Sheldon Creed, Riley Herbst, Noah Gragson and Justin Allgaier rounded out the top five. All four would agree Jones deserved to be right there with them in the running order instead of his unofficial 23rd-place result. No short track race is ever clean, but Saturday was a stark reminder of where some believe NASCAR could be heading without proper discipline.
JR Motorsports now has three of its four drivers locked into the final round of the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs. Gragson and Josh Berry clinched their spots with wins while Jones’ poor finish allowed Allgaier to make the cut on points. It’s important to note Jones will be suiting up for JRM next season, too – even more reason for all eyes to turn toward Phoenix Raceway.
Nicholas Sanchez and Blaine Perkins survived all the beating and banging that Martinsville had to offer and both earned the first top-1o finishes of their Xfinity careers as a reward. Sanchez brought the Big Machine Racing No. 48 Chevy home in seventh (in style, might I add, but more on that later), while Perkins was able to wheel his ride to 10th.
— Xfinity Racing (@XfinityRacing) October 29, 2022
Talk about a nightmare situation for Joe Gibbs Racing. Obviously, there is a level of understanding in letting Jones go to JRM, but with two weeks left in the season, the owner’s grandson goes and pulls this stunt.
There’s still a competition meeting to attend this week. And the No. 54 team now has to be expected to put together a championship-level performance after watching Gibbs pull his most bush-league move of the season? On the other side, I don’t know how any member of the No. 19 team is supposed to finish out this next week with dignity, much less class, and I wouldn’t blame them if they didn’t.
Sure, Ty Gibbs won the race, but he didn’t win the war. It will be a miracle if he cleanly makes it through the first stage at Phoenix. If Gibbs had any fans left, a good portion of them are probably gone now, too. And grandpa is in too tough of a situation to not hand him the keys to a Cup ride next year, but we’ll get to that.
Scheme of the Week
It has to be the Borchetta Bourbon-themed No. 48 BMR Chevy this week, and looking back, BMR has absolutely killed it in this piece of our column all season long.
— Big Machine Racing (@bigmchnracing) October 28, 2022
All throughout the year, they’ve been able to use a lot of brown-and-gold mixtures in some of their schemes to bring out an old-time feel in their cars, and that’s exactly what I get with this one. I halfway expect Dick Trickle to step out, cigarette in mouth, and do a live drink-and-advertise for Borchetta. It only seems right.
The Playoff Pit
For the last time this season, we take a dip into the Playoff Pit.
The Championship 4 is all set for Phoenix, with Gragson, Berry, Gibbs and Allgaier making the cut. There were some late-race fireworks between regular season champion AJ Allmendinger and Allgaier, but after some veteran-like rubbing and racing, Allgaier emerged with the final spot.
Fuel for Thought
That was arguably the worst move seen all season, and we’ve all witnessed some pretty wild things in 2022.
The absolute worst part about it, though, is this sobering reality in terms of discipline: NASCAR probably won’t do anything. They will more than likely view it as racing for the win/position and will not intervene. If you don’t believe me, then believe NASCAR media veteran Bob Pockrass of FOX Sports.
No … that is racing for the win/position and NASCAR typically allows that type of contact on the national level. https://t.co/yKr3ssfyYo
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) October 29, 2022
With that being said, while there may not be any consequences from NASCAR, rest assured, the drivers will self-police this issue. When something like this intentional wreck happens, gaps that used to be opened are closed, and doors that used to be agape are slammed.
It won’t just be in the Xfinity Series, either. If Gibbs does take over the No. 18 car in the Cup Series next year, those drivers will remember his actions tonight just as much as Gragson or Allmendinger will. Gibbs is in for a rude awakening in the coming years, and who knows? Maybe that’s what he needs.
Where to Next?
The Xfinity Series is headed to the Arizona desert for the championship race at Phoenix on Saturday, Nov. 5, and this one is for all the marbles. The green flag drops at 6 p.m. ET and the race will be aired on USA Network, Motor Racing Network and SIRIUS XM NASCAR.
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