Brendan Gaughan

Kyle Benjamin wins pole for Xfinity playoff opener at Kentucky

Leave a comment

Kyle Benjamin won his second Xfinity Series pole of the season for Saturday night’s playoff opener at Kentucky Speedway.

Benjamin, making his fifth start of the year for Joe Gibbs Racing, won the pole with a top speed of 182.229 mph around the 1.5-mile track.

Benjamin has started on the front row in all five of his starts. The driver of the No. 18 will be joined on the front row by teammate Ryan Preece, who is looking for his second win in three starts this year.

“It’s been a good year, I’ve got a great time behind me,” Benjamin told NBCSN. “I felt like we had a real strong qualifying car. Wasn’t sure, since we didn’t mock in practice. But I felt like we would be fast based on our qualifying efforts this year.”

Cole Custer will start third as the top qualifying playoff driver.

The top five is completed by Justin Allgaier and Tyler Reddick.

Elliott Sadler will start sixth followed by Daniel Hemric, Brennan Poole and Matt Tifft.

Ryan Reed qualified 13th. Brendan Gaughan will start 16th, followed by Blake Koch and Michael Annett.

Sam Hornish Jr. will start 15th in Team Penske’s No. 22 Ford.

Jeremy Clements qualified 25th. He is the only playoff driver who will start outside the top 24.

“We were extremely tight,” Clements told NBCSN. “It’s unfortunate, we didn’t want to start off like this. I waited until the very last minute to go to make sure we got rid of the ARCA rubber out there and get some of the Goodyear rubber. When you do that and your car’s no good and you only get one shot at it, we messed up. We got a hole to dig out of tonight. We’re going to give it all we’ve got. We have to. Got nothing to lose at this point.”

The first round saw multiple cars, including many playoff drivers, be slow getting through pre-qualifying inspection due to the sun interfering in the laser-inspection station.

Teams held a black tarp in front of the cars in order to keep the sun from interfering.

All cars got through inspection and were able to make a lap.

Click here for qualifying results.

Ryan Preece is fastest in final Xfinity practice Friday at Kentucky

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ryan Preece soared to the top of the speed chart in the final Xfinity practice Friday night at Kentucky Speedway.

Preece covered the 1.5-mile oval with a top speed of 181.629 mph. He hit that speed on his first of 38 laps run during the session.

Justin Allgaier was second (180.777 mph), followed by Spencer Gallagher Jr. (180.114), Tyler Reddick (179.832) and Daniel Hemric (179.712).

Sixth through 10th: Matt Tifft (179.665), who was fastest in the first practice session earlier in the afternoon, William Byron (179.605), Brennan Poole (179.581), Sam Hornish Jr. (179.521) and Brandon Jones (179.521).

Five of the 12 Xfinity playoff contenders ended up in the top 10: Allgaier, Hemric, Tifft, Byron and Poole.

Others playoff contenders on the speed chart were Elliott Sadler (12th, 179.194), Ryan Reed (16th, 178.944), Cole Custer (17th, 178.838), Brendan Gaughan (19th, 178.453), Blake Koch (20th, 178.159), Michael Annett (21st, 178.124) and Jeremy Clements (25th, 176. 286).

Qualifying for Saturday night’s VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 takes place at 5:30 p.m. ET, with the race set to take the green flag at 8 p.m. ET.

Click here for the full speed chart from the final Xfinity practice.

Great late-race restart propels Justin Allgaier to Xfinity win at Chicagoland

1 Comment

JOLIET, Illinois – Justin Allgaier had a great restart with eight laps to go to hold off Kyle Larson and JR Motorsports teammate Elliott Sadler to capture Saturday’s TheHouse.com 300 NASCAR Xfinity race at Chicagoland Speedway.

While Erik Jones made a surge to catch Allgaier on the restart, Jones was penalized for changing lanes prior to reaching the start-finish line.

Allgaier earned the second Xfinity career win at Chicagoland Speedway (other was in 2011) in his home state (he was born in Riverton, Ill., about 2 1/2 hours from Joliet), his second of the season and fifth of his career.

Allgaier was consistently in the top-five for much of the race but did not take the lead until Lap 185, passing low and then held on for the remaining 15 laps of the 200-lap event, including the last restart.

“How cool is that? This is awesome,” Allgaier said over his team radio shortly after taking the checkered flag.

MORE: Results of Saturday’s TheHouse.com 300 Xfinity race at Chicagoland

MORE: Points reset: William Byron is No. 1 seed heading into Xfinity Series playoffs

Sadler earns the first Xfinity regular season championship and both drivers will carry the momentum into next weekend’s start of the Xfinity playoffs at Kentucky Speedway.

“It means a lot to me and my family,” Sadler said. “We were able to win the first Xfinity playoff race last season and now this. There’s a lot of firsts in my career, which means a lot to a small-town boy from Virginia.

“This just gives us some incentive to try and get both trophies at Homestead.” 

Larson finished second after a last lap surge past Sadler.

“I had a shot to win it, sped on pit road and had to restart at the back,” Larson said. “I definitely didn’t anticipate coming back and finishing second.”

Daniel Hemric finished fourth and Austin Dillon rounded out the top-five.

Sixth through 10th were Matt Tifft, Cole Custer, Ty Dillon, Blake Koch and Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr.

Due to the restart zone penalty, Jones saw a great day go for naught. Jones dominated the race, leading 94 of the event’s 200 laps, but the miscue cost him deeply, finishing a disappointing 18th place.

“I was surprised for sure,”Jones said. “It was close, yeah, for sure, but NASCAR said they’re not in the business of really making calls, but I’d say that was a race-affecting call.

“It is what it is. We were either going to see a really good finish between me and the 7 (Allgaier) or him run away. It’s unfortunate. It was close. I was surprised to see the call.’’

The race determined the 12 drivers that will advance to the seven-race Xfinity playoffs: William Byron will start as the points leader (2,025), followed by Allgiaer (2,023), Sadler (2,020), Daniel Hemric (2,009), Brennan Poole (2,006), Ryan Reed (2,005), Jeremy Clements (2,005), Cole Custer (2,005), Blake Koch (2,005), Matt Tifft (2,004), Brendan Gaughan (2,003) and Michael Annett (2,001).

Dakoda Armstrong fell short of making the playoffs.

STAGE WINNERS: Erik Jones (Stage 1, Laps 1-45), Erik Jones (Stage 2, Laps 46-90)

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE: Cole Custer led 41 laps and looked like he may have a chance to win, but tailed off near the end. Still, he finished seventh.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: William Byron pitted on Lap 28 and took his car to the garage with reported transmission problems. While he returned to the race, he finished 33rd, 34 laps behind the leaders.

NOTABLE: Allgaier becomes the first Xfinity Series regular to win on a 1.5-mile track this season.

QUOTE OF THE RACE: “It’s an honor and humbling to become the first regular season Xfinity Series champion.” – Third-place finisher Elliott Sadler

WHAT’S NEXT: VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300,Saturday, Sept. 23, Kentucky Speedway, 8 p.m. ET (NBCSN).

Contributing: Dustin Long.

Today’s Xfinity Series race at Chicagoland: Start time, weather, TV/radio info

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Xfinity Series hold its regular-season finale today at Chicagoland Speedway with TheHouse.com 300.

There are only three spots left to be filled before the postseason begins next weekend at Kentucky Speedway. Blake Koch, Michael Annett and Brendan Gaughan are the drivers currently in those spots based on points.

Below is all the important info you need ahead of the race.

(All times are Eastern)

START: Jon Magnusson, CEO of TheHouse.com, will give the command to start engines at 3:37 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 200 laps (300 miles) around the 1.5-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 45. Stage 2 ends on Lap 90.

PRERACE SCHEDULE: Garage opens at 9 a.m. The driver/crew chief meeting is at 1:45 p.m. Qualifying is scheduled for 12:35 p.m. Driver introductions are at 3:05 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: Nashville recording artist Kelsey Hickman will perform the Anthem at 3:31 p.m.

TV/RADIO: NBCSN’s race broadcast begins at 3:30 p.m. NBCSN’s coverage begins at 3 p.m. with Countdown to Green. Motor Racing Network’s broadcast begins at 3 p.m. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com site predicts a temperature of 85 degrees and a 0 percent chance of rain at race time.

LAST TIME: Erik Jones led 10 laps, including the final nine after taking the lead from Elliott Sadler. Jones beat Kyle Larson and Sadler to earn his fourth Xfinity win of the season

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for today’s starting lineup.

Brandon Jones fastest in first Xfinity practice in Chicago

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Richard Childress Racing’s Brandon Jones was fastest in the first Xfinity Series practice session at Chicagoland Speedway.

Jones and his No. 33 Chevrolet posted a top speed of 174.413 mph around the 1.5-mile track.

Following him in the top five were Erik Jones (173.639), Matt Tifft (173.477), Ryan Blaney (173.383) and Brendan Gaughan (172.734).

Darrell Wallace Jr., making his first Xfinity start since June, was 20th in the No. 98 Ford at 169.609 mph.

Tifft recorded the most laps in the session with 30.

Five drivers made runs 10 laps or longer. Jones had the best 10-lap average at 169.276 mph. Gaughan followed him at 168.564 mph.

Click here for the practice report.