NASCAR XFINITY SERIES – NEWS & NOTES – BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY
NASCAR XFINITY Series
Next Race: Drive To Stop Diabetes 300
The Place: Bristol Motor Speedway
The Date: Saturday, April 18
The Time: 1:30 p.m. (ET)
TV: FOX Sports 1, 1 p.m. (ET)
Radio: PRN, Sirius XM Ch. 90
Distance: 159.9 miles (300 laps)
NASCAR XFINITY Series
Youth Dominates Tight XFINITY Standings
The NASCAR XFINITY Series’ top five in points has average age of 21.2, but that’s only half the story. Just 22 points separate first to fifth in the championship standings, and the competition levels keep rising.
Heading into the seventh race of the season, Richard Childress Racing’s Ty Dillon leads the standings by two points over Roush Fenway Racing’s Chris Buescher in second. Not far behind Dillon in third-place is the 2014 series champ Chase Elliott (-11 points from the lead), fourth-place Darrell Wallace Jr. (-15) and fifth-place Ryan Reed (-22).
All five young stars have kicked 2015 off right, but Dillon has had the strongest start to his season; in six races he has posted two top fives, four top 10s and an average finish 7.7. Buescher also has been a force this season posting three top fives, four top 10s and an average finish of 8.0. But as of late 19-year-old Chase Elliott has been proving his rookie success was not a fluke. Following the season opener at Daytona, where Elliott finished 38th due to an accident, he has climbed from 20th in points to third thanks to five consecutive top-10 finishes. Among the championship contenders Elliott, leads in season-to-date driver rating (100.0).
The top three are hot but don’t forget rookie standout Darrell Wallace Jr. has posted two top 10s and an average finish of 10.5 this season. Also his Roush Fenway Racing teammate Ryan Reed won the season opener at Daytona and has an average finish 11.8.
Among the top five in points Ty Dillon has the best record at Bristol Motor Speedway. The 23 year old, Dillon has made three starts at Bristol posting three top 10s and an average finish of 5.6 (the best among active drivers). This will be Darrell Wallace Jr.’s series debut at Bristol, but the remaining drivers in the top five in points have posted the following average finishes at BMS – Buescher (11.0), Elliott (6.0), and Reed (23.6).
Bristol’s Victory Lane Just Might See A Fresh Face
With the defending winner of the 2014 fall race (Ryan Blaney) not entered this weekend and Kyle Busch sidelined due to injury (won NXS prior three events at Bristol; spring 2014 and 2013 sweep), the field has four previous Bristol winners entered this weekend.
The most recent active winner at Bristol is Joey Logano, who won the fall race at the 0.533-mile track in 2012. Logano is joined by three other former winners – Kevin Harvick with five Bristol wins (fall of 2000, fall of ’01, spring of ’03, spring of ’05 and spring of ’09), Elliott Sadler with two (spring of 1998 and spring of 2012) and 2000 series champ Jeff Green with one (spring 2002).
Team Penske Sits Atop Owner Points Standings … Of Course
For the third week in a row, Team Penske‘s No. 22 Ford team has been the team to beat in the NASCAR XFINITY Series car owner standings. Following Texas, Team Penske’s lead has extended to nine points over second-place JR Motorsport’s No. 88 team.
Car owner Roger Penske is looking for his third consecutive NASCAR XFINITY Series owner title this season and his formula of multiple drivers has him on course for just that. This weekend, Joey Logano has been tapped to climb behind the wheel of the No. 22 Ford at Bristol, but it has been the collaborative effort of Logano, Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney that has cemented the points lead.
Logano has made eight series starts at Bristol posting one win (fall of 2012), four top fives, six top 10s and an average finish of 7.6.
Big Names Bound For Bristol
This weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway in the NASCAR XFINITY Series several popular NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers will be pulling double duty: Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Austin Dillon and Denny Hamlin.
Bristol NXS Quick Stats:
Harvick (No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet) – has made 26 series starts at Bristol posting two poles, five wins, 15 top fives, 21 top 10s and an average finish of 7.5.
Logano (No. 22 Team Penske Ford) – has made eight series starts at Bristol posting one win (fall of 2012), four top fives, six top 10s and an average finish of 7.6.
Dillon (No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet) – has made four series starts at Bristol posting two top fives and an average finish of 7.5.
Hamlin (No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota) – has made six series starts at Bristol posting one top five, two top 10s and an average finish of 18.3.
Sunoco Rookie Update: Wallace Still The Man To Beat
Darrell Wallace Jr.’s sixth-place finish at Texas last weekend has opened up his lead in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings by 14 points over second-place Daniel Suarez and 18 points over third-place Ross Chastain.
Wallace is starting to distance himself from the other rookie candidates; in six starts he has posted two top 10s and an average finish of 10.5.
Full Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings heading into Bristol: Wallace (73 rookie points), Suarez (59), Chastain (55), Conley (48), Rhodes (39) and Reaume (16).
Erik Jones Setting Himself Apart At A Young Age
Last weekend’s winner Erik Jones became the first driver in NASCAR national series history to win five national series races before the age of 19. The historic win breaks his tie with Chase Elliott (four wins) for the most national series wins by a driver under the age of 19.
In fact, there have only been 14 races won by drivers under the age of 18 — and Jones now has 35% of those victories.
Jones’ win last weekend at Texas was the fifth of his NASCAR national series career but just the first in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and driving for Joe Gibbs Racing. Jones also has posted four wins in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
In three NXS starts this season he has posted an average finish of 6.0.
Breakdown of Erik Jones NASCAR national series wins:
Series Track Driver’s Age Date of Race
NXS Texas 18 years 10 months 11 days 4/10/2015
NCWTS Phoenix 18 years 5 months 8 days 11/7/2014
NCWTS Las Vegas 18 years 3 months 28 days 9/27/2014
NCWTS Iowa 18 years 1 month 11 days 7/11/2014
NCWTS Phoenix 17 years 5 months 9 days 11/8/2013
NASCAR XFINITY Series Etc.:
Milestones Watch: Kevin Harvick (174) will attempt to tie Kyle Busch this weekend for the most all-time NASCAR XFINITY Series top-five finishes at 175. … Brian Scott will attempt to post his 175th consecutive NASCAR XFINITY Series career start this weekend. …
Back In The Booth: After what many are calling a successful first-go at the broadcast side of a NASCAR event, Jeff Gordon will be back in the FOX Sports booth for the NASCAR XFINITY Series race this weekend in Bristol. Following this weekend Gordon is scheduled for one more appearance as a race analyst with FOX at Talladega (May 2).
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