By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
The last time the NASCAR Xfinity Series visited Chicagoland Speedway, Kyle Busch took home the victory. Busch beat teammate and fellow NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular Matt Kenseth by 0.791 seconds. Darrell Wallace Jr. was the highest finishing NASCAR Xfinity Series regular in third.
The last time a NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship contender won at Chicagoland was Chase Elliott in 2014. Elliott Sadler, Joey Logano, Justin Allgaier, and Kyle Busch are the only past winners in the field this weekend.
Xfinity Series Chase
25 races into the 2016 Xfinity Series Season, there have been 14 different winners, and only three of them, Erik Jones, Elliott Sadler, and Daniel Suarez are currently locked into the Xfinity Series Chase via wins. The reason why these three drivers are the only only ones locked into the Xfinity Series Chase is because they are the only Xfinity Series regulars that are competing in the entire season that have so far reached victory lane. Also locked in via points are Ty Dillon, Justin Allgaier, Brendan Gaughan, Brennan Poole, Brandon Jones, Darrell Wallace Jr., and Ryan Reed.
With just one race left before the Chase, time may be beginning to run out for other Xfinity Series regulars to score a victory, or enough points over those behind them, and lock themselves into the Chase. Currently, the other drivers who would be in the Chase on points are Blake Koch and Ryan Sieg. Sieg currently has a 20-point lead over Dakoda Armstrong, who is 13th in the series standings, and is currently first driver on the outside, looking in.
Here are the clinch scenarios for those currently not locked into the first Xfinity Series Chase:
- Blake Koch could earn a Chase berth by earning 39 points. This can be achieved by finishing 2nd with no laps led, third with at least one lap led or fourth with the most laps led, and by becoming a new winner at Chicagoland himself. He could also earn a berth with a repeat winner and 19 points, achieved by finishing 22nd with no laps led, 23rd with at least one lap led and 24th with the most laps led.
- Ryan Sieg could clinch on points at Chicagoland with a repeat winner or a Blake Koch win and 22 points, achieved by finishing 19th with no laps led, 20th with at least one lap led or 21st with most laps led. He would need some help to clinch with a new winner at Chicagoland.
- Dakoda Armstrong needs help to clinch on points.
- Jeremy Clements needs help to clinch on points.
- The following need a win to clinch a Chase spot: Ross Chastain, Ryan Preece, Ray Black Jr., BJ McLeod, Joey Gase.
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 regular take the win?
- Many Xfinity Series regulars are looking at scoring their first win of the season and to lock themselves into the Xfinity Series Chase in the final regular season race.
- Points leader Elliott Sadler is looking extend his 58-point lead even further over Daniel Suarez.
- Paul Menard will be in the No. 2 Richmond/Menards Chevrolet Camaro for Richard Childress Racing.
- Kyle Busch will be in the No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing.
- Joey Logano will be in the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang for Team Penske.
- Kyle Larson returns for another start in the No. 42 ENEOS Chevrolet Camaro for Chip Ganassi Racing.
- Clint Bowyer will be in the JR Motorsports ‘All-Star No. 88 Car.’
- Sunoco Rookie points leader Erik Jones looks to extend his 17-point lead over Brennan Poole, Brandon Jones, and the other rookie of the year contenders.
- The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regulars in the field this weekend are Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Matt Dibenedetto, and Paul Menard.
Where and When to Watch (All Times Eastern)
Practice 1: Friday, September 16, at 12:30 p.m. on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra
Practice 2: Friday, September 16, at 3:00 p.m. on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra
Qualifying: Saturday, September 17, at 11:45 a.m. on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra
Race: Saturday, September 17, at 3:30 p.m. on NBCSN, NBC Sports Live Extra, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, and the Motor Racing Network.