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Cole Custer wins pole for Las Vegas Xfinity race

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Cole Custer will start on the on the pole for today’s Xfinity Series regular-season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Custer claimed his series-leading sixth pole of the year with a speed of 181.372 mph around the 1.5-mile track. His six poles match his total from last season.

Christopher Bell qualified second (181.372 mph). The top five is completed by Justin Allgaier, Tyler Reddick and Austin Cindric.

Elliott Sadler will start eighth in his final NASCAR start.

Driving for Morgan Shepherd, Landon Cassill qualified ninth. It is the best start for a Shepherd Racing Ventures car since Charlotte in October 1995 when Shepherd started ninth.

Noah Gragson will start 36th and Alex Labbe will start 37th after they spun in Turn 4 on their qualifying runs. Gragson slid onto pit road and barely managed to keep his car from hitting the pit wall.

Ja Junior Avila had his qualifying time disallowed after he did not have a window in place on his car. He will start last.

Click here for the starting lineup.

Xfinity practice report at Las Vegas

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There was no slowing down Tyler Reddick during Friday’s two Xfinity Series practices at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, as he was fastest in both sessions.

In the second session, Reddick covered the 1.5-mile oval at 175.644 mph, just about a half-second slower than his speed in the first practice.

Click here for second Xfinity practice results.

Justin Allgaier was second-fastest in the second session (175.120 mph), followed by John Hunter Nemechek (174.593 mph), Christopher Bell (174.407) and Noah Gragson (174.227).

Sixth through 10th were Brandon Jones (174.227 mph), Austin Cindric (173.930), Chase Briscoe (173.784), Justin Haley (173.728) and Landon Cassill (173.650).

Only 34 cars took to the track in the second session.

Qualifying takes place Saturday at 2:35 p.m. ET, with the 200-lap final playoff qualifying race set to take the green flag shortly after 7:30 p.m. ET.

FIRST PRACTICE SESSION

Tyler Reddick was fastest in the first of two Xfinity Series practices Friday afternoon at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Reddick, driver of the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Camaro, covered the 1.5-mile oval with a top speed of 176.131 mph, the only driver to exceed 176 mph.

Click here for first Xfinity practice results.

Chase Briscoe was second-fastest (175.781 mph), followed by Austin Cindric (175.256 mph), John Hunter Nemechek (175.075 mph) and Brandon Jones (174.938 mph).

Sixth through 10th were Noah Gragson (174.859), Ryan Truex (174.814), Cole Custer (174.808), Christopher Bell (174.803) and Ryan Sieg (174.718).

A total of 37 cars took to the track for the session.

The second and final practice session will be today from 6:35 p.m. ET to 7:25 p.m. ET.

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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.

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

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The Xfinity Series takes to Watkins Glen International for today’s Zippo 200 at The Glen, kicking off three road course races in the next four events.

Will Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell or Cole Custer continue their dominance? With five drivers qualified for the upcoming 12-driver Xfinity playoffs, this could prove to be a pivotal race for drivers who have yet to qualify, including Justin Allgaier, Austin Cindric, Noah Gragson, Justin Haley and John Hunter Nemechek.

Here’s all the info you need for today’s Zippo 200:

All times are Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 3:15 p.m. by Monte Hudda, owner of Star Importers. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:26 p.m.

PRERACE: Garage opens at 9:30 a.m. Qualifying (multi-car, two rounds) is at 11:40 a.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 12:45 p.m. Driver introductions are at 2:30 p.m. The invocation will be given at 3:08 p.m. by Rev. David Fife, Elmwood Avenue Baptist Church. Trina Vargas will perform the National Anthem at 3:09 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 82 laps (200.9 miles) around the 2.450-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 3 p.m. The Motor Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 2:30 p.m and also can be heard on mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry MRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: Wunderground.com forecasts a temperature of 83 degrees with a 13% chance of precipitation at the race start time.

TO THE REAR: Cole Custer (backup car), Josh Williams (engine change)

LAST TIME: Joey Logano won last year’s race over A.J. Allmendinger and Justin Allgaier.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here

Xfinity Series practice report at Watkins Glen

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Kyle Busch was fastest in both Xfinity Series practices Friday at Watkins Glen International.

Busch followed up his field-leading first practice effort with a 121.862 mph effort in the second and final practice in preparation for Saturday’s Zippo 200 at The Glen.

Busch was followed in the final session by Justin Haley (121.374 mph), Austin Cindric (121.280 mph), NASCAR on NBC analyst and former Cup driver A.J. Allmendinger (121.207 mph), and Ryan Blaney (120.752 mph). Blaney was second-fastest to Busch in the first practice, while Allmendinger was third-fastest in the opening practice.

Sixth through 10th in the final practice were Christopher Bell (120.520 mph), Jeremy Clements (120.155 mph), Justin Allgaier (120.113), Noah Gragson (120.087) and Tyler Reddick (119.962).

There were no major incidents in the second practice. A total of 31 cars took to the track during the session.

Cole Custer, who destroyed his primary car in a single-car incident in the first practice session, finally emerged in a backup car with about 15 minutes remaining in the final practice. Custer managed to finish the session 12th in speed (119.814 mph).

Click here for the second practice speed chart.

FIRST PRACTICE

NASCAR Cup regulars Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney and former Cup driver A.J. Allmendinger were fastest in the first of two Xfinity Series practices Friday afternoon at Watkins Glen International.

Busch covered the twisting road course at a top speed of 121.259 mph. Blaney was second-fastest at 120.804 mph, followed by Allmendinger, now a NASCAR on NBC analyst, who was third at 120.272 mph.

Austin Cindric was fourth (120.155 mph), followed by Tyler Reddick (120.026), Christopher Bell (119.938), Cole Custer (119.918), Justin Haley (119.843), Josh Bilicki (119.545) and Justin Allgaier (119.401).

Cole Custer’s car suffered extensive front-end and left side damage, forcing his team to go to a backup car. Photo: Dustin Long, NBC Sports.

There was one significant incident of note in the first practice when Custer got loose and wrecked hard.

Custer’s team immediately began transitioning to use a backup car for the final Xfinity practice session, but it’s uncertain how many laps they’ll be able to get in, given that the session is coming up shortly and runs from 2:05 – 3:25 p.m. ET.

Saturday marks the Zippo 200 at The Glen Xfinity Series race, which will air live on NBC at 3 p.m. ET.

Click here for the first practice speed chart.

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