AVONDALE, AZ – JR Motorsports entered the Round of 8 with three of their four drivers still in the hunt to win this year’s NASCAR XFINITY Series championship. Heading into Saturday’s Whelen 200, they had two drivers to the good on the playoff standings.
Unfortunately, Christopher Bell was victorious at the ISM Raceway in Phoenix.
Due to Bell winning and making it in, someone had to fall out. That driver was Elliott Sadler. He struggled all afternoon and would finish a disappointing 11th. He had a tire rub towards the end of the first stage then came home 16th in Stage 2.
It was a rough afternoon for the Virginia native as he will end his XFINITY Series career without a championship. Sadler, has made 394 career starts and has finished in the top four in six of the last years in the final standings, but has never won. The last two years, he was runner-up.
Now, the best he can do is finish fifth.
Sadler, was eliminated from playoff contention despite finishing third and eighth in the other two races this round. It was an emotional end for him at Phoenix.
His teammate and the top overall seed Justin Allgaier was also eliminated too.
Allgaier, won both stages but fell to fourth exiting pit road after the second stage when they made adjustments. That ended up being their demise.
Allgaier, got into John Hunter Nemechek after Nemechek and Ty Majeski made contact at the start/finish line. Nemechek, spun and Allgaier had no where to go and got into him with his right front. He’d have to pit for repairs and would stay in the hunt until losing his brakes and falling a lap down in the end. He’d finish 24th, one lap down. That ended his playoffs too.
Allgaier, entered the postseason with 14 consecutive top 10 finishes. He ended the regular season with seven top three finishes over the final eight races. But, his playoffs were dreadful.
He was crashed towards the end of the playoff opener at Richmond and finished 32nd. The next week on the Charlotte ROVAL, Austin Cindric wrecked him as he’d come home 15th. Luckily, his playoff points and a third place run at Dover advanced him to the second round.
In the Round of 8 opener, Allgaier was crashed by Christopher Bell and would finish 38th. He was fifth last weekend in Texas and now 24th on Saturday. Four finishes of 15th or worse in six playoff races ended his hopes despite being the top overall seed.
That has been the story of the playoffs.