Xfinity Series is NASCAR Ready for Daytona

Photo – Getty Images

With the racing ‘graduation’ of several of the last two season’s championship contenders – including two-time Xfinity champion Tyler Reddick, Cole Custer, Christopher Bell, and John Hunter Nemechek all to the NASCAR Cup Series this year – the 2020 Xfinity championship field has a distinctive new competitive look.

When it comes to Saturday’s season-opening NASCAR Racing Experience 300, recent years have pointed to a new trend decidedly favoring the title contenders. Series regulars have won this race in five of the last six seasons, including the last three. No one’s earned back-to-back victories since Tony Stewart won four straight from 2008-2011.

Last year the top-five finishers were all championship competitors from winner Michael Annett to fifth-place Austin Cindric. Those two, along with Chase Briscoe, veteran Justin Allgaier, and the talented youngster, Noah Gragson are all considered championship favorites this year.

This Daytona Speedweeks season-opening race likely has been circled on Allgaier’s calendar, in particular. He finished runner-up to Annett last year by a mere 0.116-second. He, the 19-year old Cindric – a two-race winner in 2019, and Briscoe, 25, who collected his second Xfinity victory last year, are certainly title favorites for 2020.  Highly-touted second-generation driver Harrison Burton makes his fulltime debut.

Watch the NASCAR Racing Experience 300 at 2:30 pm ET on FS1 with radio coverage available on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

What to watch for…

  • Tyler Reddick’s win in 2018 is the closest margin of victory in NASCAR national series history – 0.0004-seconds, a photo finish between Reddick and Elliot Sadler.
  • Dale Earnhardt and Tony Stewart share the record for most wins (seven). Earnhardt won five consecutively from 1990-94.
  • No current full-time Xfinity Series driver has won multiple times in the race.
  • The last driver to win both the Xfinity race and the Daytona 500 was Kevin Harvick (2007).
  • Former series champion Joe Nemechek has made the most starts (25) in the race. He also holds the record for most pole positions (four).
  • Tony Stewart’s two wins from the pole is most all-time.
  • Dale Earnhardt’s five consecutive wins is most all-time.
  • Red Farmer holds the record for most consecutive starts (19; 1963-80).
  • Chevrolet (31) is the winningest manufacturer.
  • The most drivers to lead the race is 20 (2013).
  • The most lead changes is 38 (2012).
  • The lowest starting position for a race winner is 42nd by Chad Little in 1995.
  • NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip holds the record (162.675 mph) for the fastest lap in a race (1978). The fastest qualifying lap is 194.389 mph set by Tommy Houston in 1987.
  • Joe Nemechek’s 105 laps led in 1998 is the most ever by a race winner and most ever by any driver, period.
  • Paul Goldsmith holds the record for most laps led (101) without winning the race (1967).
  • This race has been won by full-time Xfinity Series drivers five of the last six years.
  • The last time a driver won back-to-back races was 2008-2011 when Cup champion Tony Stewart won four straight.