ThatsRacin

Race to finish in NASCAR Xfinity, Truck series

Chris Buescher hasn’t won a NASCAR Xfinity series race since June, but he has a comfortable lead for the series championship headed to the final two races.
Chris Buescher hasn’t won a NASCAR Xfinity series race since June, but he has a comfortable lead for the series championship headed to the final two races. (Credit too long, see caption)

The Chase isn’t the only NASCAR championship up for grabs as the season heads into its final two weeks. The Xfinity and Truck series also wrap things up this weekend in Phoenix and next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Here’s how the title races shape up in those two series:

Xfinity

How it stands: Chris Buescher leads defending champion Chase Elliott by 24 points, Ty Dillon by 30 and Regan Smith by 31. Nobody else is close (Elliott Sadler is in fifth place, trailing Buescher by 118 points).

Where it’s headed: Buescher, who hasn’t won since Dover in June, has admitted to racing for points recently. That’s been effective, as he’s held the points lead now for 22 consecutive races. Working against Elliott, Dillon and Smith is the continued presence of Cup regulars in Xfinity races. The last three winners have been Cup drivers (Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch and Austin Dillon). Keselowski, Kevin Harvick and Austin Dillon finished 1-2-3 at Texas last week.

How it will end: Buescher has never been particularly strong at Phoenix and was fifth at Homestead last season. But he’ll stay close enough to the front over these next two races to win his first title.

Trucks

How it stands: Rookie Erik Jones extended his lead over defending champion Matt Crafton to 17 points with a victory last week at Texas. Tyler Reddick is just four behind Crafton.

Where it’s headed: Jones, 19, has his hands full again this week at Phoenix, where he will compete in all three races (he’s filling in again for Matt Kenseth in the Cup race and is entered in the Xfinity race). But he handled all that well at Texas, winning the Truck race, finishing fourth in the Xfinity race and 12th in his second career Cup race. Crafton won at Martinsville two weeks ago and was on the pole at Texas, where he finished fourth.

How it will end: Jones has kept Crafton and Reddick at bay since taking the points lead seven races ago. Time has just about run out for them to catch Jones.

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