NASCAR Xfinity Series recap: Five Takeaways from Richmond

Image courtesy of @NASCAR_XFINITY.

Ho hum, another full-time Sprint Cup driver blistered the Xfinity field again on Friday night. A week after Joey Logano led every lap at Bristol, he couldn’t overcome the overwhelming speed from Denny Hamlin.

The No. 20 car started on the front row with Logano—exactly how they’ll start in the Sprint Cup event—but quickly proved he was the car to beat. Hamlin winning on his home track was not the only huge takeaway, so let’s take a look at what we learned on Friday night.

1. Hamlin is Juuuuust Fine: There were concerns about Hamlin heading into this weekend, but it’s clear he’s more than just alright. Earning another win at his home track showed he’s still his dominant self on short tracks.

A Chesterfield, Virginia native, Hamlin has already won at Martinsville in the Sprint Cup this season. It won’t be quite as simple for Hamlin to make it a clean spring Virginia sweep on Saturday night. Regardless of the result for Hamlin, it won’t be due to any freak injury. 

 2. Sprint Cup Snoozer: Another week, another Buschwacker wins in the Xfinity Series. It’s becoming an all-too-common occurrence prior to the main even on Saturday night or Sundays. Outside of the one win for Ryan Reed to start the season, no other Xfinity driver has visited Victory Lane. Some folks believe it should be an expectation at this point.

Winning is one thing, but Logano and Hamlin have combined to lead 548 of 550 laps in the last two weeks. That’s just downright torture for young drivers who are looking to win a championship. In a word, the race was simply meh.

3. NASCAR is Still Dangerous: No matter how many safety precautions NASCAR takes to improve the sport, driving cars at high speeds will always be hazardous. Xfinity fans were reminded of that on Friday night.

During a routine pit stop for Brendan Gaughan, a massive fire engulfed two members of his crew and one of Eric McClure’s team. All three members were transported to a local hospital following the incident.

4. Three Up

Regan Smith – The JR Motorsports driver hasn’t enjoyed the same success he had last year, but is turning a corner after his season-best third-place finish in Richmond.

Daniel Suarez – Coming off a record-setting second-place result for a Mexican driver at Bristol, Suarez finished sixth at Richmond. Huge things are coming from this 23-year-old.

Brian Scott – Scott secured his fifth straight top 10 on Friday and even stole away a lap led from Hamlin. He’s typically done well at short tracks, so what he does the rest of the season will be telling for the Richard Childress driver.

5. Three Down

Elliott Sadler – He’s still ranked seventh in points, but it’s clear that Sadler isn’t putting together as strong of a season as his Roush Fenway teammates.

Chris Buescher – Buescher will still be a driver to watch this season, but Friday was not his best showing. A driver looking to win a championship can’t afford these performances by narrowly making the top 20.

Ryan Reed – Hand on the Bible, this wasn’t an intentional slant toward RFR. Following his win at Daytona, Ryan Reed has steadily slipped further behind the title contenders. With no other top-10 results since, it’s hard to imagine Reed truly competing for the title despite the strong start.

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