Qualification Scenarios for NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff Drivers to Make the Championship Race

Published 10/31/2020, 9:52 AM EDT
Oct 17, 2020; Kansas City, Kansas, USA; NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Austin Cindric (22) and Ross Chastain (10) and Noah Gragson (9) and Brandon Jones (19) lead the restart during the Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports


Much like the NASCAR Cup Series scenario, the NASCAR Xfinity Series playoff scenario also has just one driver qualifying for the championship race so far. Three spots will be booked in the final race before Phoenix, indicating an enthralling battle on the cards on Saturday night.

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Chase Briscoe is the only driver with a ticket to Phoenix Raceway so far. Austin Cindric, Justin Allgaier, and Justin Haley finish the top-four in the playoff standings. The four drivers behind Haley are the ones with the most work to do. They are Brandon Jones, Ross Chastain, Noah Gragson, and Ryan Sieg.

Jones stands four points behind Haley, while Chastain is 15 points behind Haley, who holds the cutoff spot. Gragson, who was moments away from winning in Texas and heading to the final four, now faces a tough task as he is 24 points off the cutoff. Sieg is a huge 43 points behind Haley.

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Clinching scenarios for the NASCAR Xfinity Series contenders

If the Martinsville race sees a new winner, Cindric would clinch his spot with 46 points as the second driver behind Briscoe, who would then be the only winner among playoff contenders in the round. Also, Allgaier would be through with 52 points. Haley would need some external help and would need to depend on other results to qualify.

Oct 17, 2020; Kansas City, Kansas, USA; NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Justin Haley (11) leads Justin Allgaier (7) and Ben Kennedy (2) and Riley Herbst (18) during the Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

If Saturday night’s race sees a repeat winner, Haley would benefit from that. He will still need 52 points to qualify. Meanwhile, Cindric and Allgaier would qualify with 42 and 48 points, respectively. If one of these three drivers wins at Martinsville, he would naturally qualify, and so would the other two on points.

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In both scenarios, Jones, Chastain, Gragson, and Sieg will need a win to be sure of qualification. If not, they would have to depend on other results along with their own.

The Texas race saw a new winner, which completely turned the playoff race on its head. Gragson was nearing a win and had it in his grasp before Harrison Burton snatched it away.

Oct 10, 2020; Concord, North Carolina, USA; NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Noah Gragson (9) leads Daniel Hemric (8) during the Drive for the Cure 250 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Meanwhile, Briscoe is chasing his 10th win this season. He goes in as the favorite to win in Phoenix, but the challenge of the championship format means anything could happen next weekend. He will learn of who he faces there, later, on Saturday.

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Aayush Majumdar

1006 articles

Aayush Majumdar is a NASCAR content strategist, a Tennis Writer, and a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. He is well-tenured as a tennis and NASCAR writer, with over 900 articles across both sports. After pursuing a Post Graduate program in Sports Management, Aayush explored various roles in Sports Media, including a Sports Reporting role at a leading English daily.

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