Sat. Oct 19th, 2019

NASCAR America

4 min read

Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN and will recap all the Xfinity and Truck Series race action from the weekend at Iowa Speedway.

Steve Letarte will be joined by Jeff Burton and NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett.

If you can’t catch either of today’s shows on TV, watch online at . If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

With the NASCAR Cup Series off last weekend, attention was focused on the Xfinity Series and Gander Outdoors Truck Series at Iowa Speedway.

With that in mind, we’re changing gears for this week’s NBC Sports’ NASCAR Power Rankings. Our staff of writers are ranking the top Xfinity and Trucks series drivers.

Here’s how this week’s Power Rankings shape up:

1. Tyler Reddick (39 points) – He has one less win now than Christopher Bell, but his overall consistency with three more top fives – including 10 in a row – put Reddick over the top.

2. Christopher Bell (36 points) – Well ahead of his 2018 pace with four wins to one, but when he’s not winning he seems to struggle. He has two DNFs among five finishes of 13th or worse.

3. Cole Custer (32 points) – The second most improved Xfinity driver from last year. He also trails Bell by one win but he’s tied with him with eight top fives and one other top 10.

4. Ross Chastain (29 points) – What he’s done in both Xfinity and Truck with the equipment he’s in has been impressive.

5. Brett Moffitt (22 points) – Benefitted from Ross Chastain’s truck failing inspection and got the win at Iowa (pending the appeal by Chastain’s team Wednesday). Reigning series champ looks to win back-to-back titles with two different teams (just like what Reddick is looking to do).

6. Justin Allgaier (21 points) – Seems to be finding his groove after some early struggles. Has four top-five finishes in the last five races.

7. Grant Enfinger (16 points) – Points leader in the Truck Series and has not finished worse than 11th this season. His fourth-place finish at Iowa was the fourth time he’s placed fourth in the last six races … but he’s still searching for his first win of 2019.

8. Chase Briscoe (11 points) – Has 11 top-10 finishes in last 12 races. That includes six top fives during that stretch, including a best result of third at Pocono (has also finished worse than eighth just once in the same period).

9. Matt Crafton (8 points) – Has identical record to Enfinger (zero wins, six top 5 and nine top 10 finishes each). Major difference is Crafton has led only 22 of 1,640 laps, while Enfinger has led 110 laps.

10. Austin Cindric (5 points) – His 10th-place finish at Iowa was his ninth top 10 in the past 11 Xfinity races. Is showing continued marked improvement in his second full season in the series.

But regardless of how Niece Motorsports rebounds from the disqualification, the repercussions still could threaten the future of the truck series team.

“There will be fallout from this for us for a long time,” Chastain said Tuesday during a taping of a NASCAR on NBC Podcast episode (which will be released next week; a video snippet is available above). “It shook (team owner) Al Niece and all of us to our cores (asking), ‘What are we doing? Why are we doing this?’ Al’s prepared for years to win races, and the amount of investment and infrastructure he’s put into this race team, and to get your second win, and they take it away.

“I think it really made him think about why is he doing this? And is this worth doing? It did. He’s a guy who wears his emotion on his sleeve just like I do. He’s honest. And he came in the shop (Monday) and had some, for me, very bone-jarring words that was like, ‘Holy cow, this could have a really bad effect on all our futures, his included, in NASCAR.’

“It’s scary stuff right now, and that’s why we will go win this weekend, and we will keep winning.”

The team’s appeal of the penalty will be heard today at 9 a.m., and Chastain will be in attendance (“If they want me to speak, I’ll speak”). Because his team is the first dinged under NASCAR’s revamped approach to postrace inspections this season, it’s difficult to gauge the team’s chances because there is virtually no precedent (the last time a driver was disqualified was more than two decades ago).

In the likelihood that the disqualification is upheld, Chastain faces a stiff challenge to make the playoffs. He must win one of the final six regular-season races and also erase a 69-point gap to hold a requisite top 20 spot in the standings.

Given that only 14 drivers have attempted all 10 truck races in 2019, making the top 20 should be easy, but Chastain has been earning points over only the past two races after electing to switch to truck points in early June. His May 10 victory at Kansas Speedway was ineligible for playoff consideration.

That doesn’t dissuade Chastain from believing he can contend for the truck championship. He will race Saturday night at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway with the Chevrolet he drove at Iowa.

“We gave them an eight-race head start, so what’s one more race? How big of a head start do these guys need in the points? No issues on my end,” Chastain said. “I don’t want to sound cocky, but I am confident, because I know what it’s like to not have speed, and you’re struggling and don’t have resources. We have the resources.”

The full podcast episode will be available on audio and video next week; you can watch a snippet above.

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