Richmond winners and losers

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WINNERS

Joe Gibbs Racing — It was a 1-2-3-4 finish until Erik Jones’ car failed inspection. Still the team scored a 1-2-3 finish and claimed its fourth consecutive win on a short track with Martin Truex Jr.’s triumph. Don’t forget, the organization also won Friday’s Xfinity race with Christopher Bell.

Ryan Newman His fifth-place finish tied his best result of the year and was his third consecutive top-10 showing. He was encouraged by the team running toward the front and noted: “You take away those four Gibbs cars, we were racing for the win. I know it doesn’t work that way, but if they would have had one bad meeting (incident) we would’ve been in the hunt.” Still, Newman moved into a transfer spot heading into this coming weekend’s race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

Brad KeselowskiHe finished fourth and was the only driver outside of Joe Gibbs Racing to lead Saturday’s race.

Bubba Wallace His 12th-place finish was his third top-15 result in the last five races. He had one top-15 finish in the first 23 races of the season.

Front Row Motorsports — All three of its cars placed 21st or better, the first time the team has accomplished that feat this season. David Ragan was 19th, rookie Matt Tifft placed 20th and Michael McDowell was 21st.

LOSERS

Erik Jones He was feeling good about his fourth-place finish that put him within three points of the final transfer spot to the next round only to later find out that his car was disqualified for failing inspection after the race. Now he’s 45 points out of the final transfer spot and is essentially in a must-win situation. He faces being eliminated from the first round of the playoffs for a second year in a row.

William Byron Got lapped in the final circuits before the end of each stage and also had a pit road speeding penalty. That led to a season-worst 25th-place finish. He holds the final transfer spot to the second round by two points on Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman heading to the Roval.

Results, Xfinity point standings after Richmond playoff race

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Christopher Bell led a career best 238 laps Friday night on his way to winning the Xfinity playoff opener at Richmond Raceway.

It is his seventh win of the year, matching his total from 2018.

The top five was completed by Austin Cindric, Cole Custer, Justin Allgaier and Chase Briscoe.

Click here for the race results.

Playoff standings

Bell secured a spot in the second round of the playoffs with his win.

The four drivers currently below the cutline for advancing to the next round are Brandon Jones (-15 points from cutline), Ryan Sieg (-19), Justin Haley (-20) and John Hunter Nemechek (-21).

Click here for the point standings.

Christopher Bell wins Xfinity playoff opener at Richmond

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Christopher Bell put together a convincing win Friday night at Richmond Raceway to open the Xfinity Series playoffs.

Bell led 238 of 250 laps – a career high – and swept each stage to earn his seventh victory of the year, matching his total from 2018.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has now won three of the last four races at Richmond and six of the last 11 short track races.

The top five was made up of pole-sitter Austin Cindric, Cole Custer, Justin Allgaier and Chase Briscoe.

“That one was pretty special,” Bell told NBCSN. “Going 92 laps straight there is really difficult, man. We were sliding all around. I felt like if I could get to traffic I was going to be in good shape. Because my car could really move around good. I could run up, I could run down. (Cole Custer) was keeping pressure on us pretty good, but this Rheem Supra was too good.”

STAGE 1 WINNER: Christopher Bell

STAGE 2 WINNER: Christopher Bell

More: race results, point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Harrison Burton was the highest finishing non-playoff driver in sixth … Austin Cindric earned his first top five in the last four races. He finished second in both Richmond races this year … In his 300th career Xfinity start, Justin Allgaier finished fourth after he had to start from the rear for changing a tire … Chase Briscoe earned his first top five in the last five races.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Mike Marlar wasn’t able to complete the first lap of his first Xfinity start. He was involved in an incident and finished last … Vinnie Miller had a mechanical failure with 25 laps left in the first stage. He finished 35th … Tyler Matthews finished 33rd after he wrecked in Stage 1 … Playoff driver Justin Haley had a pit road penalty and finished 17th … John Hunter Nemechek finished 15th after he spun while trying to intentionally spin Joe Graf Jr. right before the race’s conclusion. It was retaliation for a bump-and-run by Graf earlier in the lap.

NOTABLE: Christopher Bell has a win percentage of 22%, third all-time in the Xfinity Series.

WHAT’S NEXT: Drive for the Cure 200 on the Charlotte Roval at 3:30 p.m. ET Sept. 28 on NBCSN

 

Tonight’s Xfinity race at Richmond: Start time, lineup and more

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The Xfinity Series playoffs begin tonight at Richmond Raceway. Tyler Reddick seeks to score back-to-back series crowns, while Christopher Bell looks to add a championship in the Xfinity Series to go with his Truck Series title from 2017. They will battle 10 other drivers also seeking the glory of a championship.

Here is all the info for tonight’s race:

(All times are Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 7:37 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 7:44 p.m.

PRERACE: Garage opened at 8 a.m. Qualifying is at 4:35 p.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 5:45 p.m. Driver introductions are at 7 p.m. The invocation will be given at 7:30 p.m. by Pastor Joe Ellison Jr., chaplain of Sports Athletics, Virginia Union University. The National Anthem will be performed at 7:31 p.m. by Lyndsey Highlander.

DISTANCE: The race is 250 laps (187.5 miles) around the 0.75-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 75. Stage 2 ends on Lap 150.

TV/RADIO: NBCSN will televise the race. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Countdown to Green. Motor Racing Network’s broadcast begins at 7 p.m. and also can be heard on mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry MRN’s broadcast.

WATCH ONLINE: Click here for NBCSN broadcast 

FORECAST: Wunderground.com forecasts sunny skies with a high of 74 degrees and a zero percent chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Cole Custer led 122 of 250 laps to win in April. He was followed by Austin Cindric and Justin Allgaier. Christopher Bell won last year’s playoff race, finishing ahead of Ross Chastain and Daniel Hemric.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the starting lineup.

Richmond Xfinity practice report

Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images
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RICHMOND, Va. – Gray Gaulding posted the fastest lap in Friday morning’s Xfinity practice at Richmond Raceway.

Gaulding topped the field with a lap of 121.397 mph. He was followed by Cole Custer (121.342 mph), Christopher Bell (121.000), Noah Gragson (120.621) and Harrison Burton (120.128).

“It feels good for the little guys to beat the big guys,” Gaulding told NBCSN at the end of the session.

Click here for practice results

Burton had the best average over 10 consecutive laps at 118.644 mph. He was followed by Michael Annett (118.041 mph), Austin Cindric (117.897), Ryan Sieg (117.314) and Justin Allgaier (116.279).

Joe Graf Jr., driving the No. 21 for Richard Childress Racing, ran the most laps in the 80-minute session with 106 laps. He was 29th on the speed chart with a top lap of 116.109 mph.

Qualifying will be at 4:35 p.m. ET on NBCSN. The series races at 7:30 p.m. ET today on NBCSN. This is the series’ playoff opener.