A wet race weekend saw the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway being postponed unti; Sunday, the race for the Cure 300 finally got underway. The big headline going into the event was that two of the favourites to win the 2016 Xfinity title were sitting inside the cut off zone. Erik Jones and Ty Dillon had disastrous weeks at Kentucky but followed them up with strong finishes at Dover the following week. There was a lot of pressure for these two drivers since Charlotte marks the first elimination race in the inaugural Xfinity Series Chase for the Cup.
Joey Logano Wins at Charlotte as Notable Names are Cut from the Xfinity Chase
The race started with Kyle Larson on the pole and dominating for the majority of the race leading 165 of the 200 laps. He looked like he was en-route to winning the event until he was passed by Erik Jones late in race. All Erik Jones had to do was cruise away to the win after gaining a big lead. This was until his final green flag pit stop however, where Jones was penalized for an uncontrolled tire.
Dakoda Armstrong spun out to bring a late race caution and Joey Logano took the lead from there, leading the final 12 laps in what marked his second Xfinity Series win of the year. Erik Jones managed to recover from his penalty and finish in fifth punching his ticket into the next round. Further down the field, Blake Koch stunned everyone by finishing twelfth and punching the final ticket into the Round of 8.
The Top 5 of the Cure 300:
- #12 PPG Ford- Joey Logano
- #1 One Main Financial Chevy- Elliott Sadler
- #19 Juniper Networks Toyota- Daniel Suarez
- #42 Nature Made Chevy- Kyle Larson (POLE)
- #20 NBA 2K17/ Gamestop Toyota- Erik Jones
A few other notable finishers include the #18 of Matt Tifft in eighth place, the #39 of Ryan Seig in tenth and the #3 of Ty Dillon in eleventh. The #6 of Darrell Wallace Jr was the lowest finishing Chase driver, finishing in twentieth place. The #90 of Martin Roy– the only Canadian driver in the field- finished in thirty-first.
Who is in and Who is Out?
Erik Jones overcame his late race penalty to earn himself a spot in the next round. Darrell Wallace Jr overcame bad front end damage from an accident on the first lap to come home in twentieth place and punch his seat into the Round of 8. Despite a day full of issues and drama nothing was going to stop Justin Allgaier from finishing in sixth and moving on. Other notable performances include, #19 of Daniel Suarez and the #1 of Elliott Sadler both moving on from wins at Dover and Kentucky. The #62 of Brendan Gaughan and the #16 Ryan Reed advanced on points. Finally, the most surprising of all was the the final advancer, the #11 of Blake Koch who’s twelfth place finish was enough to beat out Ty Dillon and secure his spot into the Round of 8 beginning next week at Kansas Speedway.
That leaves the bottom four drivers. The drivers that will not be advancing from here on out include the #39 of Ryan Seig, the #33 of Brandon Jones, the #48 of Brennan Poole and the #3 of Ty Dillon. Dillon’s solid 11th place run wasn’t able to give him enough points to leap frog Blake Koch.
This new Xfinity chase format has shown the premise it was intended to show; wins are all that matter. One bad week is enough to ruin your entire round and possibly cost you a championship. There is a hockey metaphor that be perfectly applied for this situation:
“You can’t win a game in the 1st period, but you can most certainly lose one.”
As we’ve seen in the Sprint Cup, one bad race is enough to lose you the championship. You can’t win the championship after one race, but you can certainly lose it. This premise is working just as NASCAR wanted it to work, punishing the drivers for crashes and bad finishes.
The Chase Standings following Charlotte:
- #19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota- Daniel Suarez
- #1 JR Motorsports Chevy- Elliott Sadler
- #7 JR Motorsports Chevy- Justin Allgaier
- #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota- Erik Jones
- #62 Richard Childress Racing Chevy- Brenden Gaughan
- #16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford- Ryan Reed
- #6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford- Darrell (Bubba) Wallace Jr
- #11 Kaulig Racing Chevy- Blake Koch
Eliminated drivers from The Chase:
- #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevy- Ty Dillon
- #48 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevy- Brennan Poole
- #39 RSS Racing Chevy- Ryan Seig
- #33 Richard Childress Racing Chevy- Brandon Jones
Round 8 will commence at the Kansas Speedway October 15th for the Kansas Lottery 200.