Boiling Down the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series Season for JR Motorsports

Ron Lemasters | 11/11/2020

Daniel Hemric Jeb Burton Justin Allgaier Michael Annett NASCAR Xfinity News Noah Gragson Playoffs

Given a few days’ space between the final race of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season last Saturday, the analysis of what occurred over the past seven months began. The end result was another great season for JR Motorsports.

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Nov. 11, 2020) – Given a few days’ space between the final race of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season last Saturday, the analysis of what occurred over the past seven months began.

Justin Allgaier advanced to the Championship 4 and had a chance late in the Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 to earn his first series championship, but settled for the runner-up spot. His appearance in the Championship 4 continued JRM’s record of being the only team with at least one participant in the winner-take-all event since its inception in 2016.

Noah Gragson finished second on-track to Austin Cindric, while Michael Annett earned his best finish of the season in fourth. Daniel Hemric, completing the season in JRM’s No. 8 Chevrolet, was 25th after experiencing an early mechanical problem.

As a result, Allgaier finished a career-best second in the points with three victories, 11 top-five and 19 top-10 finishes. Gragson won twice, adding a team-high 17 top-five and 25 top-10 finishes on the way to fifth in the final standings. Annett had four top-fives and set a personal best with 22 top-10 finishes, moving up to ninth in the standings thanks to his good run at Phoenix.

Allgaier’s victories at Richmond Raceway on Sept. 11-12 were significant. It was the first JRM sweep of a doubleheader event in team history and the triumph on Sept. 11 was JRM’s landmark 50th since beginning competition with a single race during the 2005 season.

How does that compare to previous seasons for the three-time series champion team? Pretty darn well, the numbers say.

In terms of average points finish, the 2020 season ranked fifth out of seven at 5.3, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. In 2014, JRM’s initial title season, champion Chase Elliott and runner-up Regan Smith averaged 1.5 by sweeping the top two spots in points, but JRM ran three cars that season, not four. The same thing happened in 2017, with four cars, and the team swept the top three positions in the points—William Byron won, Elliott Sadler was second and Allgaier third, with Annett a solid ninth. That averages out to 3.75 given the fourth car.

In 2016, Sadler and Allgaier finished second and third, respectively, in the points in the first season of the winner-take-all format, for an average points finish of 2.5. In 2015, still under the old system, Elliott (2nd) and Smith (4th) averaged 3.0 in points.

The clear winner in terms of success—numbers-wise, at least—is 2017, with a sweep of the top three positions and another in the top 10 (9th) with Annett.

In 2018, another championship season, Tyler Reddick’s title was followed by fifth (Sadler) and seventh (Allgaier), while Annett was 14th in the final count to score a 6.75 average points finish. The 2018 season was the best in one category, however, as Allgaier won five times and Reddick twice to top the six victories earned the year before.

Last season, despite Allgaier making the Championship 4, was at the bottom of the average points finish list at 7.0. Annett scored his first career victory in the season opener at Daytona, and Allgaier won the penultimate race at Phoenix to make the final four, but Allgaier (4th), Gragson (8th) and Annett (9th) had a higher average than any other season in the past seven.

If you just take the top two finishers in points for the team each year, the list changes.

As expected, 2014 and 2017 tied for the top spot at 1.5, with 2016 third at 2.5. Next came 2015 and 2018 at 3.0, 2020 at 3.5 and 2019 at 6.0.

Over the past seven seasons, team drivers have scored 30 of the team’s 51 total NXS victories (58.8 percent), five of them coming this past season. As well, Elliott, Byron and Reddick earned Rookie of the Year honors, in addition to their championships, in the series over that span.

With the pending announcement of the NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award in the coming days, JRM has dominated the past decade in that regard. For the past eight seasons, a JRM driver has won the award (Justin Allgaier 2019, Sadler 2016-18, Elliott 2014-15, Smith 2013 and Danica Patrick 2012), and Brad Keselowski won in 2008 and 2009 while driving for the team. That makes it 10 of the last 12 MPD awards for JR Motorsports.

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XFINITY Series Schedule

XFINITY Series Standings

After Desert Diamond West Valley Casino 200*

Phoenix Raceway | 11/7/2020
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Austin Cindric (P)40400
2Justin Allgaier (P)4032-8
3Justin Haley (P)4029-11
4Chase Briscoe (P)4028-12
5Noah Gragson2306-1734
6Brandon Jones2273-1767
7Ross Chastain2270-1770
8Harrison Burton #2248-1792
9Michael Annett2202-1838