Past Championship 4 drivers look to go over the top

In 2015’s Champion 4 at Phoenix Raceway was the closest Justin Allgaier has actually been to winning a NASCAR Xfinity Series title.

In his 4th profession Xfinity Series Champion 4 look, Allgaier remained in contention as the race went into overtime. Having actually placed on his last set of tires previously, he avoided to acquire the lead while Austin Cindric pitted for fresh tires.

On older rubber, Allgaier attempted however stopped working to keep back Cindric off the reboot. After they made contact concerning the white flag, Cindric slipped by him, and after that Noah Gragson, to declare the title with a win. Allgaier faded to a fifth-place surface.

Recalling, it’s tough to see what more Allgaier might’ve performed in that circumstance.

So, as this year’s Xfinity Series playoffs ready to start Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN), attempting to obtain locations of prospective enhancement from in 2015’s playoff run doesn’t appear to be his primary concern.

“I think every playoffs has been different,” Allgaier stated Tuesday throughout Xfinity Series playoff media day. “The way drivers race, the risk that certain drivers are willing to take – until you get into those moments, you don’t necessarily always know what’s going to happen.

“Every playoffs has had its own vibe and its own feel, and I think this year is not going to be any different. It’s going to be a lot about managing your expectations, managing your competition and just getting yourself in position to go for that opportunity at Phoenix.

“Not beating yourself – that’s probably the most important piece of the playoffs for 2021 … If we can keep from beating ourselves, we’ll be in great shape.”

Allgaier is among 3 motorists in this year’s playoffs who’ve reached the Xfinity Series Champion 4 however have actually been not able to win the title.

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Daniel Hemric rode consistency to Champion 4 berths in 2017 and 2018 while driving for Richard Childress Racing. Ever since, Hemric’s profession has actually taken some turns.

He increased to the Cup Series with RCR in 2019, however was out after a single season. He then returned to the Xfinity Series in 2020, where he ran most of races (21 of 33) for JR Motorsports.

Last November, he landed a full-time Xfinity Series ride for 2021 with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Quickly after the statement, Hemric was enthused about having “legitimate, raw, in-your-face speed” in his devices. However that speed has actually not assisted him get to Triumph Lane for the very first time in his NASCAR nationwide series profession (201 starts).

Still, Hemric believes his lessons from 2017 and 2018 will help him.

“For me, I look at the strengths of this race team and the strengths of myself mentally and physically, of where I’m at as a person and race car driver now than where I was then,” Hemric said Tuesday.

“I think (I) just keep myself centered and humbled about the opportunity I have in front of me and just attack each week for what it is. Your biggest competitor in these scenarios is yourself, right? So, you gotta go and compete.

“Every spot does matter. Every scenario, every situation and decision you make are going to be different but they are going to matter. I think going through that experience in ’17 and ’18, hopefully, will help me be better now than I was then. I feel confident that I am.”

Then there’s Kaulig Racing’s Justin Haley, who made his very first Championship 4 appearance last year alongside Allgaier, Cindric and Chase Briscoe. Haley finished eighth at Phoenix, which put him third in the final standings.

In last year’s playoffs, Haley won at Talladega to reach the second round. In that round, he posted an average finish of 7.7 (fourth at Kansas, seventh at Texas, 12th at Martinsville) to reach the Championship 4.

Haley thinks a repeat Championship 4 appearance will be “a difficult task.” But if he and the No. 11 Kaulig team can do it, Haley thinks last year’s experience will pay dividends.

“I think now that we’ve had that championship race under our belts, we can do what we learned last year and be better at it,” Haley stated Tuesday. “We’ve already had the team go through a little different technical process (in the championship race), a little more technical than normal of that side of things, and I go through a little more media.

“It’s a lot of pressure and a lot more things going on. I’ve made the (Championship) 4 in Trucks, made (Championship) 4 in Xfinity, so (I’m) kinda taking all that and figuring out what we can do to be better and try to win a championship for (owner) Matt Kaulig.”

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Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.