By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
The last time the NASCAR Xfinity Series visited Daytona International Speedway, Aric Almirola took home the victory in controversial and dramatic fashion. A multi-car accident on the backstretch forced NASCAR officials to throw the caution as Almirola and Xfinity Series regular Justin Allgaier battled side-by-side for the lead. After several minutes, it was determined that Almirola was in front of Allgaier at the time of the caution.
The last time a NASCAR Xfinity Series regular won at Daytona was in the 2015 season opener when Ryan Reed took the checkered flag.
Former winners in Saturday’s field include Almirola, Austin Dillon, Kasey Kahne, and Reed.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers in the field this weekend include Almirola, Austin Dillon, Brad Keselowski, Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones, Kahne, and Ty Dillon.
Xfinity Series Championship
The format for the 2017 season sees a new race format as well as an updated Playoff format. Every race is now broken into three separate stages, with the Top 10 finishers in stages one and two earning points. The winner of the stage earns one playoff point and 10 championship points, second place gets nine points, third eight points, and so on. The winner of the race also earned five bonus points.
Bonus points for leading a lap and leading the most laps have been eliminated.
At Daytona, the first stage ends on lap 30, the second stage on lap 60, and the final stage on lap 120.
What to Watch For
There are several storylines going into this weekend’s race to watch for:
- Will a Cup Series regular win again, or will an Xfinity Series Championship contender take the win?
- With the new race format in 2017, what kinds of strategies will we see? Who will be willing to gamble?
- Cole Custer will be in the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang as Stewart Haas Racing enters the Xfinity Series for the first time.
- Michael Annett will be in the No. 5 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet Camaro for JR Motorsports.
- William Byron will make his Xfinity Series debut in the No. 9 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro for JR Motorsports.
- Daniel Hemric also makes his Xfinity Series debut in the No. 21 Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff Chevrolet Camaro for Richard Childress Racing.
- Spencer Gallagher will be in the No. 23 Allegiant Airlines Chevrolet Camaro for GMS Racing.
- Scott Lagasse Jr. returns in the FDOT No. 24 Toyota Camry for JGL Racing.
- Tyler Reddick makes his Xfinity Series debut in the No. 42 Broken Bow Records Chevrolet Camaro for Chip Ganassi Racing.
Where and When to Watch (All Times Eastern)
Practice 1: Friday, February 24, at 12:00 p.m. on Fox Sports 1
Practice 2: Friday, February 24, at 2:00 p.m. on Fox Sports 1
Qualifying: Saturday, February 25, at 10:30 a.m. on Fox Sports 1
Race: Saturday, February 25, at 3:30 p.m. on Fox Sports 1, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, and the Motor Racing Network.