For the third straight race weekend, the NASCAR Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash program is raising the stakes with a $100,000 bonus on the line for series championship qualifying contenders. And for this weekend, those four drivers are Cole Custer, Austin Cindric, Justin Allgaier and Tyler Reddick.
So far this season, Christopher Bell banked the first $100,000 bonus with his win at Bristol Motor Speedway a few weeks back, and then Cole Custer fattened his checking account with his victory at Richmond Raceway two weeks ago.
Now the series turns to Talladega Superspeedway as the stage for the next showdown in the Dash 4 Cash competition, the MoneyLion 300, this Saturday, April 27 at 1 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
The highest finishing driver among the four qualified Dash 4 Cash participants (Custer, Cindric, Allgaier and Reddick) will win this weekend’s $100,000 bonus and automatically qualify for the final Dash 4 Cash race of the season next weekend at Dover International Speedway. The next three highest finishing NASCAR Xfinity Series championship contenders this weekend will also qualify to compete for next week’s Dash 4 Cash at Dover.
Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer heads to Talladega riding the momentum of his win at Richmond two weeks ago. The California native is currently third in points after accumulating one pole, two wins (Auto Club, Richmond), five top fives and six top 10s this season. Custer has made two series starts at Talladega posting one top-10 finish (ninth, last season).
Team Penske’s Austin Cindric is right behind Custer in the championship standings (fourth) after posting three top fives and six top 10s this season. Cindric is looking to rebound from his series track debut at Talladega last season where he started 11th and finished 30th after being involved in a multicar incident on Lap 62. Cindric has reason to be optimistic though, he finished fifth in the season-opener at Daytona.
JR Motorsports driver Justin Allgaier and the No. 7 team will be driving with heavy hearts this weekend, as team owners Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kelly Earnhardt-Miller’s mother, Brenda Jackson, passed earlier this week. Brenda joined Kelly and Dale at JRM in 2004.
Allgaier is currently fifth in the points after grabbing three top fives and four top 10s this season. Allgaier is a force to be reckoned with at Talladega, he is currently riding a six-race top-10 streak; that includes a third-place finish last season. And the Illinois native has the series-best average finish (10.0) at the famed high banks among active drivers with more than one start.
Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick continues to prove why he won the title last season. The Californian is the current standings leader after putting up a series-leading six top fives and seven top 10s in the first eight starts of 2019. His average finish this season also leads the series at 5.4. Reddick has made two Xfinity starts at ‘Dega posting one top-10 finish (eighth, last season) and an average finish of 14.0.
Sunoco Rookie Update: John Hunter Nemechek takes the rookie standings lead
One driver feeling particularly optimistic this weekend has to be GMS Racing’s Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender John Hunter Nemechek, who not only took the rookie standings lead following Richmond two weeks ago, but now heads to Talladega this weekend with the defending race winning team from this event a year ago.
Last season, GMS Racing’s Spencer Gallagher grabbed his first and only career series win in this event at Talladega, driving the GMS Racing flagship No. 23 Chevrolet Camaro. Fast forward to this season, and now John Hunter Nemechek heads to Talladega to attempt to match his new team’s efforts from a year ago.
Through eight races this season, Nemechek and the No. 23 GMS Racing team have gelled quite well, he is currently sixth in the points standings after posting two top fives and six top 10s.
Nemechek made his series track debut at Talladega last season while driving part-time for Chip Ganassi Racing; he started fourth and finished a respectable seventh.
The Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings following Richmond: John Hunter Nemechek (263 points), Chase Briscoe (-8), Noah Gragson (-17), Justin Haley (-26), and Brandon Brown (-105).
Reddick’s consistency opens up standings lead on Bell
Christopher Bell’s rollercoaster-type season is the exact reason why Tyler Reddick’s unfettered consistency has opened up his standings lead to a season-high 24 points following Richmond.
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell might have two wins this season, but he also has three finishes of 13th or worse; including a 30th-place DNF at ISM Raceway.
The persistent ups-and-downs Bell has endured have opened the door for current standings leader Tyler Reddick – who has been the model for consistency this season, leading the series in top fives (six) and top 10s (seven). His only finish outside the top 10 this season was 14th at Las Vegas.
Reddick’s move to Richard Childress Racing in the offseason has already proven to be fruitful as the Californian now has the opportunity to become just the ninth driver all-time and the first since Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2011, 2012) to win multiple series titles; joining Sam Ard (1983, 1984), Jack Ingram (1982, 1985), Larry Pearson (1986, 1987), Randy La Joie (1996, 1997), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1998, 1999), Martin Truex Jr. (2004, 2005), Kevin Harvick (2001, 2006) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2001, 2012).
Reddick has made two Xfinity starts at Talladega, accumulating one top-10 finish (eighth, last season) and an average finish of 14.0.
Reigning Gander Trucks champ Brett Moffit to make Xfinity season debut
JR Motorsports has called up reigning NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series champion Brett Moffitt to pilot the No. 8 JRM Chevrolet Camaro in this weekend’s MoneyLion 300 at Talladega Superspeedway (1 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Moffitt will be the sixth different driver to jump in the No. 8 this season joining Chase Elliott, Ryan Preece, Ryan Truex, Jeb Burton and Zane Smith. This weekend Moffitt will be paired with crew chief Taylor Moyer.
Though Moffitt only has two series starts to his career, he made his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut at Iowa Speedway in 2011, where he started 10 and finished ninth driving for car owner Robby Benton. His second and most recent Xfinity start came in 2017 driving for GMS Racing – he started 21st and raced his way up to a 11th-place finish.
Moffitt has only made one NASCAR national series start at Talladega, last season in the Gander Trucks he started eighth but finished 17th, two laps down.
Xfinity Stats Snapshot: Talladega Superspeedway
Below are some quick stats to get you up to speed for this weekend’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race the MoneyLion 300 at Talladega Superspeedway (April 27 at 1 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio):
Talladega Superspeedway has hosted 27 NASCAR Xfinity Series races. The first Xfinity Series race held at Talladega was on July 25, 1992 and the event was won by driver/car owner Ernie Irvan in his own Chevrolet. The series has competed at Talladega Superspeedway once a season since 1992. In total, 339 different NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers have made starts at Talladega, and 220 drivers have competed in more than one. Joe Nemechek leads the series in starts at Talladega with 21 starts. Jeff Green leads all active Xfinity drivers in Talladega starts with 16.
In total, the NASCAR Xfinity Series has seen 20 different drivers win the pole award at Talladega Superspeedway; led by Joe Nemechek with five poles (1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2003). NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt won the series’ first pole (184.733 mph) at Talladega in 1992 and Daniel Hemric won the most recent Xfinity pole (189.402 mph) at ‘Dega last season. The youngest Xfinity pole winner at Talladega Superspeedway is Brad Coleman (April 28, 2007 at 19 years, 2 months and 2 days). Ken Schrader is the oldest series pole winner at Talladega Superspeedway (April 24, 1999 at 43 years, 9 months, 26 days). Joe Nemechek holds the NASCAR Xfinity Series qualifying record at Talladega Superspeedway with a speed of 193.517 mph (April 26, 1997).
In total the NASCAR Xfinity Series has seen 22 different drivers win the race at Talladega Superspeedway; led by Martin Truex Jr. with three victories (2004, 2005, 2006). Ernie Irvan won the series’ first race at Talladega in 1992 and Spencer Gallagher won the most recent Xfinity race at ‘Dega last season. The youngest Xfinity race winner at Talladega Superspeedway is Joey Logano (May 5, 2012 at 21 years, 11 months, 11 days). The oldest series winner at Talladega is Mike McLaughlin (April 21, 2001 at 44 years, 6 months, 15 days). Mark Martin holds the race record in the series at Talladega Superspeedway with an average speed of 169.937 mph (April 26, 1997).