NASCAR XFINITY Series teams will take a break this weekend before their next Playoff race, the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday, November 4th at 8:30 pm ET. Coverage begins at 8 pm ET on NBC Sports Network with radio coverage on PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Playoff Round of 8 Will Separate the Best from the Rest
Kansas Speedway served up some great action this past weekend as the first of three tracks in the XFINITY Series Playoff Round of 8. The top four drivers at the conclusion of the Round of 8 advances to the Championship 4 Round in Homestead-Miami. Below are the latest Playoff standings following Kansas:
Next up on the Playoff schedule is Texas Motor Speedway. Here are the Round of 8 Playoff driver’s average finishing positions at Texas – Cole Custer (5.0), William Byron (7.0) Elliott Sadler (9.4), Justin Allgaier (11.0), Matt Tifft (12.7) Ryan Reed (14.9), Brennan Poole (19.2) Daniel Hemric (32.0).
Ten Different XFINITY Winners Over the Last Ten Races
Competition within the XFINITY Series has been running at full-steam, producing a streak of ten different winners over the most recent ten races; dating back to August 12 at Mid-Ohio.
Could we see an 11th different winner? Possibly. For example, Kyle Larson, the defending winner of last season’s XFINITY Series Playoffs race at Texas, and Erik Jones, the winner of this season’s spring Texas race are not on the ten different winners list.
The last time the XFINITY Series saw a streak of 11 different winners was back in 2014 – Elliott Sadler (Talladega), Sam Hornish Jr. (Iowa), Kyle Larson (Charlotte), Kyle Busch (Dover), Paul Menard (Michigan), Brendan Gaughan (Road America), Kevin Harvick (Kentucky), Kasey Kahne (Daytona), Brad Keselowski (New Hampshire), Chase Elliott (Chicago) and Ty Dillon (Indianapolis).
This season’s statistical magnificence doesn’t end there, 2017 has produced a total of 17 different winners in total; which is the first time the series has seen that many different winners since 1994 (23 seasons ago). 17 different winners in a single XFINITY Series season has only happened three other seasons (1994, 1992 and 1989), and is the second highest number of different winners in a single season behind the record of the 18 different winners in 1988.
Bell’s Victory Marks Sixth First-Time Winner of the XFINITY Series Season
Christopher Bell not only took the checkered flag in dramatic fashion this past weekend at Kansas Speedway, but he also became the sixth first-time winner of the XFINITY Series 2017 season joining William Byron (Iowa), Tyler Reddick (Kentucky), Ryan Preece (Iowa), Jeremy Clements (Road America) and Alex Bowman (Charlotte).
The 2017 season is now tied with seven other seasons (1987, 1989, 1991, 1996, 2002, 2004, 2006) for the second most first-time winners behind the inaugural series season, 1982, which saw 14 first-time winners.
The last season the series saw six first-time winners, 2006, all six of the drivers went on to have careers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The first-time winners are names you might recognize – Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Paul Menard, David Gilliland, Casey Mears and Dave Blaney.
Don’t be surprised if a seventh first-time winner is on the horizon. Texas Motor Speedway has produced five first-time NASCAR XFINITY Series winners – Erik Jones (2015), Chase Elliott (2014), Trevor Bayne (2011), Kurt Busch (2006) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1998).
Since 2007 (last ten seasons), there have been 35 first-time winners fielded by 12 different organizations in the XFINITY Series. Of the 12 organizations since 2007, Joe Gibbs Racing has produced the most first-time winners (six: Christopher Bell, Ryan Preece, Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez, Aric Almirola and Joey Logano); followed by Chip Ganassi Racing and Roush Fenway Racing (with five each).
Series Pole Winners Aplenty: Not only has the XFINITY Series seen a myriad of different winners this season, it has also produced 17 different Coors Light Pole Award winners, which is tied with 2012, 2007, 1990 and 1989 for the fifth-most different pole winners in a single season. The top-four seasons with most different pole winners are 1998 (24 pole winners), 1995 (21), 1991 (20) and 2009 (18).
Sunoco Rookie of the Year Update: William Byron continues to lead the XFINITY Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings by 41 points over second-place Daniel Hemric following the 30th race of the season (Kansas). Sunoco Rookie of the Year Standings – Byron (293), Hemric (252), Cole Custer (237), Matt Tifft (208), Spencer Gallagher (139) and Ben Kennedy (134). Four of the six rookies this season are in the XFINITY Series Playoffs Round of 8.