By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
The last time the NASCAR Xfinity Series visited Darlington Raceway, Denny Hamlin took home the victory in beating Kyle Busch by over two seconds. The highest finishing NASCAR Xfinity Series regular was Daniel Suarez who finished third.
The last time a NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship contender won at Darlington was Chase Elliott in 2014. The only past winner in the field is Denny Hamlin.
Xfinity Series Chase
23 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. With just three 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, Black Koch, and Ryan Sieg. Sieg currently has a 15 point lead over Dakoda Armstrong, who is 13th in the series standings, and is currently first driver on the outside, looking in. Dillon, Allgaier, Gaughan, Poole, Brandon Jones, and Wallace Jr., are all over 100 points ahead of the Chase cut-off.
Due to severe weather, all track activity on Friday has been canceled. Qualifying was also canceled. As a result, Paul Menard will now start on the pole. No one failed to qualify with only 40 teams entered.
Teams will now have one practice on Saturday morning from 9:00am to 9:55am instead of two practices that were originally scheduled for Friday.
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 47 point lead even further over Daniel Suarez.
- Many teams are running Thorwback paint schemes for the Darlington Throwback weekend.
- Paul Menard will be in the No. 2 Rheem Chevrolet Camaro for Richard Childress Racing.
- Denny Hamlin will be in the No. 18 SportsClips Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing.
- Ryan Blaney will be in the No. 22 Fitzgerald Ford Mustang for Team Penske.
- Kyle Larson returns for another start in the No. 42 Eneos Chevrolet Camaro Chip Ganassi Racing.
- Kevin Harvick returns for another run in the JR Motorsports ‘All-Star No. 88 Car.’
- Sunoco Rookie points leader Erik Jones looks to extend his nine 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 Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, Matt Dibenedetto, and Paul Menard. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular Timmy Hill is also in the field.
Where and When to Watch (All Times Eastern)
Race: Saturday, September 3rd, at 3:30pm on NBC, NBC Sports Live Extra, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, and the Motor Racing Network.