Xfinity Series drivers point to Nashville


NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers will begin a 12-race run to the playoffs June 25 at Nashville Superspeedway.

The 250-mile Nashville race (3:30 p.m. ET, USA) finds only seven drivers qualified for the Xfinity playoffs, with five spots vacant. The playoffs are scheduled to begin Sept. 24 at Texas Motor Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET, USA).

The Xfinity Series has been idle since June 4, when AJ Allmendinger won at Portland.

MORE: Assessing playoff picture for Cup, Xfinity, Trucks 

Other race winners this season (and virtually certain to make the playoffs) are Ty Gibbs, Noah Gragson, Justin Allgaier, Josh Berry, Brandon Jones and Austin Hill.

Three of those winners — Gragson, Allgaier and Berry — drive for JR Motorsports, and Sam Mayer, another JRM driver, sits in the first points-qualifying position (eighth) below the seven race winners. Ninth through 12th on that list are reigning series champion Daniel Hemric, Landon Cassill, Riley Herbst and Ryan Sieg.

Anthony Alfredo is the first driver outside the playoff cut line. He is 58 points behind Sieg. Alfredo won the pole at Portland. He’ll be racing at Nashville for the first time.

Gibbs, grandson of team owner Joe Gibbs, has been the controversial star of the series this season with victories at Las Vegas, Atlanta and Richmond and three poles, although he hasn’t won in the past seven races.

Gibbs has raced with an aggressive style and has had incidents with several drivers this year. The biggest occurred in April at Martinsville Speedway as last-lap friction on track led to Gibbs and Sam Mayer brawling on pit road. Gibbs bumped Mayer’s car on pit road (an action which later resulted in a $15,000 fine from NASCAR) and then confronted Mayer. After a brief discussion, Gibbs punched Mayer twice in the face before NASCAR officials and others got involved. Gibbs and Mayer fell to the ground before the incident ended.

Gibbs is second in series points behind Allmendinger. Third to fifth on the points list are Gragson, Berry and Allgaier.

Among other notes this season:

  • The driver who led the most laps has won five of 14 races this season.
  • Four races have been settled by last-lap passes. Gibbs has won twice that way (Atlanta and Richmond) and lost once that way (Martinsville).
  • Four races have gone to overtime. Only once has the leader at the scheduled distance gone on to win the race. Cole Custer did that at Auto Club Speedway.

Xfinity racing returned to the Nashville track last year after a lapse of a decade. Cup regular Kyle Busch won that race (his 100th win in the series), and Allgaier was second.

After Nashville, the series visits a wide range of tracks, including road courses at Road America, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Watkins Glen International.

Xfinity Series remaining regular-season schedule:

Nashville, June 25 (3:30 p.m., USA)

Road America, July 2 (2:30 p.m., USA)

Atlanta, July 9 (5 p.m., USA)

New Hampshire, July 16 (2:30 p.m., USA)

Pocono, July 23 (5 p.m., USA)

Indianapolis road course, July 30 (3:30 p.m., NBC)

Michigan, Aug. 6 (3:30 p.m., USA)

Watkins Glen, Aug. 20 (3 p.m., USA)

Daytona, Aug. 26 (7:30 p.m., USA)

Darlington, Sept. 3 (3 p.m., USA)

Kansas, Sept. 10 (3 p.m., USA)

Bristol, Sept. 16, (7:30 p.m., USA)


NASCAR Saturday schedule at Circuit of the Americas


Saturday will be a busy day at Circuit of the Americas, as all three national series are on the track.

Cup will qualify ahead of the Craftsman Truck and Xfinity Series races.

The forecast Saturday calls for sunny conditions and no chance of rain all day. The high is expected to be 69 degrees during Cup qualifying, 76 degrees at the start of the Truck race and 81 degrees for the start of the Xfinity race.

Zane Smith looks to win his second consecutive Truck race at the road course in Austin, Texas. AJ Allmendinger seeks his second consecutive Xfinity win at COTA.

Saturday, March 25

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. — Cup Series
  • 10:30 a.m.  — Truck Series
  • 2 p.m. — Xfinity Series

Track activity

  • 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. — Cup qualifying (FS1)
  • 1:30 p.m. — Truck race (42 laps, 143 miles; FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 5 p.m. — Xfinity race (46 laps, 156 miles; FS1, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

COTA Xfinity starting lineup: AJ Allmendinger takes pole


AJ Allmendinger, who won this race a year ago, will start on the pole for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Circuit of the Americas.

Allmendinger earned the pole with a lap of 92.173 mph Friday on the 20-turn, 3.41-mile road course.

MORE: COTA Xfinity starting lineup

He will be joined on the front row Sammy Smith (91.827 mph).
Ty Gibbs (91.665) will start third. Sheldon Creed (91.652) qualified fourth. Parker Kligerman (91.195) will start fifth.

Cup driver William Byron will start ninth. Byron’s time was disallowed for cutting the esses. Cole Custer, who will start 10th, didn’t make a lap in the final round of qualifying.

Cup driver Aric Almirola (91.269) qualified 13th. Truck Series racer Carson Hocevar (90.669) will start 17th. Alex Labbe (90.476) will start 23rd. He’s filling in for Josh Williams, who is serving a one-race suspension for parking his car at the start/finish line of last weekend’s race at Atlanta.

COTA Truck starting lineup: Ross Chastain wins pole


Ross Chastain will start on the pole for Saturday’s Craftsman Truck Series race at Circuit of the Americas.

Chastain earned the top starting spot in Friday’s qualifying with a lap of 91.877 mph. He’ll be joined on the front row by Kyle Busch (91.490 mph).

More: COTA Truck starting lineup

Ty Majeski qualified third with a lap of 91.225 mph. Rookie Nick Sanchez (90.993) will start fourth, and Christian Eckes (90.937) will complete the top five.

Alex Bowman failed to make the race. Bowman had a flat right front on his qualifying lap.

Tyler Reddick leads Cup practice at COTA


Tyler Reddick posted the fastest lap in Friday’s Cup practice at Circuit of the Americas.

Reddick, who won two road course races last season, topped the field in his 23XI Racing Toyota with a lap of 92.989 mph. Kyle Larson was next, posting a lap of 92.618 mph around the 3.41-mile road course.

MORE: COTA Cup practice results

Ross Chastain, who won this race a year ago, was third on the speed chart in practice with a lap of 92.520 mph. He was followed by Kyle Busch (92.498 mph) and Daniel Suarez (92.461 mph).

Jordan Taylor, subbing for the injured Chase Elliott in the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports, was 10th on the speed chart in practice after a lap of 92.404 mph.

Former world champion Jenson Button, driving for Rick Ware Racing, was 28th in practice with a lap of 91.759 mph. Former world champion Kimi Raikkonen, driving the Project 91 car for Trackhouse Racing, was 32nd in practice after a lap of 91.413 mph.

Seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, driving in his first race for Legacy Motor Club since the Daytona 500, was 36th in practice after a lap of 91.072 mph. IndyCar driver Conor Daly was last among the 39 cars in practice with a lap of 90.095 mph.

Cup qualifying is Saturday. The series races Sunday.