Harrison Burton

Starting lineup for Thursday’s Xfinity race at Kentucky

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Noah Gragson will start on the pole for Thursday’s first race (8 p.m. ET on FS1) of an Xfinity Series weekend doubleheader at Kentucky Speedway after a random draw.

Gragson will be joined on the front row by Ross Chastain.

The top five is completed by Jeb Burton, Michael Annett and Harrison Burton.

Click here for Thursday’s starting lineup


NASCAR Xfinity Series at Kentucky Speedway (two weekend races)

Race Time: 8 p.m. ET Thursday and again at 8 p.m. ET Friday.

Track: Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Kentucky (1.5-mile speedway)

Length: Thursday 134 laps (201 miles) and Friday 200 laps (300 miles)

Stages: Thursday Stage 1 ends on Lap 30. Stage 2 ends on Lap 60. Friday Stage 1 ends on Lap 45. Stage 2 ends on Lap 90.

TV coverage: Thursday FS1. Friday FS1.

Radio: Performance Radio Network (also SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) for both races.

Streaming: Fox Sports app (subscription required); goprn.com and SiriusXM for audio (subscription required)

Next Cup race: Sunday at Kentucky (267 laps, 400.5 miles), 2:30 p.m. ET on FS1

Next Truck Series race: Saturday at Kentucky (150 laps, 225 miles), 6 p.m. ET on FS1

Defining moments of the Xfinity Series season

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It took five months, but the Xfinity Series has reached the halfway point in its regular season following last Sunday’s event at Pocono Raceway.

The series has completed 12 races ahead of Saturday’s inaugural race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course (3 p.m. ET on NBC).

A year after it was dominated by the “Big 3” of Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell and Cole Custer, the series is not lacking dominant drivers, controversy and excitement.

Here’s a look back the season so far through key quotes, moments and stats.

Key quotes

“I’m speechless right now, I didn’t think this would come. … I spent a lot of time with (team owner) Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. this week, talking for about two hours. Wanted to be a better speedway race. He told me ‘Go have fun. Wreckers or checkers, you got to manage your gaps, be there at the end and just go lead the damn the thing.’ That’s what we did.” – Noah Gragson after winning his first career Xfinity Series race in February at Daytona.

“I’m the kind of guy that believes in racing people how you’re raced. I’m not going to take any kind of stuff like that. If (Gragson) wants to send that kind of message early, then game on.” – Myatt Snider a few days after he was spun by Gragson during the Xfinity race at Las Vegas.

“This is more than a race win, it’s the biggest day of my life after the toughest day of my life. To beat the best there is just so satisfying.” – Briscoe after his emotional win over Kyle Busch at Darlington.

“When you’re a man and you throw a punch, you better be able to take a punch.” – Gragson following his contact with Allgaier and win at Bristol.

“Oh my God, oh my God, I won on an oval. Do you like that? Whoo!” – Allmendinger after his victory at Atlanta.

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Key Moments

– Gragson held off Burton and Timmy Hill in a two-lap shootout to win the season-opener at Daytona for his first career Xfinity victory. His celebration included sliding across the hood of his car like Bo and Luke Duke from “The Dukes of Hazzard” and performing a burnout until he caught the track on fire.

– Burton kept teammate Riley Herbst at bay in the closing laps to win at Auto Club Speedway for his first career Xfinity victory. He joined his uncle Ward Burton in earning his first Xfinity win on Leap Day (Feb. 29).

Brandon Jones passed teammate Kyle Busch with 20 laps to go at Phoenix and went on to secure his second career Xfinity win.

– In one of the most memorable and emotional finishes in recent memory, Chase Briscoe engaged in a duel with Busch over the last few laps at Darlington, making contact multiple times before Briscoe took the checkered flag. The win came days after Briscoe and his wife learned she had experienced a miscarriage.

– While battling for the lead with five laps to go in the scheduled distance at Bristol, teammates Gragson and Allgaier made contact, causing Allgaier to lose control and crash, eliminating him. In overtime, Gragson beat Briscoe and Jones for his second win of the year.

A.J. Allmendinger led the final 37 laps and won at Atlanta, scoring his first ever motorsports victory on an oval track.

– During the four races that made up the Dash 4 Cash program, Kaulig Racing claimed three of the four $100,000 bonuses, as Ross Chastain claimed $200,000 and Allmendinger claimed $100,000. It scored two wins (Allmendinger at Atlanta and Justin Haley at Talladega) and seven top fives.

– Briscoe used his front bumper to get Chastain loose on the first lap of the overtime finish for Sunday’s race at Pocono, passed him in Turn 2 and went on to a series-leading fourth victory.

Key Stats

– Through 12 races, there have been three first-time Xfinity winners. Noah Gragson opened the year with his win at Daytona and has been followed by Harrison Burton (Auto Club Speedway) and Justin Haley (Talladega).

Chase Briscoe in victory lane after his win at Pocono. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

– Through 12 races, there have been seven different winners, with Chase Briscoe leading with four wins. Last year, there were five different winners at this point. Busch, Bell and Custer were tied with three wins each at that point.

– Briscoe’s four wins put him in a five-way tie for second all-time among Xfinity regulars for most wins through 12 races. Sam Ard is the leader with five (1984).

– Burton and Ross Chastain are tied with 10 top-10 finishes each. Burton set a series rookie record by opening the season with 10 consecutive top 10s. He’s crashed and finished 32nd in the last two races.

– The final lead change came with less than 10 laps to go in seven of the last eight races and with two laps to go or less in five of the last eight races.

– Lead changes in the last eight races are up 23% compared to the prior eight races.

Xfinity Series playoff grid after Pocono

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Things are getting tight in the Xfinity Series playoff standings.

After 12 races, four points separate the last playoff-eligible driver, 12th-ranked Myatt Snider, and Brandon Brown. Snider finished fourth on Sunday at Pocono. Brown was 33rd at Pocono. Snider gained 40 points on Brown in that race.

Next up for the series is Saturday’s race on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBC).

Race winners this season who are locked into the playoffs are Chase Briscoe (22 playoff points), Noah Gragson (15), Harrison Burton (10), Brandon Jones (7) and Justin Haley (6).

 

 

 

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Justin Haley wins at Talladega for first Xfinity victory

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Justin Haley won Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Talladega in a three-lap shootout to score his first career Xfinity victory.

The Kaulig Racing driver beat teammate Ross Chastain, Jeb Burton, Austin Cindric and Brett Moffitt.

Haley’s win comes in his 47th Xfinity start and gives him wins in all three of NASCAR’s national series.

“First of all I want to dedicate the win to Nick Harrison and the Harrison family, he started this journey with me last year in my rookie year, losing him was pretty big,” Haley told FS1, referring to his former crew chief who died unexpectedly in July of last year. “This is an incredible day. Emotionally, I’m fighting for a ride, fighting for the next time I get in a race car next year. Anytime you can win definitely helps.”

Haley, 21, is the third first-time winner this season, joining Harrison Burton and Noah Gragson. This was also the third race in 2020 where the winner won with a last-lap pass.

Chastain’s second-place finish earned him the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus.

The Dash 4 Cash lineup for next Sunday’s race at Pocono is Haley, Chastain, Cindric and Alex Labbe.

The final run to the checkered flag was set up by a large wreck on the frontstretch with nine laps to go. It began when Gragson was turned from contact with his teammate, Justin Allgaier. Other drivers involved were Brandon Jones, Brandon Brown, Myatt Snider and Tommy Joe Martins.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Justin Haley

STAGE 2 WINNER: Chase Briscoe

More: Race results, point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Jeb Burton’s third-place finish is his best Xfinity finish in his 34th start. He started in the rear after his car failed inspection three times … Brett Moffitt’s fifth-place finish is his best Xfinity result in 12-career starts.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Ryan Sieg finished 30th he had multiple tire issues early in the race … Chase Briscoe finished 18th and Riley Herbst finished 37th after they were in a wreck on Lap 77. The wreck started when Brett Moffitt turned Herbst from contact on the frontstretch … Harrison Burton was eliminated and finished 32nd after he was in a multi-car wreck with 18 laps to go. He had started the season with a rookie record 10 straight top-10 finishes.

WHAT’S NEXT: Xfinity race at Pocono Raceway at 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday, June 28 on FS1

Harrison Burton sets Xfinity rookie record in Miami

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Not even a cut tire with eight laps left in the scheduled distance of Sunday’s Xfinity race could keep Harrison Burton from establishing a series record.

Thanks to two overtime restarts, the driver bounced back to finish eighth Sunday, a day after he won the first part of the series’ weekend doubleheader at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

With Sunday’s finish, Burton goes into this weekend’s race at Talladega (5:30 p.m. ET Saturday on FS1) with a top-10 finish in each of the first 10 races of the Xfinity season. That breaks the previous rookie record of nine races with top 10s established in 2005 by Carl Edwards.

“As a company I think we made some strides,” Burton said after the race. “Not a finish my team deserves, but that happens. You are getting all you can the last few laps – right against the fence – and sometimes you just overstep. Once I got to the wall, I couldn’t get off of it, and that’s what caused the right rear to blow.”

Burton’s win Saturday in Miami after only leading the final two laps gives him two wins on the season. He also has a series-leading seven top fives.

Despite those numbers, there’s still areas where Burton’s No. 20 team need to improve, namely stage finishes. Though he can finish up front, he has yet to claim a stage win.

Eight other drivers have at least one stage win, as Noah Gragson leads with five stage wins.

“I think we want a little more raw speed,” Burton said. “We want to win more stages, things like that. … Got to find a way to get those playoff points, they are really important come later in the year. We saw last year with (Tyler) Reddick, (Cole) Custer and (Christopher) Bell, all of those guys were pretty much locked in though the first round of the playoffs, and that’s because they the (had) stage points and the points from winning.

“We’ve got to get a little bit more dominate, a little bit more aggressive early in the race, and somehow be a little faster. That’s my main goal now – to fire off faster and try to be aggressive from the start and hopefully, get more dominate.”

Through 10 races Burton is third in points behind Gragson and Chase Briscoe. He trails Briscoe by 27 points and Gragson by 45 points.

As far as stage points go, Burton has earned 58 through 10 races. That trails Gragson (124 stage points), Austin Cindric (118) and Briscoe (106), even though Cindric has failed to win a race so far this year and is fourth in the overall standings.