Round of 8 By the Numbers: Three Races for a Chance at the NXS Championship

Ron Lemasters | 10/13/2020

Bass Pro Shops Black Rifle Coffee Brandt Daniel Hemric Jeb Burton Justin Allgaier NASCAR Xfinity News Noah Gragson Poppy Bank State Water Heaters

The NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs are down to the final eight drivers and teams, and JR Motorsports has three of its four teams in the mix to see who will emerge as the series champion in 2020.

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 13, 2020) – There are eight remaining competitors for the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series championship on the driver’s side, and eight more for the owner’s championship. Three of JR Motorsports’ four teams are among that number, and the countdown clock to the season finale starts now.

Noah Gragson (No. 9 team) and Justin Allgaier (No. 7 team) will carry the torch for JRM on both the drivers’ and owners’ side, while Daniel Hemric and Jeb Burton will compete for the organization in the owners’ championship with the No. 8 team.

Allgaier (three victories and a series-best 12 stage wins) is 27 points behind leader Chase Briscoe as the three-race Round of 8 begins this weekend at Kansas Speedway. Gragson is 35 points behind the leader with two victories and eight stage wins.

The No. 8 Chevrolet, which this weekend will be driven by Hemric before giving way to Burton for the events at Texas Motor Speedway and Martinsville Speedway, is 59 points behind Briscoe’s No. 98 entering the Kansas Lottery 300.

This weekend at Kansas, the Round of 8 will get under way. Allgaier, by far the most experienced of the NXS Playoff drivers at JRM, averages a finish of 10.8 on the 1.5-mile oval and has three fifth-place finishes—all in the fall race there. Though he has never won at Kansas, the track is very similar to Chicagoland Speedway, where Allgaier has won twice (2011 and 2017).

Gragson has two NXS starts at Kansas and averages 14.0 per finish, but one of his two NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoor Truck Series victories came there in 2018.

Hemric has been solid on the 1.5-mile oval at Kansas, with a top-five and two top-10 finishes in three NXS starts with a pole and a runner-up finish in 2018 being his best effort. He’s also led 128 laps there.

At Texas for the second race, Allgaier again has the edge in experience and is on a bit of a run. Over his last four starts, Allgaier has an average finish of 6.5 and scored a third in the event held there earlier this season. Overall, in 20 starts, Allgaier has a pair of top-fives and 10 top-10 results, leading 135 laps.

Gragson has run into Texas-sized bad luck in the Lone Star State, as accidents sidelined his effort the last two times he’s run there. In his first start there last year, he was 13th as a rookie.

Burton, in for the Texas and Martinsville events with State Water Heaters backing, has been hot at TMS, with fifth-, ninth- and sixth-place showings in his last three races, all with JRM.

The key to the Round of 8 will likely be the final race at Martinsville, set for Oct. 31. As the cutoff for the Championship 4, the venerable paperclip was already circled on the calendar for the JRM teams. The fact that the NXS has not run there since 2006 is another wrinkle to the devilishly deceptive finale.

Allgaier has completed 1,828 laps at Martinsville over four starts as a NASCAR Cup Series driver. His best finish was 13th in 2015 and he also led four laps there in 2014.

Gragson has won a race at Martinsville, taking the NGROTS event there in 2017 by holding off Matt Crafton over the final 10 laps to seal the deal. The fact that Gragson has won on two of the three tracks in the Round of 8 is intriguing, to say the least.

Native Virginian Burton has run the most laps at the famed short-track, with 1,730 laps run in the Truck Series and another 1,643 in the Cup Series, logging a pair of top-five finishes and three top-10s in the Trucks with a best result of third. He’s also led 154 laps in the Trucks.

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • October 31 03:30 PM ET
    NXS at Martinsville*Martinsville Speedway
  • November 7 05:00 PM ET
    Desert Diamond West Valley Casino 200*Phoenix Raceway

XFINITY Series Standings

After O'Reilly Auto Parts 300*

Texas Motor Speedway | 10/24/2020
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Chase Briscoe (P)31330
2Austin Cindric (P)3103-30
3Justin Allgaier (P)3097-36
4Justin Haley (P)3093-40
5Brandon Jones (P)3089-44
6Ross Chastain (P)3078-55
7Noah Gragson (P)3069-64
8Ryan Sieg (P)3050-83
10Michael Annett2128-1005