The last three NASCAR Xfinity Series playoff races at Kansas Speedway have resulted in first-time winners. Will that trend continue?
Kansas Speedway is scheduled to host the first race of the round of 8 of the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs this evening. If one of the eight remaining playoff drivers wins this race, he will advance to the Championship 4 at Phoenix Raceway.
The last three Xfinity Series playoff races at Kansas Speedway have resulted in first-time winners. Will that trend continue in the Kansas Lottery 300?
Seven different full-time drivers have won this season. Of those seven, Harrison Burton, Noah Gragson and Justin Haley have notched their first career victories this year. Gragson is the polesitter for the Kansas Lottery 300.
The winners of those last three Xfinity Series playoff races at Kansas Speedway are Christopher Bell, John Hunter Nemechek and Brandon Jones. Jones followed up his first career Xfinity Series win with another win at Kansas Speedway earlier this year. He has won three times this year.
The three most likely drivers to earn their first career Xfinity Series wins at the four-turn, 1.5-mile (2.414-kilometer) oval in Kansas City, Kansas tonight are Daniel Hemric, Ryan Sieg and Riley Herbst.
In a part-time ride this year with JR Motorsports, Hemric has six top five finishes and 11 top 10 finishes in 19 starts, including two third place finishes at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.
Hemric has recorded three straight top five finishes, and despite the fact that he has missed 11 races so far this year, he sits in 15th place in the championship standings, only 68 points shy of the highest non-playoff driver (Jeremy Clements).
Hemric has raced at Kansas Speedway in all three NASCAR national series. He earned his lone Cup Series pole there last October.
The 2018 Kansas Lottery 300 was arguably his best chance to snag his first career Xfinity Series victory. He took the pole position, won the first stage, finished in second place in the second stage and led 128 laps before finishing in second.
Hemric has made three Xfinity Series starts at Kansas Speedway. In addition to his runner-up finish there in 2018, he also finished seventh there earlier this year.
He is set to start this evening’s race in third place wheeling a fan-favorite paint scheme on his #8 Chevrolet.
As for Sieg, he advanced to the round of 8. The 33-year-old has recorded career-highs in top five finishes and laps led this year. Winning the Kansas Lottery 300 would be the first win for both himself and RSS Racing.
Sieg has made eight career Xfinity Series starts at Kansas Speedway. He has one top five finish, a fourth place finish in the most recent race there back in July, and three other top 10 finishes. He is currently in the midst of a three-race top 10 streak at the track.
In the most recent trip to Kansas Speedway, Sieg led 25 laps, the second-highest single-race total in his career. He is set to start tonight’s race in eighth place.
At least one person has predicted him to break through for his first career Xfinity Series win in this event.
Rookie Riley Herbst was eliminated from the Xfinity Series playoffs after the round of 12. Despite his disappointment, he enjoyed racing in the rain at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.
Driving the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, the 21-year-old Herbst has four top five finishes and 16 top 10 finishes this season.
Herbst is the only full-time Joe Gibbs Racing Xfinity Series driver not to win this season. His last three races have all resulted in finishes outside of the top 10, and it has been six races since he finished inside the top five when he recorded a fourth place finish at Darlington Raceway in early September.
Herbst and rookie teammate Harrison Burton have been eliminated from the Xfinity Series playoffs, but they both are battling for Rookie of the Year honors this year.
Herbst has only made one Xfinity Series start at Kansas Speedway. Back in July, he started in eighth place, earned a total of five stage points and finished in ninth. He is set to start tonight’s race in ninth.
Can the Kansas Lottery 300 produce a first-time winner? We’ll find out this evening!
The Kansas Lottery 300 is set to be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network from Kansas Speedway beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET this evening.