A Perfect Season Among Top Storylines To Track at Atlanta

Kyle Busch

Getty Kyle Busch (left) races Xfinity Series drivers at Road America.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday, July 10, for one of the remaining regular-season races. There are several drivers in search of a win to lock up a spot in the playoffs, as well as one trying to keep a perfect season alive. Kyle Busch will seek his fifth win in the series while leading the list of important storylines.

The two-time Cup champion will make his final Xfinity Series start of the year at Atlanta Motor Speedway while driving the No. 54 Extra Gum Toyota Supra. Busch has won all four starts in the No. 54 during the 2021 season, resulting in him topping 100 career wins. If he captures the checkered flag, Busch will end his Xfinity Series schedule a perfect five-for-five.

The race at AMS could also serve as Busch’s final Xfinity Series start of his career. Prior to the 2021 season, he explained that he would stop competing in the lower series once he reached 100 career wins. He achieved this goal at Nashville Superspeedway on June 19, cementing his legacy as the winningest driver in the Xfinity Series. Busch then confirmed that he still planned on “retiring” from the Xfinity Series but said that he wanted to cap off 2021 by reaching 102 total wins.

The veteran driver will have the opportunity to reach this mark on Saturday, July 10. The Credit Karma Money 250 will take place at 3:30 p.m. ET and will air on NBC Sports Network. Busch will line up in the pole position while teammate Daniel Hemric joins him on the front row.


The Cut Line Features an Intense Battle Between Bubble Drivers

Xfinity Series

GettyBrandon Brown (bottom) races Jeremy Clements (top) at Bristol.

While several drivers have spots secure in the Xfinity Series playoffs — such as Justin Allgaier and AJ Allmendinger — others still have considerable work to do. Jeremy Clements and Brandon Brown, in particular, both sit at the playoff cut line while fighting for a spot in the championship chase.

According to NASCAR, Clements currently sits above the cut line with 416 points. He has a spot in the playoffs, albeit one that is still by no means secure. Brown is just below the cutoff line with 383 points. The driver of the No. 68 Branonbilt Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro technically has enough points to sit above the cut line, but he is on the outside looking in due to Myatt Snider (380 points) winning a race at Homestead-Miami Speedway earlier in the season.

The last time the Xfinity Series drivers headed to Atlanta Motor Speedway, Brown and Clements experienced wildly different outcomes. The driver of the No. 68 Chevrolet Camaro started fourth overall but ended the day 33rd, earning only five points in the process. Clements, on the other hand, started 10th and remained near the front. He ended the day 12th and locked up 31 points.


Two Championship Contenders in 2020 Seek Their First Win

Brandon Jones Noah Gragson

GettyBrandon Jones (left) races Noah Gragson (right) at Dover International Speedway.

When the 2020 Xfinity Series season came to an end, Team Penske’s Austin Cindric sat atop the leaderboard as the champion. Justin Allgaier, Justin Haley, and Chase Briscoe rounded out the top four. Two other drivers — Noah Gragson and Brandon Jones — ended the year in the fifth and sixth positions, respectively, after they combined for five wins and 27 top-five finishes.

Fast-forward to 2021 and both drivers are winless through 17 races. They have each struggled with mechanical issues and crashes but sit above the cut line due to a combined 12 top-five finishes. Neither has a secure spot in the playoffs, but they can punch their tickets with a win at a track where they previously faced off.

The two drivers turned in very different performances during the first race at AMS on March 20. Gragson overcame considerable damage to the driver’s side of the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro and finished fourth overall, locking up 33 points.

The hometown kid in Jones had a very different outing during the March 20 race at AMS. He fell 31 laps down after starting 16th and ended the day in the 37th position, only ahead of the drivers that crashed or had mechanical issues. Now he will seek redemption at a track where he has six starts and one top-five finish (June 2020).

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