By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
It’s the 31st race of the season, and the fourth of the Playoffs. Four full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series regulars have combined to score 13 victories. The Series returns to Texas Motor Speedway for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300. The continued Playoff battle and stage racing are just some of the storylines heading into the 31st race of the season.
Coverage for the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge is scheduled to start Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET. Texas has been on the schedule since the 1997 season. It has hosted the 31st race of the season since 2012. In 35 races at the 1.5-mile Tri- Oval, 19 drivers have claimed victory.
There are no former winners entered in Saturday’s race. The last time a driver competing exclusively for the Xfinity Series Championship won at Texas was Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in 2012.
The last time the Xfinity Series visited Texas, Ryan Blaney took the victory in dominating fashion. He led 132 laps en-route to a 2.327 second margin of victory over Christopher Bell. Eight of the 10 drivers in the race that day are entered in Saturday’s field.
By the Numbers
What: O’Reilly Auto Parts 300, NASCAR Xfinity Series Race 31
Where: Texas Motor Speedway – Fort Worth, Texas (Opened: 1996)
TV/Radio: NBC, 4:30 p.m. ET / PRN and SiriusXM Channel 90
Track Size: 1.5-Mile Quad Oval
Banking: 20 degrees in turns 1 & 2, 24 degrees in turns 3 & 4.
Race Length: 200 Laps, 300 Miles (Three Stages, 45/90/200)
2017 Race Winner: Erik Jones – No. 20 Gamestop / Call of Duty WWII Toyota Camry (Started on the pole, 142 laps led).
Track Qualifying Record: Joey Logano (192.768 mph, 28.013 seconds – 4/8/2017).
The Playoff Picture:
After the events of Kansas Speedway, Elliott Sadler leads the championship standings by just one point over Daniel Hemric. Tyler Reddick is three points back with Christopher Bell now holding the cutoff, 13 behind Sadler and one point ahead of Matt Tifft.
Justin Allgaier is five points behind the cutoff with Cole Custer 25 points behind. Austin Cindric is 45 points behind. No one is locked into the Championship Four.
Storylines Heading into the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300:
There are several storylines going into this weekend’s race to watch for:
- Shane Lee returns to the No. 3 Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma Chevrolet Camaro SS for Richard Childress Racing.
- Ryan Preece returns to the No. 18 Rheem – Johns Mansville Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing.
- Alex Labbe will have AlhpaPrimeUSA.com as the primary sponsor of his No. 36 Chevrolet Camaro SS for DGM Racing.
- John Hunter Nemechek will be in the No. 42 ROMCO Equipment Co. Chevrolet Camaro SS for Chip Ganassi Racing.
- Ty Majeski returns to the No. 60 Ford Mustang for Roush Fenway Racing.
- Brandon Brown returns in the No. 90 Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes Chevrolet Camaro SS for DGM Racing.
Weekend Schedule (All Times Eastern)
Friday, November 2
- NXS Practice 1 (3:05 p.m. – 3:50 p.m. on the NBC Sports App)
- NXS Practice 2 (5:35 p.m. – 6:25 p.m. on the NBC Sports App)
Saturday, November 3
- NXS Qualifying (1:40 p.m. on CNBC)
- NXS O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 (4:30 p.m. – 200 laps, 300 miles – on NBC, SiriusXM Channel 90, and the Performance Racing Network)