NASCAR Xfinity Series playoff field finalised

by Justin Nguyen

The NASCAR Xfinity Series regular season came to a close as Tyler Reddick scored his fifth win of the year in Saturday’s Rhino Pro Outfitters 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. As such, he and eleven other drivers will now compete over seven races for the 2019 series championship.

Positions 1–4

After reseeding, Christopher Bell, who finished second in Saturday’s race, is the new points leader with 2,055 points. With him expected to move up to the Cup Series with Leavine Family Racing in 2020, Bell has shown his abilities well with a series-high six victories at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Dover International Speedway, Iowa Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and the road course of Road America. He also has four poles, second-most, and eighteen top tens.

Tied with Bell for most wins and the series leader in poles with six (including Saturday’s 300), Cole Custer visited Victory Lane at Auto Club Speedway, Richmond Raceway, Pocono Raceway, Chicagoland Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, and Darlington Raceway. Like Bell, Custer also has eighteen top tens. At 2,044 points, he is second entering the playoffs.

Reddick, the reigning series champion, also claimed the regular season title with a five-win year that also included a series-high twenty-two top-ten finishes and three poles. His first win came at Talladega Superspeedway in the spring, followed by Charlotte Motor Speedway, Michigan International Speedway, and Bristol in August. He is currently in his first season with Richard Childress Racing after moving over from JR Motorsports, and made his Monster Energy Cup Series début with RCR earlier in the year. With 2,044 points, he is technically tied with Custer but is officially third after reseeding.

Austin Cindric, the lone permanent driver in Team Penske‘s Xfinity stable, broke through for his first series wins as he scored two straight road course victories at Watkins Glen International and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. He recorded eighteen top tens and three poles during the regular season. With 2,017 points, he will be the fourth seed.

Positions 5–8

Chase Briscoe, running his first full-time season as Custer’s partner at Stewart-Haas Racing, joins Reddick as the only drivers with at least twenty top tens during the regular season. His lone victory came at Iowa in July. He is the fifth seed with 2,012 points.

Positions six through eight consist of JR Motorsports team-mates. Despite not scoring a win, Justin Allgaier finishes the regular season fourth in points. Currently in his fourth full-time season with JRM, he has seventeen top tens and finished runner-up at Daytona International Speedway, Dover, Charlotte, and Indianapolis. Although a lower seed, he shares the same point total as Briscoe.

Michael Annett struggled in 2018 as he scored just three top tens and missed the playoffs. In 2019, however, he regained his stride with fifteen top tens and a victory in the season opener at Daytona. At the series’ other superspeedway event at Talladega, he scored his first career pole. Annett will enter the playoffs with 2,009 points.

Moving up to the Xfinity Series after a runner-up points finish in the 2018 Truck Series championship, Noah Gragson recorded seventeen top tens and a best finish of second at Michigan during the 2019 regular season. The Xfinity rookie will have 2,005 points to kick off the postseason.

Positions 9–12

Bell’s Joe Gibbs Racing partner Brandon Jones is ninth in the playoff grid with 2,004 points. Now in his fourth full-time season in NASCAR’s second tier, Jones has yet to win a race but recorded thirteen top tens in 2019. He began and ended the regular season in similar fashion, recording a season-best third in the opener at Daytona and finale at Las Vegas.

Justin Haley surprised the NASCAR world when he won a rain-shortened Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona in July. Now in his first full-time Xfinity season with Kaulig Racing, he has seventeen top tens with a best run of second, coincidentally at the Xfinity Series’ companion event to the Coke Zero Sugar 400. With 2,003 points, he is the tenth seed.

Ryan Sieg, who has long raced for his family-operated RSS Racing organisation, has qualified for his first playoffs since the inaugural year with the format in 2016 (he finished ninth in points that year). He has nine top tens with a best run of fourth in the season kickoff at Daytona.

Rounding out the playoff field is John Hunter Nemechek, who has thirteen top tens in his maiden full campaign with GMS Racing. His highest finish of the season is second at the spring Las Vegas race.

The Xfinity playoffs will begin at Richmond. After the Round of 12, the field will cut off four drivers, followed by four more after the Round of 8.

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