By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
The last time the NASCAR Xfinity Series visited Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Kyle Busch took home the victory. Busch beat out Ryan Blaney by just over four tenths of a second. Daniel Suarez was the highest finishing Xfinity Series regular in third.
The last time a contender for the Xfinity Series Championship won at Indianapolis was Ty Dillon in 2014. Busch and Dillon will be the only two former winners in the field on Saturday.
Xfinity Series Chase
17 races into the 2016 Xfinity Series Season, there have been 11 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 nine 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 13 point lead over Ross Chastain, who is 13th in the series standings, and is currently the first driver on the outside, looking in. Dillon, Allgaier, Gaughan, and Brandon Jones are all over 100 points ahead of the Chase cut-off.
Dash 4 Cash
Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the final Xfinity Dash 4 Cash event of the season. If a contender for the Xfinity Series championship is able two earn two Dash 4 Cash victories, they will receive a Chase berth. In the three previous Dash 4 Cash events, Erik Jones has won twice (overall and Dash 4 Cash), and Ty Dillon has won the Dash 4 Cash once. Dillon is the only driver that can lock himself in if he is able to qualify for the Dash 4 Cash in the heat race, and then be the highest finishing Dash 4 Cash driver.
There are two heat races, 20 laps each, and the main event is 60 laps.
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 Daniel Suarez is looking extend his 15 point lead even further over Elliott Sadler.
- Can Ty Dillon win the Dash 4 Cash and lock himself into the Chase?
- Jeb Burton returns to the series in the No. 98 Ford Fusion for Biagi-Denbeste Racing.
- Kevin Harvick makes another appearance in the JRM ‘All-Star No. 88 Car.’ Kyle Larson also returns for another start in the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Camaro.
- Sunoco Rookie points leader Erik Jones looks to extend his 31 point lead over Brandon Jones, Brennan Poole, and the other rookie of the year contenders.
- NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regulars that will be in the field for this weekend’s race are Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, and Matt Dibenedetto.
Where and When to Watch
Qualifying: Saturday, July 23rd, at 11:40am Eastern on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra
Race: Saturday, July 23rd, at 3:30pm Eastern on NBCSN, NBC Sports Live Extra, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, and the Performance Racing Network.