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

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The final race of the first round of the Xfinity Series playoffs takes place today at Dover International Speedway.

Four of the original 12-driver playoff field will be eliminated after today’s race. Currently below the cutoff line are Brandon Jones, John Hunter Nemechek, Ryan Sieg and Justin Haley.

Here’s all the info you need for today’s race:

(All times are Eastern)

START: Delaware State Police Lt. Tracy Condon will give the command to start engines at 3:07 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:15 p.m.

PRERACE: Garage opens at 11 a.m. Qualifying is 12:05 p.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 1:15 p.m. Driver introductions are at 2:30 p.m. The invocation will be given by Lt. Col. Gregory Ellis, Wing Chaplain, 512th Airlift Wing, Dover Air Force Base at 3 p.m. The National Anthem will be performed at 3:01 p.m. by USO Show Troupe.

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

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

TV/RADIO: NBCSN will televise the race. Coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. with Countdown to Green, with the race broadcast beginning at 3 p.m. 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.

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

FORECAST: Wunderground.com forecasts mostly sunny skies with a temperature of 64 degrees and a 0% chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Christopher Bell has won the last two Xfinity races at Dover.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the starting lineup.

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Xfinity practice report from Dover International Speedway

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Cole Custer was fastest in the final Xfinity Series practice Friday at Dover International Speedway.

Custer led a Stewart-Haas Racing sweep of the top two spots with a speed of 151.292 mph.

Teammate Chase Briscoe followed at 150.558 mph.

The top five was completed by Harrison Burton (150.521 mph), Noah Gragson (150.194) and Justin Allgaier (150.194).

Gragson recorded the most laps in the session with 75.

Custer had the best 10-lap average at 149.737 mph.

Click here for the practice report.

First Practice

Briscoe had the fastest lap with a top speed of 152.394 mph.

The top five was completed by Christopher Bell (151.656 mph), Tyler Reddick (151.649), Cole Custer (151.560) and Justin Allgaier (151.407).

Zane Smith recorded the most laps in the session with 39.

The session was red flagged once for Gray Gaulding having a mechanical issue and possibly putting down fluid.

Click here for the practice report.

 

Primer for first Xfinity playoff elimination race

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The title hopes for four Xfinity Series drivers will come to an end this weekend when the playoff field is trimmed to eight after Saturday’s elimination race at Dover International Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Here’s a breakdown of the situation each playoff competitor finds himself in heading into the Monster Mile:

He’s safe!

Two drivers have secured spots in the second round. Christopher Bell advanced by winning the playoff opener at Richmond Raceway. Cole Custer has put himself in the second round based on points.

The two drivers lead the series in wins, with Bell claiming seven (tying his 2018 mark) and Custer winning six times.

Bell has won the last two Xfinity races at Dover.

Almost There …

Tyler Reddick, the third member of the “Big 3” this year, is all but assured a spot in the second round if nothing unexpected happens Saturday. He finished third at Dover in the spring.

Austin Cindric, the only Xfinity regular outside the “Big 3” to win multiple races this year (two), is also essentially assured a spot in round two. He finished sixth at Dover in the spring.

Not Completely Safe

The next batch of drivers aren’t necessarily in trouble, but one accident in the first stage and an unexpected DNF could spell trouble.

Justin Allgaier in fifth is the highest driver in the standings who hasn’t won this year. He’s 40 points up on the cutline and has 12 playoff points. He finished second at Dover in the spring and won the spring race in 2018.

Chase Briscoe trails Allgaier in the standings in sixth. He’s 35 points up (and has 13 playoff points) on the cutline after a stage win and a ninth-place finish at the Roval. He finished fifth at Dover in the spring.

Noah Gragson is seventh in the standings, 26 points above the cutline. He had a top five on the Roval and enters this weekend’s race with six straight top 10s. He finished 19th at Dover in the spring after experiencing a loose wheel.

Feeling the Heat

The last five drivers in the standings need some help to make it to the second round or they have to win.

Michael Annett is on the bubble and 11 points to the good. Annett is the lowest driver in the standings with a win. He has nine playoff points. Annett finished 10th in the spring Dover race.

That leaves the four drivers who find themselves outside the cutoff line.

John Hunter Nemechek and Brandon Jones each trail Annett by 11 points. Nemechek has no race or stage wins this year and has just two top 10s in the last six races. He’s finished in the top 10 in the last two Dover races.

Jones has no race victories, but has three stage wins and four playoff points. He has top 10s in the last three Dover races, but has the worst career average finish at Dover among the playoff drivers (19th).

Not much has gone well for Ryan Sieg (-37 points) and Justin Haley (-39) in the playoffs. After finishing outside the top 10 at Richmond, mechanical problems resulted in brief trips to the garage for both drivers at the Roval as they finished well off the pace.

Neither driver has won a Xfinity Series race, but that’s what they will need to do Saturday to continue their playoff hopes.

Sieg’s 11th-place finish in the spring was his best Dover result in 11 starts. Haley placed 17th in his first career Dover start.

Here are the playoff standings heading into Dover:

Tyler Reddick, Brennan Poole going for Dover Xfinity sweep for Ganassi

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For the last 11 years, Dover International Speedway has been really kind to the Xfinity Series team that won the spring race at 1-mile track.

Because in eight of the last 11 seasons, the team that won that race also went on to win the fall event at “The Monster Mile.”

Beginning in 2006, the only years this hasn’t taken place were 2007, ’09 and ’15.

Chip Ganassi Racing is the organization that’s set up to try to extend this trend after Kyle Larson won in June. Of its 13 Xfinity wins, it was Ganassi’s first at the track.

Piloting the No. 42 Chevrolet this weekend is the newest winner among the ranks of Xfinity drivers, Tyler Reddick. Joining him in the effort is playoff driver Brennan Poole in the No. 48. The duo delivered a 1-2 finish for Ganassi last weekend.

Reddick, who won at Dover in the Camping World Truck Series in 2015, is coming off winning last Saturday at Kentucky Speedway.

“We can’t get too caught up in Kentucky,” Reddick said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “Tradin’ Paint” on Wednesday. “Yeah, it’s the first win. Yeah, it’s exciting, but I don’t want to pass up another good opportunity at Dover, a place the 42 won already this year. I need to hunker down and get focused on it.”

When Larson won, he led 137 laps from the pole to beat Ryan Blaney, who will be back in the No. 22 Ford this weekend for Team Penske.

“(The 42) car was so good there,” Reddick said. “Kyle and the 22 of Ryan Blaney had the field covered by 15 seconds at the end of that race. So I know our car is fast. … We know what we need to do. My first time there in a Xfinity car, it will be a little tough at first. … I will just have to adjust what I do as I’ve done in the past. (Crew chief) Mike (Shiplett) has tried to make the car as close to what Kyle has. … I’m sure I’ll be fine. Dover is a track I love a lot. It’ll be an exciting challenge.”

Poole, in his second full-time season with Ganassi, will be making his fifth start at the high-banked oval. In his first four, he did not finish better than 10th (May 2016).

“Dover is a really tough race track, it’s definitely one of the most demanding tracks that we go to,” Poole told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive” on Wednesday. “We’ll have to make sure our car gets through the bumps really well and make sure we don’t get tied to the 2/3-mark in the corners. That sounds strange, but the corners are so long at Dover you get where you’re carrying some maintenance throttle. So you’re half-throttle in the middle of the corner and the car will get tight on you as you’re trying to make the final turn up out of the corner.”

Unlike last weekend at Kentucky, a standalone race for the Xfinity Series, there will be six Cup regulars in the race.

Poole said that will have some impact on the potential pit strategy calls his team makes over the course of the 200-lap race.

“There’s some pit strategy and stuff like that that could put you behind on having an opportunity to get up there and win the race,” Poole said. “You just have to be smart on the pit strategy and decisions you make on keeping some of your track position and still making sure you’re going to get those stage points.”

Poole cited that although he came in second at Kentucky to Reddick, he lost a spot in the points after placing 12th in Stage 2.

“I’m sixth in points where I started fifth,” Poole said. “So I think you’ll see a lot of guys going after stage points.”

If either Ganassi driver is able to complete the Dover sweep, it would join Joe Gibbs Racing (five times), Team Penske, Roush Fenway Racing and Richard Childress Racing (once each) in completing it since 2006.

The Use Your Melon, Drive Sober 200 airs at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday on NBCSN.

Alex Bowman quickest in rain-shortened final Xfinity practice at Dover

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Alex Bowman had the fastest speed in the rain-shortened final Xfinity Series practice at Dover International Speedway.

Bowman and the No. 88 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports had a speed of 152.304 mph when the session was red flagged for rain with about 45 minutes left.

Filling out the top five was Kyle Busch (152.181), Joey Logano (152.046), Elliott Sadler (151.592) and Justin Allgaier (151.439).

Ty Dillon (148.457) and Justin Marks (145.406) were the only drivers to record 10-consecutive laps. Marks also recorded the most laps at 20.

Speed Chart

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