The NASCAR XFINITY Series heads to Watkins Glen International on Saturday, Aug. 4 after a thrilling race at Iowa Speedway this past weekend. Saturday will mark the first road course race of the season for the series, kicking off a month’s worth of left and right-turn tracks.
43 cars are entered in this week’s event with many notable changes. Most center around many Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers in the field: Austin Dillon, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, AJ Allmendinger, Kyle Larson and Aric Almirola.
Dillon will drive the No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing for the first time since New Hampshire two weeks ago. Team Penske will have Keselowski in the No. 12 and Logano in the No. 22 this weekend while Allmendinger will be in the No. 23 for GMS Racing. Allmendinger has not driven in the NXS since he won back in 2013 at Mid-Ohio. Larson will be in the No. 42 for Chip Ganassi Racing. The Cup regular has three NXS wins this season and will look to add a fourth this Saturday. Finally, Almirola will drive the No. 98 car for Biagi-DenBeste Racing. He has one start this season which came in the season-opening race at Daytona.
There is no driver change in the No. 5 car but JR Motorsports announced Monday that Travis Mack would be taking over as crew chief for the car starting this weekend at Watkins Glen. Mack most recently was the head wrench for Kasey Kahne and Leavine Family Racing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. He parted ways with the team after the June race at Michigan. His new driver, Michael Annett, is the first one on the outside looking in at the NXS playoffs after a disappointing season.
Austin Cindric steps back into the No. 60 car for Roush Fenway Racing after having a disappointing 18th-place finish at Iowa for Team Penske. It’s the latest in his merry-go-round schedule with multiple teams this season.
Among part-time drivers, Ryan Preece is back in the No. 18 car for Joe Gibbs Racing this week. Preece has one win this season and four top-10 finishes in his five starts. Justin Haley will also drive the No. 24 for GMS Racing for the first time since his heartbreaking defeat at Daytona. Haley made the move for the win coming to the checkered flag but it was deemed illegal after he barely slipped below the yellow line.
Kaz Grala returns to the NXS again in the No. 61 for Fury Race Cars. Grala has not had enough funding to run the full season but still sits 16th in the point standings.
Opening practice for this race takes place on Friday, Aug. 3 at 12:35 p.m. ET with no TV coverage announced yet. The green flag waves approximately at 3:49 p.m. ET on Saturday, Aug. 4 with coverage on NBC.