Xfinity Championship Favorite Secures Spot in Round of Eight

Xfinity Series

Getty Xfinity Series drivers race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The first round of the NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs is two races deep, but none of the championship contenders have reached Victory Lane. However, the first driver has officially locked up a spot in the Round of Eight. Austin Cindric has moved on by virtue of points.

NASCAR provided the update about the playoff race following the Xfinity Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. Cindric finished eighth, bringing his points total to 2,131 while Brandon Brown secured his first-ever win in a NASCAR national series. The defending Xfinity Series champion is now 77 points above the cutline and completely safe from elimination during the cutoff race at the Charlotte Roval.

“Mission accomplished,” Cindric told media members on pit road after the checkered flag waved. He added that clinching his spot changes the strategy for the trip to the Charlotte Roval, especially with so many drivers in must-win situations due to wrecks at Talladega Superspeedway or Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Though Cindric clarified that securing stage points remains his goal so he can add more playoff points to his total and increase his chances of reaching the championship race at Phoenix.

Cindric’s Main Competition Remains in a Solid Position

While the driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford Mustang remains secure in the Round of Eight, he is not the only one sitting in a solid spot with one cutoff race remaining. Regular-season champion AJ Allmendinger is currently 33 points above the cutline heading toward the Charlotte Roval.

The driver of the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet Camaro had considerable issues at Talladega Superspeedway. He and rookie Sam Mayer both crashed on Lap 24, sending them to their respective haulers prior to the end of the first stage. Allmendinger lost a lot of points while other drivers completed more laps, but he did not fall below the cutline due to building up a massive cushion.

“This is why we try to work so hard to give yourself a cushion in case something like this happens,” Allmendinger told FOX Sports reporter Bob Pockrass after the Talladega race ended on Saturday, October 2. “It sucks. I knew I was in a bad position up there, I was trying to get to the stage end and reset. I kind of got hung out there.”

Allmendinger explained that he had some guys behind him that made “some really aggressive moves” and led to the crash that destroyed his stock car. The incident disrupted his opportunity to contend for the win and forced him to look ahead and plan for the Charlotte Roval.

2 Drivers Sit Ahead of Allmendinger After Strong Performances

Allmendinger sits in a safe position after two playoff races, but he is no longer fighting for the top spot in the points. He actually trails two other drivers who turned in strong performances at Talladega Superspeedway to lock up some crucial points.

Justin Allgaier, the winner of two races during the regular season, is just behind Cindric. He has 55 points to the good after finishing third and locking up 44 points. He should easily clinch his spot in the Round of Eight at the Charlotte Roval.

Daniel Hemric, Allmendinger’s future teammate at Kaulig Racing, finished fourth overall at Talladega Superspeedway after avoiding the on-track incidents that brought out the red flag. He added 34 points to his total, taking him to 41 above the cutline. Hemric has yet to win a race in his Xfinity Series career, but he has an opportunity to move on to the next round of the playoffs at a track where he has two starts with a third-place finish in 2020.

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