Setting The Scene: XFINITY Series Lakes Region 200 At NHMS

(Press Release from NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications)

NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: Lakes Region 200
The Place: New Hampshire Motor Speedway
The Date: Saturday, July 21
The Time: 4 p.m.
TV: NBCSN, 3:30 p.m.
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 211.6 miles (200 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)

Tied At The Top With Nine Races To Go In The Xfinity Series Regular Season

With just nine races left in the NASCAR Xfinity Series regular season, JR Motorsport’s driver Elliott Sadler and Richard Childress Racing’s Daniel Hemric are tied atop the points standings with 608 points each. Both are hunting for the coveted regular season driver championship which awards the recipient a guaranteed spot in the Playoffs plus 15 Playoff points to take into the postseason.

Elliott Sadler has been the series standings leader for most of the season, but has recently been in a rut, finishing outside the top-10 in three of his last five starts. In total this season, Sadler has posted 10 top fives and 14 top 10s.

Unlike Sadler’s recent misfortunes, Hemric has continued to improve and now has a chance at the regular season championship. In 17 starts this season he has posted nine top fives and 13 top 10s.

Neither driver has won at New Hampshire, but the levels of experience are quite different between the two drivers. Sadler has made 14 series starts at NHMS posting one top five and five top 10s; including a seventh-place finish last season.

Hemric made his series track debut at New Hampshire last season, starting fifth and finishing 12th.

Johnny Sauter and Ryan Preece Return To The Xfinity Series At New Hampshire

Two friendly faces will be returning to the NASCAR Xfinity Series garage this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, part-time series driver and Connecticut native Ryan Preece and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship contender Johnny Sauter, to battle it out for the win in the Lakes Region 200 on Saturday, July 21 (4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ryan Preece has had quite the part-time schedule this season. In four starts he has one win (Bristol), two top fives and three top 10s. But Preece, 27, will be looking to rebound from his last outing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series; where he finished 39th at Daytona due to his car overheating. This weekend, Preece returns to the series at his home track, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, where he has made four series starts posting a best finish of second last season. Preece will be in the No. 18 Toyota with crew chief Eric Phillips, the car/team that has won the last two New Hampshire Xfinity races with driver Kyle Busch (2016, 2017).

Preece will not be the only recognizable face back in the Xfinity garage this weekend, GMS Racing has tapped Johnny Sauter to pilot the No. 23 Chevrolet at New Hampshire. Sauter is currently leading the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series point standings for the team and will be traveling to New Hampshire following the truck race at Eldora Speedway Wednesday night. Sauter has just one previous NASCAR Xfinity Series start this season, at Dover, where he finished sixth.

Christopher Bell Is Sitting Pretty Following His Kentucky Win

Christopher Bell’s win this past weekend at Kentucky Speedway was big in terms of his championship hopes. With two wins this season (Richmond, Kentucky), Bell has amassed 12 Playoff points; the most of any NASCAR Xfinity Series championship contender. Those Playoff points could be the difference in advancing or not advancing in the postseason.

If the regular season ended today, Bell would be the No. 1 seed in the Playoffs. In addition to Bell’s 12 Playoff points he has already earned he would receive seven Playoff points for finishing the regular season fourth in points, giving him 19 total Playoff points to take into the postseason. Current standings leader Elliott Sadler has four Playoff points and would receive 15 additional Playoff points for winning the regular season championship. The two would then be tied in Playoff points heading into the postseason, but Bell holds the tiebreaker with his two wins.

Bell and crew chief Jason Ratcliff have gelled this season and the dividends of the relationship are playing out on the track. Bell has posted two wins, 10 top fives and an average finish of 10.9.

Bell will be making his series track debut at New Hampshire this weekend. But Bell isn’t a stranger to the track, he has made two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at New Hampshire, finishing runner-up in his track debut in 2016 and winning the event last season.

Joe Gibbs Racing Going For Four-In-A-Row At New Hampshire

No organization has dominated New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series quite like Joe Gibbs Racing has over the last 10 years, winning eight of the last 10 races held at the famed 1.028-mile track.

The Xfinity streak of success started in 2008 with Tony Stewart taking the checkered flag for JGR at New Hampshire, then Kyle Busch took the reins winning six races (2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016 and 2017) and Denny Hamlin got in on the fun, winning in 2015. The only other driver to win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at New Hampshire in the last decade is Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski (2012, 2014).

This weekend, Joe Gibbs Racing is fielding three cars in the Lakes Region 200 on Saturday, July 21 – No. 18 Toyota (Ryan Preece), No. 19 Toyota (Brandon Jones) and No. 20 Toyota (Christopher Bell).

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year Standings Update – With his second win of the season, Christopher Bell now has a 50-point lead in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings over second-place Tyler Reddick following Kentucky. Bell’s rookie campaign has been impressive thus far, in 17 starts he has posted two wins (Richmond, Kentucky), 10 top fives and three poles.

Monsters Invade Xfinity – This weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers, Ty Dillon and Brad Keselowski, will attempt to compete in the Lakes Region 200 (Saturday, July 21 at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Ty Dillon will be in the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet this weekend. Dillon has made four series starts at New Hampshire, posting two top 10s. Brad Keselowski will be in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford this weekend. Keselowski has made nine starts at New Hampshire, posting two wins (2012, 2014), seven top fives and nine top 10s.

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