Five things to watch in Saturday’s Xfinity race at Talladega

The NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to action Saturday at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, which will be the third of four with the $100,000 Dash4Cash bonus on the line.

Here are five things to watch in the Sparks Energy 300 (2:30 p.m. ET, Fox):

  • Four drivers – Christopher Bell, Elliott Sadler, Matt Tifft and Austin Cindric – are eligible to win a $100,000 bonus from Xfinity’s Dash4Cash program in Saturday’s race. Whichever of the four drivers finishes highest in the race will win the bonus. In addition, the top four finishers in the race who have declared for Xfinity Series drivers points will be eligible for the next bonus next weekend at Dover, Del. Ryan Preece won the first award at Bristol and Sadler collected the bonus last weekend in Richmond. Sadler has a chance to make it two Dash4Cash bonuses in a row. Sadler has the most experience at Talladega having made nine series starts posting two wins (2014, 2016), four top fives, six top 10s and an average finish of 10.4.

  • After a very successful Xfinity Series debut at Richmond last weekend finishing second in his first race driving Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 car, Noah Gragson will return for his second start on Saturday. This is the second of three series races slated for Gragson with JGR. Although there have been five different drivers in the No. 18 this season, including Kyle Busch, Kyle Benjamin, Preece and Daniel Suarez, the No. 18 is second in the series’ car owner standings 15 points behind Team Penske.

  • For the eighth consecutive race of the season there was a different race winner last weekend at Richmond. The eight different winners this season already has tied the 1998 and 2006 seasons for the third-longest different winner streak to start the season. The record for the highest number of different winners to start a season is 13 back in 1988. The 1988 and 2017 NASCAR Xfinity Series seasons are tied for the series-most different winners for the entire season with 18 each.

  • After Daniel Hemric suffered his worst finish of the season of 29th last week at Richmond, Hemric dropped to fourth in the standings allowing Bell to move up to second. JGR’s Bell not only won the race last weekend at Richmond, he also virtually locked himself into the playoffs. He is 29 points behind leader, Elliott Sadler and two points ahead of third place Tyler Reddick and nine points ahead Hemric.

  • Reddick opened the season winning the caution-filled race at Daytona to start his driving career for JR Motorsports on a positive note. Reddick owns two series wins with his first trip to Victory Lane coming in 2017 at Kentucky Speedway. He’s trying to become the sixth driver to sweep the first two restrictor-plate races of the season and first since Tony Stewart won at Daytona and Talladega in 2008. The other drivers to win at both Talladega and the season opener at Daytona are: Dale Earnhardt Sr. (1993), Chad Little (1995), Joe Nemecheck (1998) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2003).
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About this article
Event Talladega
Track Talladega Superspeedway
Drivers Elliott Sadler , Christopher Bell , Austin Cindric , Tyler Reddick , Matt Tifft
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing , JR Motorsports
Article type Special feature