2020 Xfinity Series preview: Atlanta

Photo by Chris Graythen|Getty Images

After a tightly contested and action-packed race at Bristol Motor Speedway this past Monday, the Xfinity Series treks onward to Hampton, Georgia to race at Atlanta Motor Speedway Saturday afternoon. 

Adjustments will be the name of the game for the Xfinity drivers, as the field will have to adapt to the 1.5-mile track of Atlanta after experiencing the half-mile intensity of “The Last Great Colosseum” in their last race.

Noah Gragson, the winner at Bristol, will sit on the pole for the race. The 21-year-old No. 9 Chevrolet driver for JR Motorsports pulled out the victory by .328 seconds to claim his second career victory in the Xfinity Series and his second of the season. Gragson currently possesses the second-most points among the field (291) and will look to build off his ninth-place finish at Atlanta last season. The win at Bristol for Gragson, however, did not come without a taste of conflict with one of his own teammates.

Justin Allgaier, despite leading 156 of the 303 laps, finished the race in 18th after Gragson made contact with the No. 7 car and caused him to hit the wall and spin. Allgaier will look for a redemption race at a track he has had a positive experience with recently. In three of his past four races at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the 34-year-old has finished in the top 10 (eighth in 2016, sixth in 2018 and third in 2019). In the point standings, Allgaier currently sits in fourth (256) and leads the field in stage wins (four) and laps led (305). On the day of his birthday, Allgaier will start the race in third. 

Chase Briscoe, who finished runner-up to Gragson in Bristol, currently leads the field in points (300) and is tied with Gragson for most wins (two). Additionally, the 24-year-old No. 98 Ford driver for Stewart-Haas Racing is first among the field in quality passes (329) and fastest laps run (134). In his two career races at Atlanta in the Xfinity Series, Briscoe has finished 15th. Briscoe will start ninth. 

Among all Xfinity drivers, only Harrison Burton has finished in the top 10 in every race so far this season. After finishing fourth at Bristol, the 19-year-old rookie for Joe Gibbs Racing has five finishes this season in the top five, which leads the field. Burton will start fifth. 

Austin Cindric’s streak of consecutive top-10 finishes ended at five after the 21-year-old wrecked and succumbed to a 36th-place finish at Bristol. Cindric will start the race in eighth. 

This race is also the first of four Dash 4 Cash events. Gragson, Briscoe, Burton, and Brandon Jones are the four eligible drivers for the $100,000 prize that will be up for grabs for each of the races.

Weather permitting, coverage for the race will begin at 4:30 p.m. EST on Fox and the Performance Racing Network.

Stages end on lap 40, lap 80 and the finish on lap 163.

Here is the starting lineup: https://www.jayski.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/31/2020/06/05/2020-08nxs-lineup.pdf

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