LAS VEGAS — This Saturday‘s Rhino Pro Truck Outfitters 300 (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) brings the regular season to a close and formalizes the 2019 Playoffs lineup for the Xfinity Series. And while three drivers — defending series champion Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell and Cole Custer — have absolutely dominated the win column, none of the three has won at Las Vegas Motor Speedway before in this series.
Reddick won the 2016 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at Vegas, but has not hoisted an Xfinity Series trophy there. Yet.
He‘s highly motivated coming off his worst showing of the season last week (30th) following an accident with fellow title contender Christopher Bell in the final laps of the Indianapolis race. Bell finished 29th.
And still the Richard Childress Racing driver‘s consistency this season — 19 top-five and 21 top-10 finishes through the opening 25 races — will likely land him the regular-season championship (he needs to earn 11 points this weekend to clinch). Reddick holds a 50-point lead over Joe Gibbs Racing‘s Bell and an insurmountable 113-point edge over Stewart-Haas Racing‘s Custer heading into this week‘s season finale.
Certainly the top of the standings is a known quantity with these three accounting for 16 victories already — Reddick (four), Bell (six) and Custer (six). But the playoffs present a sort of reset.
The 12 drivers currently holding postseason spots are clinched on points, but this regular-season finale could prove interesting if a driver outside that group of 12 wins the race and the automatic playoff spot that accompanies. RSS Racing‘s Ryan Sieg currently sits in that precarious 12th position.
The other drivers who have clinched a postseason bid are Team Penske‘s Austin Cindric, Stewart-Haas Racing with Fred Biagi‘s Chase Briscoe, JR Motorsports teammates Michael Annett, Justin Allgaier and Noah Gragson, and Kaulig Racing‘s Justin Haley. In position to clinch this week are Brandon Jones, rookie John Hunter Nemechek and Sieg.
Of note, Haley will have a celebrated teammate at Kaulig Racing this week as longtime Xfinity Series championship challenger Elliott Sadler will make his final NASCAR national series start. Sadler — a three-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race winner and 13-time Xfinity Series winner — retired from full-time competition last year and has announced his race Saturday will be his last in NASCAR‘s highest tiers of competition. He has four top-fives in 13 Las Vegas Xfinity Series starts.