As the NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Iowa Speedway for this weekend’s Father’s Day CircuitCity.com 250, there are plenty of storylines and a lot of action atop the series’ championship.
Defending Xfinity Series champion Tyler Reddick has shown no signs of a transitional reset in 2019 – even though he has now moved to a different team, Richard Childress Racing, to challenge for the title. Reddick earned his third victory of the season last week at Michigan and leads the championship standings by a very healthy 89 points over Christopher Bell. Cole Custer is third, 117 points behind Reddick.
Those three drivers – Reddick, Bell and Custer – have won three races each this season. Of the trio – only Bell (August, 2018) has won at Iowa before.
It all makes for very legitimate comparisons to last season’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title run that also had a stellar trio leading the way. Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex, Jr. – earned the bulk of the race wins (20 of 36 races). Yet a very determined Joey Logano kept them honest in the season finale and won the title.
Reddick’s large points lead is indicative of his work even when he doesn’t visit Victory Lane. The driver of the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Camaro has 11 top-five and 12 top-10 finishes in 13 races. Interestingly, second year driver Austin Cindric, and rookies Chase Briscoe and Justin Haley are next on that top-10 list with 10 apiece.
Most impressive from Reddick, however, are the 11 top-fives he’s earned in the 13 races. Both Bell and Custer each have seven.
In the last two years, Bell and Custer have played important roles in the Iowa race outcomes. Bell led an impressive 94 laps en route to his win in the last Xfinity race at the track – August, 2018. However, it was Custer who led the most laps (104) despite a fourth place showing. On the flip side, William Byron won at the track in 2017 leading 78 laps and Bell, who was collected in a late race accident, finished 16th after leading a race best 152 laps.
Only two former winners – Bell and defending race winner Justin Allgaier – are entered this week at Iowa, although Xfinity Series rookie John Hunter Nemechek won the 2017 version of Saturday’s Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at the track.
Allgaier along with Elliott Sadler, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and two-time winner Sam Hornish, Jr. are the only winners of this traditional Father’s Day stop that are also fathers. Allgaier, of course, would like to win for reasons beyond sentimental feel-good. A five-time race winner in 2018, he’s still looking for his first trophy of this season and hoping to find some pace with the fast-moving trophy trio.
There have been no back-to-back winners in this Iowa race, however, since Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won three straight in 2011-12. Though Allgaier’s 182 laps led in his win last June was the most for a race winner since 2016 when Sam Hornish, Jr. led 183 laps.
The former Iowa truck race winner, Nemechek, is now among one of the most talented Xfinity rookie groups – top to bottom – in the history of the series. Four first-year drivers – Chase Briscoe, Nemechek, Noah Gragson and Justin Haley – are currently ranked among the top-12 and on pace to be championship eligible come Playoff time.
Briscoe is sixth in the standings with a seven-point advantage over seventh place Nemechek. Gragson is eighth in the standings, 11 points behind Briscoe and Haley is ranked 10th, 45 points behind Briscoe.
Gander Trucks Are Ready For Iowa
The M&M’s 200 presented at Iowa Speedway marks the second opportunity for a driver to earn big bucks with the Triple Truck Challenge.
The winner of each of the three races – at Texas last week, at Iowa this week and at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway next week – receives an extra $50,000 bonus. Any driver that can win two of the three will get another $50,000. Additionally, series sponsor Gander Outdoors will award the team $150,000 with half of the money going to the crew.
Greg Biffle won last week, but is not entered this week at Iowa. There are certainly several other drivers primed to step up and earn the big money this week, including defending Iowa race winner and Iowa native, Brett Moffitt. The defending series champion is fourth in the championship standings right now, 55 points behind leader Grant Enfinger, with a pair of runner-up finishes (at Dover, Del. and Las Vegas).
Not only is Moffitt the defending winner at Iowa, his Victory Lane appearance here was one of a series best six wins on the season. He and Matt Crafton are the only former Iowa truck race winners entered this weekend. Moffitt also won a NASCAR K&N West Series race at the track in 2011. Fellow Gander Truck regulars Ben Rhodes (2014), Todd Gilliland 2016 and 2017) and Tyler Ankrum (2018) have also scored K&N West Series wins at Iowa.
Not only is the Triple Truck Challenge big money awaiting the winner, but the top-five drivers in the championship – Enfinger, Stewart Friesen, Matt Crafton, Moffitt and Ben Rhodes – are still vying for their first trophy of the year. Enfinger and the two-time series champ Crafton lead all drivers with eight top-10s through the opening nine races. Crafton leads all drives with nine top-five finishes.
WDUN will carry MRN Radio live coverage from Iowa Speedway on Sunday of the NASCAR Xfinity Series CircuitCity.com 250 beginning at 5 o'clock on 102.9 FM, AM 550 and streaming live on AccessWDUN.
NASCAR Weekend Preview
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: CircuitCity.com 250
The Place: Iowa Speedway – Newton, Iowa
The Date: Sunday, June 16
The Time: 5:30 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 5:00 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 218.75 miles (250 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 60),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 120), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 250)
2018 Race Winner: Justin Allgaier
What to Watch For: There have been nine different winners in the last nine races at Iowa. … Justin Allgaier and Christopher Bell are the only previous winners entered this weekend. … Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. is the only driver to win consecutive races and he won three straight (2011 and 12 seasons) at Iowa. … For 15 straight races, a driver has led at least 100 laps. In the last 11 years, the race winner has led at least 100 laps seven times. Four times another driver led at least 100 laps and did not win …. Ryan Blaney holds the record most laps led in a race (252 of 260) in 2015. … Stenhouse and Brad Keselowski hold the record for wins (three). … Elliott Sadler holds the record for most pole positions (four). …Ford is the winningest manufacturer in Xfinity Series races at Iowa Speedway, earning eight victories. Toyota has six and Chevrolet has four. … In the last six races, however, Ford has been shutout while Toyota has four wins and Chevy has two. …The winner of this race has started from the third row or better on the grid in 10 of the last 11 races. … The front row has produced the most winners (seven) in the track’s 18-race history. …Keselowski won the inaugural race in August, 2009. …Eight times a driver has earned his first win of the season at Iowa. … Three times a driver has earned his first career series win at Iowa (Stenhouse, 2011 and both William Byron and Ryan Preece in 2017). … The farthest back on the grid a race winner has started is 14th. Trevor Bayne won from that position in June, 2013. … Only twice has the polesitter won the race – Preece in August, 2017 and Sadler in August, 2012.
NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series
Next Race: M&M’s 200 presented by Casey’s General Store
The Place: Iowa Speedway – Newton, Iowa
The Date: Saturday, June 15
The Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 8 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 175 miles (200 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 60),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 120), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)
2018 Race Winner: Brett Moffitt
What to Watch For: The 12 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series races at Iowa Speedway have produced 12 different pole winners and 10 different race winners. …There are only two former race winners entered this week – 2018 winner Brett Moffitt and 2011 winner Matt Crafton. … Erik Jones and Timothy Peters are the only drivers to win multiple truck races (two each) at Iowa. …Twelve of the 34 drivers entered this week are looking to make their Iowa Speedway truck debut. …The youngest driver in the field is 16-year old Chandler Smith – an ARCA Menards Series star who will be making his series debut driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports. … Ford has never won a Gander Trucks race at Iowa Speedway. … Toyota leads all manufacturers with seven wins, Chevrolet has four and RAM has one. … Six of the 11 drivers to win at Iowa have also won series championships. … The polesitter has won this race four times – the best showing of any starting position. The front row has produced six winners in the 12 races. … Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones and William Byron are the only drivers to win in both the NASCAR Xfinity and Gander Outdoors Truck Series at Iowa. … Moffitt, Ben Rhodes, Tyler Ankrum and Todd Gilliland (twice) all have NASCAR K&N West Series victories at Iowa.