NASCAR Xfinity recap: Five Takeaways from Talladega

Image courtesy of @TalladegaSuperS.

A Sprint Cup driver wins at the Xfinity level. Wash, rinse and repeat. At Talladega, that process continued with Joey Logano winning his third lower series race of the season by holding off Brian Scott when the checkered flag waves.

Luckily, the Xfinity drivers will head to Iowa after Mother’s Day weekend. But for now, let’s take a look at five takeaways from the enthralling race.

1. Logano Keeps Rolling at Superspeedways

Back in February, there was no catching Joey Logano once he got out front. On Saturday in the Xfinity Series race, the same was true as Logano was the first to the line again to collect yet another checkered flag.

It also has to give every Sprint Cup driver a sinking feeling when seeing just how masterful he was at Talladega. Sure, he hasn’t won a double in 2015, but he also didn’t race the Xfinity race in Daytona. With a streak of superspeedway success this year, Logano looks the part of a favorite with teammate Brad Keselowski for the Sprint Cup race.

2.  Panic in the Pits For the second straight week, another incident took place in the pits with Brendan Gaughan involved. This time around, Gaughan had no control after being involved in a wreck and making contact with members of Aric Almirola’s crew.

Two members for Almirola’s team were injured, with one released from the care center and the other being transported to a hospital. The status of the member hospitalized has not been released. It’s yet another reminder that, regardless of the steps taken by NASCAR, the sport is still dangerous for every person involved.

3. Setting the Stage for Sunday

Logano’s win might give us an idea of what’s going to happen on Sunday. The massive wrecks that involved stars like Ty Dillon, Darrell Wallace and Kasey Kahne might have given us some indication. What the Xfinity race at Talladega proved is that, no matter how hard some drivers try, the script can be flipped at any moment.

Spongebob, who graced Wallace’s machine, was not pleased with the Big One near the end of the race.

More of the same will take place on Sunday, so there’s literally no telling who will come out on top. But with the Penske power being shown at restrictor plate tracks, a clean car is all that separates Logano and Keselowski from Victory Lane again.

4. Three Up

Brian Scott – In the last two seasons, Brian Scott has been a non-factor at Talladega. Thanks to his second-place finish behind Logano and 10 laps led, Scott is now just a point out of the top five in the standings. Looking to extend his top-10 streak to four straight races, the Richard Childress driver pulled that off twice at Iowa last season.

Joey Gase – He’s not in the top 10 in points. Hell, he’s not even in the top 20. But what Joey Gase did on Saturday—contending for a fifth-place result at Talladega—earned him a lot of respect. The Means Racing driver is holding up his single-car team, but will need to replicate his ‘Dega prosperity at other tracks.

Ty Dillon – Even with pressure being applied from Chase Elliott before Talladega and being involved in two wrecks during the race, Ty Dillon stayed on top of the standings. His top-10 finish gives him a nine-point edge over Chris Buescher. More importantly, he now has a 37-point lead over defending champ Elliott going into the break.

5. Three Down

Chase Elliott – Speaking of Elliott, we’re finally starting to see a chink in the armor of one of the most polished young drivers. With an average finish of 32.5 at superspeedways and 5.7 at every other track, he’ll have to head back to the drawing board to figure out his woes at the restrictor plate tracks.

Brendan Gaughan – Not to beat on a guy when he’s down, but it’s been a rough two weeks for Gaughan. He has been involved in two incidents on pit roads and the results simply weren’t there for him at Talladega. Narrowly holding on to a spot inside the top 10, Gaughan can use the break to get back on track.

Ryan Reed – It wasn’t necessarily his fault, but Ryan Reed continued his decent into irrelevance on Saturday. Despite being the only full-time Xfinity driver to win a race this season, at Daytona no less, Reed can’t seem to find similar success with four straight finishes outside of the top 15 after Talladega.

 

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