Monday, May 23, 2022
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Making The Field: 2022 NXS Nalley Cars 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway

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Saturday’s Nalley Cars 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway marks a new era for the 1.54-mile facility, with the reconfiguration and reprofiling of one of the oldest surfaces on the NASCAR schedule.

The massive change, which many expect could produce a hybrid of intermediate racing and superspeedway racing, creates a myriad of unknowns surrounding this weekend’s racing, as all three of NASCAR’s National Series race on the track for the first time.

Last weekend at Phoenix Raceway, Noah Gragson broke through to capture his first victory of the season, continuing a four-race streak of top-three finishes to start his fourth season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Gragson joins Austin Hill, Cole Custer, and Ty Gibbs as the unique winners so far in 2022.

Among drivers making their 2022 season debut at Atlanta are Chad Finchum, Loris Hezemans, Sage Karam, Harrison Rhodes, and Dillon Bassett, each of which are feeling various levels of comfort heading into qualifying.

For a number of drivers and teams, an unfortunate start to the season has put them in a position where they’ll have to post a time inside the top-33 in qualifying.


LOCKED IN:

#DriverTeamReason
9Noah GragsonJR Motorsports1st in 2022 NXS OP
*PWP #1
54Ty GibbsJoe Gibbs Racing2nd in 2022 NXS OP
*PWP #2
7Justin AllgaierJR Motorsports3rd in 2022 NXS OP
*PWP #3
16AJ AllmendingerKaulig Racing4th in 2022 NXS OP
*PWP #4
11Daniel HemricKaulig Racing6th in 2022 NXS OP
*PWP #6

Noah Gragson, Ty Gibbs, Justin Allgaier, and AJ Allmendinger – the top-four drivers in 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series Owner Points — are all mathematically locked into the field for Sunday’s Nalley Cars 250 at Atlanta, based on their points position. Daniel Hemric – the series’ defending champion — is guaranteed a spot in the field.


FEELING SAFE:

#DriverTeamReason
8Josh BerryJR Motorsports5th in 2022 NXS OP
*PWP #5
19Brandon JonesJoe Gibbs Racing7th in 2022 NXS OP
18Trevor BayneJoe Gibbs Racing8th in 2022 NXS OP
26Jeffrey EarnhardtSam Hunt Racing9th in 2022 NXS OP
39Ryan SiegRSS Racing10th in 2022 NXS OP
1Sam MayerJR Motorsports11th in 2022 NXS OP
98Riley HerbstStewart-Haas Racing12th in 2022 NXS OP
21Austin HillRichard Childress Racing13th in 2022 NXS OP
*PWP #7
68Brandon BrownBrandonbilt Motorsports14th in 2022 NXS OP
*PWP #8
2Sheldon CreedRichard Childress Racing15th in 2022 NXS OP
10Landon CassillKaulig Racing16th in 2022 NXS OP
27Jeb BurtonOur Motorsports17th in 2022 NXS OP
*PWP #9
23Anthony AlfredoOur Motorsports18th in 2022 NXS OP
36Alex LabbeDGM Racing19th in 2022 NXS OP
07Joe Graf Jr.SS Green Light Racing20st in 2022 NXS OP
02Brett MofittOur Motorsports21st in 2022 NXS OP
66JJ YeleyMBM Motorsports22nd in 2022 NXS OP
51Jeremy ClementsJeremy Clements Racing23rd in 2022 NXS OP

Based on recent qualifying trends, as well as the quality of the cars listed in the group above, we can say that teams sitting from 5th to 23rd in 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series Owner Points are feeling good about their chances of qualifying for Saturday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Josh Berry, Austin Hill, Brandon Brown, and Jeb Burton can all fall back on a Past Winners Provisional, in the event that they are unable to post a speed inside the top-33 and their owner points position isn’t good enough to acquire a provisional.


THE DANGER ZONE:

#DriverTeamReason
44Sage KaramAlpha Prime Racing24th in 2022 NXS OP
4Bayley CurreyJD Motorsports25th in 2022 NXS OP
31Myatt SniderJordan Anderson Racing26th in 2022 NXS OP
*PWP #10
28Kyle SiegRSS Racing27th in 2022 NXS OP
38Loris HezemansRSS Racing28th in 2022 NXS OP
92Kyle WeathermanDGM Racing29th in 2022 NXS OP
35Shane LeeEmerling-Gase Motorsports30th in 2022 NXS OP
5Matt MillsBJ McLeod Motorsports31st in 2022 NXS OP
6Ryan Vargas JD Motorsports32nd in 2022 NXS OP
91Mason MasseyDGM Racing33rd in 2022 NXS OP
48Jade BufordBig Machine Racing34th in 2022 NXS OP
45Tommy Joe MartinsAlpha Prime Racing35th in 2022 NXS OP
99Stefan ParsonsBJ McLeod Motorsports36th in 2022 NXS OP
78Josh WilliamsBJ McLeod Motorsports37th in 2022 NXS OP
34Jesse IwujiJesse Iwuji Motorsports39th in 2022 NXS OP
08David StarrSS Green Light Racing41st in 2022 NXS OP
47Brennan PooleMike Harmon Racing42nd in 2022 NXS OP
13Chad FinchumMBM Motorsports45th in 2022 NXS OP
77Dillon BassettBassett Racing46th in 2022 NXS OP
52Harrison RhodesJimmy Means Racing47th in 2022 NXS OP

Entering Atlanta, drivers and teams that are currently sitting outside the top-23 in 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series owner points, are probably somewhat worried about their chances of qualifying into Saturday’s event.

While some may be confident in posting a time inside the top-33, there is always a chance of a mechanical issue, or accident, like what happened to Jeb Burton at Las Vegas, requiring him to use a Past Winners Provisional.

Myatt Snider – driving the No. 31 for Jordan Anderson Racing — has a Past Winners Provisional available to him, should he need it, as a result of his victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway last season.

Harrison Rhodes, Dillon Bassett, Chad Finchum, Brennan Poole, and David Starr are the five drivers that must post a time inside the top-33 in qualifying, or else they’ll face going home.


RAINOUT PROCEDURE:

In the event that Saturday’s qualifying session at Phoenix is canceled because of inclement weather, the following procedure will be used to set the field of 38 drivers:

  • Positions 1 to 30 will be assigned to the top-30 vehicles in the current year’s NASCAR Xfinity Series owner points, that are entered in the event.

9 – Gragson
54 – Gibbs
7 – Allgaier
16 – Allmendinger
8 – Berry
11 – Hemric
19 – Jones
18 – Bayne
26 – Earnhardt
39 – R. Sieg
1 – Mayer
98 – Herbst
21 – A. Hill
68 – Brown
2 – Creed
10 – Cassill
27 – Burton
23 – Alfredo
36 – Labbé
07 – Graf
02 – Moffitt
66 – Yeley
51 – Clements
44 – Karam
4 – Currey
31 – Snider
28 – K. Sieg
38 – Hezemans
92 – Weatherman
35 – Lee

  • The next available positions will be assigned to any team owners/drivers that have won a points-paying event in the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ current or previous season (Owners before Drivers, in the event more than eligible spots in the field): NONE
  • The next available positions, if any, will be assigned to any drivers who are eligible past champions of the NASCAR Xfinity Series. (Must have won a title in last 10 seasons, competed in series’ previous season, and be running for points): NONE
  • The next available starting positions, if any, will be assigned to the teams that are highest in NASCAR Xfinity Series owner point standings, that have yet to secure a spot in the field:

5 – Mills
6 – Vargas
91 – Massey
48 – Buford
45 – Martins
99 – Parsons
78 – Williams
34 – Iwuji

Therefore, in the event of Saturday’s qualifying session being rained out, David Starr (SS Green Light Racing), Brennan Poole (Mike Harmon Racing), Chad Finchum (MBM Motorsports), Dillon Bassett (Bassett Racing), and Harrison Rhodes (Jimmy Means Racing) would be the five drivers that fail 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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