There are several reasons to be excited about all three of the national NASCAR series, including new teams, new stock cars, and drivers moving to new shops. However, the Xfinity Series has the most intrigue due to the mix of racing styles and opportunities for a multitude of winners.
One reason to watch the NASCAR Xfinity Series is that the cars feature a carbon-fiber body, which provides far more opportunities for bumping and banging between the drivers. Slight collisions with the wall or other vehicles don’t immediately send the vehicles to pit road for repairs and new tires. The Gen 6 Cup Series cars, by comparison, had steel bodies that were far less forgiving during pivotal playoff races. Now the Next Gen cars will have similar bodies to the Xfinity Series counterparts.
These bodies and the amount of play available are the reason for several of the most exciting races during the 2021 season. Drivers such as Austin Cindric and AJ Allmendinger were able to slam into each other during the final laps at Bristol Motor Speedway while fighting for the regular-season championship trophy. Similarly, Daniel Hemric and Cindric traded paint during the season finale, resulting in one of the best finishes in recent years.
The Gap Between Teams Remains Smaller
There has been a sizable gap between Cup Series teams in recent years. Those with more partners and more funding, such as Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports, have excelled while others have struggled to contend.
The landscape is different in the Xfinity Series. There are still powerhouse teams that win more frequently, but the small organizations can still contend. Brandon Brown won his first career race at Talladega Superspeedway, Jeremy Clements reached the playoffs while driving for a family-owned team, and Brett Moffitt posted 10 top-10 finishes while driving for Our Motorsports.
The expectation is that Joe Gibbs Racing, JR Motorsports, and Kaulig Racing will account for the most wins during the 2022 Xfinity Series season. However, there will be opportunities for other organizations to steal some wins and reach the playoffs.
Drivers Moving to New Locations
One of the main reasons to look forward to the 2022 season is the changing landscape. There are several drivers in new locations, which will only create further intrigue early in the season.
One of the biggest changes took place at Richard Childress Racing. The team has gone back to two cars for the 2022 season with former Truck Series drivers behind the wheel. Sheldon Creed will take over the No. 2 for Myatt Snider, who will join Jordan Anderson Racing on a full-time basis. Austin Hill will take over the second car, but RCR has yet to reveal his number.
Kaulig Racing will have two new drivers joining AJ Allmendinger. Reigning champion Daniel Hemric will take over the No. 11 while Landon Cassill will take over the No. 10 for Jeb Burton, who joins Anthony Alfredo and Moffitt over at Our Motorsports.
The changes continue with Tommy Joe Martins transforming Martins Motorsports to Alpha Prime Racing and using a variety of drivers, such as Rajah Caruth, Andy Lally, and Ryan Ellis. Meanwhile, Mason Massey will join DGM Racing on a part-time basis while Stefan Parsons will run full-time for BJ McLeod Motorsports.
These driver changes — and many others — will draw considerable attention heading into the 2022 season. There will be several questions about which driver will win first and set themselves up for a playoff appearance. Will the former Truck Series champion in Sheldon Creed make the transition and contend for wins, or will he have a learning curve? There is no clear answer, but these drivers will be a major reason to watch each race.
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