The Xfinity series It was a fierce battle overall between a few select drivers this season. But Josh Perry disrupted that group with his biggest win NASCAR Saturday’s rally at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, ensuring he gets a chance to win the title and won’t be one of the previous contenders.
Quartet Noah Gregson, Ty Gibbs, AJ Almendir, and Justin Allgaier have combined to win 20 of the 30 Xfinity Series races this season. These four have finished in the top four in the points standings for most of the season since Allgaier won the May 7 race at Darlington Raceway and entered the playoffs in the top four.
Josh Perry has been close to the top of the standings all season long
Perry was fifth, at times, and spent a few weeks in fourth while Gregson recovered from a 30-point penalty handed to him by NASCAR after deliberately crashing Sage Carm and causing a major wreck on July 2 at Rhode America.
Perry racked up a pair of wins early in the season at Dover Motor Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway, respectively, before winning in Las Vegas. It could also be a good factor to win the title on November 5 at Phoenix Raceway, where he finished third in the spring in his second race only on the 1.0-mile flat.
However, the first story of the 2022 Xfinity Series was the dominance of the four other biggest threats to the tournament, although one of them will be eliminated before the series ever reaches the defining event.
Former points leader AJ Allmendinger is suddenly under the qualifying line
Allmendinger will currently be the competitor from abroad. He’s won both last two races in the round of 12 at Talladega Speedway and Charlotte Roval, but a 22nd place finish in Las Vegas put him back in sixth place out of the eight drivers who remain eligible to chase the championship.
Austin Hill is currently fifth, but his two wins this season have come in ultra-high-speed races. His other win would be a surprise with the last two races of the quarter-finals on the 1.5 mile classic oval from Homestead-Miami Speedway and the short 0.5 mile track from Martinsville Speedway.
Assuming the other Round Eight runners, namely Brandon Jones or Sam Mayer, do not win one of the next two races, the Allmendinger will have to overcome a 16-point deficit in front of Allgaier.
It might be possible next weekend at Homestead. The Allmendinger finished fourth at Homestead in 2020 in his #16 Xfinity Series car for Kaulig Racing, and drove 45 laps at the facility in 2021 before finishing 14th.
Meanwhile, Allgaier has never finished inside the top five in 13 career starting Xfinity Series at Homestead. He’s got two top-10 scores there but hasn’t finished better than 22nd in his last three Homestead games.
The Allmendinger was also one of the most popular drivers in the series before Las Vegas. He has led the points standings since April and won consecutive races for the first time in his career to end a four-race winning streak by Gragson.
Noah Gregson and Ty Gibbs became the stars of the Xfinity series this year
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Gragson began his streak on September 3 in Darlington and held his season in total to seven series while his streak ended with a win three weeks later at Texas Motor Speedway.
Gragson has also amassed stellar numbers in his career at the Xfinity Series in Homestead and Martinsville. He has three top-five spots in four starting careers in both, including his fall race win in Martinsville a year ago which led him to the 2021 Championship 4.
Gregson was the dominant driver in the second half of the season after Gibbs jumped forward early in the year. Gibbs has earned three of his five wins in the first seven races of the season and won the Pole Prize for three consecutive weeks from March 25 at the Circuit of the Americas to April 7 in Martinsville.
Gibbs had never raced before at Homestead, but had a fifth-place finish and two top-10 finishes in three games in Martinsville. He was in contention to win the spring race on the short track until a late sprint incident with Mayer left him eighth and ignited fury that prompted him to start a fight with Mayer on a pit road after the race.
The Tournament 4 It appears to be set relatively long before the playoffs even begin, but the treacherous look leaves room for surprises like Perry to spoil the party.
He’s now created a contest between the previous four contestants to make sure they’re not the ones left when the series heads to Phoenix to crown its next champion.
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