The top three series in NASCAR, as well as ARCA Menards, head to Pocono Raceway for a stacked weekend of racing. The Xfinity Series drivers will suit up on Sunday, June 27, and will continue a unique streak at the tricky triangle. For the sixth year in a row, a new driver will reach Victory Lane.
According to a release from NASCAR, the Xfinity Series has only raced at Pocono five times. The first race took place during the 2016 season and featured Kyle Larson as the inaugural winner. The streak of new winners continued each year with Brad Keselowski (2017), Kyle Busch (2018), Cole Custer (2019), and Chase Briscoe (2020). None of these drivers will compete in Sunday’s Xfinity Series race, opening the door for a new winner.
On June 4, 2016, the Xfinity Series drivers headed to Pocono Raceway for the very first time. Erik Jones won the pole and led the field to the green flag with Busch next to him on the front row. Larson proceeded to lead 27 of the 100 laps en route to his win. He held off Jones, Ty Dillon, Busch, and Joey Logano in order to take the checkered flag and make history.
A Young Driver With Previous Experience Can Continue the Streak
When the Xfinity Series drivers head to Pocono Raceway, an ARCA Menards Series star will join them on the track. Ty Gibbs, a member of Joe Gibbs Racing and a part-time driver of the No. 54 Toyota Supra, will make his return to the Xfinity Series after Busch made two consecutive starts.
Gibbs has previous experience at the Tricky Triangle, albeit in a different series. He competed in the General Tire #ANYWHEREISPOSSIBLE 200 ARCA Menards Series race on June 26, 2020. Gibbs started second next to pole-winner Michael Self and proceeded to lead 65 of the 80 laps. The young driver took the checkered flag, one of six wins during a part-time 2020 season.
Gibbs will now make another ARCA Menards Series start at Pocono Raceway before joining in on the Xfinity Series action. He will compete on Friday, June 25, one day after posting the fastest lap (52.967 seconds) during a practice session. Gibbs is currently riding a four-race winning streak and will enter the ARCA Menards Series race as the heavy favorite.
The Xfinity Series Race Will be Crucial for Playoff Bubble Drivers
Heading toward the Pocono Green 225 Recycled by J.P Mascaro & Sons on Sunday, June 27, there are some drivers with secure spots in the playoffs while others remain on the bubble. Jeremy Clements and Myatt Snider are two, in particular, currently sitting at the cutoff line with an opportunity to make some moves.
According to NASCAR, Clements holds on to the final playoff spot after securing an 11th-place finish in the Tennessee Lottery 250 at Nashville Superspeedway. He will have to continue performing well in order to remain in the playoff picture, and he will strive to achieve this goal at a track where he has previous success. Clements finished third during the 2020 Pocono race, the highest of any returning competitor. Briscoe and runner-up Ross Chastain both now compete full-time in the Cup Series and will not take part in the Xfinity Series race.
Snider is in a similar situation. He sits just below the cutoff line along with Riley Herbst and Brandon Brown. He needs to either win a race or post several top-five finishes to reach the playoffs. The Pocono date will provide the perfect opportunity for Snider to achieve his goal considering that he finished fourth overall in 2020.