2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series preview: Martinsville 1

After a three-week break, the NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to action at Martinsville Speedway Friday night for the Cook Out 250. The Xfinity Series hadn’t run at Martinsville for 14 years until last November where Harrison Burton held off Justin Allgaier and Noah Gragson to pick up his second-consecutive win (won the previous week at Texas Motor Speedway) and became the youngest winner ever at Martinsville. (20 years and 22 days).

Burton starts on the pole for Friday’s race, looking to pick up his first win of the 2021 season. In six races this season, Burton has picked up two top-five finishes and four top-10 finishes with a third-place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway three weeks ago.

Allgaier, who won that race at Atlanta, will start alongside Burton on the front row. Allgaier’s win was much needed after finishing outside the top 10 during the first four races of the season with two DNFs.

A.J. Allmendinger will start third. Before the three-week break, Allmendinger was producing consistent top-five finishes with three in a row, including a win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He has produced quality race results with his new full-time ride at Kaulig Racing.

Daniel Hemric, who fought with Gragson after an incident on pit lane during the Atlanta race, will start fourth for Joe Gibbs Racing. Hemric, in his first full season for JGR, is second in the overall points standings with three top-five finishes, five top-10 finishes and two stage wins.

Justin Haley will start fifth. He is looking for his first top-five finish of 2021 after starting the season with four top-10 finishes and two DNFs.

The defending Xfinity Series champion, Austin Cindric, will start sixth. Cindric came into 2021 attempting to repeat as the champion and so far this season, he has delivered two wins and five top-five finishes, leading the Xfinity Series in overall points.

Riley Herbst and Gragson, two drivers without a win so far in 2021, will start seventh and eighth. Herbst, who took over for Chase Briscoe in the No. 98 car for Stewart-Haas Racing, currently sits 12th in the points standings with three DNFs and one top-five finish. Gragson sits 14th with two top-five finishes and three DNFs as well.

Myatt Snider and Michael Annett round out the top 10. Snider, in his first season for Richard Childress Racing, has finished outside the top 10 four times this season, but won his first-career race in the Xfinity Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Annett is looking for his first top-five finish this season after starting 2021 with only two top-10 finishes and two DNFs.

Coverage for the Cook Out 250 will begin at 8:00 p.m. EST. The stages end on laps 60, 120 and 250 with a competition caution on lap 25. You can catch the race on Fox Sports 1 and the Motor Racing Network.

Starting lineup:

Pit stall assigments:

Goodyear tire notes: https://www.jayski.com/2021/04/06/goodyear-fast-facts-martinsville-6/

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