2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series preview: Nashville

As will be the common lede for many columns this weekend about NASCAR, the Xfinity Series gets their time to shine in the return to Nashville Superspeedway, just outside the famed downtown area. 

All eyes will be on Kyle Busch as he aims for win No. 100 in the Xfinity Series. He should be the clear favorite today as he won the pole early Saturday afternoon and has experience prior at Nashville. Busch is the only driver in the Xfinity field with a win at the track in 10 starts. 

While he’s never raced on this track, points leader and defending champion Austin Cindric will try to make Busch’s quest for triple-digit wins difficult after pushing the Cup regular to victory at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend. It’s been an outstanding year for Cindric as he’s scored a top-10 finish in all but three races and is clear by 108 points in the standings. 

In a pleasant surprise, Jade Buford put down a top-10 lap in qualifying for Big Machine Racing and will start ninth. 

The team appears to be on the upward trend as they seek their fifth straight top-20 finish. 

For the first time since 2019, Will Rodgers returns to the Xfinity Series and pilots the No. 26 Toyota for Sam Hunt Racing. He put down top-20 speed in the lone practice session and backed up the speed with a 14th-place starting spot. 

Daniel Hemric and AJ Allmendinger are looking to bring the fight to Cindric in the battle for the regular-season title and a highly-coveted 15 playoff points. If it’s going to happen, this weekend needs to be a start as the two rounded out the top five, respectively, in qualifying and posted top-five speeds in practice. 

The No. 98 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing won nine races in 2020. This season, that car hasn’t earned a win and sits 51 points below the playoff cutline. 

Safe to say, it’s been a struggling year for Riley Herbst as he’s only managed two top-fives and three top-10’s through 14 races this season. Fortunes don’t look to be changing for the SHR team this weekend as Herbst’s qualifying lap was only good enough for 20th. 

After pulling off one of the great advertisements in social-media history, Brandon Brown earned a sponsorship from motorsports media outlet Kickin’ The Tires. The No. 68 Chevy will roll off 16th. 

Stages for Saturday’s race will end on lap 45, lap 90 and the finish on lap 188. NBC Sports takes over television coverage for the remainder of the 2021 season with the broadcast for the Tennessee Lottery 250 beginning at 3:30 p.m. EST.

Starting lineup:

Pit stall assignments:

Goodyear tire notes: https://www.jayski.com/2021/06/15/goodyear-fast-facts-nashville/

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