2020 Xfinity Series Playoff outlook after Texas

The NASCAR Xfinity Series recent race, Saturday’s My Bariatric Solutions 300 at Texas Motor Speedway, featured another repeat winner this season in an unexpected outcome, where it took approximately an hour after the race concluded for the official race winner to be declared. The battle for the final spots to the Playoffs, however, continued to tighten up with several key contenders struggling in the Lone Star state.

With his third consecutive Xfinity Series victory of the season, Austin Cindric and the No. 22 Team Penske Ford Mustang team are establishing themselves as a potential championship threat for this season. Cindric’s victory was awarded to him following post-race technical inspection, when initial winner Kyle Busch was disqualified. With his third consecutive win, which was last made in the series in 2018 from Christopher Bell, Cindric joins Chase Briscoe as the only Xfinity competitors that have won three or more races this season. Both Ford competitors also remain as two of six drivers currently guaranteed a spot in the Playoffs by virtue of a regular-season win(s), a list that include Justin Haley, Brandon Jones, Noah Gragson and rookie Harrison Burton, who rallied from a five-race stretch of finishing no higher than 12th to post a top-five result.

With six of 12 spots to the Playoffs still vacant, Ross Chastain retains one of the spots as the highest-winless competitor this season. A ninth-place result, to go along with a handful of stage points, and his 14th top-10 result has Chastain and the No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet team 297 points above the cutline while the Floridian attempts to make his second series postseason appearance.


American Muscle

For Justin Allgaier, the majority of Saturday’s race at the Lone Star state had Allgaier and his No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet team scored as the leader. After leading a race-high 98 laps and winning both stages, it appeared that Allgaier would record his first victory of the season. His race-winning hopes, however, were dashed when he was penalized for a blend-rule violation in the final stage. Nonetheless, he was able to race his way back to a third-place result for his fourth top-five result, which keeps the Illinois veteran 228 points above the top-12 cutline.

Teammate Michael Annett also had a decent run at Texas, where he collected stage points from both stages and settled in fifth when the checkered flag flew. With his third top-five result and his fifth consecutive top-10 result in recent weeks, Annett is 164 points above the cutline to make the Playoffs for the second consecutive year.

While it was a good race for some, it was not the case for rookie Riley Herbst. Coming off two strong results at the Kentucky Speedway doubleheader, Herbst’s run was cut short early on the fourth lap when he was battling Gragson and made contact with the Turn 4 outside wall, an incident that would end his run in the garage. With a 36th-place result, the Las Vegas rookie and his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota team went from 69 points above the top-12 cutline to 60.

Following an up-and-down doubleheader at Kentucky, Ryan Sieg’s race at Texas concluded midway due to suspension issues. The Tucker, Georgia, native and his No. 39 RSS Racing Chevrolet team remain inside the cutline by 58 points despite posting their seventh result outside the top 20.

With last week’s doubleheader at Kentucky produced up-and-down results for Brandon Brown, Saturday’s run at Texas was a run that stabilized his position within the top 12. A 10th-place result, his fourth of the season, allowed the Woodbridge, Virginia, native to retain the 12th and final spot to the Playoffs by 31 points while he aims to make his first postseason appearance.

If there is a competitor making recent strides and gaining ground towards the cutline to the Playoffs, it is Jeremy Clements and his family owned team based in Spartanburg, South Carolina. With an 11th-place result, his ninth top-15 finish of the season and fifth in a row, Clements trails Brown for the final Playoff spot by 31 points in his quest to qualify for his second postseason, first since 2017.

Coming into Texas Motor Speedway and being 14 points below the cutline, Myatt Snider received an opportunity to race his way back into the top-12 cutline on the strength of eight top-15 results in his rookie Xfinity Series season. The Charlotte native, however, was involved in an early incident and could not recover as he settled in 34th place. In losing a spot in the standings to Clements along with a handful of points, Snider trails the cutline by 38 points.

Other competitors who remain in contention for the Playoffs include rookie Jesse Little, Alex Labbe, Josh Williams, B.J. McLeod, rookie Joe Graf Jr., Chad Finchum and Vinnie Miller.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will run its next scheduled race of the season at Kansas Speedway on July 25, which will air at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN.


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