Jeremy Clements

Xfinity playoff grid after Indianapolis

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Chase Briscoe‘s continued dominance of the Xfinity Series over the weekend on the Indianapolis road course ensured no additional drivers locked themselves into the 12-driver playoff field.

Through 13 races, Briscoe and four other drivers have qualified for the playoffs via race wins. Briscoe, who has five race wins, leads the field with 28 playoff points.

The last two drivers currently in the top 12 are Riley Herbst (+19 points above cutline) and Brandon Brown (+6 points).

The first four drivers outside the top 12 are Myatt Snider (-6), Alex Labbe (-32), Jeremy Clements (-49) and Josh Williams (-57).

Xfinity start time at Indianapolis: TV, stream, lineups, forecast and more for Saturday

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The Xfinity Series provides the second half of Saturday’s historic NASCAR/IndyCar doubleheader at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Xfinity start time at Indianapolis is at 2:15 pm ET (Watch on NBC or the NBC Sports app).

After the NTT IndyCar Series races on the road course Saturday, the Xfinity Series will race on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile course for the first time.

AJ Allmendinger, Austin Cindric, Justin Haley and Chase Briscoe were the fastest in Friday’s two practice sessions. Cindric and Allmendinger combined to win three Xfinity road course races last year and will be the favorites in this race.

Here is the Xfinity start time at Indianapolis and other info for Saturday’s race.

(All times are Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be at 2:49 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3 p.m.

PRERACE: Garage access health screening begins at 9 a.m. (teams are assigned specific times). Drivers report to their cars at 2:30 p.m. The invocation will be given at 2:41 p.m by Pastor T.C. Taylor of One Fellowship Church in Indianapolis. The national anthem will be performed at 2:43 p.m. by Noah Schnacky.

DISTANCE: The race is 62 laps (151.22 miles) around the 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 20. Stage 2 ends on Lap 40.

TV/RADIO: NBC will televise the race. Coverage begins at 2:15 p.m. with Countdown to Green. Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network’s coverage will begin at 2:30 p.m. and also can be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the broadcast.

LIVE STREAM: You can watch the race on NBCSports.com or on the NBC Sports app.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com forecast calls for mostly cloudy conditions with a high of 89 degrees and a 15% chance of rain predicted at the start of the race.

LAST RACE: Chase Briscoe won at Pocono. Ross Chastain finished second. Jeremy Clements placed third.

LAST RACE AT INDIANAPOLIS: Kyle Busch won on the oval. Justin Allgaier was second. Noah Gragson placed third.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the starting lineup.

Xfinity practice report from Indy road course

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Austin Cindric posted the best lap in the last of two Xfinity Series practice sessions Friday on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The Team Penske driver posted a top speed of 97.850 mph around the 14-turn, 2.439-mile course. Cindric recorded 19 laps.

The top five was completed by A.J. Allmendinger (97.344 mph), Justin Haley (96.753), Chase Briscoe (96.534) and Justin Allgaier (96.530).

Anthony Alfredo had his right-rear tire go down with about 40 minutes left in the session. A few minutes later, Joe Graf Jr. spun going into Turn 1.

Jeremy Clements overdrove Turn 7 and went off course 20 minutes into the session. Michael Annett spun off course with 15 minutes left in the session. Both Allmendinger and Allgaier went off course in Turn 7 late in the session.

Click here for final practice report

First practice

Allmendinger posted the best lap with a top speed of 97.392 mph around the 14-turn, 2.439-mile course. Allmendinger recorded five laps during the 55-minute session.

The top five was completed by Austin Cindric (96.804 mph), Chase Briscoe (96.471), Justin Haley (96.213) and Justin Allgaier (95.976).

Michael Annett, who was 18th fastest, recorded the most laps with 19.

Ryan Sieg and Josh Williams went off course in Turn 12 during the early portion of the session. Turn 12 is where the circuit transitions from the oval short chute between Turns 1 and 2 back into road course.

Sieg then went off course a second time in Turn 13. He and Williams were both able to continue.

Allgaier locked up his brakes and missed Turn 12 with about 26 minutes left in the session.

Mike Wallace briefly went off course in Turn 1 late in the session and Brett Moffitt suffered a cut left rear tire with two minutes left.

The second practice session is scheduled for 3 – 3:55 p.m. ET and can be watched on the NBC Sports App.

Click here for the practice report.

Xfinity drivers chase historic checkered flag at Indy

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Chase Briscoe said in February that there was no reason he couldn’t win a quarter of the Xfinity races this year.

Even as he focused on becoming the series’ dominant driver, he concentrated on another goal — winning the inaugural Xfinity race on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course (3 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC).

A win this weekend for the series points leader would compliment the four Xfinity victories he’s scored this year and the six he has in his career, which includes winning the inaugural Charlotte Roval Xfinity race in 2018. 

Briscoe has practiced weekly for the Indy road course race on the Ford simulator since February.

“Every Wednesday I’ve been running at least an hour and a half to two hours at Indy, just trying to get prepared for the racetrack,” the Indiana native said.

“I feel like I’ve got a pretty good idea of where to make speed. It’s hard to really say how much the simulator will correlate over to the real-life thing, but I feel like I have a really good general idea of what to do, and I’m not going to be lost for those first couple of laps.”

The only NASCAR driver who has tested the road course is Matt DiBenedetto. He drove a Team Penske Xfinity car in a January test, compiling data for all teams. DiBenedetto said he is looking forward to watching Saturday’s race.

“I’m super-jealous of those guys,” he said. “They’re going to have a blast. That course is awesome. It’s so much fun, has really good passing zones, so I’m going to be watching really closely.”

Briscoe’s challenge won’t be just with the 14-turn, 2.439-mile course that winds through Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s infield and includes the tracks famous frontstretch. Among his key foes are expected to be Austin Cindric and AJ Allmendinger.

Cindric and Allmendinger combined to win three of the four Xfinity road course races last year. Cindric won at Watkins Glen and Mid-Ohio. Allmendinger won at the Charlotte Roval.

Cindric said that there is extra meaning this weekend because of the uncertainty of the Xfinity schedule beyond this month. All four series road course events last year were held after July. NASCAR has not announced the Xfinity schedule for the rest of the season beyond July.

“It’s no (surprise) that the road courses are … a strong suit for our team, and we don’t know how many of those are left,” he said.

Cindric says that Saturday’s race on the Indy road course will be fun and notes the passing zones.

“I think it’s going to be the best layout as far as passing goes that NASCAR goes to,” he said. “You’ve got two really great passing zones at the end of the both straightaways, that’s something you can’t really say about the Roval and Watkins Glen, those races are better for other reasons.”

Allmendinger should be formidable foe for Cindric, Briscoe and others based on his road course experience. Ross Chastain said Allmendinger has been a key asset for Kaulig Racing as it prepared for this event.

“AJ Allmendinger has definitely led the charge for drivers to drive the simulator and he’s built out our setups and what we should feel on those rigs with Team Chevy and (Richard Childress Racing),” Chastain said.

Allmendinger is more motivated to win at Indy than just to win the inaugural Xfinity race on the road course.

“There are very places … when you go to a racetrack that has so much history behind it, whether it’s IndyCars or stock cars, whatever its may be, you say the word, Indy and people that aren’t in motorsports understand what the history is being that racetrack,” he said.

“I want to be a part of that history. It would be something special to kiss the bricks, even if we had to do it with masks on. I don’t care. I’ll kiss them with the mask on.”

But he’ll first have to get through the two-day weekend for the series. With running on the road course for the first time, teams will have two practices Friday. That will be key for drivers, including Jeremy Clements, who won at Road America in 2017.

“I don’t know anything about (the track),” Clements said. “We don’t have any simulators or any of that stuff. Kind of going in blind. So I’m going to be a little behind there.”

One thing he is certain of, though.

“I think it will be a survival type race,” he said.

Briscoe just hopes he’s first to drive past the checkered flag. He admits, should he do so, it will feel different because fans, including friends and family, will not be allowed at the track this weekend because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I hate, first off, that there’s not going to be fans at Indianapolis just because when I go there, there are so many people that come from my hometown (Mitchell, Indiana) and from my area that don’t get to see me race anywhere else. 

“Just feeling the support every time I go there is so special. Last year in driver’s intros when we were riding around in the trucks, I literally had tears in my eyes just the amount of people that were standing up and cheering for me. It wouldn’t suck to win Indy without fans, but it would be bittersweet because none of my family would be there, none of the fans that don’t get to watch me anywhere else (would be there). I’m not going to turn away a win at Indy just because there are no fans, but it is tough to go there and not have fans.”

Results, standings after Pocono Xfinity race

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Chase Briscoe passed Ross Chastain with two laps to go to earn his fourth Xfinity Series win of the season Sunday at Pocono Raceway.

Chastain had taken the lead on the final restart, with two laps of overtime ahead, but Briscoe passed him in Turn 2 and held on for nearly two more laps for the win.

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

Chastain finished second for the second straight race and also won the final $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus. It was his second Dash win in two races.

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

Click here for results

Briscoe is No. 1 in the standings, holding a three-point edge over Noah Gragson.

Click here for Xfinity driver standings

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