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Xfinity Series enjoyed its most competitive season in three decades

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The Xfinity Series as we know it has existed for 36 years.

But before 2017, its most competitive season to date was way back in 1988.

William Byron‘s championship campaign this year with JR Motorsports capped off the most parity-filled season in the 29 years since.

In the 33-race season, there were 18 different winners. That matches the series-record from 1988.

Those winners were: Kyle Busch (five), Byron (four), Erik Jones (three), Kyle Larson (three), Brad Keselowski (two), Ryan Blaney (two), Denny Hamlin (two), Justin Allagier (two) and 10 drivers with individual victories.

Byron and Allgaier were the only Xfinity regulars with multiple wins.

The season ended with a streak of 13 different winners in 13 straight races. That tied the longest streak ever in the series, which was set in 1988. The final eight races made up the playoffs.

Seven drivers who won in 2016 failed to win in 2017. Those seven drivers, which included Elliott Sadler, Austin Dillon and Daniel Suarez, combined to win 12 times in 2016

There were also seven first-time winners, the second most ever in a season behind 14 in the inaugural season in 1982.

Those winners were: Byron, Jeremy Clements, Cole Custer, Tyler Reddick, Alex Bowman, Christopher Bell and Ryan Preece.

Byron, Clements and Custer were the only full-time Xfinity regulars among them.

This spreading of the wealth came in a season in which NASCAR had imposed more limits on the number of races Cup veterans could compete in. Full-time Cup drivers with more than five years of experience could only compete in 10 races.

There will be even more limits next year. Cup drivers with more than five years of experience be restricted to seven races. All full-time Cup drivers are prohibited from competing in the Xfinity playoffs, the regular-season finale and the four Dash 4 Cash races.

Here’s more notes of interest from the 2017 Xfinity Season, courtesy of Racing Insights.

  • Twenty drivers made their NXS debut
  • Seventeen different drivers won a pole.
  • 14 races in 2017 were won by Non-Cup competitors up from 11 in 2016
  • Six of the last eight races of 2017 were won by Non-Cup Competitors
  • Thirty of the 33 races were won from a top 10 starting position
  • Five races ended with an overtime finish (Daytona I, Richmond, Daytona II, Iowa II and Darlington)
  • Nine drivers won their first pole, tied for the third most ever in a season



Saturday schedule for Cup at Sonoma, Trucks at Gateway

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Cup cars are only on the track for qualifying today at Sonoma Raceway, and Camping Work Truck teams will qualify and race at Gateway Motorsports Park.

Johnny Sauter has won three of the last five Truck races. Brett Moffitt won last weekend’s Truck race at Iowa.

Here’s today’s schedule at both tracks:



10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. — Cup garage open

2:45 p.m. — Cup qualifying; multi-vehicle/two rounds (FS1, Performance Racing Network)

4:30 p.m. — K&N Pro Series West race; 64 laps, 127.36 miles (airs at 6 p.m. ET June 28 on NBCSN)


11 a.m. — Truck garage opens

Noon – 1 p.m. — Final Truck practice (No TV)

5:45 p.m. — Truck qualifying; multi-vehicle/three rounds (airs from 7-8 p.m. on FS1)

7 p.m. — Driver/crew chief meeting

8 p.m. — Driver introductions

8:30 p.m. — Villa Lighting delivers the Eaton 200; 160 laps/200 miles (FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Kurt Busch fastest in final Cup practice at Sonoma

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Kurt Busch posted the fastest single lap in the final practice for the Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Sonoma Raceway with a speed of 94.061 mph.

He beat second-place Denny Hamlin (94.012 mph) by .040 seconds.

Martin Truex Jr. (93.718) had the third fastest lap, but the team will have some work to do before Saturday’s qualification. With nine minutes remaining on the clock, he ran into the back of Bubba Wallace in the esses and did significant damage to his nose. Wallace landed 34th on the chart with a speed of 91.641 mph.

Jamie McMurray (93.549) and Kevin Harvick (93.441) rounded out the top five.

Harvick (91.468) had the quickest 10-lap average – leading a sweep of the top three by Stewart Haas Racing. Busch was second quickest at 91.452 mph with Clint Bowyer third quick at 91.443 mph.

William Byron broke an axle seal in final practice, but the team was able to get him back on track with 24 minutes remaining in the session. His speed of 92.279 mph was 25th fastest.

Click here for the full report from final practice.

Friday Truck Series practice report from Gateway

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Second practice

Last week’s winner, Brett Moffitt topped the speed chart in Friday evening’s practice session for the Eaton 200 with a speed of 137.191 mph.

He beat second-place Myatt Snider (136.658 mph) by .128 seconds.

Johnny Sauter (136.608), Riley Herbst (136.355), and Ben Rhodes (136.219) round out the top five.

Herbst is making his Truck Series debut this week.

Also making his Truck debut is Zane Smith, who posted a lap of 136.120 mph to land sixth on the chart.

Christian Eckes (135.906) failed to back up his series-leading speed from the first practice session and was only ninth fastest, but he had the quickest 10-lap average of 135.039 mph.

Click here for complete results from practice 2.

First practice

Rain canceled the practice session at Gateway that was scheduled to run from 3:35 – 4:25 p.m. Eastern time.

When they finally got on track, Eckes posted the fastest single lap in the first practice session with a speed of 134.360 mph. He is making his Truck series debut this week.

Eckes’ speed was .009 seconds faster than Noah Gragon (134.324), who landed second on the speed chart.

Rhodes (134.120), Moffitt (133.817) and Matt Crafton (133.706) rounded out the top five.

Rhodes had the quickest 10-lap average of 133.466 mph.

With the first practice canceled at Gateway, NASCAR added a final practice session scheduled for Noon – 1 p.m.

Click here for complete results from practice one.

Denny Hamlin offers advice on how to deal with critics on social media

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Denny Hamlin, who has been fined by NASCAR for comments on Twitter, and was vocal toward critics after this year’s Daytona 500, says he’s found peace on how to deal with those on social media who don’t agree with him.

“I’ve been very good this year about not replying to mean people, and you all should do the same,’’ Hamlin said Friday at Sonoma Raceway.

“I’m making a (request) right now to every driver, every team owner, every NASCAR executive and every media member, stop replying to people who make nonsense comments. They have 16 followers. Don’t give them your 100,000. Do not give them your 100,000 as their stage. No one will ever see their comment, just brush it by, talk about the positives and I’m not a positive person.”

Asked how does one ignore such divisive comments, Hamlin said: “You just scroll by it. Forget it. That person doesn’t exit. They’re an admirer that has lost their way.’’

Hamlin has been better at doing so since the Daytona 500. He faced negative reaction on social media to the contact he and Bubba Wallace had at the end of the Daytona 500.

They engaged in a brief shouting match in the garage area after Hamlin learned that Wallace had taken a dig at him on national TV about a recent comment about drivers using Adderall.

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