Tuesday, May 24, 2022
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Making The Field: 2022 NXS Production Alliance Group 300 at Auto Club Speedway

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Photo Credit: Robert Laberge / Getty Images

After an incredible weekend of racing at Daytona International Speedway, the NASCAR Xfinity Series travels out west to begin the series’ three-race ‘West Coast Swing’ at Auto Club Speedway, marking the series first race at the two-mile oval since 2020.

Austin Hill – competing in his first NASCAR Xfinity Series event for Richard Childress Racing — was victorious in the Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. 300 at Daytona International Speedway, locking him into the series’ post-season.

The entry list for Saturday’s Production Alliance Group 300 at Auto Club Speedway started out at 44 cars, but slowly decreased throughout the week, settling at 41 entries after the No. 52 (Jimmy Means Racing), No. 53 (Emerling-Gase Motorsports), and No. 90 (DGM Racing) all withdrew.

After last week’s qualifying session at Daytona reached the low-20s when it came to owner point provisionals, Mason Massey, Alex Labbe, Reaume Brothers Racing, and others, are looking to rebound from a disappointing season-opener.

LOCKED IN:

#DriverTeamReason
54Ty Gibbs (PWP 1)
Joe Gibbs Racing2nd in 2021 NXS OP
9Noah Gragson (PWP 2)
JR Motorsports3rd in 2021 NXS OP
10Landon CassillKaulig Racing4th in 2021 NXS OP (was #16)
19Brandon JonesJoe Gibbs Racing5th in 2021 NXS OP (was #18)
11Daniel Hemric (PCP 1) Kaulig Racing11th in 2021 NCWTS OP (was #10)

Ty Gibbs, Noah Gragson, Landon Cassill, and Brandon Jones are all 100-percent locked into Saturday’s Production Alliance Group 300 at Auto Club Speedway, due to their 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series owner point position.

Daniel Hemric, the series’ most recent champion, is locked into the event by virtue of his past champions provisional, despite the fact that he likely won’t use it. In the case of Hemric, an owner points provisional would likely be handed out before the past champions provisional, leaving a previous winner provisional open for use.

FEELING CONFIDENT:

#DriverTeamReason
7Justin Allgaier (PWP 3)JR Motorsports6th in 2021 NXS OP
16AJ Allmendinger (PWP 4)Kaulig Racing7th in 2021 NXS OP (was #11)
1Sam MayerJR Motorsports8th in 2021 NXS OP
18Trevor BayneJoe Gibbs Racing9th in 2021 NXS OP (was #20)
2Sheldon CreedRichard Childress Racing10th in 2021 NXS OP
8Josh Berry (PWP 5)JR Motorsports12th in 2021 NXS OP
26Jeffrey EarnhardtSam Hunt Racing13th in 2021 NXS OP (was #19)
98Riley HerbstStewart-Haas Racing14th in 2021 NXS OP
51Jeremy ClementsJeremy Clements Racing15th in 2021 NXS OP
02Brett MoffittOur Motorsports16th in 2021 NXS OP
28Kyle SiegRSS Racing17th in 2021 NXS OP (was #39)
68Brandon Brown (PWP 6)Brandonbilt Motorsports18th in 2021 NXS OP
92Kyle WeathermanDGM Racing19th in 2021 NXS OP
35Joey GaseEmerling-Gase Motorsports20th in 2021 NXS OP (was #23)
91Mason MasseyDGM Racing21st in 2021 NXS OP (was #36)
44Tommy Joe MartinsAlpha Prime Racing22nd in 2021 NXS OP
48Jade BufordBig Machine Racing24th in 2021 NXS OP
31Myatt Snider (PWP 7)Jordan Anderson Racing25th in 2021 NXS OP

This is where things begin to get tricky, especially considering Mason Massey (21st in 2021 NXS OP) failed to qualify for last weekend’s event at Daytona, due to not receiving an owner points provisional. However, with a smaller entry list this weekend, Massey, along with the top-25 in 2021 NXS OP are likely going to be in the field.

Justin Allgaier, AJ Allmendinger, Josh Berry, Brandon Brown, and Myatt Snider all have the opportunity to use a previous winners provisional, if needed, with the PWP being awarded to the vehicle highest in owner points, first.

POTENTIALLY IN DANGER:

#DriverTeamReason
34Jesse IwujiJesse Iwuji Motorsports26th in 2021 NXS OP
07Cole CusterSS Green Light Racing27th in 2021 NXS OP
78Josh WilliamsDGM Racing28th in 2021 NXS OP
5Matt MillsBJ McLeod Motorsports29th in 2021 NXS OP
4Bayley CurreyJD Motorsports30th in 2021 NXS OP
21Austin Hill (PWP 8)Richard Childress Racing31st in 2021 NXS OP (was #47)
6Ryan VargasJD Motorsports32nd in 2021 NXS OP (was #0)
99Stefan ParsonsBJ McLeod Motorsports33rd in 2021 NXS OP
08Joe Graf Jr.SS Green Light Racing34th in 2021 NXS OP
66JJ YeleyMBM Motorsports35th in 2021 NXS OP
33Will RodgersReaume Brothers Racing36th in 2021 NXS OP (was #61)
36Alex LabbeDGM Racing38th in 2021 NXS OP (was #90)
47Brennan PooleMike Harmon Racing40th in 2021 NXS OP (was #74)
38Timmy HillRSS Racing44th in 2021 NXS OP
23Anthony AlfredoOur Motorsports51st in 2021 NXS OP (was #03)
27Jeb Burton (PWP 9)Our MotorsportsNO OWNER POINTS
39Ryan SiegRSS RacingNO OWNER POINTS
45Kaz GralaAlpha Prime RacingNO OWNER POINTS

Last weekend’s season-opener was eye-opening for many drivers and teams outside the top-25 in owner points, as the series’ event at the 2.5-mile superspeedway was a pre-cursor to just how competitive things can get this year.

For this reason, along with the high-ceiling that many of the cars in this category have, anybody outside the top-25 in 2021 NXS OP has to be at least somewhat worried about Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session at Auto Club Speedway.

If needed, Austin Hill and Jeb Burton have a past winner provisional to fall back on, but likely won’t need that provision because of the speed in their vehicles. For this season, Kaz Grala, Ryan Sieg, and Anthony Alfredo MUST post a speed inside the top-33 in qualifying to make the event.

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Joseph Srigley
Joseph Srigleyhttp://tobychristie.com
University of Windsor | Business Administration - Supply Chain & Data Analytics Editor at TobyChristie.com

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