Xfinity preview: After disaster at Kansas, Austin Cindric seeks Texas sweep

Reid Spencer
·2 min read

Chase Briscoe‘s dream season continued last Saturday at Kansas Speedway.

The driver of the No. 98 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford picked up his ninth NASCAR Xfinity Series win of the year and earned automatic advancement into the Championship 4 season finale at Phoenix Raceway.

On Tuesday, Stewart-Haas announced Briscoe would succeed the retiring Clint Bowyer in the No. 14 NASCAR Cup Series Ford next year.

MORE: SHR taps Briscoe for No. 14 ride

In stark contrast, Austin Cindric‘s Kansas weekend couldn‘t have been worse. The driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford made an aggressive move between cars early in the race, tangled with the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet of Noah Gragson and finished 28th.

WATCH: Cindric, Gragson tangle at Kansas

Cindric dropped from second to fourth in the series standings, just two points clear of Justin Haley in fifth, the first spot below the Round of 8 playoff cutline. But Cindric enters Saturday‘s O‘Reilly Auto Parts 300 (4:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN/NBC Sports App, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) as the most recent winner at Texas, and a season sweep would ensure a spot in the Championship 4.

Gragson fared even worse at Kansas. The wreck with Cindric dropped him to 36th (last) in the race and eighth in the standings, 33 points below the current cutoff. In practical terms, Gragson’s clearest path to the Championship 4 requires a victory at Texas or at Martinsville Speedway the next week.

Texas is problematic for Gragson. In his three starts at the track, he has a best finish of 13th, and his last two races there have ended with 30th-place results.

“Texas has not treated us well in the past,” Gragson said. “We were really strong here in the spring and just got bit by the bad-luck bug. We‘re coming off a rough weekend in Kansas, but my team has their heads held high, and we know we can go in this weekend and win.

“We just have to put it all together and be there at the end, which I know we are capable of doing.”