For the second time this season, the NASCAR Xfinity Series hosted a doubleheader. However, this time, the doubleheader was in the Bluegrass State, Kentucky Speedway.
The two races weren’t quite as exciting as the Indianapolis Grand Prix, but still provided some interesting storylines that are worth mentioning.
Austin Cindric, finally after 82 starts in the Xfinity Series in a span lasting four years, achieved his first career oval wins. He got the win on Thursday night but was twice as nice when the Team Penske driver earned another win Friday night. Cindric matched a neat stat that was brought up during the Fox Sports 1 broadcast. The North Carolina native matched Richard Petty’s record in 1971, when “The King” won back to back races that year.
While Cindric seemingly stole the show, it was actually Noah Gragson and Harrison Burton who stole the show post-race in Friday night’s race. Late in the race, Gragson and Burton were battling hard before the two got squeezed up the race track, with Gragson pushing Burton up the track. Unfortunately, Burton got the worse end of the deal, and cost a good finish. Though the damage was done, as once the two drivers got out of their cars in the garage area, fists started swinging and the fight was on. As soon as the fight was pursued, NASCAR officials broke up the two young drivers to prevent the fight escalating further. That’s just another sign of the season starting to heat up and the playoffs lurking in the background.
With another doubleheader completed in the Xfinity Series, here’s a look at this week’s Power Rankings following the two consecutive events at Kentucky Speedway.
- Austin Cindric- No surprise here as Cindric gets the top spot. Cindric was disappointed by not being able to win at the Indy Grand Prix the week before, but followed it up with dominating performances at Kentucky, winning two nights in a row and nabbing his first oval win. In Thursday’s night event, Cindric finished third in Stage 1 and second in Stage 2. For Friday’s showing, the Team Penske driver won Stage 2 and led 130 laps en route to his fourth career Xfinity Series win. Now that Cindric has two wins in 2020, it’ll be interesting to see if the No. 22 team can carry this momentum into the playoffs and perhaps be a dark horse contender for the championship. A really solid back to back nights for Cindric.
Previous Week Ranking- Fourth
- Chase Briscoe- After winning the Indy Grand Prix, Briscoe had high hopes of getting the double wins at Kentucky on Thursday and Friday. Had he done so, he would be very close to his win goal of eight, as Briscoe would be sitting one away from accomplishing that goal. Unfortunately for the Indiana native, he finished fourth in Thursday’s event and runner up in Friday’s event. Hindsight is 20/20, but if you go back and watch those two races, he easily could have won those two races. However, not all was lost in the process. In Thursday’s outing, Briscoe placed third in Stage 2 and then placed seventh in Stage 1, and fourth in Stage 2 in Friday’s race. Both of those races may not have been what Briscoe wanted, as he wants victories right now, but picking up those points are huge and could come in handy once the playoffs are in full play.
Previous Week Ranking- First
- Noah Gragson- Despite the post-race fight overshadowing his performances at Kentucky, the Las Vegas native did have a good run in the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet. For Thursday’s race, Gragson swept both stages and led 87 laps, before disappointingly winding up 11th after drawing for the pole. In the second event, Gragson appeared to have the car again, as he won Stage 1 but suffered a pit road speeding penalty during the stage break, which ultimately ruined his chances for a good finish. As the night ended barring the fight, Gragson was seventh in the running order after leading 37 laps.
Previous Week Ranking- Second
- Justin Allgaier- Allgaier and the No. 7 JR Motorsports team had a crazy 24 hours at Kentucky. On the first night, the Illinois native ended up getting involved in a wreck on the last lap, which he was credited with a 20th place finish. After the wreck, Allgaier was taken to a local hospital for an elevated heart rate. Fortunately, he was cleared to come back for Friday’s race and had a solid turnaround, but first, let’s take a look at Thursday’s results. While the ending results don’t do much justice, Allgaier certainly should promise during the stages. He brought home the No. 7 Brandt Chevy to eighth in Stage 1 and sixth in Stage 2. In the Alsco 300 (Friday night), Allgaier had a better outing. The Illinois driver was unable to collect stage points this time around but managed to finish fifth for his third top-five of the season. Certainly, a wild weekend in Kentucky for Allgaier.
Previous Week Ranking- Third
- Anthony Alfredo- Alfredo doesn’t run the full Xfinity Series season, but sure does make the most of those starts. He placed fifth in Stage 1 and 10th in Stage 2 in Thursday’s Shady Rays 200 and wound up sixth in the running order. As for Friday’s case, the Richard Childress Racing driver fourth in the first stage and second in Stage 2. Alfredo didn’t get to lead any laps, but certainly made his name known when he finished sixth again. Overall, Kentucky was a success for Alfredo, as the Connecticut native earned his sixth top 10 of the 2020 season. A nice turnaround after a forgettable 20th place outing at the Indy Grand Prix, the week before.
Previous Week Ranking- Not Ranked
- Justin Haley- Haley was mainly quiet throughout the doubleheaders at Kentucky, but still had some good efforts. He finished seventh in Thursday’s race and third in Friday’s event after placing ninth in Stage 2. As Haley did have a somewhat successful weekend, he was hoping to carry that second place momentum from Indy. Despite finishing seventh and third, Haley and company will have to start picking up more stage points, as he only has six playoff points.
Previous Week Ranking- Fifth