By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Correspondent
The NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to the track this weekend for the Rinnai 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Last weekend, Michael Annett scored his first career NASCAR victory after dominating the NASCAR Racing Experience 300 at Daytona International Speedway. The last time the Xfinity Series had back to back first-time winners was 2017 with Alex Bowman and Christopher Bell.
An old racing surface, the possibility of inclement weather, and tire wear are just some of the stories heading into the Rinnai 250. Ryan Preece is the only Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver entered in Saturday’s race.
Coverage for the Rinnai 250 is scheduled to start Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. ET. Atlanta Motor Speedway has been on the Xfinity Series schedule since 1992. It has been the second race of the season since 2015. In 27 races at the 1.5-mile Quad-Oval, 17 drivers have claimed victory.
The last time the Xfinity Series visited Atlanta Motor Speedway, Kevin Harvick took the victory in dominant fashion, leading 141 of 163 laps. Harvick beat fellow Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Joey Logano by 4.183 seconds. Bell was the best of the Xfinity Series regulars in third. Only four of the drivers that finished in the top-10 that day are entered in Saturday’s race.
By the Numbers
What: Rinnai 250, NASCAR Xfinity Series Season Race 2
Where: Atlanta Motor Speedway – Hampton, Georgia (Opened: 1960)
TV/Radio: Fox Sports 1, 2:30 p.m. ET / PRN and SiriusXM Channel 90
Track Size: 1.5-mile Quad-Oval
Banking: 24 degrees in turns, 5 degrees on straightaways
Race Length: 163 Laps, 250 Miles (Three Stages, 40/80/163)
2018 Race Winner: Kevin Harvick – No. 98 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang (Started fifth, 141 laps led).
Track Qualifying Record: Greg Biffle (28.830 seconds, 192.300 mph – 10/25/2003).
Storylines Heading into the Rinnai 250:
There are several storylines going into this weekend’s race to watch for:
- Ross Chastain will be in the No. 4 Chevrolet Camaro SS for JD Motorsports.
- Cessna will be the primary sponsor of Justin Allgaier’s No. 7 Chevrolet Camaro SS for JR Motorsports.
- Ryan Preece will be in the No. 8 Aftershokz Chevrolet Camaro SS for JR Motorsports.
- Noah Gragson will be in the No. 9 Louisiana Hot Sauce Chevrolet Camaro SS for JR Motorsports.
- John Jackson will be in the No. 13 Toyota Supra for MBM Motorsports.
- Discount Tire will be the primary sponsor of Austin Cindric’s No. 22 Ford Mustang for Team Penske.
- Jeffrey Earnhardt will be in the No. 18 iK9 Toyota Supra for Joe Gibbs Racing.
- Chad Finchum will be in the No. 42 Toyota Supra for MBM Motorsports.
- Alex Labbe will be in the No. 90 Chevrolet Camaro SS for DGM Racing.
- Tommy Joe Martins will be in the No. 99 Toyota Supra for BJ McLeod Motorsports.
Weekend Schedule (All Times Eastern)
Friday, February 22
- NXS Practice 1 (1:05 p.m. – 1:55 p.m.)
- NXS Practice 2 (3:05 p.m. – 3:55 p.m., on Fox Sports 1)
Saturday, February 23
- NXS Qualifying (9:35 a.m., on Fox Sports 1)
- NXS Rinnai 250 (2:30 p.m. – 163 laps, 250 miles – on Fox Sports 1, SiriusXM Channel 90, and the Performance Racing Network)