A Stunning Win Shakes Up Xfinity Series Playoffs

Jeremy Clements

Getty Jeremy Clements celebrates his second career win.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series took on Daytona International Speedway on August 26 after inclement weather pushed the start deep into the night. This race featured double-digit cautions, but Jeremy Clements shook up the playoffs by surviving the carnage.

There were several moments during the final stage of the race where it appeared that a championship contender would win at Daytona. However, wrecks knocked Noah Gragson, Justin Allgaier, Ty Gibbs, and several others out of contention. Electrical gremlins then disrupted Austin Hill’s night on the final restart and opened up the door for Clements.

The South Carolina native jumped to the front of the pack in triple overtime and he put some distance between himself and his competitors. Brandon Brown, AJ Allmendinger, and Timmy Hill all made a late charge, but Clements pulled back ahead of the No. 16 as Riley Herbst spun toward the infield.

When Herbst spun, the expectation was that it would immediately bring out the caution. However, the officials did not wave the yellow until after Clements took the white flag. The reason, as a new camera angle showed, is that Herbst was off of the track at first but he spun back up into traffic.

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The top five featured a variety of drivers that mostly avoided the carnage at Daytona. Port Tobacco native Timmy Hill finished second in what was a career-best run in the Xfinity Series. Allmendinger finished third, Brown was fourth, and Sage Karam was fifth in a career-best finish for Alpha Prime Racing.

This win was Clements’ first since the 2017 season, and it was his first on a superspeedway. His only other Xfinity Series win was at Road America when he led 10 of the 45 laps and held off Michael Annett.

Clements Made a Major Move in the Standings

Jeremy Clements

GettyJeremy Clements turned in a strong performance at Daytona International Speedway.

The win was huge for the family-run team, especially with Clements having the opportunity to put his sponsors in Victory Lane. It also helped him make a major move up the leaderboard with only three races remaining in the regular season.

Clements and the No. 51 team entered the Daytona weekend sitting 17th in points and well below the cutline. The only way to secure a spot would be to win one of the final four races and overcome a 160-point deficit. It was not possible for Clements to point his way into the playoffs.

The driver of the No. 51 Chevrolet Camaro did exactly what he needed to do. He kept his stock car clean, avoided numerous incidents, and took advantage of the electrical issues that ended Austin Hill’s night. Now he can celebrate with his family and prepare for the playoffs.

Another Family-Run Team Fell Below the Cutline

Ryan Sieg

GettyRyan Sieg now has points to make up.

With Clements making a massive leap up the standings, the winless drivers all had to move one spot down. This meant that Ryan Sieg fell below the cutline after previously having enough points to put him in contention for a playoff spot.

The RSS Racing driver is now the first driver below the cutline. He entered the Daytona weekend 39 points to the good, but Clements’ win knocked him down a spot. Sieg also missed out on some crucial points after finishing 26th overall due to one of the seven wrecks that occurred at the superspeedway.

Sieg is still alive in the hunt for a playoff spot. He is only 12 points below the cutline. The next driver ahead of him is Kaulig Racing’s Landon Cassill, who finished 23rd after a wreck ended his night early.

These two drivers will continue to battle with each other — and multiple winless drivers — during the three remaining regular-season races. They will next head to Darlington Raceway on September 3. Kansas Speedway will follow on September 10. The Xfinity Series regular-season finale will then take place at Bristol Motor Speedway on September 16.

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