Xfinity Series heads to Martinsville with four spots to title race available


KANSAS CITY, Kan. —With one race before the Xfinity Series’ Championship 4 event, no driver has clinched a spot to race for a title.

Saturday’s race at Kansas Speedway saw two playoff drivers wreck and two others spin.

For the fourth time in five playoff races, a non-playoff driver won. Ty Gibbs was the latest non-playoff driver to win, taking the checkered flag Saturday at Kansas Speedway.

That leaves all four positions for the Nov. 6 championship race at Phoenix Raceway open going into next weekend’s race at Martinsville Speedway.

Reigning champion Austin Cindric and AJ Allmendinger, who have each won five races this season, are tied atop the points standings. They are both 47 points above the cutline. The most points a driver can score in a race is 60 points.

“The good thing about Martinsville is it takes a lot to hit hard enough to get you out of the race,” Cindric said. “We probably just need to finish that one and we will be in the show. That is really all that matters for us, but I would really like to try to race for a win at Martinsville.”

Justin Allgaier is confident Cindric and Allmendinger will advance to the title race.

“Let’s just be honest,” Allgaier said, “passing those guys would be an act of Congress.”

Allgaier is third in the standings. He’s nine point above the cutline.

“Nine points is not enough by any means,” he said after placing ninth at Kansas.

Daniel Hemric holds the final transfer spot. He’s seven points above the cutline and Justin Haley.

Hemric entered the race below the cutline and overcame an early spin to place 15th and move above the cutline.

He was running second when he got loose and then hit from behind. Both he and Noah Gragson spun. Hemric had left front damage. Gragson had right-side damage.

“When you get your back put against the wall, you try to figure out how to claw and make the most of your day and that’s what we did,” Hemric said.

That Haley is only seven points out of a transfer spot is significant. His Kaulig Racing team has struggled on 1.5-mile tracks this season compared to his playoff rivals. He finished seventh at Texas last week and placed fourth Saturday. The key Saturday was that his team saved a set of tires for late in the race. Those tires helped him gain nine spots to place fourth.

When most of the field pitted on Lap 156, Haley was among those who stayed out.

“We’re like, ‘we can stay on the same strategy and run 10th,’” Haley said. “We’re in the playoffs. You’ve just got to do something. You can’t play defense all day. You’ve got to get on the offensive side of it.”

Gragson is 24 points from the cutline after he was collected in a crash. Teammate Sam Mayer and Harrison Burton made contact that sent Burton into the wall in front of Gragson.

While history guarantees nothing, Gragson finished second at Martinsville in April to teammate Josh Berry and was third there in last year’s playoff race.

Brandon Jones is 40 points from the cutline after spinning in Saturday’s race and finishing 11th. Jones likely needs to win to advance.

Burton, who is 51 points below the cutline, needs to win to do so. He won at Martinsville last fall.

NASCAR suspends Chase Elliott one race for incident with Denny Hamlin

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NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one Cup race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600, the sanctioning body announced Tuesday.

“We take this very seriously,” Elton Sawyer, senior vice president of competition, said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “The incident that happened off Turn 4, again after looking at all the available resources — in-car camera, data, SMT, which basically gives us (a car’s) steering, throttle, gives us braking — it was an intentional act by Chase in our opinion.”

Hendrick Motorsports stated that it would not appeal the penalty. Corey LaJoie will drive the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports this weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway. Carson Hocevar will drive LaJoie’s car this weekend.

Hendrick Motorsports also stated that it would submit a waiver request for Elliott to remain eligible for the playoffs. Sawyer said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “I don’t see any reason at this point in time why wouldn’t (grant the waiver) when that request comes across our desk.”

This weekend will mark the seventh race in the first 15 that Elliott will have missed. He missed six races after breaking his leg in a snowboarding accident in early March. Elliott, who is winless this season, is 29th in points.

Elliott and Hamlin got together shortly before the halfway mark in Monday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

As they ran together, Elliott’s car slapped the outside wall. Elliott’s car then made contact with the right rear of Hamlin’s car, sending Hamlin into the wall.

“I got right-rear hooked in the middle of the straightway,” Hamlin said after the incident. “Yes, it was a tantrum. He shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

Said Sawyer on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio: “In the heat of the battle, things happen, but they have to learn to react in a different way. … Our drivers need to understand that you have to handle that in a completely different way than hooking someone in the right rear and putting them in harm’s way, not only with just a major head-on collision like Denny had, but also other competitors.”

Sawyer also said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “nothing gave us the indication that on that particular contact with the fourth-turn wall … that anything was broke” on Elliott’s car and could have caused him to come down and hit Hamlin’s car in the right rear.

NASCAR also announced that Scott Brzozowski and Adam Lewis, crew members on Michael McDowell‘s team, had each been suspended two races after McDowell’s car lost a tire in Monday’s race.

Winners and losers at Charlotte Motor Speedway


A look at winners and losers from Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway:


Ryan Blaney — Blaney stopped his winless streak at 59 races and gave team owner Roger Penske his second major race victory in two days. Blaney had the best car but had to fight through restarts late in the race to win.

William Byron — Byron, the winningest driver this season, barely missed getting victory No. 4. He finished second and scored his fifth straight top 10.

Martin Truex Jr. — Truex logged his third top five of the season.

23XI RacingBubba Wallace was fourth and Tyler Reddick fifth, giving 23XI Racing a pair of top-five finishes for the first time in a points race.


Jimmie Johnson — The seven-time champion admitted having problems adjusting to the Next Gen car on a 1.5-mile track. He crashed early and finished last.

Legacy Motor Club — It was a bad night for Jimmie Johnson and his team’s drivers. Johnson finished last in the 37-car field. Noah Gragson was 36th. Erik Jones placed 32nd.

Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin — Two drivers who had strong cars didn’t make it to the finish after crashing near the halfway point. Hamlin said Elliott “shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

NASCAR Xfinity Series results: Justin Allgaier wins at Charlotte


CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier finally broke through for his first win of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season Monday night.

Allgaier stretched his last fuel load over the final laps to finish in front of John Hunter Nemechek. Cole Custer was third, Austin Hill fourth and Ty Gibbs fifth. Gibbs ran both races Monday, completing 900 miles.

The win also was the first of the season for JR Motorsports.

Charlotte Xfinity results

Xfinity points after Charlotte

Justin Allgaier wins NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway


CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier won a fuel-mileage gamble to win Monday night’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Allgaier stretched his fuel to outlast second-place John Hunter Nemechek. Following in the top five were Cole Custer, Austin Hill and Ty Gibbs.

The victory was Allgaier’s first of the year and the first of the season for JR Motorsports. He has 20 career wins.

MORE: Charlotte Xfinity results

After a long day at CMS, the race ended at 11:25 p.m. The race started Monday morning but was stopped twice because of weather before it was halted with 48 of 200 laps completed so that the Coca-Cola 600 Cup Series race could be run.

When the race was stopped, Gibbs, Nemechek and Allgaier were in the top three positions.

Gibbs won the first two stages.

Stage 1 winner: Ty Gibbs

Stage 2 winner: Ty Gibbs

Who had a good race: Justin Allgaier has had good cars in previous races but finally cashed in with a win Monday. He led 83 laps. … John Hunter Nemechek, in second, scored his fifth top-two run of the season. … Cole Custer scored his sixth straight top-10 finish. … Ty Gibbs lasted 900 miles for the day and led 52 laps in the Xfinity race.

Who had a bad race: Sam Mayer was running 10th when he spun off Turn 2. He finished 35th. … Sheldon Creed finished three laps down in 28th.

Next: The series moves on to Portland International Raceway in Oregon for a 4:30 p.m. ET race June 3.