Xfinity Rookie Report: How William Byron, Daniel Hemric and others are faring after six races

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The Xfinity Series is six races and two off weeks into its season.

That gives us a small sample size to look at how this years’ rookie class is stacking up against each other.

Five drivers on five different teams are competing for Rookie of the Year honors, and so far the best of bunch – and the series – is JR Motorsports’ William Byron.

The 19-year-old driver is first in the point standings after six races. He’s the only rookie to earn a pole and a stage win. Byron’s Stage 2 win last week at Texas Motor Speedway made him just the second Xfinity regular to win a stage this season. Elliott Sadler is the only other one.

Byron and Cole Custer are the only rookies to earn top-five finishes so far with one each.

Three rookies, Byron, Matt Tifft and Daniel Hemric, are in the top 10 in points.

Here’s a break down of each rookies’ season so far.

(Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

William Byron, No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet

Points Position: First

Top fives: two
Top 10s: five
Laps Led 19
Avg. Finish: 7.7
Best finish: fourth (Phoenix)
Poles: One (Phoenix)
DNF: None

MORE: Xfinity Spotlight Q&A with Byron

 (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

Matt Tifft; No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

Points: Sixth

Top fives: None
Top 10s: One (Texas)
Lap led: four
Avg. finish: 15.8
Best finish: Ninth (Texas)
DNF: One

(Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Daniel Hemric; No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet

Points: Seventh

Top Fives: None
Top 10s: Two
Laps Led: None
Avg. finish: 17.2
Best finish: Seventh (Phoenix)
DNF: One

MORE: Xfinity Series Spotlight Q&A with Hemric


(Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

Cole Custer; No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford

Points: 12th

Top Fives: One (Texas)
Top 10s: Two
Laps Led: None
Avg. Finish: 19.8
Best Finish: Fifth (Texas)
DNF: Two

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Spencer Gallagher; No. 23 GMS Racing Chevrolet

Points: 17th

Top Fives: None
Top 10s: None
Laps Led: None
Avg. Finish: 23rd
Best Finish: 14th (Texas)
DNF: One

MORE: Xfinity Series Spotlight Q&A with Gallagher

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Saturday NASCAR schedule at Talladega Superspeedway


Both the Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series will race Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway.

Cup cars will start the day’s action by qualifying for Sunday’s playoff race, followed by the Truck playoff race and then the Xfinity playoff race.

Talladega Superspeedway (Cup, Xfinity and Truck)

Weekend weather

Saturday: Sunny. High of 78.

Saturday, Oct. 1

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. — Cup Series
  • 9:30 a.m. — Truck Series
  • 1 p.m. — Xfinity Series

Track activity

  • 10:30 a.m. – Noon — Cup Series qualifying (NBC Sports app, Motor Racing Network, Sirius XM NASCAR Radio)
  • 12:30 p.m. — Truck Series race (94 laps, 250 miles; FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 4 p.m. — Xfinity Series race (113 laps, 300 miles; USA Network, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Talladega Xfinity starting lineup: Austin Hill wins pole


TALLADEGA, Ala. — Austin Hill will lead the field to the green flag Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway after scoring his first career Xfinity Series pole.

Hill won the pole Friday with a lap of 182.036 mph. He will be joined on the front row by fellow playoff contender Ty Gibbs (181.981 mph).

MORE: Talladega Xfinity starting lineup

Playoff drivers will start in seven of the top eight spots. The exception is Sheldon Creed, who will start third after a lap of 181.870 mph. Hill and Creed give Richard Childress Racing the first and third starting spots.

Justin Allgaier (181.529) qualified fourth and Brandon Jones (181.305) completed the top five. Noah Gragson, who has won four races in a row, starts sixth after a lap of 181.134 mph and is followed by playoff drivers Josh Berry (181.052) and AJ Allmendinger (180.932).

The Xfinity Series race is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET Saturday on USA Network.

Talladega Truck starting lineup: John Hunter Nemechek wins pole


TALLADEGA, Ala. — John Hunter Nemechek will start on the pole for Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race.

Nemechek earned the pole with a lap of 178.767 mph.

Nemechek is one of four playoff drivers starting in the top six: Chandler Smith (second, 177.732 mph), Zane Smith (fourth, 177.061) and Ty Majeski (sixth, 176.744). Majeski clinched a spot in next month’s championship race at Phoenix with his Bristol win.

MORE: Talladega Truck starting lineup

Also qualifying in the top five were Carson Hocevar (177.068) in third and Matt Crafton (176.960) in fifth.

Failing to qualify are Tim Viens, Spencer Boyd, Jason White and Natalie Decker.

Saturday Talladega Xfinity race: Start time, TV info, weather


The second race of the opening round of the Xfinity playoffs takes drivers to Talladega Superspeedway.

Noah Gragson secured his spot in the next round by winning last weekend at Texas. Ryan Sieg holds the final transfer spot. Riley Herbst is the first driver below the cutline, one point behind Sieg. Also below the cutline are reigning series champion Daniel Hemric (-8 points), Brandon Jones (-12) and Jeremy Clements (-28).

Details for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Talladega Superspeedway

(All times Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 4:09 p.m. … Green flag is scheduled to wave at 4:21 p.m.

PRERACE: Xfinity garage opens at 1 p.m. … Driver introductions are at 3:30 p.m. … The invocation will be given at 4 p.m. … The Brookwood High School choir will perform the anthem at 4:02 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 113 laps (300.58 miles) on the 2.66-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 25. Stage 2 ends at Lap 50.

TV/RADIO: USA Network will broadcast the race at 4 p.m. Countdown to Green begins at 3:30 p.m. on USA Network. … Motor Racing Network coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. and also will stream at SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.


FORECAST: Weather Underground — Sunny with a high of 78 degrees and no chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Noah Gragson won and was followed by Jeffrey Earnhardt and AJ Allmendinger.