Even though he hasn’t won this year, Elliott Sadler earned himself a spot in the Xfinity Series playoffs Friday night at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Sadler is the fourth driver to qualify for the playoffs. He joins Ryan Reed, William Byron and Justin Allgaier, who clinched spots through race wins.
The JR Motorsports driver and the series points leader finished third in the Food City 300 for his ninth top five of the year.
“Man, we had a great car,” Sadler told NBCSN. “I hit the wall with like 50 to go. Then I threw my water bottle out and it got in the jack man’s way, messed us up. We’re peaking at the right time.”
Sadler has led the Xfinity Series point standings for the last 10 races and following 20 of the 22 races this year.
Following Sadler in the top five is William Byron (-110), Allgaier (-136), Brennan Poole (-186) and Daniel Hemric (-206).
Brendan Gaughan is on the playoff bubble. He is 43 points above the cutoff line. Ross Chastain is 13th on the playoff grid.
Click here for the point standings.
JR Motorsports teammates Elliott Sadler, William Byron and Justin Allgaier remained 1-2-3 in the Xfinity Series driver standings following Saturday’s Mid-Ohio Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Although he remains winless this season, Sadler still managed to pull closer to securing a playoff berth. He leads Byron by 87 points and Allgaier by 142 points.
Brennan Poole, who spun Sadler out during Saturday’s race, likely preventing a higher finish, is fourth (-182) and Daniel Hemric is fifth (-196).
Click here for the Xfinity Series point standings after Mid-Ohio.
Given that he’s an Ohio resident and has made countless trips to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course as both a driver and a fan, it’s not surprising Sam Hornish Jr. felt right at home in Saturday’s Xfinity Series qualifying there.
Hornish was fastest of the 40 drivers in the field to earn the pole for this afternoon’s Mid-Ohio Challenge (3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).
Hornish covered the course at a top speed of 96.863 mph. Elliott Sadler was second at 95.779 mph, followed by Blake Koch (95.574), Ryan Reed (95.439) and Matt Tifft (95.232).
Sixth through 10th were Daniel Hemric (95.188), Ben Kennedy (95.037), Justin Allgaier (94.997), Cole Custer (96.760) and Brennan Poole (92.535).
There was one significant incident in the closing laps when Cole Custer wrecked at the end of his qualifying lap. His Ford suffered significant front end damage, and will likely have to go to a backup car for this afternoon’s race.
Click here for the full qualifying grid.
Brendan Gaughan‘s ninth-place finish helped him strengthen his hold on the 12th and final playoff spot with six races left in the regular season.
Gaughan entered Saturday’s Xfinity race with a 14-point lead on JJ Yeley for the final playoff spot. Yeley finished 39th after an engine failure. Ryan Sieg, who finished 27th, passed Yeley in the standings. Gaughan leads Sieg by 36 points for the final playoff spot.
Elliott Sadler remains the points leader. He leads JR Motorsports teammate William Byron by 52 points. JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier is third in the standings, 124 points behind Sadler.
Xfinity Series points report
Kyle Busch led 43 of 82 laps to score his 90th career NASCAR Xfinity victory at Watkins Glen International on Saturday.
Cup drivers took seven of the top eight spots. The exception was Justin Allgaier, who finished fourth for JR Motorsports.
Click here for full results