Monday, 27 January 2020

NASCAR Xfinity Series: 2019 season in review – Beyond the Flag

NASCAR Xfinity Series: 2019 season in review – Beyond the Flag
31 Dec

Let’s take one final look back at the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series season with the year 2019 set to end in just two days and the year 2020 on the horizon.

With 2020 just two days away and the focus set to shift to the next decade of NASCAR Xfinity Series racing, let’s take one more look at what the 2019 season had to offer.

The 33-race season was the season of the “Big 3”, which included Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer and Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick, all of whom have been promoted to the Cup Series for the 2020 season.

Of the 33 races on the schedule, 27 were won by full-time Xfinity Series drivers; Kyle Busch won four of his seven starts driving for Joe Gibbs Racing while A.J. Allmendinger and Ross Chastain each won one race driving for Kaulig Racing.

Of the 27 races that were won by full-time Xfinity Series drivers, 21 were won by the “Big 3”.

But it was the “Big 3” member who won the fewest races and led the fewest laps who won the championship primarily, doing so thanks to his consistency. He recorded series-best marks in top five finishes, top 10 finishes and average finish.

That driver was Reddick, who entered the season as the reigning champion having just won the 2018 title driving for JR Motorsports.

For the second straight year, he held off Custer in second place to win the season finale and the championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Bell, despite the fact that he led more than twice as many laps as anybody else in the field with 2,005 laps led, finished in third in the championship standings.

The other six races were won by five drivers, with Team Penske’s Austin Cindric the only other multi-race winner of the full-time drivers. He had never won a race entering the season and was one of three first-time winners, as JR Motorsports’ Michael Annett and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Brandon Jones also found victory lane for the first time in their respective careers.

JR Motorsports’ Justin Allgaier, the other Championship 4 driver, won one race, as did Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe, who won the Rookie of the Year Award with his fifth place finish in the championship standings.

With the “Big 3” all Cup Series-bound, Allgaier, Briscoe and Cindric (sixth place) were the top three finishing drivers among those slated to return to the series in 2020.

JR Motorsports rookie Noah Gragson, the highest ranking non-winner aside of GMS Racing rookie John Hunter Nemechek (seventh), who is Cup Series-bound to Front Row Motorsports for 2020, ranked fourth in that category after his eighth place finish in the championship standings.

Next: Top 10 NASCAR drivers of all-time

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The 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series season is scheduled to get underway on Saturday, February 15 with the NASCAR Racing Experience 300, which is set to be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 from Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET. What does the 33-race 2020 season have in store?



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