Saturday’s Use Your Melon Drive Sober 200 Race Preview

The Monster Mile will decide who moves on to Round of 8

The NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff’s first round will come to a close this weekend at Dover International Speedway in the Use Your Melon Drive Sober 200 (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Four of the 12 Playoff drivers will be eliminated and eight will move on to the next round.

Two drivers have already clinched their spots in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff Round of 8 – Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell by winning the Richmond Playoff opener and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer who clinched his position on points last weekend at Charlotte.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff standings following Charlotte:

Rank

Driver

Points

Starts

Race Wins

Stage Wins

Playoff Pts

Pts From Cutoff

1

Christopher Bell

2,143

28

7

17

62

In On Wins

2

Cole Custer

2,133

28

6

7

45

Clinched On Points

3

Tyler Reddick

2,114

28

5

4

44

52

4

Austin Cindric

2,112

28

2

1

17

50

5

Justin Allgaier

2,102

28

0

5

12

40

6

Chase Briscoe

2,097

28

1

3

13

35

7

Noah Gragson

2,088

28

0

1

5

26

8

Michael Annett

2,073

28

1

1

9

11

9

John H. Nemechek

2,062

28

0

0

0

-11

10

Brandon Jones

2,062

28

0

3

4

-11

11

Ryan Sieg

2,036

28

0

1

1

-37

12

Justin Haley

2,034

28

0

1

3

-39

The remaining six positions in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs will be decided this Saturday. All 10 drivers vying for those remaining six spots can win their way into the next round this weekend. Below are the Round of 8 clinch scenarios for this weekend at Dover:

Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick can clinch on points with 15 points and a new winner this weekend. If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Cole Custer, Austin Cindric, Justin Allgaier, Chase Briscoe, Noah Gragson or Michael Annett), then he could clinch on points with four points.  Reddick has made four starts at Dover, putting up two top-five finishes; including a third-place result earlier this season.

Team Penske’s Austin Cindric can clinch on points with 16 points and a new winner this Saturday. If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Cole Custer, Tyler Reddick, Justin Allgaier, Chase Briscoe, Noah Gragson or Michael Annett), then he could clinch on points with five points. Cindric has made three series starts at Dover grabbing three top 10s; including his best finish at the track (sixth) earlier this year.

JR Motorsport’s Justin Allgaier can clinch on points with 27 points and a new winner this weekend. If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Cole Custer, Tyler Reddick, Austin Cindric, Chase Briscoe, Noah Gragson or Michael Annett), then he could clinch on points with 16 points.  Of the Playoff drivers, Allgaier has the most experience at Dover having made 17 starts and amassing one win (May 2018), seven top fives and 10 top 10s.

Stewart-Haas Racing with Fred Biagi’s Chase Briscoe can clinch on points with 32 points and a new winner this weekend. If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Cole Custer, Tyler Reddick, Austin Cindric, Justin Allgaier, Noah Gragson or Michael Annett), then he could clinch on points with 21 points. Briscoe has made two series starts at Dover, posting one top five and an average finish of 12.0. He finished fifth at Dover earlier this season.

JR Motorsport’s Noah Gragson can clinch on points with 41 points and a new winner this Saturday. If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Cole Custer, Tyler Reddick, Austin Cindric, Justin Allgaier, Chase Briscoe or Michael Annett), then he could clinch on points with 30 points. Gragson has made two starts at Dover posting one top-10 finish. Earlier this season he started ninth and struggled a bit, finishing 19th.

JR Motorsport’s Michael Annett can clinch on points if there is a repeat winner (or a win by Cole Custer, Tyler Reddick, Austin Cindric, Justin Allgaier, Chase Briscoe or Noah Gragson), with 45 points. Annett could also clinch on points with a new winner and help. Annett has made 15 series starts at Dover, collecting one top five and two top 10s. His average finish at Monster Mile is 13.1. Annett currently sits in the final Playoff transfer position only 11 points ahead of ninth place John Hunter Nemechek. 

The remaining four Playoff contenders outside the Xfinity Series postseason cutoff can clinch on points but will need a lot of help. A win is the only sure way they can guarantee their spot in the next round. 

GMS Racing’s John H. Nemechek is currently ninth in the NASCR Xfinity Series Playoff standings 11 points back from eighth-place Michael Annett in the final postseason transfer position. Nemechek has made three previous starts at Dover, posting two top 10s; including his best finish at the track (eighth) earlier this season.

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Brandon Jones is 10th in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs, 11 points back from eighth-place Michael Annett in the final Round of 8 transfer position. Jones has made seven series starts at Dover posting one pole and three top-10 finishes; including his career-best finish at the track (sixth) in this race last season.

RSS Racing’s Ryan Sieg is 11th in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs, 37 points back from eighth-place Michael Annett in the final Round of 8 transfer position. Sieg has made 11 series starts at Dover putting up an average finish of 15.9. He finished a career-best 11th at Dover earlier this season.

Kaulig Racing’s Justin Haley is 12th in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs, 39 points back from eighth-place Michael Annett in the final Round of 8 transfer position. Haley made his series track debut at Dover earlier this season; he started 11th and finished 17th.

2019 Playoff Driver – 2019 Postseason Stats

Drivers

Starts

Wins

Top Fives

Top 10s

Poles

Laps Led

Laps Completed

Avg. Start

Avg. Finish

Rank

Christopher Bell

2

1

1

1

0

257

317

7.5

6.5

1

Cole Custer

2

0

1

2

0

5

317

8.0

5.5

2

Tyler Reddick

2

0

1

2

0

1

317

2.5

6.0

3

Austin Cindric

2

0

2

2

1

9

317

2.0

2.5

4

Justin Allgaier

2

0

2

2

0

0

317

4.5

4.0

5

Chase Briscoe

2

0

1

2

1

21

317

3.0

7.0

6

Noah Gragson

2

0

1

2

0

0

317

10.0

6.0

7

Michael Annett

2

0

0

1

0

0

317

16.5

12.0

8

John H. Nemechek

2

0

0

1

0

0

316

26.0

11.0

9

Brandon Jones

2

0

0

0

0

4

317

13.0

13.5

10

Ryan Sieg

2

0

0

0

0

0

315

19.0

21.0

11

Justin Haley

2

0

0

0

0

0

310

8.0

24.0

12

Xfinity’s next stage: Dover International Speedway

This weekend the NASCAR Xfinity Series rolls into Dover, Delaware, for the third race in the Playoffs with the Use Your Melon Drive Sober 200 (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Dover International Speedway is one of only seven tracks that are currently on the schedule that have been a part of the series circuit since its inception in 1982.

Dover has hosted 71 NASCAR Xfinity Series races, producing 47 different poles winners and 48 different race winners. Joey Logano and Harry Grant currently hold the series record for poles at Dover with five each. Kyle Busch holds the record for Xfinity Series wins at Dover with five victories.

This season marks the fourth consecutive year Dover International Speedway will host a NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff race. For the first two years of the Xfinity Playoffs (2016-2017), Dover was the second race in the postseason. Then last year Dover was moved to the third and final race of the Round of 12, the same as it is this season.

Dover has produced three different winners in its three Playoff races – Daniel Suarez won in 2016, Ryan Blaney won in 2017 and Christopher Bell won last season. Blaney is the only one of the three winners that was not a Playoff driver at the time of his victory. Both Suarez and Bell took the Playoff standings lead following their wins at Dover and went on to win the title in their respective seasons.

Last season four drivers were eliminated from the Playoffs following Dover, they were Ross Chastain, Brandon Jones, Ryan Truex and Ryan Reed. Jones is the only one of the four that is currently a Playoff driver this season.

Previous Playoff Round of 12 eliminations

The NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs are tough, and this weekend’s event will help to thin the herd of contenders for this season’s title. Each round of the Playoffs eliminates four drivers, below is a look at the past three seasons and the drivers who advanced to the Round of 8 as the drivers listed in red were eliminated: 

2016 Playoffs

2017 Playoffs

2018 Playoffs

Round of 8

Round of 8

Round of 8

Kansas, Texas, ISM Raceway

Kansas, Texas, ISM Raceway

Kansas, Texas, ISM Raceway

Erik Jones

William Byron (26)

Christopher Bell (44)

Elliott Sadler

Justin Allgaier (23)

Justin Allgaier (39)

Daniel Suarez

Elliott Sadler (20)

Daniel Hemric (13)

Bubba Wallace

Daniel Hemric (9)

Elliott Sadler (11)

Brendan Gaughan

Cole Custer (7)

Cole Custer (11)

Justin Allgaier

Brennan Poole (6)

Tyler Reddick (10)

Ryan Reed

Ryan Reed (5)

Matt Tifft (3)

Blake Koch

Matt Tifft (4)

Austin Cindric (1)

Ty Dillon

Brendan Gaughan

Ross Chastain

Brennan Poole

Michael Annett

Brandon Jones

Ryan Sieg

Jeremy Clements

Ryan Truex

Brandon Jones

Blake Koch

Ryan Reed

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Burton in JGR’s No. 18 – Harrison Burton will be making his sixth start of the season and third consecutive this weekend at Dover International Speedway in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota Supra. The No. 18 team is vying for a Playoff spot in the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series owner Playoffs, currently 11th in the standings, 15 points back from the eighth-place JR Motorsport’s No. 1 team driven by Michael Annett. Burton’s Playoff run has seen a sixth-place finish at Richmond and a 13th-place finish last weekend at the Charlotte Road Course. This weekend will be Burton’s series track debut at Dover.

Smith in JRM’s No. 8 – Zane Smith will be back in the JR Motorsport’s No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro this weekend at Dover for his ninth start of the season. Smith’s eight previous starts have produced one top five and five top 10s. Smith has competed in one Playoff race this season already – the Richmond postseason opener starting 15th and finishing eighth. The No. 8 team is currently 10th in the owner Playoff standings 12 points behind the eighth place No. 1 JRM team.

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