XFINITY Race Preview: Phoenix

Elliott Sadler

Eight drivers still have a shot to lock up their spot in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Playoff Championship 4. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Entry List | Schedule of Events | Driver Averages | Driver Stats 

NASCAR XFINITY Series news, notes and fast facts in advance of Saturday's Ticket Galaxy 200 at Phoenix Raceway.

Radio: MRN, 3 p.m. (ET)
TV: NBC, 3 p.m. (ET)
Race Distance: 200 miles (200 laps)
Stage Lengths: Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 60), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 120), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)

Races: 31
Pole Winners: 16
Youngest Pole Winner: William Byron (3/18/2017 - 19 years, 2 months, 48 days)
Oldest Pole Winner: Jimmy Spencer (10/27/2001 - 44 years, 8 months, 12 days)
Race Winners: 16
Youngest Race Winner: Joey Logano (11/10/2012 - 22 years, 5 months, 17 days)
Oldest Race Winner: Greg Biffle (4/17/2009 - 39 years, 3 months, 25 days)
Races Won from Pole: 10
Last Race Won from Pole: Kyle Busch (11/12/2016)
Race Record: Elliott Sadler - 116.317 mph (3/3/2012)
Qualifying Record: Busch - 138.540 mph (11/14/2015)

  Last Race Most/Largest Fewest/Smallest
Cars: 40 43 - 21 Times(11/10/2012) 39 (3/1/2014)
Lead Changes: 13 14 (4/11/2008) 0 (2/26/2011)
Leaders: 5 8 (10/27/2001) 1 (2/26/2011)
Cautions: 9 14 (4/22/2005) 1 - 2 Times (11/4/2000)
Caution Laps: 55 67 (4/22/2005) 5 (11/4/2000)
Lead Lap Finish: 26 26 (3/18/2017) 10 (11/8/2008)
Running at the Finish: 32 38 - 2 Times (3/12/2016) 24 (11/12/2011)
Laps Led (Winner): 85 200 (2/26/2011) 9 (11/8/2014)
Margin of Victory*: 0.741 6.115 (11/12/2016) 0.096 (11/8/2008)

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

Phoenix Raceway is XFINITY Playoff Drivers Last Chance at The Championship 4 

Eight drivers still have a shot to lock up their spot in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Playoff Championship 4 this Saturday, Nov. 4 in the Ticket Galaxy 200 at Phoenix Raceway; as all four positions to move on to Homestead-Miami Speedway and vie for a title are still up for grabs.

Rank Driver Race Wins Points Leader Cutoff
1 Elliott Sadler 0 3,103 0 29
2 William Byron  3 3,098 -5 24
3 Justin Allgaier  2 3,094 -9 20
4 Brennan Poole  0 3,079 -24 5
5 Matt Tifft  0 3,074 -29 -5
6 Cole Custer  0 3,066 -37 -13
7 Daniel Hemric  0 3,061 -42 -18
8 Ryan Reed 1 3,046 -57 -33

Time To Clinch: The Playoff Eight Will Be Soon Be Four Following Phoenix

Below are the clinch scenarios for each Round of 8 Playoff driver heading into the weekend:

 

Elliott Sadler (0 Wins This Round, 3,103 Points) – With a win, Sadler would clinch. If a Playoff driver wins, he would clinch with 32 points.  If a Playoff driver doesn’t win, he would clinch with 27 points. 

 

William Byron (0 Wins This Round, 3,098 Points) – With a win, Byron would clinch. If a Playoff driver wins, he would clinch on points with 37 points.  If a Playoff driver doesn’t win, he would clinch with 32 points. 

 

Justin Allgaier (0 Wins This Round, 3,094 Points) – With a win, Allgaier would clinch. If a Playoff driver wins, he would clinch on points with 41 points.  If a Playoff driver doesn’t win, he would clinch on points with 36 points. 

 

Brennan Poole (0 Wins This Round, 3,079 Points) - With a win, Poole would clinch. If a Playoff driver doesn’t win, he would clinch on points with 51 points. He could also clinch on points with help if a Playoff driver wins.

 

The next four Playoff drivers can clinch a spot in the next round on points, but will need help to do it. They can also clinch a spot in the Championship 4 with a win this weekend at Phoenix.

 

Matt Tifft (0 Wins This Round, 3,074 Points) – Currently five points back from fourth-place Brennan Poole.

Cole Custer (0 Wins This Round, 3,066 Points) - Currently 13 points back from fourth-place Brennan Poole.

Daniel Hemric (0 Wins This Round, 3,061 Points) - Currently 18 points back from fourth-place Brennan Poole.

Ryan Reed (0 Wins this Round, 3,046 Points) - Currently 33 points back from fourth-place Brennan Poole.


NASCAR XFINITY Series Playoff Round of 8 Driver Performances at Phoenix

All eight XFINITY Playoff drivers are digging for the same thing this weekend – a chance at the title in Homestead-Miami. But first, they need to get past Phoenix Raceway to do that. Below are the Playoff Round of 8 drivers’ career performances at Phoenix Raceway: 


Rank Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating*
1 Elliott Sadler 17 0 1 5 9 1 11.7 93.3
2 William Byron 1 1 0 1 1 0 4.0 109.5
3 Justin Allgaier 14 0 1 5 9 0 8.1 101.0
4 Brennan Poole 4 0 0 0 2 0 13.8 83.4
5 Matt Tifft 1 0 0 0 0 0 12.0 80.0
6 Cole Custer 1 0 0 0 0 0 21.0 75.2
7 Daniel Hemric 1 0 0 0 1 0 7.0 87.4
8 Ryan Reed 8 0 0 0 1 1 15.4 80.1

*Since 2005

Two things instantly pop out when looking at the above information. First, only two (Sadler and Allgaier) of the eight Playoff drivers have made 10 or more starts at Phoenix, and they are the only two with wins at the 1-mile track.

 

Secondly, half of the eight Playoff drivers (Byron, Tifft, Custer and Hemric) made their series track debut at Phoenix Raceway earlier this season.

 

Allgaier Has a Chance to Become the Second Driver in Series History to Sweep Phoenix

JR Motorsport’s driver Justin Allgaier can become just the second driver in NASCAR XFINITY Series history to sweep both races at Phoenix Raceway in a single season if he wins the Ticket Galaxy 200 this weekend; joining Kyle Busch.

 

Busch has swept both series races at Phoenix in a single season twice - in 2013 and last season.

 

Of the seven tracks on the series schedule the competitors visit twice in a single season (Daytona, Dover, Iowa, Kentucky, Phoenix, Richmond and Texas) only Texas has been swept in 2017 (by Erik Jones).

 

Allgaier has made 14 starts at Phoenix, posting one win, five top fives, nine top 10s and an average finish of 8.1. 

 

Series Record in Our Midst: 18 Different Winners Would Tie Most in Single Season

Two races are left on the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series schedule, offering two more opportunities for new drivers to extend the current different winners list (17) to a record tying 18 different winners; a record that was set back in 1988 – 29 years ago.

 

The record-setting 1988 NASCAR XFINITY Series season that saw 18 different winners was composed of a tide of drivers who became the faces of the sport over the last few decades – some even went on to NASCAR Hall of Fame careers – Harry Gant (five wins), Larry Pearson (three), Tommy Ellis (three), Tommy Houston (three), Rick Mast (two), Rob Moroso (two), Bobby Allison, Bobby Hillin Jr., Dale Earnhardt, Dale Jarrett, Darrell Waltrip, Dick McCabe, Geoff Bodine, Jim Hensley, Mark Martin, Michael Waltrip, Mike Alexander and Morgan Shepherd (each had one win).

 

The 17 different NASCAR XFINITY Series winners in 2017 includes Kyle Busch (five wins), Erik Jones (three), Kyle Larson (three), William Byron (three), Brad Keselowski (two), Denny Hamlin (two), Justin Allgaier (two), Ryan Blaney (two), Alex Bowman, Aric Almirola, Christopher Bell, Jeremy Clements, Joey Logano, Ryan Preece, Ryan Reed, Sam Hornish Jr., Tyler Reddick (each have one).

 

The one driver not already on the 2017 different winners list, but who is entered this weekend and is a former series Phoenix winner, is Elliott Sadler. Sadler has made 17 series starts at Phoenix, posting one win, five top fives, nine top 10s and an average finish of 11.7.

 

The Streak Continues: 12th Different Winner in a Row Possible at Phoenix

This past weekend at Texas, Erik Jones added his name to the active NASCAR XFINITY Series streak of winners that has reached 11 different drivers dating back August 12 at Mid-Ohio.

 

The record for the longest streak of different winners in consecutive races in series history is 13 back in 1988.

 

This season’s streak of 11 different winners is the ninth time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series history a streak of 11 or more different drivers have won. The first time the series witnessed a streak like this was at the conclusion of the 1986 season and the beginning of 1987.  The eight other streaks were in single seasons – 1988 (13 different winners), 1989 (11 different winners), 1991 (11), 1998 (11), 2003 (11), 2006 (11), 2014 (11) and 2017 (11). 


2017 NXS Season Streak Record: 1988 NXS Season Streak
Winners Tracks Dates Winners Tracks Dates
Erik Jones Texas 11/4/2017 Tommy Houston Rougemont 6/11/1988
Christopher Bell Kansas 10/21/2017 Bobby Hillin Jr Dover 6/4/1988
Alex Bowman Charlotte 10/7/2017 Dale Jarrett Charlotte 5/28/1988
Ryan Blaney Dover 9/30/2017 Darrell Waltrip Nashville Fgds 5/21/1988
Tyler Reddick Kentucky 9/23/2017 Larry Pearson South Boston 5/14/1988
Justin Allgaier Chicago 9/16/2017 Rick Mast Nazareth 5/7/1988
Brad Keselowski Richmond 9/8/2017 Tommy Ellis Hampton (VA) 4/30/1988
Denny Hamlin Darlington 9/2/2017 Dale Earnhardt Bristol 4/9/1988
Jeremy Clements Road America 8/27/2017 Geoff Bodine Darlington 3/26/1988
Kyle Busch Bristol 8/18/2017 Jimmy Hensley Martinsville 3/13/1988
Sam Hornish Jr Mid-Ohio 8/12/2017 Mark Martin Rockingham 3/5/1988
Mike Alexander Hickory 2/28/1988
Bobby Allison Daytona 2/13/1988

Tucson Native Alex Bowman Returns to XFINITY Series This Weekend at Phoenix

How good is Arizona native Alex Bowman’s life right now? Pretty good.

 

The 24-year old from Tucson, Arizona, was named the driver to replace retiring Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet next season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Plus, Bowman has only made one start this season in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, and did so in impressive fashion, taking the checkered flag at Charlotte Motor Speedway while making his series debut driving for Chip Ganassi Racing.

 

This weekend, the up-and-coming star is back behind the wheel of the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, looking to showcase more of his driving talent.    

 

Bowman has made five series starts at Phoenix, posting a best finish of 11th back in 2013. His average finish at Phoenix is 22.4. He competed in this event last season driving for JR Motorsports – he started seventh but finished 38th after being caught in an incident. 

  

NASCAR XFINITY Series Etc.

Double Dippers – Several drivers from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will try their luck this weekend at Phoenix in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race – MENCS Drivers: Austin and Ty Dillon, Erik Jones, Ryan Blaney, Corey LaJoie, Gray Gaulding and Alex Bowman; NCWTS Drivers: Christopher Bell and Joe Nemechek.  None of the aforementioned drivers are former NASCAR XFINITY Series winners at Phoenix.

 

Manufacturer Championship (Bill France Performance Award) Update - Chevrolet currently holds a 58-point lead over Toyota in the NASCAR XFINITY Series manufacturer standings. To clinch an early title, Chevrolet needs to leave Phoenix Raceway with a 61-point lead over second place.

 

Next MRN Broadcast

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Nov. 22, 2017 12:00 PM ET

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