The XFINITY Series Goes “Chasin” A Cup in Kentucky

The title may be new, what a win means may be new, but the drivers will still strap in tonight at Kentucky and go racing in the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 at Kentucky Speedway.

The pressure will be on for the inaugural Chase For The Championship and this is a race that XFINITY Series Chase contenders will need to capitalize on as it’s free of Sprint Cup regulars, and that means a spot in the round of 8 will be open to one of these drivers.

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With Kyle Busch and Austin Dillon staying in Loudon for the second race of the Sprint Cup Chase for the Championship, that opens Victory Lane up in Kentucky for a lot of drivers.

That should make Daniel Suarez a very happy race car driver as he finished third after starting on the front row in the spring.  Suarez, who is driving with a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota that has powered the last two Kentucky winners, will be looking good in his new look Dewalt Flexvolt No. 19 Toyota.

Suarez’s teammate Erik Jones may have something to say about that trip to Victory Lane for not only his teammate but with the rest of the field.  Jones enters The Chase as the number one seed with four wins for this season and the fastest horse in the Bluegrass State.

Jones led both practices on Friday, topping 188 mph in practice two, which is almost a full mile per hour faster than last year’s pole speed.  It’s hot, the track is slick, and qualifying will be critical this afternoon at 4:45.

Two guys from the Ford camp that have experienced up and down seasons but head into Kentucky with a good shot at the race win are Roush-Fenway teammates Darrell “Bubba” Wallace in the No. 6 Bleacher Report Ford and Ryan Reed in the No. 16 Lilly Diabetes Ford Mustang.

For Wallace, his three top-fives this season include California, Dover, and the July Kentucky race when he came home fifth.  Wallace said they need to get everything they came coming out of this first Chase race and after that top-five, he’s confident the team can back that up, if not, improve on that spot.

For Ryan Reed, Kentucky hasn’t been a bright spot with his best finish being 11th.  This past July, a tire failure sent the team to the garage for lengthy repairs and a 29th place finish, but the No. 16 team has shown speed, a factor that keeps Reed positive about this weekend.   Reed, who expressed optimism prior to qualifying, said, “We qualified well the last time around and I think we can do the same thing this time.  We just have to have a mistake free race.”

That is what they will all need to have as the inaugural Chase for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Championship, which kicks off their seven race stretch tonight at 8:00 EST at the Kentucky Speedway.

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Stephen Conley

If it races, I’ll write about it, talk about it or shoot it with a camera.

I began pursuing a career in motorsports journalism immediately after attending college at Kent State University where the Indians an Browns just didn’t do it for me.

The excitement and the fans make everything I put out there worth while, it’s been an exciting ten years so far having covered everything from the Daytona 500 to the Rolex 24 and Indycar at Mid-Ohio.

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Everyone has a story and I like to tell it. My main focus here at TPF is looking at the men and women behind the microphone and cameras, plus I also host a weekly show called Race Talk Live every Wednesday night at 8EST.

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My life long goal is to become a member of MRN or PRN Radio and bring the races to you. I hope that what I share now is enjoyable and gives you a unique look in to the world of motorsports.

See you at a track soon

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