The NASCAR XFINITY Series is in the midst of a long string of races as they went from the high banks of the Daytona International Speedway to a 1.5-mile track in Kentucky. There are a ton of storylines surrounding Friday night’s Alsco 300 (8 p.m. ET/NBCSN/PRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Here are the top five.
Kyle Busch Going For 3 Straight
No one has been able to touch Kyle Busch at the Kentucky Speedway. It doesn’t matter what he’s driving in, he’s going to be a threat to win. Busch, has two Cup Series wins on the 1.5-mile track to go along with two Truck Series victories too. In XFINITY Series competition, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver has three wins, two of which coming in the last two years. In fact, in 10 career XFINITY Series starts, Busch has scored eight top five finishes.
Just look at his laps led in those races. He’s led 766 total laps with 185 coming in his win in 2016 and 70 more in 2017’s victory.
Can he win a third straight?
Can No. 42 Chevrolet Win 3rd Straight Race?
Busch may be going for three straight at Kentucky but John Hunter Nemechek is looking to take the No. 42 Chevrolet to victory lane for the third straight week. Kyle Larson took this car to victory lane in each of the last two races at Chicagoland and Daytona. Now, it’s Nemechek’s turn.
He finished runner-up the 2016 Truck Series race at Kentucky and driving a car that has won at two D-Shaped 1.5-mile tracks in 2018.
Can they make it three in-a-row?
Back in April, Spencer Gallagher scored the biggest win of his racing career. He won the XFINITY Series race at the Talladega Superspeedway and at the time, put his name into the playoffs. But, he failed a drug test after and not only lost his playoff spot as a result of that, but he missed the next seven races as well.
Last week, NASCAR reinstated him. Now, he’s ready to put that embarrassment behind him and return to glory.
Gallagher, had finished in the top 15 in all but one race before he was suspended. It was setting up to be a career year for him. Now, he’s ready to put it all behind him and compete in Friday night’s race.
Now that the ultimate wild card race is behind us, the playoff bubble is really starting to take shape. Kyle Larson stole a win from an XFINITY Series regular at Daytona, so the playoff bubble is close.
Ross Chastain is 42 points to the good over Michael Annett while Kaz Grala lurks behind, 44 points out. Now, unless someone from 12th on back can win a race during the rest of the regular season, then the battle to get in comes down to Chastain against these three.
That makes stage points crucial this weekend and every week on out.
Top Of The Standings Battle
The bottom of the playoff standings aren’t the only points matchup we’re watching. The top of the overall standings is too. Currently, Elliot Sadler leads Daniel Hemric by 12 points heading into this weekend’s race. Cole Custer is 26 points out while fourth place Christopher Bell is 35 markers behind.
Where this is crucial is that the points leader at the end of the regular season gets 15 playoff points. So, the battle among these four to be leading is going to be fun to watch.
Custer went from the points lead to 26 points out in one week. That’s why stage points and top finishes are key.