Photo: Chris Owens/ASP, Inc.

Up to Speed: Sports Clips Haircuts VFW 200 at Darlington Preview

By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer

It’s the 24th race of the season and three full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series regulars have combined to score nine victories. The Xfinity Series returns to Darlington Raceway for the Sports Clips Haircuts VFW 200. The return of Cup drivers, throwback paint schemes, the battle to make the Playoffs, and stage racing are just some of the storylines heading into the 24th race of the season.

Coverage for the Sports Clips Haircuts VFW 200 is scheduled to start Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET. Darlington has been on the Xfinity Series schedule since the Series’ inaugural season and has hosted the 24th race of the season since the 2015 season. In 57 races at the 1.366-mile Egg-Shaped Oval, 32 drivers have visited victory lane.

Elliott Sadler is the most recent Xfinity Series regular to win at the track, in 2016. Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Jeff Green, and Sadler are the only former winners entered in Saturday’s race.

The last time the Xfinity Series visited Darlington, Hamlin took the victory in dramatic fashion, passing fellow Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Joey Logano for the lead in overtime. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver beat Logano to the checkered by 0.185 seconds. William Byron was the best finishing regular in fifth. Six drivers that finish in the top-10 that day are entered in Saturday’s race.

By the Numbers

What: Sports Clips Haircuts VFW 200, NASCAR Xfinity Series Race 24

Where: Darlington Raceway– Darlington, South Carolina (Opened: 1950)

TV/Radio: NBC, 3:30 p.m. ET / MRN and SiriusXM Channel 90

Track Size: 1.366-Mile, Egg-Shaped Oval

Banking: 25 Degrees in turns 1 and 2, 23 Degrees in turns 3 and 4, 3 Degrees on the frontstretch, and 2 Degrees on the backstretch.

Race Length: 147 Laps, 201 Miles (Three Stages, 45/90/147)

2017 Race Winner: Denny Hamlin – No. 18 Sports Clips Throwback Toyota Camry (Started on the pole, 33 laps led).

Track Qualifying Record: Carl Edwards (27.784 seconds, 176.994 mph – 5/9/2008).

Storylines Heading into the Sports Clips Haircuts VFW 200:

There are several storylines going into this weekend’s race to watch for:

  • Ty Dillon returns to the No. 3 Daniel Defense Throwback Chevrolet Camaro SS for Richard Childress Racing.
  • Justin Allgaier will have Chevrolet Accessories as the primary sponsor of his No. 7 Chevrolet Camaro SS for JR Motorsports.
  • Tyler Reddick will have Old Milwaukee Beer as the primary sponsor of his No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro SS for JR Motorsports.
  • Denny Hamlin returns to the No. 18 SportClips Throwback Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing.
  • Brad Keselowski will be in the No. 22 Snap-On Ford Mustang for Team Penske.
  • Chase Elliott will be in the No. 23 GMS Fabrication Throwback Chevrolet Camaro SS for GMS Racing. Elliott is subbing for Spencer Gallagher, who is recovering from a shoulder injury last week.
  • Ross Chastain will be in the No. 42 DC Solar Chevrolet Camaro SS for Chip Ganassi Racing.
  • Austin Cindric returns to the No. 60 Ford Hall of Fans Throwback Ford Mustang for Roush Fenway Racing.
  • Brandon Brown returns in the No. 90 Coastal Carolina University Throwback Chevrolet Camaro SS for DGM Racing.
  • Kevin Harvick returns to the No. 98 Hunt Brothers Pizza Throwback for Stewart-Haas Racing with Biagi-DenBeste Racing.

Weekend Schedule (All Times Eastern)

Friday, August 31

  • NXS Practice 1 (1:05 p.m. – 1:55 p.m. on NBCSN)
  • NXS Practice 2 (3:05 p.m. – 3:55 p.m. on NBCSN)

Saturday, September 1

  • NXS Qualifying (12:35 p.m. on NBCSN)
  • NXS Sports Clips Haircuts VFW 200 (3:30 p.m. – 147 laps, 201 miles – on NBC, SiriusXM Channel 90, and the Motor Racing Network)

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Seth Eggert has followed NASCAR his entire life. Seth is currently pursuing a writing career and is majoring in Communications and Journalism. He is an avid iRacer and video gamer. Seth also tutors students at Mitchell Community College in multiple subjects. He has an Associate's Degree in History.