Justin Allgaier is 27 points back in NASCAR's XFinity Series, looking for a strong showing this weekend in Kansas to keep pace in the playoffs.
Among the eight drivers who have advanced this far — Allgaier, Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric, Noah Gragson, Justin Haley, Ross Chastain and Ryan Sieg — the 1.5-mile tracks have predominantly been the highlights of their season work. Seven of those drivers have earned top-10 finishes in at least six of the 10 races at 1.5-milers. In addition to Cindric and Chastain, who have nine top 10s, Briscoe has eight and Allgaier and Haley have seven each.
With back-to-back 1.5-mile playoff venues – Kansas and then Texas Motor Speedway next week – this is the bread-and-butter of these drivers’ championship hopes. And the statistics indicate there should be some tightly-contested races — in particular at these venues — to decide which four drivers will ultimately advance to earn a shot at the Championship 4 in the Nov. 7 season finale at Phoenix Raceway.
With their work on the 1.5-mile tracks, Briscoe and Cindric have to be considered the heavy favorites coming into the weekend. Briscoe has already collected a playoff win (at the Las Vegas playoff opener) but didn’t score a top 10 in the two races afterward at Talladega, Ala., and the Charlotte Roval. His best finish in three Kansas starts is third in last year’s playoff race.
Gragson’s veteran JR Motorsports teammate Allgaier — who sits third in the championship, 27 points behind Briscoe — boasts seven top-10 finishes in 10 Kansas starts, including three career-best fifth-place finishes at the track. He has 10 top-10 finishes in 20 Texas starts with a career-best of third there in July.