Xfinity Race Preview: Daytona

Daytona Int'l Speedway

The NASCAR XFINITY Series returns to Daytona International Speedway this week for Friday night's Coca-Cola Firecracker 250. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Entry List | Past Race Winners | Schedule of Events

NASCAR XFINITY Series news, notes and fast facts in advance of Friday's Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway.

Radio: MRN, 7 p.m. (ET)
TV: NBCSN, 7 p.m. (ET)
Race Distance: 250 miles (100 laps)
Stage Lengths: Stage 1 Ends - Lap 30; Stage 2 Ends - Lap 60; Final Stage Ends - Lap 100

Races: 51
Pole Winners: 38
Youngest Pole Winner: Dylan Kwasniewski (2/22/2014 - 18 years, 5 months, 22 days)
Oldest Pole Winner: L.D. Ottinger (2/18/1984 - 45 years, 1 month, 19 days)
Race Winners: 26
Youngest Race Winner: Chase Elliott (2/20/2016 - 20 years, 2 months, 23 days)
Oldest Race Winner: Bobby Allison (2/13/1988 - 50 years, 2 months, 10 days)
Races Won from Pole: 4
Last Race Won from Pole: Clint Bowyer (7/3/2009)
Race Record: Geoff Bodine - 157.137 mph (2/16/1985)
Qualifying Record: Tommy Houston - 194.389 mph (2/14/1987)

  Last Race Most/Largest Fewest/Smallest
Cars: 40 46 (2/17/1996) 34 (2/13/1982)
Lead Changes: 23 41 (7/6/2012) 0 (7/4/2003)
Leaders: 7 20 (2/23/2013) 1 (7/4/2003)
Cautions: 10 11 (2/18/2006) 3 - 6 Times (7/4/2014)
Caution Laps: 42 42 (2/25/2017) 10 (7/4/2008)
Lead Lap Finish: 19 34 - 2 Times (7/7/2007) 5 - 2 Times(2/18/1984)
Running at the Finish: 20 37 - 2 Times (7/2/2010) 20 - 4 Times(2/25/2017)
Laps Led (Winner): 9 105 (2/14/1998) 1 - 4 Times (7/4/2014)
Margin of Victory*: 0.218 0.46 (2/17/2007) 0.007 (2/19/2011)

*Since 1993 (advent of digital timing and scoring); does not include races completed under caution

Taking the Stage: Stage Points Key to JR Motorsports' Dominance
Stage racing has not only out brought out great action on the track through varying strategies, but it has also provided a new element in the NASCAR XFINITY Series driver standings that allows the competitors to accumulate points by finishing in the top 10 at the end of each stage. Above all other contenders this season, JR Motorsports drivers Elliott Sadler (standings leader), Justin Allgaier (second in points) and William Byron (third in points) have taken advantage of the new system the best, and it is showing dividends.

Current standings leader Sadler has yet to win this season but has been quite consistent, posting the series-most top fives (six) and top 10s (12) through 14 races. Sadler sits 25 points ahead of his teammate Justin Allgaier in the standings, but is second to him in stage points. This season, Sadler has amassed 113 stage points, which is 22.5% of his total driver standings points (502).

Sadler also leads all championship challengers in stage wins with three, which translates to three playoffs points. Two of Sadler’s three stage wins were at Daytona in the season opener and the third was at Michigan.

You can call him the XFINITY series stage points master, as Justin Allgaier is second in the driver standings (-25 from the leader), but he is first in accumulation of stage points this season with 116; which is 24.3% of his total driver standings points total (477). Allgaier is having a career-best season; he has posted a win (Phoenix), four top fives and seven top 10s through 14 races. Allgaier also leads the series in playoff points with seven – five from the win at Phoenix and two from stage wins at Richmond and Talladega.

He might be third in the standings, 32 points back from second place, but he is the most recent winner of the JRM bunch, and Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender William Byron is no slouch in stage points gathering either. The 19-year-old from North Carolina has accrued the third-most stage points this season with 82; which is 18.4% of his driver standings points total (445). Coming off his victory last weekend at Iowa and now locked into the playoffs, Byron is having a strong showing in his rookie campaign. In 14 starts this season he has a win, four top fives and eight top 10s – currently second-most in the series.

The JR Motorsports drivers have set themselves apart from their nearest competitors. In the driver standings, third-place William Bryon is 89 points ahead of fourth-place Daniel Hemric. Hemric also has the fourth-most stage points this season at 53; which is 29 points less than Byron.

At Daytona in the season opener in February, Sadler dominated the event early on, leading the most laps (40), but it was Byron with the best finish (ninth), as Sadler (24th) and Allgaier (30th) were caught in late-race incidents.

Break Out the Broom: Ryan Reed Looks for Sweep
Earlier this season, Roush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Reed became the ninth different driver to post multiple wins in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at "The World Center of Racing," Daytona International Speedway, and this weekend he's looking to join Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2003) as just the second driver in series history to sweep both Daytona events in one season.

Back in February, Reed led just nine laps and won the 2017 season opener at Daytona and in the process, grabbed his second Daytona win (2017, 2015) and joined Dale Earnhardt (seven), Tony Stewart (seven), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (six), Darrell Waltrip (three), Randy LaJoie (three), Geoff Bodine, Joe Nemechek and Matt Kenseth (two each) as a multiple series race winner at DIS.

Reed is fifth in the series driver standings, 155 points back from the leader Sadler. In 14 starts this season, he's posted a win, two top fives and four top 10s. In seven starts at Daytona, Reed has posted the second-best driver rating (93.7) and average running position (11.6) among championship contenders. Plus, two wins, three top fives, four top 10s and an average finish of 8.4 – series-best among title contenders.

Feeling the Squeeze: Ryan Sieg and Brendan Gaughan Outside Looking In
The NASCAR XFINITY Series playoffs are just 12 races away and the drivers outside the playoff cutoff line are starting to feel the heat as the regular season inches closer to its conclusion. Two drivers who made the playoffs last season but are currently just outside the playoff threshold are Ryan Sieg (-24 points behind 12th) in 13th and Brendan Gaughan (-26 points back from 12th) in 14th.

RSS Racing’s Sieg is coming off his NASCAR XFINITY Series career-best finish after he posted a runner-up performance at Iowa Speedway last weekend. Three races ago, Sieg was 15th in points but since then has posted a 15th-place finish at Michigan and a runner-up at Iowa, and now he is knocking on the door of playoff contention just 24 points behind 12th-place Blake Koch.

Sieg returns to Daytona this weekend riding a wave of momentum, which should continue this weekend as Sieg matched his previous best-career finish of third in this event last season. In seven starts at Daytona, Sieg has posted two top fives and three top 10s.

Richard Childress Racing’s Gaughan is just two points behind Sieg in 13th and 26 points behind 12th-place Blake Koch, but don’t count him and the No. 62 team out just yet. Gaughan won his first stage of the season this past weekend at Iowa and in the process, brought his stage points total to 38; which is 15.2% of his driver standing points total (249).

In Gaughan’s last three starts at Daytona, he has two top fives and three top 10s; including finishing fifth earlier this season. Plus, over the next several weeks, the series returns to some of Gaughan’s best tracks, specifically Kentucky and Road America, where he has posted wins.

Can’t Stop the Youth
The next generation of NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers is here and the proof is in the stats.

Following this past weekend’s race at Iowa (14th race of the 2017 season), the average age of the XFINITY Series driver inside the top 10 of the championship standings is a youthful 26.7 years old. When you compare that to the 2008 season, during the same time frame a decade ago (following 14th race of the season), the average age was 31.7 years – an average age difference of 5.5 years.

Comparing the younger drivers inside the top 10 in points this season to the ones a decade ago - three drivers this season are 20 or younger (William Byron, 19; Cole Custer, 19; and Matt Tifft, 20), but in 2008, not one driver inside the top 10 in points was under the age of 23 (Kyle Busch was the youngest at 23).

NASCAR Xfinity Series, etc.
Daytona Stats To Know: The NASCAR XFINITY Series has hosted 51 series events at Daytona International Speedway. The very first NXS race at Daytona was on Feb. 13, 1982 (inaugural series season) and the event was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt. The 51 series races have produced a total of 26 different winners and 38 different pole winners.

The record for the fastest average speed of a NXS race at Daytona was set by Geoff Bodine on February 16, 1985 (157.137 mph). The fastest pole speed in the series at DIS was set by Tommy Houston (194.389 mph) on February 14, 1987. The most leaders in an NXS race at Daytona was 20 set in 2013, and the most lead changes was 41 set in 2012.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year Update: William Byron continues to hold the point in the rookie standings this season: William Byron (184), Daniel Hemric (153), Cole Custer (150), Matt Tifft (129), Spencer Gallagher (105) and Ben Kennedy (49).

Owner Points Update: Team Penske’s No. 22 Ford Mustang team currently is 82 points ahead of the second-place Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro team following Iowa last weekend. Roger Penske is looking for his fourth owner title in the NASCAR XFINITY Series this season.

Double-Duty Drivers In Daytona: Seven drivers - Ty Dillon, Brendan Gaughan, Elliott Sadler, Daniel Suárez, Ryan Sieg, Erik Jones and Joey Logano - are entered in both the XFINITY and Monster Energy Series races this weekend at Daytona.

Next MRN Broadcast

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Jul. 21, 2017 12:00 PM ET

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  • Alsco 300
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  • Coca-Cola Firecracker 250
  • Coca-Cola Firecracker 250
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  • Coca-Cola Firecracker 250
  • Coca-Cola Firecracker 250
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