There are three playoff spots still up for grabs as the NASCAR Xfinity Series heads for Friday night’s Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Three drivers are in unassailable positions above the current elimination line on points — Jeremy Clements, Riley Herbst and Brandon Jones. At least two of them — the two with the highest point totals among them after Bristol — are guaranteed to advance to the postseason.
Their only vulnerability lies in the prospect of a driver outside the top 12 winning Friday’s race, a circumstance that would eliminate the lowest driver in points among those three.
The most intense battle on Friday involves the Regular Season Championship, with AJ Allmendinger leading reigning series champion Austin Cindric by five points. The regular-season winner gets a bonus of 15 playoff points. Second place gets 10.
“I’m pumped, but, as always, a bit nervous to go to Bristol,” Allmendinger says. “It’s the place where I made my first Cup Series start, so that race track will always be special. It’s one of those races that you know from start to finish you’re going to be in a grind, and you’re going to be in traffic.
“It’s a difficult race, but I think we’ll be really fast there. The Regular Season Championship is on the line this week, so it will be fun battling with Austin going for that title. Hopefully, we can execute all day and have a shot to win.”