JR Motorsports going for four straight wins as Xfinity Series returns at Texas

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JR Motorsports going for four straight wins as Xfinity Series returns at Texas
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The NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to competition after an off week with some interesting dynamics heading into Saturday‘s SRS Distribution 250 (1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

There are no full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers with a series win at the 1.5-mile Texas high banks this weekend. Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch is the defending race winner — collecting his 99th Xfinity Series victory last spring. John Hunter Nemechek, who is competing for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title this season, won the 2021 Xfinity playoff race in Texas.

RELATED: Weekend schedule for Texas | Xfinity Series standings

Current championship leader AJ Allmendinger started on pole position and finished in sixth place in both races in 2022 — an interesting nod to his No. 16 on the Kaulig Racing Chevrolet. He is the only driver with top-10 finishes in all 11 races this season and holds a 25-point advantage over JR Motorsports driver Noah Gragson coming to Fort Worth, Texas.

Gragson, who drives the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, has a pair of wins on the year and finished fourth or better in the last three races — including a victory at Talladega Superspeedway. He was runner-up to Ty Gibbs at the first 1.5-mile race this year at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. His best work at Texas is a runner-up in the 2020 playoff race.

Gibbs, the 19-year-old driver of the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, will be making his Texas driving debut. He already has wins at both the 1.5-mile tracks the series has competed on this year, and his 349 laps led is top among all drivers. Gibbs last win came April 2 at Richmond Raceway.

Veteran Justin Allgaier is the most recent Xfinity Series winner taking the trophy at Darlington Raceway two weeks ago. He was runner-up at Dover Motor Speedway the race before that, giving him a momentum swing. He was runner-up to Busch at this Texas race last spring, and in 23 starts at Texas, Allgaier has 12 top-10 finishes. His 193 laps led at Texas are the most among the championship contenders.

The last three Xfinity Series races have been won by JR Motorsports drivers — Gragson (Talladega), Josh Berry (Dover) and Allgaier (Darlington). A fourth consecutive win by the team this week with its fourth full-time entry — Sam Mayer — would mark the first time in series history a team has won four consecutive races with four different drivers. A win by any JR Motorsports driver would make the team only the fourth in series history to win four consecutive races. Joe Gibbs Racing holds the record with six straight wins in the spring of 2008.

Reigning Xfinity Series champion Daniel Hemric may be poised to snap out of a rather lackluster title defense season at Texas. The 31-year-old Kaulig Racing driver is looking for his first win of the year and holds a slim 22-point edge on Anthony Alfredo in 12th place in the standings. He has been strong at Texas, however, with four top-10 finishes in six series starts there, including a career-best runner-up to Nemechek in this race last fall.

Not to be overlooked, series rookie Sheldon Creed and driver Jeb Burton both have NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victories at Texas. And rookie Austin Hill — who already has a win this season — has three top-five Truck Series finishes at Texas, including a runner-up in 2020.

Special this weekend, NASCAR Cup Series driver William Byron will be making his first NASCAR Xfinity Series start in the No. 88 JRM Chevrolet — his first series start since his 2017 Xfinity Series championship season.