The X-FINITY Series heads off to Kentucky Speedway, where twelve title hopefuls begin their post-season journey in Saturday night’s Visit Myrtle Beach-dot com 300. There’s also a rookie holding the top seed in the X-FINITY Series Chase … Joe Gibbs Racing’s Erik Jones, who paced the regular season with four wins. He’s joined in the “playoffs” by Elliott Sadler, Daniel Suarez, Ty Dillon, Justin Allgaier, Darrell Wallace Junior, Brendan Gaughan, Ryan Sieg (Seeg), Ryan Reed, Blake Koch, and rookies Brennan Poole and Brandon Jones. The twelve-man title field will be trimmed to eight following the October 7th race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
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Justin Marks got the best of his thirty-nine X-FINITY Series rivals on Saturday by mastering a soggy circuit and driving to victory at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Marks, widely known as a road racing specialist but making just his twenty-fifth career series start, led a race-high forty-three laps in his Number-42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet – including the final ten, beating pole sitter Sam Hornish Junior to the checkered flag by more than three-and-a-half seconds. Ryan Blaney took third place with Ty Dillon and Justin Allgaier completing the top five. It was a banner day for Chevrolet as the manufacturer grabbed four of the five top finishing positions. Marks started sixteenth in the forty-car field but charged forward at the drop of the green flag. He took his first lead just eleven laps into the race as rain soaked the two-point-two-mile natural road course. It did subside and the track began to dry at the mid-point of the race. But the skies opened up again in the second half, which opened the door for Marks to claim his first career win. Darrell Wallace Junior had the lead on the day’s final restart fourteen laps from the finish but went off the course in the wet conditions, surrendering the top spot to Dillon with Marks in hot pursuit. Dillon slid off the track himself a short time later, giving Marks the opening he needed to reclaim the lead and drive on to victory … Series leader Elliott Sadler started fourth and finished ninth, which was enough for him to stretch his advantage to twenty-five points over second-place Daniel Suarez, who labored to a twenty-third-place finish … Erik Jones was the highest-finishing rookie, coming home in sixth place.
THE NASCAR X-FINITY SERIES … also competes at Watkins Glen with Saturday’s Zippo 200. Teams got two practice sessions on the newly paved road course on Thursday with Kyle Busch posting the fastest overall speed, 123.006 miles per hour. Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski and defending race winner Joey Logano followed on the speed chart as Sprint Cup drivers took the top four spots. Justin Allgaier completed the top five … Larson had the fastest average speed over ten consecutive laps, 122.552 miles per hour. Allgaier, Trevor Bayne, rookie Erik Jones and Darrell Wallace Junior took positions two through five.
With the 2016 season now well into its second half, X-FINITY Series drivers are heading into their first road-course weekend of the season as they set their sights on Saturday’s Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International. This year marks the first time the elimination-style “Chase” format that’s been used by the Sprint Cup Series the past two seasons will also be implemented in the X-FINITY Series. Twelve drivers will qualify and if the post-season began today, the field would consist of rookies Erik Jones, Brandon Jones and Brennan Poole … Elliott Sadler, Daniel Suarez, Ty Dillon, Justin Allgaier, Brendan Gaughan, Darrell Wallace Junior, Ryan Reed, Ryan Sieg and Blake Koch … who leads Ross Chastain and Jeremy Clements by twenty-four points in the fight for the final “playoff” spot with seven races remaining in the regular season. The post-season Chase will begin September 24th in Sparta, Kentucky … Erik Jones leads all series regulars with three wins while Sadler currently sits atop the regular-season standings, fourteen points ahead of second-place Suarez.
The 2016 season marks the first time the elimination-style “Chase” format that’s been used by the Sprint Cup Series the past two seasons will also be implemented in the NASCAR X-FINITY Series. Twelve drivers will qualify and if the post-season began today, the field would consist of rookies Erik Jones, Brandon Jones (no relation) and Brennan Poole … Elliott Sadler, Daniel Suarez, Ty Dillon, Justin Allgaier, Brendan Gaughan, Darrell Wallace Junior, Ryan Reed, Ryan Sieg and Blake Koch … who leads Ross Chastain by nineteen points in the fight for the final “playoff” spot with eight races remaining in the regular season. The post-season Chase will begin September 24th in Sparta, Kentucky … Next stop for the X-FINITY Series will be Saturday night’s U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway. Suarez leads the standings by fourteen points over second-place Sadler with Dillon, Allgaier and Erik Jones completing the top five … Ryan Blaney won last year’s race in Iowa but is not entered this time around. Brad Keselowski is scheduled to drive the Number-22 Team Penske Ford.
Defending Sprint Cup champion Kyle Busch will make the first of four scheduled Camping World Truck Series starts this season on Saturday afternoon in the Alpha Energy Solutions 250 at Martinsville Speedway. Busch’s last race in the Truck Series was last fall in New Hampshire, where he finished eleventh. His most recent start at Martinsville came in October 2011, when he ran second to Denny Hamlin – who was also driving a Busch-owned entry.
In addition to this coming Saturday’s race on the Virginia half-mile, Busch will drive the Number-18 Toyota in Charlotte on May 20th, Kentucky on July 7th and Bristol on August 17th personally won a Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway, Kyle Busch Motorsports has four victories there … two apiece for Hamlin and Darrell Wallace Junior.
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