The NASCAR XFINITY Series are in the midst of a long string of races. Next up is a visit to the Northeast for their annual July trip to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. With that being said, here are the top five storylines for Saturday’s Lakes Region 200 (4 p.m. ET/NBCSN/PRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Will Keselowski Keep Cup Winner Streak Alive
The series is the XFINITY Series, but the race on the Magic Mile has been very Cup driver dominated. In fact, the last time a non Cup Series driver won this event was Martin Truex Jr. in 2005. Other than that, Cup drivers have dominated the annual trip to New Hampshire in terms of XFINITY Series competition. Will that occur again on Saturday?
If so, Brad Keselowski and Ty Dillon will be the ones carrying the torch.
Keselowski, has won twice at New Hampshire before, both coming since 2012. He also has four poles to his credit and has finished in the top 10 in all 10 of his tries, seven of which resulting in the top five in fact. His last eight finishes though were third, second, eighth, first, first, third, third and fifth respectively. He’s led a series leading 488 laps too at New Hampshire.
He’s a solid choice.
Dillon, has made four starts in the series with netting two top 10’s in those chances. He’s yet to nab a top five though.
No Kyle Busch
The loudest cheers in last weeks XFINITY Series race at Kentucky came when Kyle Busch was passed on track. Well, he won’t even be in the race this weekend. That’s a welcome sight for his competitors as he’s won the last two years there and six of the last nine overall.
Northeast Natives Preece/Grala Eyeing Success
Both Ryan Preece and Kaz Grala are on the entry list this weekend for what they consider their hometrack. Preece, bet on himself in this very race last year and it paid off. Instead of running full time for an underfunded team, he signed up for two races with Joe Gibbs Racing. The first was this one. He’d wind up second and earn more starts and more races in the future. Now, he’d like to win.
Grala, sat out the Kentucky race last week and returns rejuvenated and hungry. He’s had a ton of success with his new team already and looking to take his frustrations out on missing the last race on the field. In six starts in his Fury Race Cars Ford, he’s had three top 10’s including a fifth place effort in his last race at Daytona. In New Hampshire, he’s made two career Truck Series starts with finishes of seventh and 10th respectively.
Pole Winner The Race Winner?
New Hampshire rewards track position. Just look at the last six years of racing there. The last six XFINITY Series races has seen the pole winner reach victory lane. Does that trend hold true for the seventh straight year on Saturday?
Custer, Hemric Rolling, Looking For 1st Wins Of The Season
The best battle right now is among the top four spots in the XFINITY Series points standings. Christopher Bell is fourth and has won twice already this year, but he trails Elliott Sadler, Daniel Hemric and Cole Custer for the points lead. That trio are all within a few points of one another for the top overall seed heading into the playoffs. That distinction takes 15 extra playoff points with them. So, despite those three not winning yet, they’re all getting close.
Custer and Hemric are the hottest.
Over the last 15 races, Custer has 13 top 10 finishes. He’s had six top fives in his last seven starts overall.
Hemric, enters with 13 top eight finishes over his last 15 starts, eight of which are consecutively. Can either win on Saturday?