Gray Gaulding

Austin Cindric wins pole for Xfinity playoff opener at Richmond

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Austin Cindric will start from the pole in tonight’s Xfinity Series playoff opener at Richmond Raceway (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Cindric earned his fourth pole of the year with a speed of 118.901 mph after he brushed the backstretch wall on his run.

He will be joined on the front row by fellow playoff driver Justin Allgaier (118.286 mph).

The top five is completed by Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell and Chase Briscoe.

The highest qualifying non-playoff driver was Harrison Burton in sixth.

Gray Gaulding qualified ninth for his best-career start on a non-superspeedway track.

Playoff driver John Hunter Nemechek had an ignition issue that kept him from making his qualifying run. He will start at the rear.

Click here for the starting lineup.

 

Richmond Xfinity practice report

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RICHMOND, Va. – Gray Gaulding posted the fastest lap in Friday morning’s Xfinity practice at Richmond Raceway.

Gaulding topped the field with a lap of 121.397 mph. He was followed by Cole Custer (121.342 mph), Christopher Bell (121.000), Noah Gragson (120.621) and Harrison Burton (120.128).

“It feels good for the little guys to beat the big guys,” Gaulding told NBCSN at the end of the session.

Click here for practice results

Burton had the best average over 10 consecutive laps at 118.644 mph. He was followed by Michael Annett (118.041 mph), Austin Cindric (117.897), Ryan Sieg (117.314) and Justin Allgaier (116.279).

Joe Graf Jr., driving the No. 21 for Richard Childress Racing, ran the most laps in the 80-minute session with 106 laps. He was 29th on the speed chart with a top lap of 116.109 mph.

Qualifying will be at 4:35 p.m. ET on NBCSN. The series races at 7:30 p.m. ET today on NBCSN. This is the series’ playoff opener.

Tyler Reddick wins Xfinity race at Las Vegas on fuel-mileage gamble

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Tyler Reddick gambled in Las Vegas and won.

Reddick and his No. 2 Richard Childress Racing team gambled on fuel mileage and went 70 laps on one tank of fuel to beat Christopher Bell and win Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Reddick, who clinched the regular season title early in the race, led the final 30 laps and scored his fifth win of the season

The top five was completed by Brandon Jones, Cole Custer and Justin Allgaier.

“It was nerve-wracking to say the least,” Reddick told NBCSN. “The last three laps I started losing fuel pressure. It was stumbling. I didn’t think I was going to make it running the fence. But Christopher Bell had a really unreal fast car today. We were just able to come get fuel and tires and just saved a lot.”

By clinching the regular-season title, Reddick earned 15 playoff points.

Bell finished second despite winning the first two stages with relative ease and leading 154 of 200 laps.

“It’s the second time this year that we got beat by circumstances,” Bell told NBCSN. “At Iowa we put on our tires when we needed to and some guys banked on a yellow coming out later and they got it and they beat us. Today those guys did the opposite of us and they won the race. Very, very disappointing.”

STAGE 1 WINNER: Christopher Bell

STAGE 2 WINNER: Christopher Bell

More: Race results, point standings

Playoffs: With this being the regular-season finale race, the 12 driver playoff field has been set. It will consist of Reddick, Bell, Custer, Allgaier, Jones, Austin Cindric, Chase Briscoe, Michael Annett, Noah Gragson, Justin Haley, Ryan Sieg and John Hunter Nemechek.

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Elliott Sadler finished 10th in his final NASCAR start … Gray Gaulding finished seventh for his fourth top 10 of the season … Brandon Jones finished third for his best finish since the season-opening race at Daytona … Justin Allgaier earned his 10th consecutive top 10, the longest active streak.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: CJ McLaughlin finished 32nd after he lost a tire and hit the Turn 4 wall on Lap 128 .. Austin Cindric placed 12th after he had to pit on Lap 137 for a punctured tire. He also had two pit road penalties … Chase Briscoe finished 11th after he was caught speeding on pit road with 30 laps to go.

INSPECTION: Ryan Sieg’s No. 39 Chevrolet failed inspection. It was too low on both the right and left side. Sieg had finished 14th, but will now be recorded with a last-place finish. It does not impact his playoff seeding. The cars of Brandon Jones and Noah Gragson each had an unsecured lug nut.

NOTABLE: Reddick win comes on the 50th anniversary of Richard Childress Racing’s first race, the Sept. 14, 1969 Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.

WHAT’S NEXT: The playoff opener at Richmond Raceway at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 20 on NBCSN

 

Race results, point standings after Xfinity’s Indiana 250

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Kyle Busch beat Justin Allgaier to win Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Busch won from the pole and claimed his fourth series win of the year.

The top five was completed by Jeb Burton, Noah Gragson and Justin Haley.

Click here for race results

Points

After he wrecked out of Saturday’s race, Tyler Reddick will clinch the regular-season title next weekend at Las Vegas if he earns 11 points, regardless of where Christopher Bell finishes.

Justin Haley is the latest driver to clinch a playoff spot on points with his fifth-place finish.

There are three spots left to fill in the playoff field next week at Las Vegas.

Brandon Jones (+40 points above cutline), John Hunter Nemechek (+12) and Ryan Sieg currently fill those spots.

Gray Gaulding is the first driver outside the top 12. He trails Sieg by 124 points.

Click here for the point standings.

Xfinity Series playoff clinching scenarios for Indianapolis

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While the Cup Series’ regular season comes to a conclusion this weekend in Indianapolis, the Xfinity Series still has two races before its 12-driver playoff field is settled.

The first of those two races is Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Four spots remain to be finalized in the playoff field. The drivers who have already clinched via a win or points are: Tyler Reddick (four wins, standings leader), Christopher Bell (six wins), Cole Custer (six wins), Austin Cindric (two wins), Chase Briscoe (one win), Michael Annett (one win), Justin Allgaier (points) and Noah Gragson (points).

Reddick, the defending series champion, can lock up the regular-season title and 15 playoff points this weekend.

He’ll clinch the title if he leaves Indy with a 61-point lead above second place. He currently holds a 51-point lead on Bell.

Here are the three other drivers who can clinch a playoff spot this weekend and their clinching scenarios.

Justin Haley, Kaulig Racing No. 11 Chevrolet (+88 points above cutline) – The rookie driver would clinch with a win or would clinch on points with 45 points and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Allgaier, Gragson, John Hunter Nemechek or Brandon Jones), he would clinch on points with 23 points.

Haley will be making his first start at IMS.

John Hunter Nemechek, GMS Racing No. 23 Chevrolet (+35 points) – Would clinch with a win or could clinch on points with help.

Making his second start at IMS. Finished 25th last year after being involved in an incident.

Brandon Jones, Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota (+22 points) – Would clinch with a win or could clinch on points with a repeat winner (or a win by Allgaier, Gragson, Haley or Nemechek) and help.

Jones has made three series starts at Indianapolis, posting three top 10s and an average finish of 9.7.

Every other driver in the series can only clinch a spot this weekend via a win.

Ryan Sieg currently holds the 12th and final playoff spot with 647 points.

Behind him is Gray Gaulding, who trails Sieg by 119 points.