After a few weeks off, the NASCAR XFINITY Series returns to action at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Hisense 4K TV 300 at 1 pm ET on FOX Sports 1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio this Saturday, May 27.
Drivers will race 300 miles over 200 laps with Stage 1 ending on lap 45 and Stage 2 on lap 90. The last Stage will end on lap 200.
XFINITY Series Notes at Charlotte
Charlotte has anointed 45 different XFINITY Series Coors Light pole winners in the 70 series events held at 1.5-mile speedway. Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth lead the series in Coors Light poles at CMS with four each.
A total of 33 different series drivers have won at Charlotte Motor Speedway, led by Kyle Busch with eight victories – 2004 summer, 2005 summer, 2008 sweep, 2009 fall, 2010 summer, 2013 sweep.
Six drivers have won consecutive series races at CMS, led by Rob Moroso (1988 Fall, 1989 sweep) and Mark Martin (1995 Fall, 1996 sweep) with three consecutive wins each. The most recent driver to accomplish the consecutive win feat was Austin Dillon with his 2015 season sweep. Dillon now leads the series among active drivers in average finishing position at Charlotte with a 3.125.
XFINITY Series Patriotism in Full Effect this Summer
Below are few of the many things the XFINITY Series will be doing this summer to show support for the military:
- During Saturday’s (May 27) Hisense 4K TV 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, XFINITY Series drivers will display red, white and blue XFINITY windshield decals on their race cars.
- Lilly Diabetes, the “Official Diabetes Health Partner of NASCAR,” unveiled a patriotic paint scheme that Ryan Reed, driver of the No. 16 Lilly Diabetes Ford Mustang, will race in the XFINITY Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway Memorial Day Weekend.
- During the DAYTONA Firecracker 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway (on June 30), Comcast will work with NASCAR and teams to replace its XFINITY branding with active military installations on all XFINITY Series drivers’ windshield headers to commemorate Independence Day Weekend.
North Carolina Drivers Feeling at Home at Charlotte Motor Speedway
North Carolina has become one of the largest sources of driver talent of any of the 50 states in the history of the XFINITY Series.
A total of 113 drivers with their home state recorded as North Carolina have competed in at least one XFINITY Series race in their careers. Morgan Shepherd, from Ferguson, leads all North Carolina drivers in NXS starts with 405; followed by Tommy Houston (379 starts) with the second-most and Dale Jarrett (289) with the third-most – both are from Hickory, North Carolina.
A total of 12 drivers from North Carolina have made at least one start in the series this season – William Byron (Charlotte), Daniel Hemric (Kannapolis), Austin and Ty Dillon (Welcome), Harrison Rhodes (High Point), Morgan Shepherd (Ferguson), Stephen Leicht (Asheville), Carl Long (Roxboro), Clint King (Thomasville), Corey LaJoie (Concord), Drew Herring (Benson) and Ryan Blaney (High Point).
A total of 23 of the 113 drivers from North Carolina have won in the XFINITY Series, led by Jack Ingram (Asheville) with 27 wins. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Kannapolis) and Tommy Houston (Hickory) are tied for the second-most NXS wins by a North Carolina native with 24 each.
JR Motorsport’s Keeps Hold on the Standings Top-Spots
JR Motorsport’s drivers hold the top-three positions in the driver standings heading into Charlotte this weekend – veteran Elliott Sadler is the series leader, followed by Justin Allgaier (-29) in second and Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate William Byron (-49) in third. Currently the JRM drivers are 17-points ahead of their nearest competitor – Roush Fenway Racing’s Darrell Wallace Jr. in fourth. This is the first season in series history an organization has held the top-three spots in the driver standings.
Series standings leader Elliott Sadler, in nine starts this season, has posted four top-fives and a series leading eight top-tens. Plus, his average finish is an 8.0.
Sadler will be one to watch this weekend, as he has made 20 series starts at Charlotte posting one pole, five top-fives, nine top-tens and an average finish of 16.2; including a runner-up finish at CMS last fall.
Sadler’s teammate, and closest competition at the moment, Justin Allgaier, has posted one win (Phoenix), three top-fives, five top-tens and an average finish of 12.3 this season. Plus, he leads the series in laps led (266 laps, 15.6%).
Charlotte is one of Allgaier’s better tracks, as he has made 13 starts at the 1.5-mile speedway, posting three top-fives and eight top-tens. His average finish at CMS is just outside the top-ten (11.769).
Sunoco rookie William Byron is now third in the series driver standings through the first nine races of the season after posting two top-fives and five top-tens. His average finish is 13.8 in 2017.
Byron will be making his series track debut this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but don’t be misled by his lack of statistics at the track. The 19-year-old, Byron, has finished in the top-ten in two of the first three series races on 1.5-mile speedways this season – finishing seventh at both Atlanta and Texas.
Christopher Bell Making Series Debut for Joe Gibbs Racing
One of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ rising stars, Christopher Bell, will be making his XFINITY Series debut this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway for Joe Gibbs Racing in the No. 18 Toyota Camry with crew chief Eric Phillips.
Joe Gibbs Racing has won two of the first three 1.5-mile speedways (Kyle Busch at Atlanta and Erik Jones at Texas) in the XFINITY Series. Bell’s teammate this weekend, Denny Hamlin, the defending winner of this event, will be in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry. Hamlin has made 11 series starts at Charlotte, posting one win (2016), six top-fives and an average finish of 12.5.
GMS Racing Expands to Second Car for Driver Ben Kennedy
GMS Racing joined the XFINITY Series full-time at the beginning of the season, fielding the No. 23 GMS Racing Chevrolet Camaro for driver Spencer Gallagher. This weekend the team is expanding to a second vehicle, the No. 96 GMS Racing Chevrolet Camaro, for driver Ben Kennedy, grandson of Bill France Jr.
Kennedy signed a 12-race deal with GMS this season and his debut with the team is this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Kennedy has also signed a nine-race deal with Richard Childress Racing this season and made his first start for the team at Talladega a few weeks back finishing in the top-five.
This will be Kennedy’s series track debut this weekend at Charlotte, but he does have some experience competing at the 1.5-mile speedway. Kennedy has made three Camping World Truck Series starts at Charlotte, posting one top-ten finish.
Darrell Wallace Jr.’s Wave of Momentum Might Pick Up at CMS
Darrell Wallace Jr. has been on a mission in 2017. Following the season-opener at Daytona, he was 27th in points, but over the last eight races has moved up 23 spots in the XFINITY Series driver standings to fourth, just 17 markers back from third-place William Byron. Now with the standings lead in his sights, Wallace eyes Charlotte Motor Speedway as a great place to keep his early season momentum going.
With the second-most series top-ten finishes (six) through the first nine races of the season, Roush Fenway Racing’s Darrell Wallace Jr. has posted an average finish of 12.8. His six top-tens this season were all sixth-place finishes; five of which he posted consecutively – including the first three 1.5-mile speedways of the season.
Wallace’s ascension in the points has all the signs of continuing when the series gets to Charlotte as he has made four starts at CMS, posting one top-five, two top-tens and an average finish of 15.0.
JGR Driver Matt Tifft and BMX Athlete Josh Perry Team Up
to Highlight Brain Tumor Awareness Month
The month of May is Brain Tumor Awareness month and Joe Gibbs Racing driver Matt Tifft and BMX athlete Josh Perry are teaming up to bring the focus of all people to the cause.
Tifft will host professional BMX athlete Josh Perry, who is a brain tumor survivor of five years, as a featured guest this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Check out Josh Perry and his brain tumor story online at http://joshperrybmx.com/, via his YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/JoshPerry88, or through social media @JoshPerryBMX.
Media and fans can join in. Don’t just be “aware,” get involved and act. Join Matt Tifft and the Brain Tumor Team as they work to defeat brain cancer. Check out braintumor.org/btam2017 to learn how you can help.
Tifft’s engagement in the cause doesn’t end there, Tifft joined the National Brain Tumor Society’s annual Head to the Hill event in Washington DC, on May 8 and 9, to advocate for brain tumor public policy that gives brain tumor patients a voice in Congress. Tifft asked Congress to support the STAR Act, which supports childhood cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research.
Tifft, who was sidelined last season to have surgery to remove a tumor from his brain, is now seventh in the series standings as he heads to Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend. In nine starts this season, he has posted two top-tens and average finish of 14.6. Tifft has made one series start at CMS in his career (last season), starting 16th and driving up to an eighth-place finish.
Monster Sized Names On The Entry List – This Saturday fans can expect to see six Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers competing for the win – Austin Dillon, Ty Dillon, Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, and Denny Hamlin. Brad Keselowski (three), Austin Dillon (two) and Denny Hamlin (one) are all former NXS Charlotte winners.
Stat Nugget About 2017 Season – Record Average Margin of Victory Per Race – The 2017 season (nine races) now holds the series record for the closest MOV per race through the first nine races at 0.411 – the previous record was 0.569 in 2011 and 1998. Eight of the first nine races of the season have finished with an MOV under a second. Three of the last five series races at Charlotte have ended with a MOV of less than a second. Electronic scoring was introduced to the NXS in 1996.
XFINITY Series Milestones – Austin Dillon will attempt to make his 125th NASCAR XFINITY Series start this weekend at Charlotte. Dillon will become the 103rd driver to make 125 starts or more in the series.
Ty Dillon will attempt to post his 75th XFINITY Series top-ten finish this weekend at Charlotte. Dillon will become the 49th driver in series history to post 75 top-tens or more.
XFINITY Series in North Carolina – The XFINITY Series has held 189 races among seven different tracks in the state of North Carolina – Charlotte Motor Speedway (70 races), Rockingham Speedway (42), Hickory Speedway (42), Orange County Speedway (27), North Wilkesboro Speedway (four), Caraway Speedway (three) and Asheville Speedway (one).