The NASCAR Xfinity Series is racing under a chase champion-determining format, loosely based on that of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, for the first time in 2016. Under that system, race winners in the regular season are guaranteed berths in the 12-driver, seven-race chase, provided they run all the races and remain inside the top-30 of the points standings.
Four races into the season, though, no series championship-eligible driver has gotten to victory lane. Recent series regular and 2014 champion, Chase Elliott, won the season opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. But Elliott is no longer and Xfinity Series regular; instead, he’s in his first full season of Sprint Cup competition. After Elliott’s win at Daytona, Kyle Busch took over command of Xfinity Series victory lane, winning all three races since.
At least to this point, that leaves the championship points standings for the series championship-eligible drivers. While the implementing a chase format was a sizeable overhaul for the series, there were minor tweaks to the basic points system in terms of the number of points awarded per position, per race. The immediately previous points formula awarded 43 base points to race winners, in addition to three points for the race win. For other positions throughout the 40 car field, points awarded for specific finishing positions were one point less than the finishing spot just ahead. For example, the second-place finisher received 42 base points. Forty-one base points were awarded to the third-place finisher and so on and so forth all the way back to the 40th and last-place finisher, who received four points. A bonus point was also awarded to each driver who led a lap and then an additional point for the driver who led the most laps.
Bonus points remain unchanged for this year, but the range of base points has been modified to reflect the 40 car field, meaning the 40th-place driver/owner receives a single base point while the winner gets 40 base points.
That being said, here is where the Xfinity Series championship-eligible drivers stack up, points-wise, four races into the season:
1. Daniel Suarez, 144 (0)
2. Elliott Sadler, 136 (-8)
3. Ty Dillon, 135 (-9)
4. Justin Allgaier, 132 (-12)
5. Brandon Jones, 129 (-15)
6. Erik Jones, 126 (-18)
7. Brendan Gaughan, 119 (-25)
8. Ryan Reed, 106 (-38)
9. Brennan Poole, 102 (-42)
10. Darrell Wallace Jr. 96, (-48)
10. Jeb Burton, 96 (-48)
12. Blake Koch, 93 (-51)
Xfinity Series car owner points are distributed in the same manor as the driver points, except driver points go to the team/car, regardless of the identity of a team’s driver in any specific race or whether or not said driver is Xfinity championship-eligible.
With Busch winning three of the of the four races, so far, the car he has been driving — the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota — is atop the owner points standings, even though Busch, himself, isn’t series championship-eligible. The No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet that Elliott drove to the win at Daytona is second in the standings, seven points behind Busch. Multiple drivers, including team co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr., will take turns driving the car over the course of the season.
The highest-ranked car/team with the same Xfinity Series regular behind the wheel for the entire season is the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driven by Daniel Suarez. That car is third in the standings, nine points behind the No. 18.
Below, are the car owner standings after four races:
1. No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, 153 (0)
2. No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, 146 (-7)
3. No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, 144 (-9)
3. No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, 144 (-9)
5. No. 22 Team Penske Ford, 136 (-17)
5. No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, 136 (-17)
7. No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, 135 (-18)
8. No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, 132 (-21)
9. No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, 129 (-24)
10. No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, 126 (-27)
11. No. 62 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, 119 (-34)
12. No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, 106 (-47)