Harrison Burton

Starting lineup for Thursday’s Xfinity race at Kentucky

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Noah Gragson will start on the pole for Thursday’s first race (8 p.m. ET on FS1) of an Xfinity Series weekend doubleheader at Kentucky Speedway after a random draw.

Gragson will be joined on the front row by Ross Chastain.

The top five is completed by Jeb Burton, Michael Annett and Harrison Burton.

Click here for Thursday’s starting lineup


NASCAR Xfinity Series at Kentucky Speedway (two weekend races)

Race Time: 8 p.m. ET Thursday and again at 8 p.m. ET Friday.

Track: Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Kentucky (1.5-mile speedway)

Length: Thursday 134 laps (201 miles) and Friday 200 laps (300 miles)

Stages: Thursday Stage 1 ends on Lap 30. Stage 2 ends on Lap 60. Friday Stage 1 ends on Lap 45. Stage 2 ends on Lap 90.

TV coverage: Thursday FS1. Friday FS1.

Radio: Performance Radio Network (also SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) for both races.

Streaming: Fox Sports app (subscription required); goprn.com and SiriusXM for audio (subscription required)

Next Cup race: Sunday at Kentucky (267 laps, 400.5 miles), 2:30 p.m. ET on FS1

Next Truck Series race: Saturday at Kentucky (150 laps, 225 miles), 6 p.m. ET on FS1

Defining moments of the Xfinity Series season

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It took five months, but the Xfinity Series has reached the halfway point in its regular season following last Sunday’s event at Pocono Raceway.

The series has completed 12 races ahead of Saturday’s inaugural race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course (3 p.m. ET on NBC).

A year after it was dominated by the “Big 3” of Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell and Cole Custer, the series is not lacking dominant drivers, controversy and excitement.

Here’s a look back the season so far through key quotes, moments and stats.

Key quotes

“I’m speechless right now, I didn’t think this would come. … I spent a lot of time with (team owner) Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. this week, talking for about two hours. Wanted to be a better speedway race. He told me ‘Go have fun. Wreckers or checkers, you got to manage your gaps, be there at the end and just go lead the damn the thing.’ That’s what we did.” – Noah Gragson after winning his first career Xfinity Series race in February at Daytona.

“I’m the kind of guy that believes in racing people how you’re raced. I’m not going to take any kind of stuff like that. If (Gragson) wants to send that kind of message early, then game on.” – Myatt Snider a few days after he was spun by Gragson during the Xfinity race at Las Vegas.

“This is more than a race win, it’s the biggest day of my life after the toughest day of my life. To beat the best there is just so satisfying.” – Briscoe after his emotional win over Kyle Busch at Darlington.

“When you’re a man and you throw a punch, you better be able to take a punch.” – Gragson following his contact with Allgaier and win at Bristol.

“Oh my God, oh my God, I won on an oval. Do you like that? Whoo!” – Allmendinger after his victory at Atlanta.

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Key Moments

– Gragson held off Burton and Timmy Hill in a two-lap shootout to win the season-opener at Daytona for his first career Xfinity victory. His celebration included sliding across the hood of his car like Bo and Luke Duke from “The Dukes of Hazzard” and performing a burnout until he caught the track on fire.

– Burton kept teammate Riley Herbst at bay in the closing laps to win at Auto Club Speedway for his first career Xfinity victory. He joined his uncle Ward Burton in earning his first Xfinity win on Leap Day (Feb. 29).

Brandon Jones passed teammate Kyle Busch with 20 laps to go at Phoenix and went on to secure his second career Xfinity win.

– In one of the most memorable and emotional finishes in recent memory, Chase Briscoe engaged in a duel with Busch over the last few laps at Darlington, making contact multiple times before Briscoe took the checkered flag. The win came days after Briscoe and his wife learned she had experienced a miscarriage.

– While battling for the lead with five laps to go in the scheduled distance at Bristol, teammates Gragson and Allgaier made contact, causing Allgaier to lose control and crash, eliminating him. In overtime, Gragson beat Briscoe and Jones for his second win of the year.

A.J. Allmendinger led the final 37 laps and won at Atlanta, scoring his first ever motorsports victory on an oval track.

– During the four races that made up the Dash 4 Cash program, Kaulig Racing claimed three of the four $100,000 bonuses, as Ross Chastain claimed $200,000 and Allmendinger claimed $100,000. It scored two wins (Allmendinger at Atlanta and Justin Haley at Talladega) and seven top fives.

– Briscoe used his front bumper to get Chastain loose on the first lap of the overtime finish for Sunday’s race at Pocono, passed him in Turn 2 and went on to a series-leading fourth victory.

Key Stats

– Through 12 races, there have been three first-time Xfinity winners. Noah Gragson opened the year with his win at Daytona and has been followed by Harrison Burton (Auto Club Speedway) and Justin Haley (Talladega).

Chase Briscoe in victory lane after his win at Pocono. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

– Through 12 races, there have been seven different winners, with Chase Briscoe leading with four wins. Last year, there were five different winners at this point. Busch, Bell and Custer were tied with three wins each at that point.

– Briscoe’s four wins put him in a five-way tie for second all-time among Xfinity regulars for most wins through 12 races. Sam Ard is the leader with five (1984).

– Burton and Ross Chastain are tied with 10 top-10 finishes each. Burton set a series rookie record by opening the season with 10 consecutive top 10s. He’s crashed and finished 32nd in the last two races.

– The final lead change came with less than 10 laps to go in seven of the last eight races and with two laps to go or less in five of the last eight races.

– Lead changes in the last eight races are up 23% compared to the prior eight races.

Xfinity Series playoff grid after Pocono

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Things are getting tight in the Xfinity Series playoff standings.

After 12 races, four points separate the last playoff-eligible driver, 12th-ranked Myatt Snider, and Brandon Brown. Snider finished fourth on Sunday at Pocono. Brown was 33rd at Pocono. Snider gained 40 points on Brown in that race.

Next up for the series is Saturday’s race on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBC).

Race winners this season who are locked into the playoffs are Chase Briscoe (22 playoff points), Noah Gragson (15), Harrison Burton (10), Brandon Jones (7) and Justin Haley (6).

 

 

 

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Chase Briscoe passes Ross Chastain in OT for fourth Xfinity win of 2020

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Chase Briscoe passed Ross Chastain with two laps to go and held on for his fourth Xfinity win of the season at Pocono Raceway.

The race went two extra laps past the scheduled 90 laps due to a late caution that saw Chad Finchum hit the wall with five laps to go.

Briscoe overcame a spin earlier in the race as well as a speeding penalty on pit road. He now has four wins and nine overall top-10 finishes in 12 races thus far this season.

“We were really not that good in the beginning, we struggled and didn’t have the speed I really anticipated to have here,” Briscoe told FS1. “I was a little worried, but a lot of good cars got tore up so it made it a little easier to get up through the field.

“Ross is always one of the hardest guys to race against and pass. … We’re halfway to eight (wins, his preseason goal).”

Briscoe is No. 1 in the Xfinity point standings with a three-point lead over Noah Gragson.

MORE: Results, standings after Sunday’s Xfinity race at Pocono

Chastain took the lead on the final restart, but Briscoe caught him coming out of Turn 2 and went ahead, never to relinquish the lead the rest of the way. Briscoe adds the win at Pocono to earlier victories at Las Vegas, Darlington and Miami.

But Chastain had some consolation: even though he finished runner-up – for the second straight race – he won the final $100,000 prize in the Xfinity Dash 4 Cash race-within-a-race.

“We did everything right, got the push we needed and cleared him going into (turn) one,” Chastain told FS1. “It’s tough to be upset with second, but I am.

“We’re unloading and are in the top two or three every week. I know how lucky I am but man, it’s the memories we take with us, not the money.”

That means Kaulig Racing drivers A.J. Allmendinger and Chastain the last two weeks — won three of the four Dash 4 Cash $100k prizes. JR Motorsports’ Noah Gragson won the first Dash race.

Jeremy Clements finished third, followed by Myatt Snider and Michael Annett.

MORE: NASCAR penalizes Justin Haley for aggressive driving

STAGE 1 WINNER: Austin Cindric

STAGE 2 WINNER: Justin Allgaier

Who had a good race: With his third-place showing, Jeremy Clements earned the second-best finish of his Xfinity career. He earned his sole Xfinity win in 2017 at Road America.

Who had a bad race: Several drivers were involved in Stage 1 incidents that knocked them out of the race including Brandon Jones (who won the Truck Series race earlier in the day), Josh Williams, Joe Graf Jr. and Harrison Burton. Brandon Brown also fell out early due to mechanical issues.

Notable: The race had a record nine cautions for 31 laps under yellow. … Austin Cindric looked like he had the dominant car but was involved in a wreck on Lap 53 that knocked him out of the race. Others involved included Justin Allgaier, Ryan Sieg, Myatt Snider, Noah Gragson and Daniel Hemric. … There were no issues in post-race inspection. All cars passed.

What’s next: Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Saturday July 4 at 3 p.m. ET on NBC.

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Brandon Jones goes from Truck race winner to Xfinity race wreck

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The exhilaration of Brandon Jones’ first career win in Sunday morning’s Truck Series race at Pocono Raceway was short lived: just over one hour, to be exact.

To borrow a line from the old TV show, Wide World of Sports, Jones quickly went from the thrill of victory to the agony of defeat, as he wrecked hard on the first lap of Sunday’s Xfinity Series race at Pocono.

It appeared Austin Cindric‘s Ford may have tapped the rear of Jones’ Toyota, sending the driver of the No. 19 spinning and slamming head-on into an inside retaining wall.

Jones was taken to the infield care center to be checked out. He has since been released.

“I’m 10-4 (alright), we’re junk,” Jones told his team on the radio.

Later, Jones told FS1, “From my vantage point, we were trying to go three-wide. …  I’m sure I was a moron for trying to go three-wide and do it early. But there’s got to be some give-and-take. It’s just early. It doesn’t take much when you’re three-wide to get pushed around, but from my vantage point, I got hit from the back.

“We just have to keep going. We had a real good positive, we won the Truck race and I had such high hopes for this one too.”

Cindric said on his team radio, “I think (Jones) got loose, checked up and I couldn’t avoid him.”

Cindric subsequently took the lead in the race but said he wasn’t in too much of a hurry on the opening lap.

“I can tell you one thing, there’s no such thing as too much of a hurry when it comes to racing unless you’re on worn out tires,” Cindric told FS1 during a race stoppage following a subsequent wreck and resulting red flag. “I’m having a lot of fun. We have a fast Ford Mustang and I intend to try and keep us here (in the lead) in the whole race.”

Four laps after Jones’ wreck, Josh Williams and Joe Graf Jr. were involved in another crash.

Then, on Lap 14, in virtually the same place as where Jones wrecked, Xfinity Series rookie of the year points leader Harrison Burton spun exiting Turn 1 and also hit the inside wall head-on. The race was red-flagged at that point for track cleanup. The red flag stoppage lasted nearly 21 minutes.

“The way it happened so fast and the way I spun, it felt like there was oil (on the track),” Burton told FS1. “It’s hard to say. I was racing with the 1 (Michael Annett) and felt good and then just instantly came around. It was a weird place to come around.

“That hit looked harder than it was. I’m alright and thankful my team builds safe race cars. I’ve unfortunately tested that out twice this year. Bummer, but we’ll be back and hopefully win some more.”

Then, on the final lap of Stage 1, Canadian driver Alex Labbe, one of four drivers in contention for the final Xfinity Dash 4 Cash race, spun in Turn 1 and suffered minor damage to his front end.

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