For the first time in 13 years, the NASCAR Xfinity Series returned to Martinsville Speedway for race No. 32 of the 2020 season and the final race in the Round of 8 Playoffs.
Heading into Martinsville, just one driver was locked into the Championship 4 at Phoenix, and that was Chase Briscoe thanks to his Kansas victory a couple of weeks ago. However, three other spots were up for grabs with seven drivers jockeying for those final three positions to race for a championship.
At the end of the 250-lap race Saturday afternoon, it was Chase Briscoe, Justin Allgaier, Austin Cindric and Justin Haley who would make the Championship 4 at Phoenix this coming Saturday afternoon.
While the race was geared toward the final three that had a chance to make it in, there was also a race winner to keep an eye on. That race winner turned out to be Harrison Burton in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing machine. Burton took the lead on Lap 198 and never looked back to lead the final 53 laps en route to his fourth win of the season.
Nevertheless, we’ll take a look at how others fared in this week’s Xfinity Series Power Rankings following the Draft Top 250 at Martinsville Speedway.
- Chase Briscoe – A seventh-place run in Saturday’s race was certainly uncharacteristic as the team is used to running in the top three or winning most of the time. Thankfully, with help from his Kansas victory a few weeks ago, he was able to take a breather before the Championship 4 race without having to worry about being in a must-win situation. For the race itself, Briscoe could only earn a stage finish of 10th in Stage 1 before settling for his 21st top-10 of the year. Now, all eyes will be on Briscoe Saturday to see if he can capitalize on what has been a dominant season with nine victories.
Previous Week Ranking – First
- Ross Chastain – Chastain finished fifth once the checkered flag flew Saturday and earned his 15th top-five of the year. In addition, the Floridan finished fourth in Stage 1 and won the second stage. Unfortunately, the stage finishes weren’t enough for Chastain to be a part of the Championship 4 as he would fail to move on despite the top-five finish. It was certainly a disappointing effort for the Kaulig Racing driver who will be moving on to the Cup Series next year to drive for Chip Ganassi Racing.
Previous Week Ranking – Fifth
- Justin Haley – Speaking of Kaulig Racing, Haley, the Indiana native, will now be racing for a championship come Saturday after earning three wins, 10 top fives and 20 top-10 finishes this year. This won’t be the first time that Haley has been a part of Championship 4. The last time he was a part of the season finale was two years ago in 2018 at Homestead, which is no longer the site where the champion is crowned. Throughout Saturday’s race, Haley finished fifth and third, respectively, in both stages, before finishing 12th.
Previous Week Ranking – Fourth
- Harrison Burton – After a few disappointing finishes at Talladega and transmission woes at the Charlotte Roval, Burton has been on a roll the last few weeks winning back to back races that started with a last-lap pass at Texas. On Saturday, the North Carolina native led 81 laps and finished second and ninth in the first two stages. One has to wonder, had Burton not been eliminated early in the Playoffs, he most likely would be challenging for the championship. But, like most drivers, Burton will have to wait until next year to have his opportunity.
Previous Week Ranking – Not Ranked
- Justin Allgaier – Allgaier is back for a second year in the Championship 4 following his second-place outing at Martinsville. The JR Motorsports driver didn’t lead any laps but finished eighth and fourth in both stages. Allgaier’s 16th top-five of the year was enough to move him on to fight for a championship again. He’s been close many times but we’ll have to wait and see if Allgaier will be crowned champion this Saturday.
Previous Week Ranking – Not Ranked
- Ryan Sieg – While Sieg has enjoyed one of his best Xfinity Series seasons to date with seven top-fives and 11 top-10 finishes, he missed out on competing for a championship due to his 1tth place finish. However, while it was disappointing for the team not to be a part of the finale, Sieg has definitely put up a great fight in the Playoffs and moved on further than anyone was expecting.
Previous Week Ranking – Third