By David Morgan, NASCAR Editor
Entering the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs as heavy favorites to make it to Homestead to compete for the championship, three of the four JR Motorsports drivers (Elliott Sadler, William Byron, and Justin Allgaier) have parlayed strong finishes into a decent points advantage over the other drivers in the field and Saturday night’s race at Texas was no exception.
The three drivers entered the playoffs as the top three seeds and that is where they have stayed for the duration of the postseason, with each of them holding a double-digit points advantage over the elimination cut-off line heading into the Lone Star State.
Texas was more of the same for Sadler, Byron, and Allgaier as the three ran inside the top-five and top-10 for the majority of the night. When the checkered flag flew, Sadler, the elder statesman on the team, led the way with a fourth-place finish and took over the points lead. Byron finished ninth after leading 17 laps and Allgaier finished just outside the top-10 in 11th.
“Man, I love these guys,” said Sadler. “Everybody at JR Motorsports and the Hendrick Engine Department gives me such good race cars every week. We came to Texas with a plan. We were trying some stuff this weekend to help us for Homestead. Kevin and those guys made good adjustments all weekend. We were quick all weekend…Just been living the dream. So much fun tonight.”
Leaving Texas, Sadler, Byron, and Allgaier hold points advantages ranging from 29 to 20 points, respectively, over the cut line, giving them a good buffer with an elimination race coming up next week at Phoenix. Sadler noted that his finish on Saturday night gave him confidence looking ahead to Phoenix and the season finale at Homestead.
“It makes us feel good,” Sadler added. “We’ve got a car sitting at home exactly like this one. This was kind of a test for Homestead, so if we can run like this if we make it through Phoenix, we’ve got a chance. I’m so proud of my team. These guys support me so well. It’s been a great day, so we’ll take this momentum and head on to Phoenix.”
Last time at Phoenix, Allgaier came away as the victor, while Byron finished fourth, and Sadler rounded out the top-five in fifth.