By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
It’s the 27th race of the season, and the first of the Playoffs. Four full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series regulars have combined to score 11 victories. The Xfinity Series returns Richmond Raceway for the second time this season. The Playoff battle, return of Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and stage racing are just some of the storylines heading into this weekend’s race.
Coverage for the Go Bowling 250 is scheduled to start Friday night at 7:30 p.m. ET. Richmond Raceway has hosted the 27th race of the season twice (2009 and 2010). In 69 races at the 0.750-mile Tri-Oval, 35 drivers have claimed victory. In the last nine races at Richmond, nine different drivers have visited victory lane. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jeff Green are the only former winner entered in Friday night’s race.
The last time the Xfinity Series visited Richmond, Christopher Bell took the victory in dominant fashion, leading 120 of the 250 laps. Bell held off a late charge from his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Noah Gragson, beating him to the line by 0.423 seconds.
By the Numbers
What: Go Bowling 250, NASCAR Xfinity Series Race No. 27 of 33
Where: Richmond Raceway– Richmond, Virginia (Opened: 1946)
TV/Radio: NBCSN, 7:30 p.m. ET / PRN and SiriusXM Channel 90
Track Size: 0.750-Mile Tri-Oval
Banking: 14 degrees in the turns, 8 degrees on the frontstretch, and 2 degrees on the backstretch.
Race Length: 250 Laps, 188 Miles (Three Stages, 75/150/250)
2017 Race Winner: Brad Keselowski – No. 22 Fitzgerald Glider Kits Ford Mustang (Started third, 34 laps led).
Track Qualifying Record: Kyle Busch (20.874 seconds, 129.348 mph – 2004).
The Playoff Picture:
After the regular season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the 2018 Playoff Grid is set. Justin Allgaier remains the Points Leader after winning the Regular Season Championship. Allgaier leads Bell by seven points. Elliott Sadler and Cole Custer are both 28-Points behind. Tyler Reddick, Ross Chastain, and Daniel Hemric are all 29-Points behind Allgaier.
After reseeding, Brandon Jones now holds the cutoff for the Round of Eight, 33-Points behind Allgaier, and three points ahead of both Matt Tifft and Ryan Truex. Also on the outside looking in are Austin Cindric, five points behind, and Ryan Reed, six points behind Jones.
Storylines Heading into the Go Bowling 250:
There are several storylines going into this weekend’s race to watch for:
- Shane Lee returns to the No. 3 Childress Vineyards Chevrolet Camaro SS for Richard Childress Racing.
- Quin Houff will make his first start of the season in the No. 4 Beating Cancer with Duke Chevrolet Camaro SS for JD Motorsports.
- Katherine Legge will make her first NASCAR Oval start in the No. 15 Chevrolet Camaro SS for JD Motorsports.
- Ryan Preece returns to the No. 18 Craftsman Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing.
- Austin Cindric will be in the No. 22 MoneyLion Ford Mustang for Team Penske.
- Spencer Gallagher will be in the No. 23 Allegiant Chevrolet Camaro SS for GMS Racing.
- Cody Lane will attempt to make his Series debut in the No. 27 TGT Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro SS.
- Ross Chastain will be in the No. 42 DC Solar Chevrolet Camaro SS for Chip Ganassi Racing.
- Ty Majeski returns to the No. 60 Ford Mustang for Roush Fenway Racing.
- Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will make his first start of the season in his No. 88 Hellmann’s Chevrolet Camaro SS.
- Mason Diaz will attempt to make his Series debut in the No. 90 Solid Rock Carriers Chevrolet Camaro for DGM Racing.
Weekend Schedule (All Times Eastern)
Friday, September 21
- NXS Practice 1 (8:30 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. on NBC Sports App)
- NXS Practice 2 (10:10 a.m. – 10:55 a.m. on NBC Sports App)
- NXS Qualifying (4:35 p.m. on NBCSN)
- NXS Go Bowling 250 (7:30 p.m. – 250 laps, 188 miles – on NBCSN, SiriusXM Channel 90, and the Performance Racing Network)