Who’s Hot, Who’s Not among Xfinity regulars heading into Mid-Ohio

(Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
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It doesn’t happen that often during a season, so savor it.

This weekend’s Xfinity Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will feature just one Sprint Cup regular in the starting lineup: Ryan Blaney.

Blaney will be driving Team Penske’s No. 22 Ford in the race at the 2.258 mile, 13-turn track.

It will be only the third time through 21 races that there’s just one Cup regular in a Xfinity race. The other two races were at Iowa Speedway where Brad Keselowski drove the No. 22.

Saturday’s race will feature a first-time winner at the track as the victors of the first three races at Mid-Ohio – AJ Allmendinger, Chris Buescher and Regan Smith – are not entered.

Chances are good that the 75-lap event will feature a win by a Xfinity Series regular, which has only occurred five times in 20 races so far.

Here’s a look at Who’s Hot/Who’s Not among Xfinity drivers heading to the Lexington, Ohio, road course.

Who’s Hot:

Elliott Sadler  – Seventeen top-10 finishes in 2016 (most of all drivers) including eight of the last nine races. Finished in the top 10 in all three races at Mid-Ohio. Ten top 10s in the last 11 road course races (finished 12th at Road America last year ending a streak of nine straight top 10s on road courses).

Justin Allgaier  – Finished in the top 10 in seven of the last eight races including two top fives. Finished in the top 10 in his last eight starts on road courses including a win at Montreal in August 2012 (most recent win). Finished eighth at Mid-Ohio in 2013 in his only start there.

Daniel Suarez – Has finished in the top five in nine races in 2016; only drivers with more are Erik Jones and Kyle Busch with 11 each. Five top fives in the last eight races. Finished fourth at Watkins Glen, his only top 10 in four races on road courses. Finished 11th in this race last year in his only Mid-Ohio start.

Brennan Poole – Finished in top 10 in five of the last seven races including a fourth at Iowa and a 10th at Watkins Glen last week in his first road course start.

Erik Jones – Eleven top fives in 2016 are tied with Kyle Busch for the most in the series and are two more than any other driver; finished top five in three of the last five races. Six poles and three wins in 2016. Finished 12th last week at Watkins Glen in his only Xfinity road course start (ran out of fuel mid-race).

Ty Dillon – Finished top-10 in only four of the last eight races. Finished 11th at Watkins Glen, ending a streak of three straight top-10 finishes on road courses. Finished 19th and third in his two Mid-Ohio starts.

Who’s Not:

Darrell Wallace Jr. – One top-10 finish in the last six races and none in the last four. Finished 29th last week at Watkins Glen. Two top-10 finishes in four Xfinity road course starts. Finished eighth in this race last year in his only Mid-Ohio start.

Brandon Jones  – Only one top 10 in the last seven races (10th at Indianapolis). Started 19th, finished 29th at Mid-Ohio in August 2015 and finished 13th last week at Watkins Glen in only other road course start.

Other interesting notes entering this weekend:

  • Four drivers fighting for the bubble in the Chase are within 14 points of each other: Ross Chastain (-2), Dakoda Armstrong (-9), Jeremy Clements (-14) and Blake Koch (+2).
  • Team Penske has an average finish of 2.75 at Mid-Ohio and has led 44 percent of the laps raced there (114 of 259).
  • Mid-Ohio is one of four tracks Joe Gibbs Racing hasn’t won at in the Xfinity Series (Pocono, Watkins Glen and Road America).