After a week hiatus, the NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers are back in action this weekend at the Kansas Speedway. This will be the opening race of the Round of 8. But, one thing common denominator is certain in the second round of the playoffs, 1.5-mile tracks.
Out of the three races in this round, two of which are on 1.5-mile tracks. It all starts this weekend at Kansas and will pick up again in two weeks at the Texas Motor Speedway. So, if you’re off your game on 1.5-mile tracks, you could be carrying a huge deficit heading into the cutoff race at Phoenix in November.
With that being said, who are the ones to watch?
Christopher Bell is one. He has six top four finishes in seven tries on 1.5-mile tracks in 2018. He won at Kansas last year. He was runner-up at Texas earlier this season. He has two wins over the last three races on the season and his team Joe Gibbs Racing has won six straight times at Kansas overall.
Look for Daniel Hemric to be strong too. He has four top 10 finishes over the last five races on the season and five top seven finishes in seven tries on 1.5-mile tracks this season too.
Elliott Sadler could be strong as well. While he has just one finish better than fifth since the start of June, he does have four fifth place finishes, a sixth place run, an eighth place finish and a 12th on 1.5-mile tracks in 2018.
Cole Custer will be quick too. He has four top five finishes in his last five starts on 1.5-mile tracks and five top four finishes in his last eight starts on the season.
A lot of others have struggled though.
Austin Cindric has three finishes of 14th or worse in his last six races on 1.5-mile tracks. Tyler Reddick has five finishes of 19th or worse. Matt Tifft has just two top 10’s in seven tries.
The drivers who will struggle out of the gates are the ones who’ve struggled on 1.5-mile tracks all year.