The outcome of today’s Ticket Galaxy 200 at Phoenix Raceway will determine the four drivers who advance to next weekend’s Ford EcoBoost 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series championship race in Miami.
No Xfinity playoff contender has won in the Round of 8, which means at least three (if a contender wins today) and possibly four drivers will have to rely upon points to advance to the title race.
Here’s the info you need for today’s race:
(All times are Eastern)
START: Michelle Reagan, Arizona Secretary of State, will give the command to start engines at 3:37 p.m. Green flag is scheduled for 3:45 p.m.
DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 200 laps (200 miles) around the 1-mile oval.
STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 60. Stage 2 ends at Lap 120.
PRERACE SCHEDULE: Garage opens at 9 a.m. Qualifying is slated for 12:35 p.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is 1:45 p.m. Driver introductions are at 3 p.m.
NATIONAL ANTHEM: The Anglim Sisters will perform the anthem at 3:31 p.m.
TV/RADIO: Countdown to Green begins at 3 p.m. on NBCSN. NBC will air the race at 3:30 p.m. Motor Racing Network will broadcast the race on radio and at mrn.com, starting with its pre-race show at 3 p.m. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.
FORECAST: The wunderground.com site predicts a temperature of 83 degrees and a zero percent chance of rain at race time.
LAST TIME: Kyle Busch dominated last fall’s playoff race, leading 190 of 200 laps. Austin Dillon finished second, followed by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Justin Allgaier won the spring race in March, followed by Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones.
STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the starting lineup.
After 200 laps Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, William Byron claimed the Xfinity Series championship in his rookie year by finishing third in the Ford EcoBoost 300.
He finished ahead of his JR Motorsports teammates, Elliott Sadler and Justin Allgaier, and Richard Childress Racing’s Daniel Hemric.
Watch the above video for Byron’s first interview as a NASCAR champion.
Below are interviews with the remaining Championship 4 drivers.
Sadler placed eighth in the race after contact with Ryan Preece with less than 10 laps to go cut a tire on his No. 1 Chevrolet. It Sadler’s fourth runner-up result in the points in his Xfinity career.
Allgaier finished 12th in the race after struggling for most 300-mile event. He was competing without his primary crew chief, who had been suspended for the race. Chad Knaus, the seven-time champion crew chief in the Cup Series with Jimmie Johnson, helped out on the pit box for the No. 7 Chevrolet.
Hemric finished last among the Championship 4 drivers in 34th after his No. 21 Chevrolet experienced battery problems early in Stage 2. Hemric spent 12 laps on pit road before returning to the race.
William Byron finished third in Saturday’s Ford EcoBoost 300 to give JR Motorsports its second Xfinity title.
The team, co-owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr., swept the top-three spots in the final standings with Elliott Sadler placing second and Justin Allgaier in third.
Daniel Hemric placed fourth after finishing last among the Championship 4 drivers in the race.
Race-winner Cole Custer ends the season in fifth.
Click here for the points results.
Cole Custer led 182 laps to win the Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It’s his first Xfinity win and the first series win for Stewart-Haas Racing.
Custer swept all three stages of the race and beat Sam Hornish Jr., William Byron, Tyler Reddick and Ryan Preece.
Byron clinched the Xfinity title with his third-place finish.
Click here for results.
HOMESTEAD, Florida — Elliott Sadler’s fourth runner-up finish for the Xfinity title in the last seven years was a pain he had not felt before.
“I’d say tonight is the most devastating and down and out I’ve ever felt in my career,’’ Sadler said after finishing second to JR Motorsports teammate William Byron for the championship.
Sadler’s anger was directed at Ryan Preece, who slowed Sadler by challenging him for position and stalling Sadler’s momentum as Sadler tried to hold off Byron for the championship in the final 10 laps.
“We were in position to win this championship,’’ Sadler said. “We were there. He raced me hard and held me down and (Byron) got a run on us and he let (Byron) go. Very frustrating.’’
Byron took advantage by diving under Sadler and passing him. Sadler tried to get by Preece but made contact that caused his right front tire to go down. Sadler finished eighth, losing the championship to Byron, who placed third.
“To be that close and not win a championship is frustrating,’’ said the 42-year-old Sadler, who has not won a title in any of NASCAR’s top three national series. “I don’t have many years left, and I wanted to try to fulfill a childhood dream. I didn’t know it was going to come down to a guy that’s not even racing for anything to hold us down like that. No respect at all.’’
Preece said he was racing for something. He was in the No. 18 for Joe Gibbs Racing to compete for the car owner’s title.
“I’m just doing what I’m doing for Joe ,’’ Preece said. “They told me to race for the owners championship.’’
Sadler didn’t buy it when told what Preece said..
“He wasn’t because (Sam Hornish Jr.) was half a lap ahead of him,’’ Sadler said, referring to the Team Penske car that won the car owners title. “He wasn’t racing anybody.’’
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