Five things to watch in the New Hampshire Xfinity race
The NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to action on Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the series’ 17th race of the season and 10 remaining until the playoffs begin.
Here are five things to watch in the Overton’s 200:
New Hampshire currently holds the series record for most consecutive wins from the pole at five. The streak began in 2012, when Brad Keselowski pulled into Victory Lane after leading 131 of 200 laps. The next four series races at NHMS followed suit, with Kyle Busch winning in 2013, Keselowski again in 2014, Denny Hamlin in 2015 and Busch again last season. The previous record for consecutive series wins from the pole at one track was four, held by Rockingham Speedway (1982-1984).
Currently there are four rookie of the year contenders – William Byron, Daniel Hemric, Cole Custer and Matt Tifft – who would qualify for the playoffs if they began this weekend. Byron, who has two wins, is the only one of the four who is already locked into the playoff grid.
Darrell Wallace’s loss could be Brendan Gaughan’s gain. Wallace’s Roush Fenway Racing team shut down several weeks ago due to lack of sponsorship but he is still high enough in points to make the playoffs. Assuming Wallace will not participate, Gaughan is the next closest driver who could slide into the 12th and final position. He is 22 points behind 12th place Blake Koch.
A Busch victory would be his 175th in NASCAR national series competition (Monster Energy Cup, Xfinity and Trucks) – second all-time behind Richard Petty’s 200. He holds both the series qualifying record (131.916 mph, 2013) and the race record (111.925 mph, 2009).
There are five Cup Series drivers entered in Saturday’s race and pulling double duty – Busch, Keselowski, Reed Sorenson, Ty Dillon and Kyle Larson.
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