By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
The last time the NASCAR Xfinity Series visited Phoenix International Raceway, Kyle Busch took home the victory in dominant fashion, leading 190 of 200 laps. Austin Dillon finished second, 6.115 seconds behind Busch. Justin Allgaier was the highest finishing NASCAR Xfinity Series regular in fourth.
The last time a NASCAR Xfinity Series regular won at Phoenix was Elliott Sadler in 2012. He is the only former winner in the field for Saturday’s race.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers in the field this weekend include Austin Dillon, Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez, and Ty Dillon. Per the 2017 rulebook, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regulars with five or more years of experience are not eligible to compete in the Dash 4 Cash races.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular Jordan Anderson is also entered in Saturday’s event.
Xfinity Series Championship
Ryan Reed and Elliott Sadler are the only two NASCAR Xfinity Series regulars that have Playoff points. Reed has five Playoff points while Sadler has two Playoff points.
Phoenix also marks the first Xfinity Dash 4 Cash race of the 2017 season. The highest two finishing NASCAR Xfinity Series regulars from both Stage 1 and Stage 2 will make up the four competitors for the Dash 4 Cash. The driver of those four that finishes the highest at the end of the day wins the Dash 4 Cash. If that driver were to be the highest finishing Dash 4 Cash driver in another Dash 4 Cash event, they will qualify for the Playoffs.
At Phoenix, the first stage ends on lap 60, the second stage on lap 120, and the final stage on lap 200.
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 a Xfinity Series Championship contender take the win?
- How the stage race format playout on the first ‘short track’ race of the season?
- Austin Dillon returns to the No. 2 Rheem Chevrolet Camaro for Richard Childress Racing.
- Ty Dillon returns to the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Camaro for Richard Childress Racing.
- For the first time in the 2017 season, William Byron’s No. 9 will carry the Axalta/Ameristar colors for JR Motorsports.
- Daniel Suarez returns to the No. 18 Juniper Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing.
- Erik Jones will be in the No. 20 Resers Main Street Bistro Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing.
- Ryan Blaney makes his first appearance in the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang for Team Penske.
- Drew Herring will be in the No. 24 Toyota Camry for JGL Racing.
- Tyler Reddick returns to the No. 42 Broken Bow Records Chevrolet Camaro for Chip Ganassi Racing.
Where and When to Watch (All Times Eastern)
Practice 1: Friday, March 17, at 1:00 p.m. on Fox Sports 1
Practice 2: Friday, March 17, at 4:00 p.m. on Fox Sports 1
Practice 3: Friday, March 17, at 6:00 p.m. on Fox Sports 1
Qualifying: Saturday, March 18, at 1:00 p.m. on Fox Sports 1
Race: Saturday, March 18, at 4:00 p.m. on FOX, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, and the Motor Racing Network.