Photo: Robert Laberge/Getty Images

Previewing the NASCAR Xfinity Series Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis

By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer

18 races into the NASCAR Xfinity Series season, only three of the NASCAR Xfinity Series regulars (Justin Allgaier, Ryan Reed, and William Byron twice) have scored victories during the 2017 season. This weekend the NASCAR Xfinity Series travels to the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Lilly Diabetes 250. Sadler continues to lead the Championship Point standings, despite not scoring a win. He leads with 45 points over his JR Motorsports teammate, Byron.

This year at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Xfinity Series will feature restrictor plates and an aerodynamic package designed to increase drag and encourage both drafting and passing.

The aerodynamic package for Saturday’s race will feature the 2016 spoiler and splitter being reimplemented (teams must run the ear flaps on both sides); New aero ducts will be supplied by NASCAR at the track, and will be attached to the front bumper, and a 7/8-inch restrictor plate will be used.  

According to NASCAR, the new package is designed to create close racing and passing opportunities for competitors. The key to the package are the aero ducts, which will move air out of the front wheel wells and create a larger wake (punch a bigger hole in the air behind the vehicle). This will increase the draft envelope by approximately 25%, which will allow the trailing car to race closer to the leading car.

The last time the Xfinity Series visited the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Kyle Busch took the victory in dominating fashion. Busch started from the pole and led 62 of 63 laps on his way to victory. He beat Kevin Harvick to the line by 0.441 seconds. Paul Menard, Kyle Larson, and Justin Allgaier rounded out the top five that day.

The last time a NASCAR Xfinity Series regular won at Indianapolis was Ty Dillon in 2014. Busch and Dillon are the only former winners in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Indy. Busch has three wins (2013, 2015, 2016).

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers in Saturday’s field include Busch, Dillon, Erik Jones, Joey Logano, Menard, and Reed Sorenson.

Xfinity Series Championship

Allgaier, Reed, Sadler, Daniel Hemric, Blake Koch, Brendan Gaughan and Byron are the only NASCAR Xfinity Series regulars that have Playoff points. Byron leads the series with 11 Playoff Points. Allgaier has seven Playoff points, Reed has five, while Sadler has four Playoff points. Gaughan, Hemric, and Koch have a single Playoff point each.

At Indianapolis, the first stage ends on lap 30, the second stage on lap 60, and the final stage on lap 100.

What to Watch for in the Lilly Diabetes 250

There are several storylines going into this weekend’s race to watch for:

  • Paul Menard returns to the No. 2 Richmond / Menards Chevrolet Camaro for Richard Childress Racing.
  • Ty Dillon returns to the No. 3 Rheem / Johns Manville Chevrolet Camaro for Richard Childress Racing.
  • Kyle Busch returns in the No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Rowdy Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing.
  • Erik Jones returns to the No. 20 GameStop / Nerf 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 Estes Express Lines Toyota Camry for JGL Racing.
  • Tyler Reddick returns to the No. 42 BBR / Jason Aldean Chevrolet Camaro for Chip Ganassi Racing.
  • Ben Kennedy returns in the No. 96 Weber Chevrolet Camaro for GMS Racing.
  • Casey Mears returns in the No. 98 GEICO Military Ford Mustang for Biagi DenBeste Racing.

Where and When to Watch (All Times Eastern)

Practice 1: Friday, July 21, at 1:00 p.m. on NBC Live Extra (Online)

Practice 2: Friday, July 21, at 3:00 p.m. on NBC Live Extra (Online)

Qualifying: Saturday, July 22, at 12:045 p.m. on NBCSN

Race: Saturday, July 22, at 3:30 p.m. on NBCSN, NBC Sports Live Extra, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, and the Motor Racing Network.

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Seth Eggert has followed NASCAR his entire life. Seth is currently pursuing a writing career and is majoring in Communications and Journalism. He is an avid iRacer and video gamer. Seth also tutors students at Mitchell Community College in multiple subjects. He has an Associate's Degree in History.