2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series preview: Phoenix 1

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will conclude its brief west coast swing with a trip to the desert, where the field will face off at Phoenix Raceway Saturday afternoon. 

After a strong second-place finish in Vegas last week, Daniel Hemric will start on the pole. The 30-year-old for Joe Gibbs Racing is currently second in season points (170) and has already amassed more top-five finishes this season (three) than he did through his first 14 races last season. Despite finishing poorly in his last two races at Phoenix (he finished 25th and 30th in both 2020 races there), Hemric has finished inside the top 10 in four Xfinity races at the track. 

Brandon Jones, who won at Phoenix last March, will start second. Meanwhile, the victor at the track last November in 2020 Xfinity Series Champion Austin Cindric will start third. The two drivers have combined for one win (Cindric at Daytona on Feb. 13), seven top-five finishes, four stage wins and approximately 200 laps led (163 for Cindric and 37 for Jones) so far this season. Both drivers have compiled two victories, five top-five finishes and nine top-10 finishes at Phoenix Raceway in the Xfinity Series. 

A.J. Allmendinger will start fourth. The 39-year-old clinched a playoff berth after the full-time driver for Kaulig Racing collected the Xfinity win in Las Vegas last week. In two career Xfinity races in Phoenix, Allmendinger has finished 13th (Nov. 10, 2007) and 12th (Nov. 8, 2008). Allmendinger currently sits sixth in the season point standings (126) and ranks second in terms of total laps led (93). 

Josh Berry will start ninth. The 30-year-old part-time driver for JR Motorsports has finished inside the top 10 in two of three Xfinity races he has taken part in this season (10th at Homestead and seventh at Vegas). 

Ty Gibbs will take part in his second career Xfinity race this weekend after picking up his first Xfinity win in his first career Xfinity start on Feb. 20 at the Daytona Road Course. In two career ARCA Menards Series Race at Phoenix (March 6, 2020 and March 12, 2021), Gibbs finished third and first, respectively. Gibbs will start in 27th

Stage lengths for the race will be 45-45-110. Coverage will begin on FS1 at 5:30 p.m. EST. 

Starting lineup:

Pit stall assignments:

Goodyear tire notes: https://www.jayski.com/2021/03/09/goodyear-fast-facts-phoenix-5/

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