What is the NASCAR Xfinity Series?

What is the NASCAR Xfinity Series

The NASCAR Xfinity Series is the second-tier series of stock car racing in North America. Sometimes shortened to NXS, it serves as a feeder series for the more prestigious NASCAR Cup Series. Read on to learn more about the history and fundamentals of the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

Creation and History of the Xfinity Series

The Xfinity Series originated from NASCAR’s short track race division, called the Sportsman division, which began in the 1950s. In 1968, it was renamed the Late Model Sportsman Series and became a secondary series to the Cup Series. The inaugural season as NASCAR’s second touring circuit was in 1982 and Anheuser-Busch helped increase the series’s popularity and publicity by sponsoring it. The series was then officially renamed the Busch Grand National Series in 1986 after the official sponsor. Grand National was then removed from the title in 2003, and once Anheuser-Busch was dropped as the sponsor in 2007, the series became known as simply the Nationwide Series.

It finally became the Xfinity Series in 2014 when Comcast became the official sponsor through its internet brand Xfinity. The number of drivers starting each race in the Xfinity Series has changed over the years. Prior to 2013, there were 43 drivers in each race, as was the case with the Cup Series. Since, that number has dropped to 40 (2013), 38 (2019), and 36 drivers (2020).

Notable Races in the Xfinity Series

The Xfinity Series has hosted several races outside of the United States to help improve its international brand. The first one was the Telcel-Motorola 200 in Mexico City, Mexico, in 2005 at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez racetrack. The eventual winner of that race was future NASCAR Cup Series star Martin Truex Jr. The Xfinity Series also held a race in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on August 4th, 2007. That event took place at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, a road course, as was the case two years earlier in Mexico City. Quebec native Patrick Carpenter came close to winning the race in his hometown, but he came in second place behind another future Cup Series winner, Kevin Harvick. The Mexico City Race ran from 2005-2008, while the Quebec race ran from 2007-2012.

Xfinity Series Playoffs

In 2016, the Xfinity Series added a playoff schedule similar to the Cup Series. At the end of the season, the top twelve drivers qualify for the first round of the playoffs. In a series of three races, those twelve racers are cut down to eight at the end of the third race. The same process is then repeated to cut the final eight contestants down to the final four. At this point, one race is held with the final four drivers to determine the overall winner for the Xfinity Series that season.

Relationship With the Cup Series

While the Xfinity Series is designed to be for younger, less experienced drivers to get some exposure and experience in NASCAR, drivers in the Cup Series often compete in the Xfinity Series as well. Since Xfinity races are often held the day before Cup races in the same location on the same track, Cup Series racers will often use the Xfinity Series races as a means to get familiarized with the track and warm up for their race. This has been true from the very beginning, as NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt won the first-ever Xfinity Series race while preparing for a Cup Series event in 1982. Additionally, Kyle Busch, an accomplished Cup Series driver, holds the record for Xfinity Series wins with 102, many of which were obtained while he was a full-time Cup Series driver. 

While some argue that this takes opportunities away from the younger drivers, many of those drivers welcome the chance to challenge themselves and compete against some of the best drivers in the world. In 2016, NASCAR decided to limit the amount of Xfinity races a Cup Series driver can compete in. If a driver is competing for points in the Cup Series and has at least five years of experience, they may only participate in up to ten Xfinity races per season. Additionally, they are not allowed in the regular season finale, Chase, or “Dash 4 Cash” races.


How many races are in the NASCAR Xfinity Series?

Currently, there are 33 races in the Xfinity Series season, and this number has been in place since the 2012 season. Over the years, the number of Xfinity Series races has changed a few times. Since the first season in 1982, there have been anywhere from 26 to 35 races.