2020 Xfinity Playoff outlook after Darlington

It all comes down to the final three NASCAR Xfinity Series races through the upcoming two weekends until the 2020 Xfinity Playoff field is set.

With this year’s series regular season reaching its conclusion, the time for the competitors on the outside of the cutline and vying for the final spots to the 12-car postseason field is running out while those currently inside the cutline on points have stabilized themselves into the postseason battle for the title.

Following a thrilling finish to last Saturday’s Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 at Darlington Raceway on September 5, Brandon Jones joins Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric as the lone Xfinity competitors to achieve three or more victories through the first 23 races of the regular-season stretch as the Atlanta native also collected his fourth career series win.

They, along with Noah Gragson, Justin Haley, rookie Harrison Burton and Justin Allgaier, remain the only competitors to be guaranteed a spot in this year’s Playoffs based on winning throughout the regular season.

For Ross Chastain, Saturday’s race at Darlington produced a good and bad news outcome. The bad news for Chastain was that he fell short of claiming his first victory of the season following a late battle with Cup veteran Denny Hamlin, where he made contact with Hamlin approaching the final lap and limped home in second place and after leading in the closing laps. The good news for Chastain and his No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet team is that with his career-high 10th top-five result (fourth runner-up result in 2020), the Floridian is guaranteed a spot in the Playoffs based on points as he will make his second series postseason appearance as a title contender. In addition, Chastain’s result places both Kaulig Racing competitors into the Playoffs.

Like Chastain, the Darlington event produced strong outcomes for Michael Annett, rookie Riley Herbst and Ryan Sieg, all of whom recorded top-10 results, are 120 points or more above the top-12 cutline and have an opportunity to secure their spots for the postseason following next weekend’s doubleheader events at Richmond Raceway.

Despite starting and finishing in 17th place while rallying from being involved in a multi-car wreck past the opening two laps, Brandon Brown extended his cushion with the 12th and final spot to the Playoffs by 45 points over Jeremy Clements, who finished 32nd due to electrical issues, and 51 over rookie Myatt Snider, who finished 10th and rallied from a three-race stretch of finishing outside the top 15.

Other competitors who continue to trail the cutline by 84 or more points include Josh Williams, rookie Jesse Little, B.J. McLeod, Tommy Joe Martins and rookie Joe Graf Jr.

The battle for the final spots to this year’s NASCAR XFINITY Series Playoffs will continue next weekend at Richmond Raceway for a doubleheader series weekend. The first Richmond race will occur on Friday, September 11, at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN while the second Richmond race will occur on Saturday, September 12, at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com


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