Currently, 19 races into their season, just four NASCAR XFINITY Series regulars have reached victory lane this year. The other 15 races have been won by Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers. Granted, NASCAR made a significant change to try to fix that today for 2018 and beyond, but with that being said, the current playoff grid is wide open.
The XFINITY Series takes 12 drivers to their playoffs which start Sept. 23 at the Kentucky Speedway. Knowing these facts, with four winners, three of which are playoff eligible, that means there’s still eight spots available at the moment for the playoffs. But, with seven races to go in the regular season, three of which are on road courses. Furthermore, beginning this weekend in the Zippo 200 (2 p.m ET/NBCSN/MRN) at the Watkins Glen International road course in upstate New York, all three of those said road courses are in the next four weeks.
That in turn could really shape how the playoffs are set.
Next week, the XFINITY Series drivers take to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Then, they head to Bristol, followed by another road course in Road America. That’s a four week stretch that will make or break the playoff chances for most of the bubble drivers.
This weekend, there’s eight Cup drivers on the entry-list, they’re all talented enough to likely win. But, in the other two road courses, there likely won’t be many, if any, Cup regulars in the field. That makes those races ever so important, because like in the Cup Series, if an XFINITY Series regular wins, he’s automatically eligible for the playoffs.
So, Elliott Sadler, the current points leader, he’s yet to win a race. The difference between Brendan Gaughan (12th) and JJ Yeley (13th) is 14 points. There’s so many scenarios that could happen over the next four weeks that will really shape how this field looks for a championship hunt in the Fall. The road courses will determine that. A bunch of good runs or even a win will do wonders for certain drivers, but a bunch of bad results will push them to elimination.