 8
8 Joey Logano 772 1 4 9
9 Brad Keselowski 729 1 2 7
10 Kurt Busch 643 1 3 8
11 Christopher Bell 595 1 0 5
12 Michael McDowell 497 1 0 5
13 Aric Almirola 436 1 0 5
14 Denny Hamlin 976 0 5 5 Clinched On Pts
15 Kevin Harvick 756 0 0 0 Clinched On Pts
16 Tyler Reddick 677 0 3 3 25
17 Austin Dillon 652 0 0 0 -25
18 Matt DiBenedetto 557 0 1 1 -120
19 Chris Buescher 542 0 1 1 -135
20 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 504 0 0 0 -173
21 Ross Chastain 492 0 0 0 -185
22 Bubba Wallace 482 0 1 1 -195
23 Chase Briscoe # 450 0 0 0 -227
24 Erik Jones 427 0 0 0 -250
25 Daniel Suarez 423 0 0 0 -254
26 Ryan Newman 406 0 0 0 -271
27 * Ryan Preece 398 0 0 0 -279
28 Cole Custer 382 0 0 0 -295
29 Corey Lajoie 307 0 0 0 -370
30 Anthony Alfredo # 237 0 0 0 -440

 

Richard Childress Racing’s driver Tyler Reddick is just 25 points up on the Playoff cutoff heading into this weekend’s regular season finale.

“There is one race left at Daytona and we will give it everything we have as a team to get our No. 8 Chevrolet into the NASCAR Playoffs,” said Reddick

Last season in the summer race at Daytona, Reddick put on a strong performance, but he was caught in the last two multi-car incidents at the end of the race to relegate him to a 29th-place finish at the famed 2.5-mile superspeedway. In total, Reddick has made four series starts at Daytona posting an average finish of 27.8.

Just below Reddick in the standings is his Richard Childress Racing teammate Austin Dillon in the 17th position in the Playoff outlook, the first spot outside the cutoff. The two are separated by 25 points.

Austin Dillon has made 16 series starts at Daytona posting one win (2018 Daytona 500), three top fives and eight top 10s. 

Can Clinch Regular Season Championship

Additionally, the Regular Season Championship could be clinched by the following drivers:

  • Kyle Larson: Would clinch with 32 points
  • Denny Hamlin: Could only clinch with help

The regular season championship points battle has come down to the regular season finale at Daytona International Speedway this weekend to see who will take home the trophy and the 15 additional Playoff points.

Denny Hamlin has made 31 starts at the ‘World Center of Racing’ grabbing three wins (all in the Daytona 500 – 2016, 2019, 2020), 11 top fives and 12 top 10s. His average finish at the track is 16.0.  Kyle Larson has made 14 starts at Daytona posting five top 10s. His average finish at the track is 21.1.

If Larson or Hamlin wins the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Regular Season Championship, the winner will become just the fourth different driver in series history to win the prestigious award.

NASCAR Cup Series Regular Season Champions
Rank Titles Drivers Years
1 2 Kyle Busch 2019, ’18
2 1 Kevin Harvick 2020
Martin Truex Jr. 2017

 Daytona Dominators: The best of the best at the World Center of Racing

Winning at one of NASCAR’s most prestigious tracks, Daytona International Speedway, is a major accomplishment. So, it is not all that surprising that the top 10 series winningest drivers at Daytona are all in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Daytona Winners Total Daytona 500 Summer Race
1 Richard Petty 10 7 3
2 Cale Yarborough 9 5 4
3 David Pearson 8 3 5
4 Fireball Roberts 7 4 3
5 Bobby Allison 6 3 3
Jeff Gordon 6 3 3
7 Bill Elliott 4 2 2
Dale Earnhardt Jr 4 2 2
Dale Jarrett 4 3 1
Junior Johnson 4 4 0
Tony Stewart 4 0 4

 

This weekend the NASCAR Cup Series field will have 14 former Daytona International Speedway winners entered, led by Denny Hamlin with three wins. The most recent winner at Daytona that is entered this weekend is Michael McDowell who won the Daytona 500 (2021) earlier this season.

McDowell heads into this weekend looking to become the sixth different driver in NASCAR Cup Series history to sweep both Daytona races (Daytona 500 & Summer race) in a single season; joining Fireball Roberts – 1962 (Daytona 500, Firecracker 250); Cale Yarborough – 1968 (Daytona 500, Firecracker 400); LeeRoy Yarborough – 1969 (Daytona 500, Firecracker 400); Bobbie Allison – 1982 (Daytona 500, Firecracker 400); Jimmie Johnson – 2013 (Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola)

Since the ‘Win and Your In’ format to the Playoffs was initiated in 2016, Erik Jones’ 2018 summer race win and William Byron’s summer win last season are the only two summer race victories at Daytona to catapult a driver into the postseason – the other three winners were either not eligible for the Playoffs due to not competing for a championship in the series (Haley in 2019) or the drivers had already previously won in the same season (Keselowski in 2016 and Stenhouse in 2017).

Eight active drivers this weekend have won a summer race at Daytona.

Rank Active Race Winners Wins Seasons
1 William Byron 1 2020 (Aug.)
2 Justin Haley 1 2019 (July)
3 Erik Jones 1 2018 (July)
4 Ricky Stenhouse Jr 1 2017 (July)
5 Brad Keselowski 1 2016 (July)
6 Aric Almirola 1 2014 (July)
7 Kevin Harvick 1 2010 (July
8 Kyle Busch 1 2008 (July)

 

NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.

Spoiler Alert for Daytona – While majority of the competitors this weekend will be vying for Playoffs and running for points and wins in the NASCAR Cup Series championship, eight drivers are entered in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 that are not running for the title in the series and are looking to play the spoiler by grabbing the win this weekend – Justin Haley (No. 77 Spire Motorsports), Kaz Grala (No. 16 Kaulig Racing), Joey Gase (No. 15 Rick Ware Racing), Garrett Smithley (No. 53 Rick Ware Racing), Cody Ware (No. 51 Petty Ware Racing), David Starr (No. 66 MBM Motorsports), BJ McLeod (No. 78 Live Fast Motorsports) and Landon Cassill (No. 96 Gaunt Brothers Racing). Of the eight, Spire Motorsport’s driver Justin Haley is the only one to have won at Daytona in the NASCAR Cup Series before, taking the checkered flag in the rain-shortened summer race in 2019.

Carnomaly joins Landon Cassill at Daytona & Talladega – Carnomaly, the world’s leading automotive crypto company with an eye on revolutionizing the future of the automotive industry, will serve as the primary partner for Cassill in both races.

“I’m proud to bring Carnomaly into the sport and into the NASCAR Cup Series,” Cassill said. “They’ve been a great partner of mine and eRacr, which is the esports arm of what I do with Parker Kligerman. We put on big events on iRacing and Carnomaly was the sponsor of an event earlier this year called the Carnomaly 500, which was at Daytona on iRacing. I’m really looking forward to bringing Carnomaly to real racetracks at Daytona and Talladega with Gaunt Brothers Racing.”

Cassill will pilot the No. 96 Toyota for the Gaunt Brothers this weekend at Daytona.

SHR’s Kevin Harvick teams up with Subway – Subway® restaurants, the world’s largest quick-service restaurant brand, will begin its association with Stewart-Haas Racing when it debuts on the No. 4 Ford of Kevin Harvick during the Sept. 18 NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Subway will return as a primary partner of the No. 4 team Oct. 24 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. For all other races, Subway will be an associate sponsor on the No. 4 Ford.

“Subway is proud to team up with Stewart-Haas Racing, Kevin Harvick and the No. 4 Ford to help us showcase the ongoing transformation happening at Subway restaurants across the country,” said Carrie Walsh, Chief Marketing Officer, Subway. “The track record of Stewart-Haas Racing, Kevin and the team mirrors Subway’s promises to guests of offering better choices, as well as the importance of refreshing to stay at the top of your game. We look forward to celebrating success on and off the track.”

Advance Auto Parts & Ryan Blaney shining light on local tracks – Advance Auto Parts, a leading automotive aftermarket parts retailer and entitlement sponsor of the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series (NAAPWS), will award $1,200 to Berlin Raceway in Marne, Mich., and Elko Speedway in Elko New Market, Minn., after Ryan Blaney’s NASCAR Cup Series win at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, Aug. 22.

Advance is using its associate sponsorship of Ryan Blaney and Team Penske’s No. 12 Ford to shine a light on NASCAR-sanctioned local tracks across the U.S. and Canada that are part of the NAAPWS. Berlin Raceway and Elko Speedway were featured on Blaney’s car at Michigan.

For every Blaney victory in 2021, the local NASCAR tracks featured on his car each receive $1,200 to be used for track operations, local driver winnings or supporting a charity of the track’s choosing. Limaland Motorsports Park & Bethel Motor Speedway will be on Blaney’s Daytona car hoping for their shot at $1,200 this weekend.

This season, Advance has also brought awareness to NASCAR’s local tracks through its “Advance My Track Challenge.” The program encouraged race fans to vote for their favorite NASCAR home track, with the track receiving the most votes claiming a $50,000 grand prize. Berlin Raceway was announced as the program’s inaugural winner in May 2021.

NASCAR Xfinity Series 

Four to go until the Xfinity Series Playoffs, Daytona is up next 

There are only four races remaining in the NASCAR Xfinity Series regular season and a lot can happen to shake up the standings. And what better place to shakeup the standings than Daytona International Speedway? The NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to the World Center of Racing for the second time this season on Friday night under the lights for the Wawa 250. The race will be at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).

AJ Allmendinger continued his winning ways last weekend at Michigan International Speedway, capturing his third victory of the 2021 season in the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet. Allmendinger’s win came in triple overtime beating Joe Gibbs Racing’s Brandon Jones by .163 seconds. With another win for Allmendinger, all the spots up for grabs in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs standings still remain.

This weekend’s Wawa 250 at Daytona will be the 60th NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the superspeedway. In the season-opener in February, Austin Cindric was victorious. There were 16 lead changes and nine cautions for 42 laps. Cindric won over Brett Moffitt by .104 seconds.

There the inaugural NASCAR Xfinity Series race was on February 13, 1982 and won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt.

The 59 Xfinity Series races at Daytona have produced 42 different pole winner and 34 different race winners. William Byron is the youngest winner in 2017 at 19 years, six months and one day. Bobby Allison holds the record for the oldest winner in 1988 at 50 years, two months and 10 days.

Only five races in history have been won from the pole or first starting position (2002, 2003, 2008, 2009, 2021) including Cindric’s win earlier this season. Geoff Bodine still holds onto the race record from 198 at 157.137 mph.

Joe Nemechek has the most starts at Daytona in the Xfinity Series with 37 as well as the most poles with five. NASCAR Hall of Famers Dale Earnhardt and Tony Stewart are tied with the most wins at seven each and Kevin Harvick has the most top fives at 12. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Harvick are tied with 14 top 10s and Earnhardt Jr. holds the record for the most lead lap finishes at 19. Nemechek has completed the most laps at 3,526 and Earnhardt Jr. has led the most laps at 560. Daniel Hemric is the only full-time active Xfinity Series driver that holds a record at Daytona. Hemric has the best average start at 5.500.

Michael Annett, Noah Gragson and Ryan Reed all captured their first wins at Daytona, most recently Gragson in 2020.

Aside from the first Daytona race in 2020, the last five races have had a Margin of Victory less than 0.253-second, in the first 2020 race, the race was won under caution.

This weekend’s race will be 250 miles and 100 laps with Stage 1 ending on Lap 30 and Stage 2 ending on Lap 60. Allmendinger will start on the pole with Gragson joining him on the front row. Brandon Jones will start third, Justin Allgaier fourth and Harrison Burton will round out the top-five starters.

Clinch Scenarios: Time is running out in the regular season

Seven Playoff positions are still up for grabs, as just five drivers have secured their spot in the NASCAR Xfinity Series postseason heading into this weekend’s race at Daytona International Speedway.

Already Clinched

The following five drivers have clinched a spot in the 12-driver postseason field: Austin Cindric, AJ Allmendinger, Justin Allgaier, Jeb Burton and Myatt Snider.

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 166 points above the fifth winless driver in the standings. The same point requirements listed below would hold true if a new win comes from Daniel Hemric, Harrison Burton, Justin Haley or Noah Gragson.

  • Daniel Hemric: would clinch with 44 points
  • Harrison Burton: could only clinch with help
  • Justin Haley: could only clinch with help

Can Clinch Via Win

The following drivers would clinch on their win alone this weekend: Daniel Hemric, Harrison Burton, Justin Haley, Noah Gragson, Brandon Jones, Jeremy Clements, Riley Herbst, Brandon Brown, Ryan Sieg, Tommy Joe Martins, Alex Labbe, Landon Cassill, Josh Williams.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs Standings Post-Michigan:

Rank Driver Points Starts Race Wins Stage Wins Playoff Pts Pts From Cutoff
1 Austin Cindric 907 22 5 9 34 In On Wins
2 AJ Allmendinger 872 22 3 8 23
3 Justin Allgaier 757 22 2 1 11
4 Jeb Burton 665 22 1 0 5
5 Myatt Snider 486 22 1 0 5
6 Daniel Hemric 743 22 0 5 5 264
7 Harrison Burton 726 22 0 2 2 247
8 Justin Haley 684 21* 0 4 4 205
9 Noah Gragson 674 22 0 2 2 195
10 Brandon Jones 566 22 0 1 1 87
11 Jeremy Clements 545 22 0 0 0 66
12 Riley Herbst 520 22 0 0 0 41
13 Michael Annett 479 18* 0 0 0 -41
14 Brandon Brown 438 22 0 0 0 -82
15 Ryan Sieg 424 22 0 0 0 -96

 

Austin Cindric still leads the way with 907 points but with AJ Allmendinger’s win on Saturday closed the gap on Cindric.

Daniel Hemric is still the highest ranked winless driver with a 264-point buffer over the cutline. His Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Harrison Burton is in seventh, the second ranked winless driver with 247 points above the cutline.

Riley Herbst is the 12th and final driver in the Playoff outlook standings, only 41 points above the cut off. Michael Annett is holding onto 13th, 41 points below the cutline. Annett has been granted a waiver to still be eligible for the Playoffs.

Austin Cindric hopes to grab Daytona season sweep

2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion and Team Penske driver Austin Cindric heads to Daytona International Speedway this weekend looking to grab his sixth win of the season and sweep both series’ races at Daytona this season. If Cindric accomplishes the feat, he will become just the second driver all-time to win both NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Daytona in a single season; joining NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2003).

If Cindric wins this weekend he would also become the fourth different driver to win consecutive races in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Daytona; joining Darrell Waltrip (1983-1984), Dale Earnhardt (1990-1994: four straight), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2003-2004: three straight).

Cindric will have his work cut out for him though, the NASCAR Xfinity Series is currently on a different winners streak at Daytona that has reached 12 different drivers and dates back to 2015 – Austin Dillon (July 2015), Chase Elliott (Feb. 2016), Aric Almirola (July 2016), Ryan Reed (Feb. 2017), William Byron (July 2017), Tyler Reddick (Feb. 2018), Kyle Larson (July 2018), Michael Annett (Feb. 2019), Ross Chastain (July 2019), Noah Gragson (Feb. 2020), Justin Haley (Aug. 2020) and Austin Cindric (Feb. 2021).

The ultimate goal over these last few weeks for the former series champ, Austin Cindric, is to lock-up the regular season title and the 15 additional Playoff points that go with it. Cindric has already accumulated 34 Playoff points – most of any driver this season. If he accomplishes the feat, he will become the first driver in the Xfinity Series to win multiple Regular Season Championships.

Regular Season Champions
Rank Titles Drivers Years
1 1 Austin Cindric 2020
Tyler Reddick 2019
Justin Allgaier 2018
Elliott Sadler 2017

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith teaming up with Jesse Iwuji for NXS team: Jesse Iwuji has partnered with NFL Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith to form Jesse Iwuji Motorsports for the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series season.

Iwuji and Smith will use esports and STEM to connect with lower income communities to empower individuals and show them that anything is possible. Iwuji has always had a focus on racial equality and inclusion in NASCAR as well as a passion to run fulltime in the series.

Iwuji serves in the U.S. Navy Reserves currently and was active duty in the Navy from 2010-2017. Iwuji has competed in five Xfinity races, including Pocono Raceway this season for Mike Harmon Racing. He also has 14 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts over four years.

Smith and Iwuji share a lot of the same goals with this new partnership. Manufacturer and car number as well as sponsorships will be announced at a later date.

 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

GMS Racing’s Sheldon Creed opens Playoffs with dominating win at WWTR at Gateway

2020 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion and GMS Racing driver Sheldon Creed just put every Playoff competitor on notice – he’s here to repeat.

Creed opened the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs with a dominating win at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, leading 142 of the 163-lap race that went to overtime. It was his second win of the season and seventh of his career.

The victory at Gateway guarantees Creed a spot in the next round of the Playoffs.

Last season, Creed earned a spot in the Championship 4 Round of the Playoffs and won the season finale at Phoenix Raceway to take home the title. This season, Creed is motivated at the opportunity to become just the second driver all-time to win back-to-back championships in the Camping World Truck Series joining Matt Crafton (2013, 2014). If he were to win the championship again this season, he would also become just the fifth driver with multiple titles in the series.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champions
Rank Titles Drivers Years
1 4 Ron Hornaday Jr. 2009, ’07, ’98, ‘96
2 3 Matt Crafton 2014, ‘13, ’19
Jack Sprague 2001, ’99, ‘97
4 2 Todd Bodine 2010, ‘06
5 1 Sheldon Creed 2020
Brett Moffitt 2018
Christopher Bell 2017
Johnny Sauter 2016
Erik Jones 2015
James Buescher 2012
Austin Dillon 2011
Johnny Benson Jr. 2008
Ted Musgrave 2005
Bobby Hamilton 2004
Travis Kvapil 2003
Mike Bliss 2002
Greg Biffle 2000
18 Mike Skinner 1995

Playoff Clinch Scenarios: Looking to Darlington Raceway

One race into the seven-race NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs and GMS Racing’s Sheldon Creed has already locked himself into the next round of the postseason with his win last weekend at Gateway. While the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is off this weekend, the series will return next weekend at Darlington Raceway for the In It To Win It 200 at 1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Already Clinched

The following driver has clinched a spot in the 8-driver field of the next round of the Playoffs: Sheldon Creed.

Can Clinch via Points

If there is a repeat winner or a win by a driver who cannot advance in the Playoffs, the following drivers could clinch by being 56 points above the 7th winless driver in the standings. The same point requirements listed below would hold true if a new win comes from among John Hunter Nemechek, Ben Rhodes, Matt Crafton, Stewart Friesen, Austin Hill or Carson Hocevar.

John Hunter Nemechek: Could only clinch with help

  • Ben Rhodes: Could only clinch with help
  • Matt Crafton: Could only clinch with help
  • Stewart Friesen: Could only clinch with help
  • Austin Hill: Could only clinch with help
  • Carson Hocevar: Could only clinch with help

If there is a new winner from Todd Gilliland or another winless driver lower in the standings but still eligible to advance in the Playoffs, the following drivers could clinch by being 56 points above the 6th winless driver in the standings.

  • John Hunter Nemechek: Could only clinch with help
  • Ben Rhodes: Could only clinch with help
  • Matt Crafton: Could only clinch with help
  • Stewart Friesen: Could only clinch with help
  • Austin Hill: Could only clinch with help

Can Clinch via Win

The following drivers would clinch on their win alone: John Hunter Nemechek, Ben Rhodes, Matt Crafton, Stewart Friesen, Austin Hill, Carson Hocevar, Todd Gilliland, Zane Smith, Chandler Smith.

Rank Driver Points Race Wins Stage Wins Playoff Pts Pts From Cutoff
1 Sheldon Creed 2,071 2 3 18 In On Wins
2 John H. Nemechek 2,073 5 9 49 55
3 Ben Rhodes 2,070 2 1 19 52
4 Matt Crafton 2,051 0 0 4 33
5 Stewart Friesen 2,049 0 0 1 31
6 Austin Hill 2,039 2 1 21 21
7 Carson Hocevar 2,031 0 0 2 13
8 Todd Gilliland 2,028 1 3 15 10
9 Zane Smith 2,018 0 3 9 -10
10 Chandler Smith 2,010 0 1 1 -18

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.

Sunoco Rookie Update – Niece Motorsports’ Carson Hocevar continues to hold the 2021 Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings lead with 2,031 points; up 21 points on Kyle Busch Motorsport’s Chandler Smith with 2,010. Hocevar and Smith are the only two rookies to have earned a spot in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs.

Hailie Deegan scores third-best finish by a female in the series – Team DGR’s Hailie Deegan scored her career-best finish of seventh last weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway – the third best finish by a female competitor in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the first top-10 finish by a female not at Daytona International Speedway.

Deegan will be making her second career start next weekend at Darlington Raceway. Earlier this season she became the seventh different female competitor to compete at Darlington Raceway in the series; joining Jennifer Jo Cobb (2010, 2020), Johanna Long (2011), Deborah Renshaw (2004), Kelly Sutton (2004), Teri MacDonald (2003) and Tina Gordon (2003).

The best finish by a female competitor in the Truck Series at Darlington Raceway is 14th by Jennifer Jo Cobb on August 14, 2010 – it was Cobb’s series track debut.

Deegan finished 20th in her series debut at Darlington earlier this year.

— NASCAR —