5 Storylines For Sunday’s Iowa 250 (5 p.m. ET/FS1/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

The NASCAR XFINITY Series is back to action this weekend for Sunday’s Iowa 250 (5 p.m. ET/FS1/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at the Iowa Speedway. It’s a great shot for these drivers and teams to showcase their talents and should be a great race in the heat of the day.

Here are five storylines for the race weekend. 

Standalone Race With All The Attention

It’s a standalone weekend for the NASCAR feeder series. Both the XFINITY and Truck Series drivers share the track and share the weekend while the Cup stars enjoy an off weekend. That means all the attention in the NASCAR world and even the racing world for that because F1 and INDYCAR are off too, are on the XFINITY and Truck Series in Iowa.

New Comers

Two young talents getting their opportunity to compete in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this weekend are GMS Racing’s Justin Haley and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Riley Herbst.

Many might have already heard of Justin Haley, as the 19-year -ld has been cutting his teeth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series since 2015, but 2018 marks just his second full-time season. Haley has been running strong in the Camping World Truck Series this season, posting three top five and five top 10s in eight starts.

This weekend, Haley has the opportunity to pilot the No. 23 GMS Racing Chevrolet Camaro, the same team that went to Victory Lane earlier this season at Talladega with driver Spencer Gallagher. Though this is Haley’s series debut at Iowa, he not a complete stranger to the track, he made one NCWTS start there last season; starting seventh and finishing 10th.  

Alongside Haley this weekend will be NASCAR Next participant, Riley Herbst, a 24-year-old from Las Vegas, Nevada. Herbst will be attempting to jump in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota at Iowa Speedway to make his NASCAR national series debut. Over the past three years, Herbst has participated in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West, making 20 combined starts and posting eight top fives and 16 top 10s. He also ran part-time in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, making 27 series starts and posting a win at Pocono Raceway last season.  

Herbst is in his second year of the NASCAR Next youth initiative. Before the season, Kyle Busch Motorsports announced that Herbst would participate in two Camping World Truck Series races later this year, as well, with the first coming next weekend at Gateway Motorsports Park.

Herbst also has some experience at Iowa. He made a NASCAR K&N Pro Series West start at Iowa in 2016; starting second and finishing third.

Iowa Produces Great Young Winners

In this very race last year, William Byron won his first career XFINITY Series race at Iowa. In the July Iowa race, Ryan Preece earned his first NASCAR trip to victory lane. That comes after Erik Jones winning in 2016 and Chris Buescher and Ryan Blaney winning in 2015. Will we see another popular young winner this Sunday?

Cole Custer, Daniel Hemric and others come to mind as popular young race winners for this weekend.

8th Straight Different Iowa Winner Guaranteed To Come On Sunday

Since August of 2014, there have been seven straight races of different winners at Iowa Speedway, and this weekend none of the former winners are entered, guaranteeing an eighth different winner in a row for the fans watching the Iowa 250.

Brad Keselowski’s most recent win at Iowa back in 2014 kicked off the streak and since then Chris Buescher (May 2015), Ryan Blaney (August 2015), Sam Hornish Jr. (June 2016), Erik Jones (July 2016), William Byron (June 2017) and Ryan Preece (July 2017) have all enjoyed the spoils of victory at Iowa Speedway.

One driver who has been electric over the past four races of the season and looks to be on the verge of breaking through and getting his first career win is Daniel Hemric. The Richard Childress Racing driver has a series-leading average finish over the past four races of 3.75. Hemric must be hungry for a win, he is into his second season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and still hasn’t visited Victory Lane in 46 starts. 

One driver looking to play spoiler this weekend is John Hunter Nemechek, who returns to the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet this weekend at Iowa. Nemechek has made the most of his time behind the wheel of the No. 42 this season, posting one top five and three top 10s in eight starts. He’ll be making his series track debut this weekend, but don’t think he is at a disadvantage in comparison to his competitors, the young rising star won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Iowa last season.

13 Races, 12 Different Winners So Far

The 2018 season has been a big one for parity. We’re 13 races into the year and we’ve seen 12 different race winners already. Will we see a 13th different winner on Sunday? Odds say, yes. Only Christopher Bell, Justin Allgaier and Tyler Reddick are winners in 2018 that are on the entry-list. That means there are good odds that we see another new winner this season.

What makes it even more exciting is if the 2018 season stays on its current trajectory, it has the opportunity to eclipse the current series record of the most different winners in single season at 18; set in 1988 and then tied last season.

Iowa Speedway has been home to three first-time winners in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s first (2011) of his series leading three wins at Iowa was also his first series career win. Then last season both races at Iowa brought new winners into the fold.  William Byron powered to his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series win in this event last year and the Ryan Preece followed it up with his first series career win when series returned in July.

Eight drivers in the top 10 in average finish (among active drivers) at Iowa are looking to end winless streaks and join the NASCAR Xfinity Series different winners list this season. Series points leader Elliott Sadler is the lone competitor entered in the Iowa 250 this weekend with a previous win (2012) at the famed Midwestern track.

Rank

Drivers

Iowa Avg. Finish

Iowa Starts

Series Races Attempted Since Last Win

1

Elliott Sadler

5.9

14

52 (Kentucky, 2016)

2

Justin Allgaier

11.3

12

3 (Dover, 2018)

3

Daniel Hemric

14.0

2

46 (Hasn’t Won)

4

Michael Annett

14.2

10

209 (Hasn’t Won)

5

Cole Custer

14.5

2

13 (Homestead, 2017)

6

Ryan Sieg

14.8

8

149 (Hasn’t Won)

7

Brandon Jones

14.8

6

84 (Hasn’t Won)

8

Ryan Reed

15.4

8

45 (Daytona, 2017)

9

Christopher Bell

16.0

1

5 (Richmond, 2018)

10

Ross Chastain

16.0

6

119 (Hasn’t Won)

* – Bolded drivers are the eight drivers still looking for a win

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