Five things to watch in the NASCAR Xfinity race at Richmond
Two races remain before the NASCAR Xfinity Series kicks off its 12-driver championship playoff at Kentucky Speedway and there remain plenty of unknowns.
Here are five things to watch entering Friday night’s race at Richmond (Va.) Raceway:
Michael Annett and Brendan Gaughan have no room for mistakes in the next two races as JGL Racing’s Dakoda Armstrong is within striking distance of knocking one of the two from the playoffs (based on points) in the final two races. Armstrong is 23 points behind Annett and just 20 behind Gaughan. None of the three have wins.
Virginia native Elliott Sadler can clinch the regular season championship in the race. He will need to hold a 61-point lead over second-place after the race to claim the title with one race remaining. He is currently 91 points ahead of second. Even though he doesn’t have a win this season, the regular season title comes with 15 playoff points – the equivalent of winning three races.
Following last weekend’s race at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, six drivers – William Byron, Justin Allgaier, Ryan Reed, Sadler, Brennan Poole and Daniel Hemric – have all clinched a spot in the postseason on either wins or points. A win this weekend would be the first at Richmond for all of them.
Jeremy Clements has a win, but he could still mathematically miss the playoffs. That’s because a driver has to be in the top 20 of points to use their win to make the playoffs and Clements, who is currently 18th, could still fall out of the top 20. Clements can lock himself into the top 20 by earning at least 17 points this weekend.
Six Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers will be competing in the race – Dale Earnhardt Jr., Paul Menard, Ty Dillon, Reed Sorenson, Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski. Earnhardt has four wins in six career series starts at Richmond. His last start at the track was last spring, when he started third and finished first.
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