Photo: Chris Owens/ASP, Inc.

Up to Speed: Whelen Trusted to Perform 200 at Phoenix Preview

By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer

It’s the 32nd race of the season, and the fifth of the Playoffs. Five full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series regulars have combined to score 14 victories as the series returns to ISM Raceway for the Whelen Trusted to Perform 200. The continued Playoff battle and stage racing are just some of the storylines heading into this weekend.

Coverage for the Whelen Trusted to Perform 200 is scheduled to start Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET. ISM Raceway has been on the schedule since the 1999 season. It has hosted the penultimate race of the season since 2012. In 33 races at the 1.0-mile Dogleg-Oval, 17 drivers have claimed victory. Elliott Sadler and Justin Allgaier are the only former winners entered in Saturday’s race.

Since the Xfinity Series last competed at ISM Raceway, the track has been reconfigured. The Start-Finish line is now just before the dogleg. What was turns 1 & 2 are now 3 & 4. Turns 3 & 4 are now 1 & 2. Pit road is now almost exclusively on the backstretch, unique only to ISM Raceway.

The last time the Xfinity Series visited ISM Raceway, Brad Keselowski took the victory in thrilling fashion. He led 66 laps, holding off a late charge by Series regular Justin Allgaier, beating him to the line by 0.530 seconds.

By the Numbers

What: Whelen Trust to Perform 200, NASCAR Xfinity Series Race 32

Where: ISM Raceway – Avondale, Arizona (Opened: 1964)

TV/Radio: NBC, 4:30 p.m. ET / MRN and SiriusXM Channel 90

Track Size: 1.0-Mile Dogleg Oval

Banking: 8-9 degrees in turns 1 & 2, 10 degrees in turns 3 & 4, 10-11 degrees in the dogleg.

Race Length: 200 Laps, 200 Miles (Three Stages, 45/90/200)

2017 Race Winner: William Byron – No. 9 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro SS (Started second, 17 laps led).

Track Qualifying Record: Kyle Busch (138.504 mph, 25.992 seconds – 11/14/2015).

The Playoff Picture:

After the events of Texas Motor Speedway, Cole Custer is locked into the Championship Four via his victory. Tyler Reddick leads the Championship Standings by seven points over his JR Motorsports teammate Elliott Sadler, and eight points ahead of the Playoff cutoff, held by Daniel Hemric.

Justin Allgaier is 12-Points behind the cutoff with Matt Tifft 14-Points behind. Christopher Bell is 34-Points behind with Austin Cindric is 61-Points behind.

Storylines Heading into the Whelen Trusted to Perform 200:

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

  • Matt Tifft will have Go Green as the primary sponsor of his No. 2 Chevrolet Camaro SS for Richard Childress Racing.
  • Shane Lee returns to the No. 3 CIPT / Race to Give Chevrolet Camaro SS for Richard Childress Racing.
  • Tyler Hill will make his Series debut in the No. 13 OCR Gaz Bar Toyota Camry for MBM Motorsports.
  • Ryan Preece returns to the No. 18 Rheem – Smurfit Kappa Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing.
  • John Hunter Nemechek will be in the No. 42 Fire Alarm Service, Inc. Chevrolet Camaro SS for Chip Ganassi Racing.
  • Ty Majeski returns to the No. 60 Ford Mustang for Roush Fenway Racing.
  • Akinori Ogata will make his Series debut in the No. 66 Toyota Camry for MBM Motorsports.
  • Donald Theetge will be in the No. 90 Mercedes-Benz St-Nicola / Circuit Acura Chevrolet Camaro SS for DGM Racing.

Weekend Schedule (All Times Eastern)

Friday, November 9

  • NXS Practice 1 (2:35 p.m. – 3:25 p.m. on NBCSN)
  • NXS Practice 2 (4:35 p.m. – 5:25 p.m. on the NBCSN)

Saturday, November 10

  • NXS Qualifying (12:35 p.m. on NBCSN)
  • NXS Whelen Trusted to Perform 200 (3:30 p.m. – 200 laps, 200 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.