The last few years, JR Motorsports have by far been the team to beat in the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship race. Two years ago, they had two of the four cars in the Championship 4 vying for the 2016 series title at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Last year, they had 75-percent of the field (3 of 4).
This year, while three of their four drivers advanced to the Round of 8, how many will move onto the Final Four at Homestead? Do they have the speed to get multiple drivers through?
Right now, I’d say no.
Just look at how the first round shaped up for them. Elliott Sadler finished sixth, 14th and 11th respectively in his No. 1 Chevrolet. He hasn’t finished better than fifth since July 6 at Daytona. His last non restrictor plate finish better than fifth was at Dover back in early May. While Sadler had finished in the top four of the final standings in six of his seven years since returning to the series on a full-time basis, that streak may be coming to an end in his final season at the helm.
What about Tyler Reddick?
His first round results were seventh, ninth and 14th respectively. He hasn’t won since the season opener at Daytona. He has just two top five finishes over the last 19 races on the season.
Do either his or Sadler’s stats lead you to believe that they’re Championship 4 material right now? After all, Christopher Bell has won two of the last three races and has five straight top seven finishes entering the second round. Cole Custer has 11 top 10 finishes over the last 13 races on the year and five top four finishes over his last eight starts overall. Daniel Hemric was third, 10th and seventh respectively in the first round and boasts six top 10 finishes over his last nine races, four of those in the top five.
If looking for favorites, Bell, Custer and Hemric are at the top.
Justin Allgaier could be too so long as his bad luck is over. Saturday’s third place finish at Dover could prove that it is. Heading into the playoffs, Allgaier had 14 straight top 10 finishes including seven top three finishes in a span of eight races. His first two finishes in the postseason were 32nd and 15th respectively.
Allgaier, is JRM’s best bet for this year’s championship.