By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
21 races into the NASCAR Xfinity Series season, only three of the NASCAR Xfinity Series regulars (Justin Allgaier, Ryan Reed, and William Byron three times) have scored victories during the 2017 season.
This weekend the NASCAR Xfinity Series travels to Bristol Motor Speedway for the Food City 300, the 22nd race of the season. Sadler continues to lead the Championship Point standings, despite not scoring a win. He leads with 81 points over his JR Motorsports teammate, Byron.
The last time the Xfinity Series visited Bristol, Eric Jones took the victory in thrilling fashion. Jones earned lead 27 of the 300 laps. He finished 0.344 seconds ahead of Ryan Blaney, Daniel Suarez, Elliott Sadler, and Daniel Hemric rounded out the top five that day. Blaney and Jones are not entered in Friday night’s race.
Former winners in Friday’s field include Austin Dillon, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Sadler, Jeff Green, Joey Logano, Allgaier, and Kyle Busch. Busch has eight wins, Sadler and Logano have two wins each, while Allgaier, Dillon, Earnhardt, and Green have one win each.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers entered in Friday’s race include Aric Almirola, Busch, Austin Dillon, Daniel Suarez, Earnhardt, Logano, and Ty Dillon.
Xfinity Series Championship
Only seven NASCAR Xfinity Series regulars that have Playoff points. Byron leads the series with 17 Playoff Points. Allgaier has eight Playoff points, Reed has five, while Sadler has five Playoff points and Blake Koch has two. Brendan Gaughan and Daniel Hemric have a single Playoff point each.
The race for the Playoffs is only getting tighter with five races left as Dakota Armstrong and Koch, who are tied for ninth in points, have a cushion of 55 points over Ryan Sieg. Gaughan, 11th, has 45 over Sieg. Michael Annett is just 34 points ahead of Sieg. J.J. Yeley, 14th, is just 46 points behind Gaughan, still within range. Ross Chastain is also within range, 47 points behind Gaughan.
At Bristol, the first stage ends on lap 85, the second stage on lap 170, and the final stage on lap 300.
What to Watch for in the Food City 300
There are several storylines going into this weekend’s race to watch for:
- Cole Custer will have One Cure on his No. 00 Stewart Haas Racing Ford Mustang for the first time this 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 / NRA Museum Chevrolet Camaro for Richard Childress Racing.
- Kyle Busch will be in the No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing.
- Daniel Suarez will be in the No. 20 SportClips Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing.
- Joey Logano returns to the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang for Team Penske.
- Jeb Burton returns to the No. 24 WBWF / State Water Heaters Toyota Camry for JGL Racing.
- Tyler Reddick returns to the No. 42 BurgerFi Chevrolet Camaro for Chip Ganassi Racing.
- Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will be in the No. 88 Goody’s Mixed Fruit Blast Chevrolet Camaro for JR Motorsports.
- Aric Almirola returns to the Xfinity Series in the No. 98 Fresh from Florida Ford Mustang for Biagi-Denbeste Racing for the first time since his injury at Kansas Cup race.
Where and When to Watch (All Times Eastern)
Practice 1: Thursday, August 17, at 1:00 p.m., NBC Sports Live Extra (App).
Practice 2: Thursday, August 17, at 3:00 p.m., NBC Sports Live Extra (App).
Qualifying: Friday, August 18, at 3:40 p.m. on NBCSN
Race: Friday, August 18, at 7:30 p.m. on NBCSN, NBC Sports Live Extra, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, and the Performance Racing Network.