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NASCAR’s Saturday schedule at ISM Raceway

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NASCAR’s playoff weekend at ISM Raceway continues today with Cup qualifying and the Xfinity Series race.

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

Here’s the day’s schedule with TV and radio info.

(All times are Eastern)

9 a.m. – Xfinity garage opens

9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. – Cup garage open

12:35 p.m. – Xfinity qualifying; one car/two laps (NBCSN)

1:50 p.m. – Xfinity driver-crew chief meeting

2 p.m. – Cup qualifying; one car/two laps (NBCSN, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

3 p.m. – Xfinity driver introductions

3:30 p.m. – Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200; 200 laps/200 miles (NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Xfinity Series Championship 4 clinching scenarios

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Christopher Bell planted his flag in the Xfinity Series’ Championship 4 last weekend with his sweep of the playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway.

He’ll get his second shot at a Xfinity championship Nov. 16 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

That leaves three spots to be filled Saturday at ISM Raceway (3:30 p.m. ET on NBC) by seven hopeful drivers.

Here’s your guide to how each driver can clinch a spot in the Championship 4 other than winning.

Cole Custer (+52 points above cutline): The Stewart-Haas Racing driver can clinch on points if he earns 22 points and there is a new winner. If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Tyler Reddick or Justin Allgaier), he could clinch on points with four points earned.

Custer has finished in the top 10 in four of his five career Xfinity starts at ISM Raceway.

“Fifty-two points is a great gap as we head into this weekend but it’s not something we can be comfortable with,” Custer said in a press release. “If one of the guys below the cut line ends up grabbing a win, then I think we only sit 16 points ahead of Tyler Reddick and if we have a bad day or something happens early in the race, that could knock us out of contention. Our best bet is to just go into this race and get the Haas Automation car back into Victory Lane and control our own destiny. We had a really good car here in the spring  (finished fourth), one I think we were capable of winning with, so that is what our goal is for this weekend.”

Tyler Reddick (+36 points):  The Richard Childress Racing driver can clinch on points by earning 38 points and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Cole Custer or Justin Allgaier), he could clinch by earning 20 points.

Reddick finished third at ISM Raceway in the spring.

“We know going into this weekend we need to keep our No. 2 myblu Chevrolet Camaro clean in order to advance … so we’ll be paying really close attention to what’s happening on the restarts throughout the race,” Reddick said in a media release. “With the starting line being at the end of the new Turns 3 and 4, there is endless amounts of race track for people to play with. It’s so wide but narrows up so fast. That makes it very interesting going into Turn 1. As a driver, you have to be on your toes and understand you could be on top of four or three-wide, or on the bottom of the same situation.”

Justin Allgaier (+18 points): The JR Motorsports driver can clinch on points if there is a repeat winner (or a win by Cole Custer or Tyler Reddick) and he earns 38 points. He could also clinch on points with a new winner and help.

Allgaier won the spring 2017 event at ISM Raceway and has six top fives in 18 career starts on the 1-mile track.

“There is a lot on the line this weekend at Phoenix,” said in a media release. “Right now we’re in a good position sitting fourth in points, but I know there are a lot of guys behind us that are battling for that same spot. Phoenix is a good track for us though and everyone on this BRANDT Professional Agriculture team is prepared and focused on what we need to do

Chase Briscoe (-18 points), Michael Annett (-28) and Austin Cindric (-31) can all clinch a spot in the Championship 4 on points with help.

Briscoe finished sixth in the spring race, while Annett placed eighth and Cindric finished fifth.

Due to inspection issues at Texas, Briscoe will lose 30 minutes of practice time this weekend.

“It’s essentially a must-win situation for us this weekend after the luck we had at Texas,” Briscoe said in a media release of his 22nd-place finish after he had to pit for a cut tire. “Honestly, Phoenix isn’t one of my best racetracks, but we learned a lot back in the spring and were able to get the car where I needed it to be towards the end of the race. Hopefully, we will have good speed right out of the box and set ourselves up to battle for the win, so we can be one of the four cars battling for a championship. We won’t go down without a fight that’s for sure – I believe in my guys and think we can make it happen.”

Noah Gragson (-47) could also clinch on points with a repeat winner and help.

Gragson placed 11th in the spring race and he’s coming off his first DNF of the season last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. Gragson finished second in the 2018 Truck Series race at ISM Raceway.

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