Xfinity Series News

Xfinity Series News (7552)

NASCAR Xfinity Series News

JCR is extremely excited to welcome Topgolf Entertainment Group, a global sports and entertainment company, as its newest sponsor. The Topgolf livery will make its debut Friday, Sept. 20 at the Richmond Raceway in the Go Bowling 250 ahead of Richmond’s Topgolf venue grand opening, which will bring climate-controlled hitting bays fueled by Toptracer technology, Swing Suite virtual gaming and minigolf to the Richmond community.

“We were thrilled to bring this deal together ahead of the Topgolf opening in Richmond.  We also recently visited the new location in Greenville and it’s a blast,” said racer Jeremy Clements.  “I love hanging out with friends at Topgolf and having fun with the awesome atmosphere and great food and drinks!”

Joining Topgolf as associate sponsors will be Repairable Vehicles.com, TRITEC, Chalew, Elite Towing & Recovery LLC, Circle Body Shop and Carolina Driveline.

JCR PR

So far, 2019 has been a star-crossed year for JR Motorsports driver Justin Allgaier, but, in fact, his run of bad luck started with the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs last year.

Allgaier entered the 2018 postseason on a streak of 14 straight top-10 finishes that included victories at Iowa, Mid-Ohio, Road America and Indianapolis. He was the reigning regular season champion with a boatload of Playoff points. Then Richmond happened.

With 24 laps left in last season’s opening Playoff race, the driver of the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet was wiped out when the Fords of Austin Cindric and Cole Custer collided. That accident set the tone for a disappointing postseason.

Though Allgaier survived the Round of 12, a crash on the first lap at Kansas doomed his prospects of advancing to the Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. And the streak of ill fortune didn’t end there.

Three crashes and an engine failure led to four DNFs in the first 15 races of 2019. Though five stage wins and top-10 runs in the last 10 races of the regular season have kept Allgaier tied for fifth in the Playoff standings, even though he doesn’t have a victory this year.

And it serves as a confidence boost for the 33-year-old Illinois driver, who feels his team may be peaking at the right time.

“I always tell people, ‘I’d love to say that it can’t get any worse, but I can promise you it can get a lot worse,’” Allgaier said Thursday during NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff media day interviews at Richmond Raceway. “That being said, the old saying, ‘I’d rather be lucky than good any day’ holds true.

“It’s just been one of those seasons for the record books—not in the way I wanted it to be. Last year was a record-book season for me, five wins, the whole deal. This year it’s been a record book; I’m not sure you could ask for so many different things to go wrong in the course of the season and make it through all of them.

“'Disappointed’ is probably an understatement, that we haven’t been back to Victory Lane, that we haven’t battled it out. But like I said, we’re peaking at the right time.”

And if Allgaier’s luck turns—for the better this time—he’s a leading candidate to join 'Big 3' drivers Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick and Cole Custer in the Championship 4 event.

 

XFINITY CHAMPIONSHIP IS PART OF CHRSTOPHER BELL’S LONG-TERM PLAN

For Christopher Bell, a NASCAR Xfinity Series championship is the second piece of a three-piece puzzle.

No driver has won titles in all three of NASCAR’s top three touring series. Bell wants to be the first.

“There’s been nobody that’s won all three championships,” Bell said on Thursday during NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff media day interviews at Richmond Raceway. “I don’t think there’s been anybody that’s won all three championships yet, so that would be a really good goal. It starts with these seven races.”

Bell is the top seed entering the Playoffs on the strength of six race victories and 15 stage wins, but he knows how fleeting big leads can be. Last year, Bell had to win at ISM Raceway in Phoenix just to qualify for the Championship 4 round at Miami.

“Well, we definitely have the advantage, but last year was a rude awakening,” Bell said. “I was in a very similar spot last year. We snuck through the first round really easy. I won Richmond and locked myself into the second round. We ran top-five at the (Charlotte) ROVAL and won at Dover, so we were on top of the world.

“Then, all of a sudden, we go to Kansas and crash. OK, we are not that bad. I think we right on the bubble at Kansas. We go to Texas and we crash, and then the next thing you know, you have to win at Phoenix to be able to race for a championship. It happens fast. You get on the other side of it very, very fast.”

Bell has always prided himself on unprecedented performances. In January, he’ll try for a fourth straight title in the Chili Bowl Nationals for Midget racers, a feat accomplished only by Kevin Swindell. Even though Bell is an Oklahoma-born dirt-tracker, however, the Xfinity championship is the current priority.

“Only one guy has won four straight Chili Bowls,” Bell said. “Nobody has won (all) three NASCAR championships. The fourth Chili Bowl is a lot closer, that’s for sure. That’s number two right now, because number one is the Xfinity Series championship.”

 

CHASE BRISCOE FOUND SPEED BY DARING TO BE DIFFERENT

When the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series started, Chase Briscoe already was playing catch-up. After all, it was his first full-time season in the series, and Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Cole Custer already had two full campaigns under his belt.

But Briscoe has made enormous strides as the season has progressed, not by emulating Custer but by doing things differently. He enters the first round of the Playoffs tied for fifth with Justin Allgaier.

“I think Cole certainly is still a little bit better than me, as far as consistently week-in and week-out, Briscoe said on the eve of the Go Bowling 250 at Richmond Raceway, the Playoff opener for the series (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). “But if you go back and look at the last month and a half, we’ve been able to out-qualify him some, practice relatively close, and last week (at Las Vegas), we were able to run him down, pass him and drive away.

“As a team, we felt like we would hit it earlier (in the season) than we did. Honestly, it took about until the second Iowa (which Briscoe won) before we felt like we were hitting on all cylinders and just know what I like in the race car. My crew chief (Richard Boswell) had never really worked with a dirt guy before…

“I feel like now we run totally opposite setups from the No. 00 (Custer) every week, where at the beginning of the year we started off different, then we tried to run what they ran, and it just didn’t fit my driving style, plain and simple. Now we have a set setup that we pretty much unload with every week, and it’s been night and day difference for me—the feel in the race car and what I’m looking for.”

You may be familiar with NASCAR driver Joey Gase’s passion to not only educate the community about organ, eye, and tissue donation but also honor those affected by it. This weekend Gase is partnering with Donate Life Virginia to continue his passion as he heads to Richmond, Virginia for a Friday night showdown at Richmond Raceway. This will be the 7th year Gase has partnered with DLV when he has traveled to the area. “I’m excited to have Donate Life Virginia on board with us again this weekend. They are a great partner of ours but most importantly they do a GREAT job of raising awareness for donation and honoring all of those affected by it,” said Gase.

This weekend you will find a special passenger on Gase’s car, Zachary Kellyn who became an organ, eye, and tissue donor at the age of 17 after passing away of a tragic car accident. His mother, Melanie Kelly, recalls the day she took Zack to get his learner’s permit when he was 15 years old. She wanted Zack to really think about why he was signing up to become a registered organ donor before he checked the box. Without hesitation, he said, “Mom, if I can help someone else live then I will. And don’t you leave me on a machine.” Zack was further motivated to become a registered donor after a classmate received a heart transplant in middle school telling Melanie, “Mom, somebody saved Julia’s life. I want to do that.” The morning of December 5, 2017, Melanie received the call every mother hopes they never will receive. An emergency room nurse was calling to tell her Zack had been in a horrible car accident and would need emergency surgery. She rushed to the hospital to learn Zack had a head injury with a subdural hematoma and shift of his brain, skull fracture, tear in his aorta and collapsed left heart ventricle, a punctured lung, and broken ribs and bones. “I knew that his chances (of survival) were slim to none,” said Melanie. “When they took me to his bedside I laid over him and just prayed for the Lord’s will to be done. I cried until I almost threw up.” Zack underwent nine hours of surgery. Sadly, the neurosurgeons told Melanie they did everything they could for him, but the brain damage was beyond repair. “We simply wailed. My only child,” she said. But Melanie asked about Zack’s heart and the doctors said it never stopped beating despite all the damage to it. It was comforting to her to know that because Zack always wore his heart on sleeve. “I’m still not sure how it fit because it was bigger than the world,” she said. The following day, Zack was declared brain dead. The boy, who wanted to save someone’s life if he could when he was 15-years-old, went on to save and heal many people through his gifts of life. Zack’s heart, liver, kidneys, corneas and tissues were donated. His heart had been miraculously healed and there was no evidence of the tear and the ventricle was fully functioning.

Zack’s picture will be placed on the TV panel of Gase’s #35 Camry this weekend. The Kelly family will join Joey and his team at the track Friday evening for the Go Bowling 250.

Joey Gase PR

Tyler Reddick and the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing team will enter the opening race of the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs with a big dose of celebrity draw thanks to Gimme Radio and metal band, Killswitch Engage. 
Following the success of Megadeth's paint scheme at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Killswitch Engage will now take center stage on the No. 2 Gimme Radio Chevrolet at Richmond Raceway to celebrate the release of their new album, Atonement. The band, which has been together since 1999, previously earned two GRAMMY® Award nominations in the category of "Best Metal Performance" in 2005 and 2014, as well as three consecutive top-10 debuts on the Billboard Top 200 with albums Killswitch Engage (2009), Disarm The Descent (2013), and Incarnate (2016).
"I know I speak for all the guys when I say how excited we are to work with Gimme Radio on a Killswitch Engage Day!" said Jesse Leach, lead vocalist of Killswitch Engage. "They have a ton of great programs and DJ's that bring a whole new level of interaction, dedication, and discovery to the metal genre and we're eager to show our support."
"On top of that, our band will be represented on a stock car in NASCAR!" continued Leach. "Never thought I'd see that happen ever! Crazy stuff. This collaboration is unique for us and I truly feel it will expand our audience and further the reach of our music and message. Big thanks to Richard Childress Racing for the opportunity and to Tyler Reddick who will be behind the wheel for the big race."
Gimme Radio, the music app designed provide metal fans with music they won't hear anywhere else, offers listeners shows curated by celebrity DJs and artists including Grammy Award-winning artist Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, Lamb of God lead singer Randy Blythe, Ozzy Osbourne bassist Blasko, and star of Orange Is the New Black, Jessica Pimentel. Fans on the app also have a unique opportunity to engage with the DJs and other listeners around the world through the app's chat room.
"Killswitch Engage is one of the most intense, aggressive and heavy bands playing today," said Gimme Radio CEO, Tyler Lenane.  "I can't think of a better band to be paired with the intensity of Tyler's driving."
On Friday, September 20, Killswitch Engage will be taking over the Gimme Radio app for the day, playing their new music and other songs they believe fans will enjoy. Beginning at 1:15 p.m. ET that day, Tyler Reddick will join the app's chat for a Q&A with fans before jumping in the No. 2 Gimme Radio / Killswitch Engage Chevrolet for Friday night's race at Richmond Raceway.
"Having Gimme Radio and Killswitch Engage on our No. 2 Chevrolet Camaro at Richmond this week is such a cool opportunity for me," said Reddick. "Killswitch Engage is a band I listened to a lot while growing up and traveling the country racing dirt late models, so to be able to help them promote their new album with the Richmond race weekend is really special to me. I'm really looking forward to interacting with the band and fans on the app on Friday before we go out and give this paint scheme a great night in the opening race of the Playoffs."
To participate in the chat with Reddick, download Gimme Radio for iOS or  Google Play today.
Catch the No. 2 Gimme Radio / Killswitch Engage Chevrolet Camaro under the lights of Richmond Raceway on Friday, September 20 beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
RCR PR

Emporia, Virginia native Hermie Sadler will get back on track at Richmond Raceway on Friday, September 20th when he wheels the #93 Virginia Lottery Chevrolet for RSS Racing.

Sadler, the 1993 NASCAR Xfinity Series Rookie of the Year and current analyst for NASCAR on FOX, will be making his first Xfinity Series start since 2016 in a Chevrolet prepared by RSS Racing.

“Each opportunity I have to compete is special at this point in my life and career”, stated Sadler. “One of the things that I am most proud of as a Virginia native is my longstanding relationship with the Virginia Lottery.  What an honor it is to represent them.  I truly appreciate their support of NASCAR Racing in Virginia, from Richmond to Martinsville, and other short tracks across the Commonwealth”

Other partners joining Sadler in his effort at Richmond Raceway are Boyd Cars of Virginia, The NASCAR Racing Experience, and Jacob Companies.

RSS Racing PR

Richmond Raceway (Richmond) will host the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) Playoffs Autograph Session in the historic Old Dominion Building on Friday, Sept. 20 from 2:00 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. The field of 12 NXS Playoff drivers will engage with fans to sign autographs for a memorable experience prior to the first race of the NASCAR Playoffs, Go Bowling 250.

“The NASCAR Xfinity Series Autograph Session has become a tradition on Friday of our fall race weekend,” said Richmond President Dennis Bickmeier. “The autograph session is a great opportunity for our loyal fans to connect with the next generation of drivers prior to the first race of the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs at America’s Premier Short Track.”

The drivers participating in the NXS Playoffs Autograph Session include all members of the NXS Playoffs: Christopher Bell, Cole Custer, Tyler Reddick, Austin Cindric, Chase Briscoe, Justin Allgaier, Michael Annett, Noah Gragson, Brandon Jones, Justin Haley, Ryan Sieg, and John Hunter Nemechek. Drivers available for the NXS Playoffs Autograph Session are subject to change.

To gain access to the autograph session, fans must have a wristband. Wristbands will be distributed at the Richmond Raceway Midway display beside Shorty the Piston beginning at 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 20. A limited number of wristbands are available for fans who also have a ticket to the Go Bowling 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff Race.

Fans are also invited to bowl on the lanes installed in the historic Old Dominion Building. The bowling lanes were constructed for the PWBA Tour Championship, which competes on Sept. 15-17 at the Richmond Raceway Complex. Bowling is free for all fans for the NASCAR Playoffs.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series Autograph Session is one of the many ways Richmond fans can engage with their favorite drivers over the NASCAR Playoff Race Weekend at Richmond. For a full list of driver appearances, visit richmondraceway.com/schedule.

Richmond Raceway PR

Las Vegas Motor Speedway was the site of Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Rhino Pro Truck Outfitters 300 night race. This weekend’s outing was the last race of the regular season, giving the drivers one last chance to make the playoffs. Entering the weekend, JD Motorsports drivers Garrett Smithley and Stephen Leicht had a shot at making the twelve-driver post season, but both were in a must-win situation.

Stephen Leicht, driver of the No. 01 Chevrolet, rolled off from the 23rd starting position in Saturday’s 200 lap race. Leicht fell a few spots back to 26th at the end of a caution-less Stage 1, but started to get in a rhythm throughout the middle part of the race. He moved up to 25th for the finish of Stage 2, and with some key adjustments from Mark Setzer up on top of the pit box, Stephen was able to get back into contention of the race. The lack of cautions made it difficult for many positions to be made back up, however, Leicht was able to leapfrog a few competitors through strategy. When the checkered flag flew, the Asheville, NC native crossed the line in 21st position. Leicht remains 19th in the season standings leaving Sin City.

BJ McLeod, driver of the No. 4 Chevrolet, started the race from the 22nd position. McLeod fought some handling issues early on, finishing 23rd in Stage 1 and 24th in Stage 2, respectively. At the end of Stage 2, Crew Chief Paul Clapprood made some adjustments on the box to help BJ gain some ground on his nearest competitors. Like the No. 01 team, the No. 4’s strategy paid off in a big way by taking the wave around and saving a set of tires for the end of the race. BJ was able to get up on the wheel in Stage 3, and with the help of those adjustments, he was able to run up inside the Top 20 in the latter portion of the race. A green flag pit stop for fuel lost some track position for McLeod, but he was able to rally back and score a 22nd place finish. He remains in the 20th position for the drivers’ points standings once again and is looking to build on his momentum this weekend in Richmond.

It was shaping up to be a Top 15 run for Garrett Smithley in the No. 0 Chevrolet until a late race pit road penalty made him come back down and serve a stop and go. Smithley started from the 26th position, but quickly was able to force his way through the pack early on. By the end of lap 45 in Stage 1, Garrett was already up to 18th position. He slipped back a couple spots to 20th in Stage 2, but some minor adjustments and strategy allowed him to get one lap back and fight for more spots. As green flag pit stops started, the Ligonier, PA native found himself in the Top 15 with less than thirty laps remaining. Unfortunately, a speeding penalty relegated Smithley back to a 23rd place finish, not indicative of where the #NumberNuthin crew deserved to end up. Garrett remains 18th in the drivers’ points standings, and though his playoffs hopes are dashed, he still has eight races left in the season to leave his mark.

Rookie Tyler Matthews, who drove the No. 15 Linetec Services Chevrolet in Saturday’s race, made his 1.5-mile intermediate track debut at Las Vegas. A natural born short track racer, Matthews initially found himself struggling to find the way to master the bigger track. The Richlands, NC native started the 300-mile race from the 28th starting position, but dropped back to 34th at the end of Stage 1. Some adjustments from Crew Chief Wayne Carroll made Matthews more comfortable with the track, and he was able to move up three spots to 31st at the end of Stage 2. It seemed as if the race went on, Tyler began to adapt more and more to the fast speeds of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway high banks. When the checkered flag flew, Matthews was able to come home in the very same spot where he started in 28th. Expect him to be back with the team for more races in the 2019 season.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series’ next stop on the tour will be a return to Richmond Raceway on Friday night for the running of the Go Bowling 250. JD Motorsports’ team lineup will consist of Stephen Leicht in No. 4 Chevrolet, Garrett Smithley in the No. 0 Chevrolet, Ryan Repko in the No. 01 Chevrolet, and BJ McLeod in the No. 15 Chevrolet. This will be Repko’s first start at the ¾ mile oval in just his third-career start in the Xfinity Series. Be sure to tune into NBCSN at 7:30 PM Eastern Time to see live coverage of the last short track race of the season. For all things JDM, follow us along on social media with the handle @JDMotorsports01. #TeamJDM

JDM PR

Team 08 JT Marine Chevrolet Camaro: 

Go for it. This was the mind set that Gray Gaulding and his No. 08 team embraced for the last race of the regular season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. With points no longer being relevant, it was a must win for Gaulding and his team to make the 2019 playoffs. Gaulding would roll off from the 16th position for the 200 lap race in Sin City. The first stage was completely dominated by Christopher Bell, as the 20 car set a blistering pace for the first 45 laps. The first stage went caution free and Gaulding found himself in the 17th position, one lap down early. Gaulding radioed to Crew Chief Patrick Donahue that his car was just too loose and needed to be tightened up. 

The second stage was a close reflection of the first. Christopher Bell once again dominated the stage and all 45 laps went green without incident. At the conclusion of the stage, Gaulding was in the 18th position and two laps down. Gaulding was overall happy with the feeling of his car. The driver of the 08 was confident that with some fresh tires and a slight adjustment, he would be right where he needed to be. 

Gaulding started the final stage from the 18th position and two laps down. On lap 112 the first on track incident of the day brought out the third caution. Having driven to the 17th position, Crew Chief Patrick Donahue made the call to stay on track during the caution in order to receive a wave around to become only one lap down. The gamble paid off. On lap 128 the fourth caution of the day waved and Gaulding was the beneficiary of the 'lucky dog'. Donahue called Gaudling to the pits under caution to top off on fuel and would restart on the lead lap. As the final 70 laps clicked by, the 08 team were gambling for the gold. All lead lap cars with the exception of the 2 car would have to stop under green for fuel. As the laps continued to wind down and cars continued to pit, Gaulding suddenly found himself in the 2nd position. The bold strategy call by Donahue put his team in contention late to shock the world. The worn tires and fuel conservation was unfortunately no match for a few of the leaders with fresh tires. Despite getting passed by a few of the leaders late, Gaulding was able to hang on to a seventh place finish, which marked the 08 team's fourth top ten of the year. 

Gray Gaulding: 

“P7 in Las Vegas! We’re in Vegas and we knew we wanted to roll the dice so we stretched it on fuel there at the end and came away with a top-10! Hats off to all my guys at SS Green Light Racing and team owner Bobby Dotter. Although we aren’t a part of the playoffs, I’m still living my dream and having the most fun I’ve ever had behind the wheel. This success couldn’t be possible without my family and my great partners, Barry Tisdale with SMG, JT Marine Inc., PURE, NASCAR Racing Experience and Panini. Thanks to all the fans who believe in me and have supported me through this journey.

Bobby Dotter Thoughts on the 08 Team:

“I couldn't be more proud of Gray, Patrick, and the entire 08 team. This little team has proved that they can run with the big boys on any track and they did it again today. Patrick made some great calls to put us in position late and Gray did his job. I'm looking forward to finishing out these final seven races of the year strong!"


 

Team 07 Isokern Fireplaces & Chimneys Chevrolet Camaro: 

Coming off a 20th place finish last weekend at Indianapolis, Ray Black Jr. and the 07 team came into Las Vegas looking to continue their streak of consistent finishes. After a 20th place qualifying effort, Black was set for 300 miles of racing. The first stage went caution free and the 20 car was relentless with his pace early on. At the conclusion of stage one, Black was in the 21st position, one lap down. 

The second stage was the same song, different verse. The 20 car continued to dominate the race. Like the first stage, stage two went incident free for all 45 laps. At the conclusion of stage two, Black was still in the 21st position, two laps down. 

As the final stage began, Crew Chief Jason Miller was hoping for a window of opportunity to play some strategy. He got it. On lap 112 the caution waved and Miller elected to take a wave around. Black would restart only one lap down. Caution waved again on lap 128 and Miller called his driver in to top off on gas. When it was all said and done Ray Black Jr. was able to bring home his No. 07 Chevy in the 19th position. The result marked the team's eighth top 20 finish in the last nine races. 

Ray Black Jr: 

“It was a solid effort by our 07 team. It's been a good consistent run for us the last several races. Looking forward to Richmond!" 

Bobby Dotter Thoughts on the 07 Team: 

“Ray, Jason, and the 07 team continue their consistent streak of runs with another top 20 finish. Looking forward to going to Richmond next week, which is a great track for both of my drivers!”

Looking Ahead: 

Despite not making the playoffs, 2019 has been the best season in the history of SS Green Light Racing. Drivers Gray Gaulding and Ray Black Jr. are 13th and 16th respectively in the NASCAR Xfinity Series points standings. The series will make their next stop in Richmond, Virginia. Coverage of the GoBowling 250 from Richmond Raceway will begin Friday September 20th at 7:30 PM ET on NBCSN. 

SS Green Light Racing PR

John Hunter Nemechek, No. 23 Berry's Manufacturing Chevrolet Camaro

START: 11th

FINISH: 8th

POINTS: 12th

Notes & Quotes:—

- Nemechek fought with a tight-handling No. 23 machine majority of the 200-lap event. Nemechek raced within the top-10 most of the day but a late green flag pit stop on lap 168 for fuel resulted in an eighth-place finish, one lap down.

- Nemechek finished seventh in Stage One and ninth in Stage Two.

- Nemechek secured his spot into the NASCAR Playoffs after his eighth-place finish tonight at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This marks his and GMS Racing's first Xfinity Series Playoff berth.

- This is Nemechek's 13th top-10 of the 2019 season.

- Nemechek is currently scored in the 12th-position in the driver standings with a total of 2,000 points.

"It was a decent race. We just needed strategy to work out better there at the end. I believe we had a top-six car all day and that's where we ran most of the day. A huge shout out to all of my guys. We've have had a rough few weeks and I'm glad we can put all of that behind us. We will carry this momentum into next weekend for the first round of the Playoffs at Richmond and do our best to get locked into the Round of 8."

GMS Racing PR

Tyler Reddick and his Richard Childress Racing Team gambled and hit the jackpot at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Saturday evening – taking a chance on fuel mileage; racing just hard enough and simultaneously saving just enough fuel to hold off Christopher Bell by .738-seconds in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Rhino Pro Truck Outfitters 300.

Reddick, who hoisted his fifth trophy, also officially earned the regular season championship based on points, on lap 71 of the 200-lap race. He was running fifth place at the time.

“Christopher Bell had a really fast race car today, but we were just able to come in and get fuel and tires and run really fast laps to keep us in front of him,’’ said Reddick, whose 30 laps led to close out the win were the sum of his laps out front.

“Hat’s off to [crew chief] Randall [Burnett] and all the guys, we’ve had a really fast car in the past, unfortunately today we didn’t have it but we got them with strategy.’’

Brandon Jones was third, polesitter Cole Custer was fourth and Justin Allgaier rounded out the top five. Veteran Elliott Sadler, 44,  a four-time Xfinity Series championship runner-up and 13-race winner, finished 10th in his last NASCAR national series race.

It was a strong statement for Reddick, 23, who earned his fifth victory to close out the regular season and now begins the Playoff run on a high note – the regular season champion and the most recent winner heading into the title run. The Californian has a series-best 20 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes in 26 races and is the defending Xfinity Series champion.

A six-race winner this season, Bell led a race-high 154 laps on the night and was understandably disappointed in the outcome after an especially strong showing Saturday. He pit for tires and fuel with 30 laps remaining and returned to the track to try to make up Reddick’s nearly 20-second advantage at the time. He slowly gained but ultimately came up short.

Although Bell’s impressive effort on the night didn’t earn him the race trophy, he does go into the Playoffs with the points lead. He is the top-ranked driver with 2,055 points as they are reset. Custer and Reddick are tied for second as the points re-set, 11 points behind Bell.

The rest of the Xfinity Series Playoff qualifiers in their re-seeded order include Austin Cindric, rookie Chase Briscoe, veterans Justin Allgaier and Michael Annett, rookie Noah Gragson, Brandon Jones, Justin Haley, Ryan Sieg and rookie John Hunter Nemechek. The seven-race Championship Playoffs begin next week at Richmond Raceway.

Sieg failed post-race technical inspection, but fortunately for him, it didn’t cost him a Playoff berth.

Custer, who bested Bell for the pole position Saturday afternoon, earned his fourth consecutive top-10 at the track and although disappointed not to win, seemed optimistic about his Playoff potential.

“We were just tight,’’ Custer said of his No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford. “We tried to make adjustments to fix it. Just a tough weekend. ‘’

But, he added. “We had a great regular season and looking forward to the Playoffs. I’m pumped for it. I think all the tracks in the playoffs we’ll be strong and everybody should look out for us.’’

Reddick’s crew chief Randall Burnett conceded it was a risky move to get the victory, but said he was feeling the Vegas vibe and that a strategic gamble was their only hope in besting the faster Bell.

“We felt like we weren’t going to be able to get up there and compete with the 20 (Bell) he was the class of the field all day,’’ Burnett said. “We saw an opportunity there. We knew we would be really close. None of the other guys came down (pit road). We really didn’t have anything to lose at this point.

“We got back out there, he [Reddick] did a great job managing and holding pace. We just managed our pace based on how fast the 20 was catching us. We had to pick it back up at the end.

“It just worked out. “

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