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NASCAR 101: Top Average Finish By Xfinity Drivers at Daytona & Talladega

Here’s the cool thing about this weekend’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway: no Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers.

For a while, that would have been a rarity in NASCAR, something to shock. There was a period of time in NASCAR’s secondary series when an Xfinity regular winning a race in their own series was unlikely, thanks to the glut of Cup drivers dropping into the series below them. That’s changed in recent years, thanks to more potent restrictions on Cup entries in Xfinity races throughout the season, though it rarely results in a no-Cup-driver field at places like Daytona or Talladega Superspeedway.

But for the second such race in a row, following Talladega in spring, the Xfinity field is full of nothing but either regulars, part-timers or drivers coming from lower series such as the Gander Outdoors Truck Series. The only driver who’s competed in every Cup race in 2019 to show up on the Daytona entry list is Landon Cassill, and he’s officially declared for Xfinity points.

It seems ripe, as a result, for an analysis of Xfinity superspeedway results at Daytona and Talladega among the 41-car entry list. Discussion about Cup’s best superspeedway drivers has been rampant over the years, but the Xfinity and Truck series don’t get as much attention, partially because their drivers are often fleeting competitors in the series, competitors with goals of moving up rather than staying put. This ranking now might have looked much different two years ago, whereas a Cup tally might remain a bit more stagnant.

Of the 41 entries at Daytona, six have competed in an Xfinity race at neither Daytona nor Talladega (two of them, Austin Hill and Stefan Parsons, are attempting their Xfinity debut). The remaining 35 is a roster that features everyone from drivers with two Daytona/Talladega starts before this weekend (Shane Lee and Matt Mills) to seasoned veterans (Joe Nemechek, with 56).

Here’s the top 10 entering Daytona based on a cumulative average finish between Daytona and Talladega.

10. Brandon Jones

11 starts

Average finish: 16.7

Two top fives, four top 10s

9. Garrett Smithley

10 starts

Average finish: 16.1

One top five, three top 10s

8. Tyler Reddick

Eight starts

Average finish: 14.6

Two wins, two top fives, four top 10s

7. Justin Allgaier

26 starts

Average finish: 14.2

Seven top fives, 14 top 10s

6. Justin Haley

Three starts

Average finish: 14

One top 10

5. Christopher Bell

Five starts

Average finish: 12.6

Two top fives, three top 10s

4. Chase Briscoe

Three starts

Average finish: 10.7

One top five, one top 10

3. Shane Lee

Two starts

Average finish: 10.5

One top 10

2. Noah Gragson

Three starts

Average finish: 8.7

One top five, one top 10

1. John Hunter Nemechek

Three starts

Average finish: 7

Three top 10s

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About Kevin Rutherford

Kevin Rutherford
Rutherford is the managing editor of Frontstretch, a position he gained in 2015 after serving on the editing staff for two years. At his day job, he's a journalist covering music and rock charts at Billboard. He lives in New York City, but his heart is in Ohio -- you know, like that Hawthorne Heights song.

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