The NASCAR XFINITY Series is ready for their opening playoff race of the 2017 season. Mix that with this being a standalone race at the Kentucky Speedway, we have five very deserving XFINITY Series drivers vying for a statement win in Saturday night’s VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 (8 p.m. ET/NBCSN/PRN).
Here are the favorites.
Sadler hasn’t won in 32 starts. The last time being in this very race one year ago. He was 12th at Kentucky back in July. Now, the Cup drivers are out of it and the race will be run at night instead of in the day time this summer.
Sadler, enters with a ton of momentum and would love to get a win out of the way right off the bat. He has three top six finishes over his last five starts at Kentucky. Overall, he has eight top 10’s in 12 career Bluegrass starts.
In 26 starts this season, Sadler has posted a series-leading 11 top fives and 19 top 10s, five stage wins and has earned 20 playoff points. His average finish this season is a 9.5 (series best).
Sadler has also made 12 series starts at Kentucky Speedway, posting one pole, one win (2016 Playoffs), five top fives, eight top 10s and an average finish of 7.8.
His 1.5-mile finishes this season are, fifth, eighth, 10th, 35th, 12th and third respectively.
He also enters the 2017 playoffs hot. Allgaier, won his hometown race at Chicagoland last weekend and has five straight top 11 finishes. His last five finishes on the season are, fifth, 11th, eighth, eighth and first respectively. That makes it appear that his drought of five finishes outside the top 20 in a span of seven races appear to be gone. Four of those five results were 30th or worse too.
But, Allgaier has his No. 7 Chevrolet running back up front and has two wins already this season. He also has two straight top 10 finishes at Kentucky and six in 10 tries.
In 26 starts this season, Allgaier has posted two wins (Phoenix and Chicago), seven top fives, 13 top 10s, three Stage wins and has earned 23 Playoff points. His average finish this season is a 13.6 (fourth-best).
Allgaier has made 10 series starts at Kentucky Speedway, posting two top fives, six top 10s and an average finish of 12.3.
On 1.5-mile tracks in 2017, Allgaier has finished 30th, fourth, 13th, 12th, eighth and first respectively.
Standalone event, you can’t overlook Byron. He’s made two Kentucky Speedway starts during his career and the first saw him lead 70 laps and winning the Trucks race there a year ago. He also finished seventh in the XFINITY Series race in July.
Byron, has 11 top 10 finishes over the last 14 races, so you know his No. 9 Chevrolet will be up front this weekend.
In 26 starts this season, Byron has posted three wins (Iowa, Daytona and Indianapolis), eight top fives, 17 top 10s, two Stage wins and has earned 25 Playoff points. His average finish this season is an 11.1 (second best).
Also, he won the Trucks playoff opening last year at New Hampshire. He knows how to perform when the stakes get higher.
I have my eyes on Daniel Hemric. Richard Childress Racing is normally pretty good in XFINITY Series competition at Kentucky and this is a track that he raced at already this season. This time, he doesn’t have any Cup regulars to take up the top spots. Plus, Hemric is getting better and better as the season has gone on. He has two straight fourth place finishes and six top 10’s over his last nine starts. In fact, since his ninth place finish at Kentucky in July, he hasn’t finished worse than 18th.
This could be his chance to shine.
The youngster took a chance on himself this season. He could have had a full season ride with a smaller budget team. Instead, he bet on himself and took a three race deal with Joe Gibbs Racing. So far, it’s paying off.
Preece, finished second in his debut with the team in July at New Hampshire, then followed that up with a win at Iowa in his second start. Now, he’s looking for a third straight top two finish this weekend at Kentucky.
So far, so good.
Preece, was in the top three in both practice sessions on Friday with being third and first respectively.