NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff Contenders in Round of 8

Photo – Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

While five NASCAR Xfinity Series regulars are competing this weekend in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway – Joey Gase is in the No. 00 for StarCom Racing Chevrolet, Ross Chastain is in the No. 15 for Premium Motorsports Chevrolet, JJ Yeley is in the No. 23 for BK Racing Ford, Brendan Gaughan is in the No. 62 for Beard Motorsports Chevrolet and Landon Cassill is in the No. 99 for StarCom Racing Chevrolet – there are eight drivers gearing up for the next Playoff Round of 8 which begins at Kansas Speedway next week. 

Ross Chastain, Brandon Jones, Ryan Truex, and Ryan Reed are the four drivers eliminated after last week’s race at Dover closing out the series’ first Round of 12 events.

Only eight drivers are moving on in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs with Christopher Bell (No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota) becoming the Playoff favorite after his victory at Dover put him in the series points lead for the Round of 8. The seven remaining Playoff challengers have their work cut out for them over the next three races – Kansas, Texas, and Phoenix – to decide who will make the Championship 4 at Homestead Miami Speedway in November.

Justin Allgaier (No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet) resides in second, only five points behind series standings leader Christopher Bell with 3,039 points heading into the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff’s Round of 8. The Illinois native has tallied five wins, 16 top-fives, and 22 top-tens and 39 Playoff points. Allgaier’s postseason campaign started off dismally, however, when he finished 32nd at Richmond Raceway due to an incident and then 15th at the Charlotte Road Course, he rebounded nicely at Dover International Speedway to finish third and move on to the next round. With the 12th-best average finish in the first round of the Playoffs (16.67), Allgaier had to rely on his Playoff points to get him to the Round of 8, a luxury that might not be afforded to him for the Championship 4. Last season, Allgaier ran well in the Round of 8, posting an average finish of 8.667 and ultimately making the Championship 4.

Daniel Hemric (No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet) is third in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff standings with 3,013 points, 31 back from Christopher Bell and only two points ahead of fifth-place Elliott Sadler heading into the Round of 8. Hemric has yet to break through and win, but the North Carolina native continues to prove he is a title contender this season. Through 29 races he has collected 13 top-fives, 19 top-tens, and three poles. His performance (6.67 average finish) during the first round of the Playoffs was second only to Bell’s (2.333). Hemric finished third at Richmond, tenth at Charlotte and closed out the Round of 12 with a seventh at Dover last weekend. Hemric is looking to build off his success last season in the Round of 8 where he garnered an average finish of 12.3; which was enough to make the Championship 4.

Cole Custer (No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford) has raced his way to fourth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff standings with 3,011 points heading into the Round of 8. Custer is now tied in points with Elliott Sadler (3,011), but Custer’s second-place finish last weekend at Dover was the tiebreaker (best finish in Round of 12). As a result, Custer now holds the coveted final transfer spot to the Championship 4. Custer’s 2018 season has seen 12 top-fives, 23 top-tens, and five poles. During the Round of 12, Custer posted the third-best average finish (8.0) after rallying to a 15th-place at Richmond, a seventh at Charlotte and a runner-up at Dover last weekend.

Elliott Sadler (No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet) now sits fifth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff standings tied in points with Cole Custer with 3,011 points, but by virtue of a tiebreaker (Custer holds the better finishes in the Round of 12) Sadler falls to the first spot outside the Championship 4 cutoff. Though Sadler’s working his way through a 68-race winless streak, the veteran from Virginia has been resilient. Thus far in 2018, Sadler has stockpiled 13 top-fives, 22 top-tens, and a pole. Much like his JRM teammate Justin Allgaier, the Playoff Round of 12 wasn’t kind to Sadler, he finished sixth at Richmond, then 14th at the Charlotte Road Course and 11th last weekend at Dover. Sadler is looking forward to the Round of 8 as last season he posted an average finish of 9.97 and made the Championship 4.

Tyler Reddick (No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet) left Dover last weekend sixth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs with 3,010 points, 34 markers back from the standings lead and just one point behind Cole Custer in fourth. The California native is having a strong Sunoco rookie season, by accumulating one win, four top-fives, and 16 top-tens. In the three races to open the 2018 Playoffs, Reddick put up two top-tens and an average finish of 10.0 (seventh-best). As a rookie, Reddick has only made one start at each of the tracks in the round of 8. Last season he started on the pole and finished second while running part-time for Chip Ganassi Racing. Then earlier this season, he finished 33rd at Texas and 14th at ISM Raceway.

Matt Tifft (No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet) has made the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs for the second time in his career. Now the Ohio native is seventh in the championship standings with 3,003 points, 41 behind the series standings leader Christopher Bell and only eight back from fourth-place Cole Custer in final Championship 4 transfer spot. This season, the 22-year-old Tifft, has produced five top-fives, 15 top-tens, and a pole. During the opening round of the Playoffs, Tifft accrued a fifth-place finish at Richmond, a sixth at Charlotte and 15th at Dover last weekend. Tifft fell just short of making the Championship 4 last season but ran well in the Round of 8, posting an average finish of 9.0.

Austin Cindric (No. 22 Team Penske Ford) holds on tightly to the eighth and final spot of the Round of 8 with 3,001 points following Dover last weekend. The Sunoco rookie is now 43 points behind the series lead and ten points back from Cole Custer in. This season Cindric has collected four top-fives, ten top-tens, and three poles. The North Carolina native ran well in the Round of 12 posting the fourth-best average finish (8.0) after placing 13th at Richmond, third at Charlotte and eighth at Dover. Looking ahead to next weekend, it will be Cindric’s series track debut at Kansas Speedway.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to action next week at Kansas Speedway for the Kansas Lottery 300 on Saturday, October 20 at 2:30 pm ET on NBCSN.

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