By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
The last time the NASCAR Xfinity Series visited the Bristol Motor Speedway, Erik Jones took home the victory in thrilling fashion as he made a late race move to pass teammate Kyle Busch, and competitor Kyle Larson. Jones won by just under half a second of Busch. That race was also the first Xfinity Dash 4 Cash race of the season, and the first with heat races. This weekend’s race will not have heat races.
Several past winners will be in the field, including championship competitors Elliott Salder and Jones, and Sprint Cup Series regular Brad Keselowski. Other Cup Series regulars in the field include Austin Dillon, Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Matt Dibenedetto, and Regan Smith.
Xfinity Series Chase
21 races into the 2016 Xfinity Series Season, there have been 13 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. With just five races left before the Chase, time may be beginning to run out for other Xfinity Series regulars to score a victory and lock themselves into the Chase.
Currently, the other drivers who would be in the Chase on points are Justin Allgaier, Ty Dillon, Brendan Gaughan, Brandon Jones, Brennan Poole, Darrell Wallace Jr., Ryan Reed, Ryan Sieg, and Blake Koch. Koch currently has a three point lead over Ross Chastain, who is 13th in the series standings, and is currently first driver on the outside, looking in. Dillon, Allgaier, Gaughan, Poole, and Brandon Jones are all over 125 points ahead of the Chase cut-off.
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.
- Points leader Elliott Sadler is looking extend his 25 point lead even further over Daniel Suarez.
- Austin Dillon will be in the No. 2 Rheem Chevrolet Camaro for Richard Childress Racing.
- This weekend’s race marks Ty Dillon’s 100th career Xfinity Series start.
- Hermie Sadler will be in the No. 14 Tri-Star Motorsports Toyota Camry.
- Kyle Busch will be in the No. 18 Toyota Camry, subbing for Matt Tifft.
- Brad Keselowski will be in the No. 22 Ford Mustang for Team Penske.
- Kyle Larson returns for another start in the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Camaro.
- Brandon Gdovic returns in the No. 46 Chevrolet Camaro.
- Gray Gaulding will make his first start of the season in the No. 60 Krispy Kreme Ford Mustang for Roush Fenway Racing.
- Regan Smith makes his first appearance of the season in the JR Motorsports ‘All-Star No. 88 Car.’
- Sunoco Rookie points leader Erik Jones looks to extend his 30 point lead over Brandon Jones, Brennan Poole, and the other rookie of the year contenders.
- The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regulars in the field this weekend are Austin Dillon, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Matt Dibenedetto, and Regan Smith.
Where and When to Watch
Practice 1: Thursday, August 18th, at 1:00pm Eastern NBC Sports Live Extra
Practice 2: Thursday, August 18th, at 3:30pm Eastern NBC Sports Live Extra
Qualifying: Friday, August 19th, at 3:30pm Eastern NBC Sports Live Extra
Race: Friday, August 19th, at 7:30pm Eastern on USA, NBC Sports Live Extra, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, and the Motor Racing Network.