Noah Gragson

Results, points after Xfinity race at ISM Raceway

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There is now one race remaining in the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series season — and it’s the biggest one yet, as it will determine who the champion will be.

Let’s look back at Saturday’s penultimate race of the Xfinity playoffs and how the results and standings impacted what will take place a week from now in the championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

RESULTS:

Justin Allgaier just supersized the so-called “Big Three.”

With his win Saturday at ISM Raceway, Allgaier joins the Xfinity Series’ Big three – Christopher Bell, Cole Custer and defending series champ Tyler Reddick – in next Saturday’s championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

In addition to Allgaier’s win, Custer finished second and Reddick was third in Saturday’s race.

Bell, meanwhile, dominated the first two stages, leading 89 of the first 90 laps, before he was penalized for speeding on pit road, sending him to the back of the lead lap. Then, on Lap 117, Bell suffered a solo spin that brought out the caution. He wound up finishing a distant 16th.

Click here for race results.

POINTS:

As for the reseeded results, the now “Big Four” all head to Miami tied at 4,000 points apiece. They won’t have to worry about stage points in that race. Rather, the game plan is simple: the driver who finishes above the other three will emerge as the champion.

As for the four drivers who failed to advance to the Miami championship-deciding season finale, Austin Cindric and Chase Briscoe are both tied for fifth place with 2,252 points apiece, while Michael Annett is eighth (2,210 Points) and Noah Gragson is ninth (2,208 points). Sandwiched in-between in seventh place (2,212 points) is John Hunter Nemechek, while Brandon Jones rounds out the top 10 with 2,173 points).

Click here for updated/reseeded standings.

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Justin Allgaier wins, advances to Xfinity championship race

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All season long, Justin Allgaier wanted a win, needed a win – and finally he got the win he coveted in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series playoff race at ISM Raceway.

One season after winning a career-best five races, Allgaier and his No. 7 JR Motorsports team notched their first checkered flag of 2019 and it was huge, moving him into next week’s championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Allgaier led 85 laps and joins Christopher Bell, Cole Custer and Tyler Reddick in the title race.

“It’s just incredible, man,” Allgaier told NBC Sports. “To do what we’ve done all year, to have the speed that we’ve had but not been able to pull it off has been disappointing, but these guys have rallied behind it. We said when we came here that we needed a win to get to Homestead and we got it.

“Not only is it a chance for the championship but to get the momentum from a win. That’s special. The weight on your shoulder, you can’t even begin to describe it.”

Added Reddick, defending Xfinity Series champion: “When I heard we were one lap to the good (on fuel), we figured where we’re at, might as well just be smart. We could win a race or we could run out of gas and not go to Homestead. We didn’t lose sight of what’s important.”

Chase Briscoe, Michael Annett, Austin Cindric and Noah Gragson were eliminated from the playoffs.

“I don’t want this one race or whole round to define who we are,” Briscoe told NBC. “We proved especially the last half of the season we’re capable to being that fourth guy, just didn’t get it done.”

The top 10 finishers in Saturday’s win were Allgaier, Custer, Reddick, John Hunter Nemechek, Zane Smith, Cindric, Justin Haley, Briscoe, Annett and Gragson.

Click here for race results.

Click here for updated/reseeded standings.

Bell looked like he would seal a perfect weekend with a win. He was fastest in both of Friday’s practices and started Saturday’s race from the pole. He dominated the first two stages of Saturday’s race, leading all but one of the first 90 laps.

But Bell, who won this race last fall, was caught speeding on pit road at the end of Stage 2 and was sent to the back. While he started making progress, he spun after a tire went down on Lap 117 of the 200-lap race and finished 16th.

“I don’t think we could have beat the 20 today, but when he made that mistake, we capitalized on it and that’s what it’s all about,” Allgaier said of Bell.

Stage 1 winner: Christopher Bell (21st stage win of season)

Stage 2 winner: Christopher Bell (22nd stage win of season)

Who else had a good race: Give credit to John Hunter Nemechek and Zane Smith for their fourth- and fifth-place runs, respectively.

Who had a bad race: It’s a rarity that Bell has a bad run, but finishing 16th was definitely not the finish he wanted. But two things that were self-inflicted (speeding on pit road and a spin) sealed his bid to cap off what had been up to the end of Stage 2, a perfect weekend.

Notable: At 33, Allgaier has age and experience going for him heading to Miami. His other three rivals are all under 25: Bell is 24, Reddick 23 and Custer 21.

What’s next: The season-ending Xfinity Series championship race takes place next Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

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Today’s Xfinity race at Phoenix: Start time, lineup and more

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The three drivers who will battle Christopher Bell for the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship next week will be determined in today’s playoff race at ISM Raceway.

Bell is the only driver locked in to the Nov. 16 championship race in Miami. Seven drivers are vying for the final three spots in next week’s title race. Those seven are Cole Custer (52 points above the cutline), Tyler Reddick (+36 points), Justin Allgaier (+18), Chase Briscoe (18 below the cutline), Michael Annett (-28), Austin Cindric (-31) and Noah Gragson (-47).

Here is the information for today’s race:

(All times are Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 3:37 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to drop at 3:45 p.m.

PRERACE: Garage opens at 9 a.m. Qualifying is 12:35 p.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 1:50 p.m. Driver introductions are at 3 p.m. The invocation will be given at 3:28 p.m. by Chaplain Ken Bowers. The National Anthem will be performed at 3:31 p.m. by U.S. Marine Corp veteran Edward Schrank.

DISTANCE: The race is 200 laps (200 miles) around the 1-mile oval.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 45. Stage 2 ends on Lap 90.

TV/RADIO: NBC will televise the race. Coverage will begin at 3 p.m. with Countdown to Green on NBC. The race broadcast begins at 3:30 p.m. Motor Racing Network’s radio coverage will begin at 3 p.m. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry MRN’s broadcast.

WATCH ONLINE: Click here for NBC’s live stream of the race.

FORECAST: wunderground.com forecasts partly cloudy skies, a temperature of 83 degrees and no chance of rain for the start of the Xfinity race.

LAST TIME: Christopher Bell won this race last fall, leading the final 93 laps to beat Daniel Hemric by 1.887 seconds. Kyle Busch won this race in the spring.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here.

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Xfinity practice report at ISM Raceway

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FINAL SESSION:

It was Christopher Bell‘s day Friday at ISM Raceway, as the Norman, Oklahoma driver swept both NASCAR Xfinity practice sessions ahead of Saturday’s Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 (3:30 p.m. ET on NBC).

Bell paced the 33 cars that took to the track in the final practice session with a speed of 130.147 mph, faster than what he did in the first practice (129.795 mph).

Tyler Reddick was second-fastest (130.011 mph), followed by Cole Custer (129.618 mph), Justin Allgaier (129.613), Austin Cindric (129.385), Zane Smith (129.282), Noah Gragson (129.231), John Hunter Nemechek (128.977), Justin Haley (128.917) and Riley Herbst (128.742).

Qualifying for Saturday’s race will take place at 12:35 p.m. ET (televised on NBCSN). The green flag for the race will fall shortly after 3:30 p.m. ET (televised on NBC).

Click here for the full final practice results.

FIRST SESSION:

Christopher Bell was fastest in the first of two NASCAR Xfinity Series practices Friday afternoon at ISM Raceway near Phoenix.

Bell circled the one-mile oval at a speed of 129.795 mph, just a tick faster than Cole Custer’s effort of 129.716 mph.

Tyler Reddick was third-fastest (129.711 mph) followed by Zane Smith (129.478) and Justin Allgaier (129.399 mph).

A total of 35 cars and drivers took to the track for the 50-minute session.

The final Xfinity practice is slated to take place this evening from 6:05 – 6:55 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Click here for first Xfinity practice results

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Cup, Xfinity teams to be penalized practice time Friday at ISM Raceway

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AVONDALE, Ariz. – Three Cup teams and five Xfinity teams will be docked practice time Friday at ISM Raceway for inspection issues last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.

The Cup teams of Austin Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Jimmie Johnson must sit out the final 15 minutes of the first practice session. The first Cup practice session will be from 4:05 – 4:55 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports App (and NBCSN at 4:30 p.m. ET).

In the Xfinity Series, the cars of playoff contenders Chase Briscoe and Michael Annett each will miss 30 minutes of final practice for failing inspection three or more times last week at Texas. The final Xfinity practice is scheduled for 6:05 – 6:55 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

In the opening Xfinity practice, the car of playoff contender Noah Gragson will miss 15 minutes of the first practice for failing inspection twice at Texas. The cars of Chad Finchum and David Starr each will miss 15 minutes of the first practice for being late to inspection at Texas. Opening Xfinity practice is scheduled for 3:05 – 3:55 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports App.