As the NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to regular-season finale race at Bristol Motor Speedway, many questions already have answers.
Austin Cindric clinched the regular-season championship last weekend at Richmond, with finishes of fourth and 10th in the doubleheader. With a remarkable charge over the past 12 races, a stretch that included five victories and an average finish of 3.83, Cindric overtook Chase Briscoe for the top spot in the standings, though Briscoe holds an edge in wins with six.
Together, the only two full-time Ford drivers in the series have dominated the action for most of the season, winning a combined 11 of the 25 races so far. Other than a potential victory and accompanying playoff points—as well as establishing momentum entering the Playoff—neither driver has much on the line in Friday night‘s Food City 300 (7 p.m. ET on NBCSN/NBC Sports App, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
The same can‘t be said of Brandon Brown, who enters the cutoff race with a comfortable 49-point lead over Jeremy Clements for the last of 12 spots in the Xfinity Series Playoffs—if anything about Bristol can be said to be comfortable. Brown simply needs to avoid calamity to clinch the final berth—assuming none of the drivers below him in the standings manages to pull off an unlikely victory.
Noah Gragson, who took the checkered flag June 1, and JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier are the only two Bristol winners in the field for Friday‘s race. Currently sixth in the standings, Allgaier has won three of the last six Xfinity races (including the last two in a weekend sweep at Richmond) and doubtless will move up when the Playoff field is reseeded on Friday night.
“I feel like our No. 7 team is hitting its stride at just the right time,” said Allgaier, who is tied with Cindric for most stage wins this season with 10. “Last weekend at Richmond was incredible and gives us some great momentum heading to one of my favorite tracks on the circuit.
“Bristol is a place that really suits my driving style, and the past few races (there), I feel like we‘ve had the car to beat, but circumstances just didn‘t work in our favor. Hopefully, we can get it done this weekend and end the regular season on a high note as we look ahead to the Playoffs.”