The first two races in the opening round of the NASCAR Xfinity Series have brought excitement, with close racing throughout the field. Though entering Dover International Speedway this weekend, there is still a lot of points on the line.
Here is the playoff picture as we enter the weekend.
1. Christopher Bell – Locked In
Virtue of picking up the win at Richmond Raceway, Christopher Bell locked himself into the Round of 8 without having to worry at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL or Dover. That’s a good thing, as he tangled with Chase Briscoe in the late stages last weekend.
He could very well give himself some more playoff points (one per stage win, five with a race win) as he has won the previous two Xfinity Series races at Dover.
2. Cole Custer – +71 (Locked In)
Virtue of his playoff points and kicking off the playoffs with a third and eighth, Cole Custer has mathematically locked himself into the second round of the post-season.
He could add some additional playoff points, as he has scored three top-five’s in five appearances at Dover, including a runner-up last fall.
3. Tyler Reddick +52
With the winner possibly able to secure 60 points on any given race day, Tyler Reddick has yet to lock himself mathematically into the next round. However, it would take a lot to remove him from the playoffs as he’d need the worse day you can have, combined with the best day for one of those on the outside looking in. He also enters this weekend with momentum, having scored a top-10 in the last three races, including a runner-up last Saturday.
In four starts at Dover, he has scored a pair of top-five’s, including a third-place finish in May.
4. Austin Cindric +50
Cindric enters this weekend in the same situation as Reddick, courtesy of a second and third in the first two events of the playoffs. Other than Bell, you could argue that Cindric is right now the hottest driver in the series statistical wise.
He has been solid at Dover, with three top-10’s in three appearances, including a track-best sixth in May.
5. Justin Allgaier +40
The solid consistency that we’ve come to see out of Justin Allgaier is paying off as a pair of fourths in the first two races of the playoffs give him a comfortable cushion entering this weekend. Notably, he has finished in the top-five in the last four events on the schedule.
In 17 appearances at Dover, he has scored 10 top-10 finishes, including a victory. But more notably, he has scored a podium finish in his last four starts, including the aforementioned win in 2018.
6. Chase Briscoe +35
Despite having the run-in on-track with Bell at the ROVAL, Chase Briscoe has started off the playoffs solidly with a fifth and ninth. As long as he puts together a solid top-10 day at Dover, he should be fine to move to the next round.
He has finished 19th and fifth in his pair of appearances at Dover.
7. Noah Gragson +26
With finishes of seventh and fifth in the first two races of the playoffs, Noah Gragson just needs another top-10 and he should solidly move to the next round of the playoffs.
He has finished seventh and 19th in his pair of appearances at Dover.
8. Michael Annett +11
After showing a lot of promise through the summer months, Michael Annett finds himself right on the edge entering Dover following a 15th-place finish this past weekend at the ROVAL. The JR Motorsports driver has posted 16 top-10’s in 28 races this season, but will need to be on his A-game this weekend.
In 15 starts at Dover, he has only posted a pair of top-10 finishes – including a 10th in May.
9. Brandon Jones -11
With Dover appearing to not be the strongest track for Annett, this could be the perfect time for Brandon Jones to capitalize and get himself into the next round of the playoffs. A solid run on Saturday would be perfect redemption after finishes of 11th and 16th to start the post-season.
After failing to post a top-10 in his first four appearances at Dover, he has done so in the last three events – including a track-best sixth last fall.
10. John Hunter Nemechek -11
After finishing 15th at Richmond, it certainly put John Hunter Nemechek in a hole to start the playoffs, and a seventh at the ROVAL did not do much to help his cause. He will need to find the speed that delivered four top-five finishes this season if he wants to move forward to the next round.
After finishing 14th in his first appearance at Dover, he has finished eighth and ninth in the races since.
11. Ryan Sieg -37
It’s technically not a must-win situation, but it certainly is not an easy amount of points to make-up as Ryan Sieg will need to hope his fellow competitors have issues following a 30th-place finish at the ROVAL. That said, a victory would solve all of his problems – and be one of the biggest upsets in the series, given the size of RSS Green Light Racing.
He has yet to post a top-10 finish at Dover despite running 11 races there, posting a track-best 11th in May.
12. Justin Haley -39
Haley enters this weekend in the same situation as Sieg following a 31st-place finish at the ROVAL. Although he has yet to win a race this season, Kaulig Racing has proven capable of doing so as A.J. Allmendinger scored the team’s second victory of 2019 on Saturday.
Haley finished 17th in his lone appearance at Dover.
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