Friday December 4th, 2020 2:46AM

NASCAR Xfinity Series set to resume at Darlington

By Holly Cain-NASCAR Wire Service
  Contact Editor

NASCAR’s Xfinity Series drivers are eager to resume the race schedule on Tuesday night with the Toyota 200 from Darlington Raceway – the second major NASCAR race to take place since a two-month long pause in action during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Youth certainly served notice in the early portion of the season with 19-year-old Harrison Burton scoring top-five finishes in the opening four races to date, scoring his first career Xfinity Series victory at Auto Club Speedway in March. The driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota holds a three point edge atop the standings over Chase Briscoe, who drove the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 98 Ford to victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and has a pair of top-five finishes himself.

Austin Cindric, driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford, is third in the standings – 21 points behind Burton – with a pair of top-five finishes including a season-best runner-up to Briscoe at Las Vegas. Brandon Jones, the series most recent winner – March 7 at Phoenix Raceway – is fourth in the standings, only 28 points off Burton.

Popular driver Ross Chastain is fifth in the championship with three top-10 finishes in the Kaulig Racing No. 10 and 21-year old Noah Gragson, the JR Motorsports driver who won a dramatic season-opener at Daytona International Speedway, is only 33 points off the standing leader’s pace.

The top nine drivers are only separated by 38 points heading to Darlington, where that ninth place driver, veteran Justin Allgaier holds an enviable track resume. The 33-year old perennial championship contender has six top-10 finishes in nine starts there, including the last three years. And his 140 laps out front in the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet is the high mark of the 2020 season.

None of these talented drivers has ever won at Darlington before. And Burton’s case, he’ll be making his Darlington debut with absolutely no practice. As with the NASCAR Cup Series, the race lineup was set by a draw. Burton will start 12th, alongside Briscoe. Gragson drew the pole position and will start on the front row alongside his JR Motorsports teammate Michael Annett.

“I had that conversation with my team trying to figure out how we could keep momentum rolling and kind of stay in the swing of things,” Burton said. “And we came to the conclusion we kind of just had to be ourselves and do what we were doing right in the beginning.

“The more we focused on trying to just over-analyze everything and focus on just trying to come back with the same momentum and all this, it would probably be detrimental. We figured if we can start the season good the first time, we can re-start it good the second time. We’re going to approach it that way.”

Cole Custer, now a rookie in the NASCAR Cup Series, is the most recent Darlington Xfinity Series winner – earning the trophy last Fall over fellow 2020 Cup Series rookie and eventual 2019 Xfinity champion Tyler Reddick. Briscoe’s sixth-place finish last year was best among those competing this weekend.

Reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch will roll off 26th on Tuesday. He’s scheduled to race in all seven of NASCAR’s first races back – three at Darlington (NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity) and four events at Charlotte Motor Speedway next week (two NASCAR Cup Series races and one each in the Xfinity and Gander RV & Outdoors Truck series).

He’s a two-time winner (2011 and 2013) in the Xfinity Series at Darlington.

WDUN will carry live MRN Radio covarage of Tuesday night's NASCAR Xfinity Series race from Darlington Raceway beginning at 5:30 p.m. on 102.9 FM and streaming live on AccessWDUN.  Live coverage continues on Wednesday night with the NASCAR Cup Series from Darlington Raceway beginning at 7:30 p.m. on 102.9 FM, AM 550 and streaming live on AccessWDUN.

NASCAR Xfinity Series
The Race: Toyota 200
The Place: Darlington Raceway – Darlington, SC
The Date: Tuesday, May 19
The Time: 6 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 6 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 200 miles (147 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 147)
Most Recent Winner: Cole Custer
What To Watch For: Darlington Raceway has hosted 59 NASCAR Xfinity Series races dating back to inaugural event in 1982. The first race held on April 3, 1982 had 23 cars in the field and was won by Geoffrey Bodine driving a Pontiac for Frank Plessinger. In total the 59 Xfinity Series races at Darlington have produced 31 different races winners, led by NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin with eight victories. Denny Hamlin leads all active Xfinity Series drivers in wins at Darlington with five. … The youngest series winner at Darlington is Chase Elliott (04/11/2014 – 18 years, 4 months, 14 days) and the oldest series race winner is Dick Trickle (09/05/1998 – 56 years, 10 months, 9 days). … The NASCAR Xfinity Series has produced 29 pole winners at Darlington Raceway, led by NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin with eight. Hamlin leads all active drivers in the series in poles at Darlington with five. … Mark Martin leads the series in laps led at Darlington Raceway with 972 laps led in 19 starts. Hamlin leads all active drivers in laps led with 555 in 12 starts. … Last season’s winner Cole Custer didn’t lead a single lap in the race but won the event by virtue of the disqualification of Denny Hamlin’s car in post-race inspection. … Four of the last five NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Darlington Raceway have ended with margin of victory of less than a second.

NASCAR Xfinity Series
Darlington Raceway – Darlington, SC
Toyota 200 – May 19, 2020

Tuesday’s Starting Lineup

1. 9 Noah Gragson Bass Pro Shops/BRCC Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
2. 1 Michael Annett Pilot Flying J Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
3. 11 Justin Haley LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
4. 39 Ryan Sieg Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
5. 18 Riley Herbst # Monster Energy Toyota 0.000 0.000
6. 68 Brandon Brown Brandonbilt Motorsports Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
7. 22 Austin Cindric MoneyLion Ford 0.000 0.000
8. 19 Brandon Jones Toyota Service Centers Toyota 0.000 0.000
9. 10 Ross Chastain Nutrien Ag Solutions Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
10. 7 Justin Allgaier Precision Build Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
11. 98 Chase Briscoe Ford 0.000 0.000
12. 20 Harrison Burton # Dex Imaging Toyota 0.000 0.000
13. 6 B.J. McLeod Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
14. 93 Myatt Snider Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
15. 92 Josh Williams Chasing Freedom Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
16. 90 Alex Labbe Larue Snowblowers/rousseau Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
17. 21 Anthony Alfredo iRacing Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
18. 4 Jesse Little # Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
19. 07 Ray Black II CDA Tech Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
20. 78 Vinnie Miller Koolbox Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
21. 52 Kody Vanderwal # Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
22. 02 Brett Moffitt(i) FR8Auctions Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
23. 8 Daniel Hemric Poppy Bank Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
24. 13 Chad Finchum GREAT SOUTHERN HOMES Toyota 0.000 0.000
25. 44 Tommy Joe Martins Skyview Partners Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
26. 54 Kyle Busch(i) Thank You Heroes/M&M’s Toyota 0.000 0.000
27. 5 Matt Mills J F Electric Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
28. 61 Timmy Hill(i) Toyota 0.000 0.000
29. 47 Joe Nemechek(i) Mutt & Jeff Porkskins Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
30. 51 Jeremy Clements Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
31. 15 Colby Howard Project Hope Foundation Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
32. 36 Ronnie Bassett Jr Bassett Gutters & More Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
33. 99 Mason Massey Gerber Collision & Glass Toyota 0.000 0.000
34. 0 Jeffrey Earnhardt Kids First Community Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
35. 74 Bayley Currey(i) Save22 Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
36. 08 Joe Graf Jr # CORE Development Group Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
37. 66 Stephen Leicht Toyota 0.000 0.000
38. 89 Landon Cassill Visone RV Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
39. 26 Colin Garrett Rosie Network Toyota 0.000 0.000

  • Associated Categories: Sports, NASCAR News, Xfinity Series
  • Associated Tags: nascar, motorsports, xfinity series, Auto Racing, Stock Car, Asphalt, Motorsports Live On WDUN, Darlington
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