The Alsco 300 at Kentucky Speedway is this weekend, not to be confused with the Alsco 300 at Bristol or the Alsco 300 at Charlotte. This is the Alsco 300 Kentucky and it is a Friday night race on July 12 in the town of Sparta. This is the 17th race of 26 set for the Xfinity Series regular season.
It is the second-to-last 1.5-mile race of the regular season. The regular season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is the last. Odds for this version of the Alsco 300 are on the right-hand side for desktop viewers and down below the comment box for mobile viewers.
Enjoy It While You Can
This is a 1.5-mile race. The next race is a 1.058-mile race. After that, the drivers will run on three road course circuits in five weeks with stops at Watkins Glen, Mid-Ohio, and Road America. That won’t be problematic for everybody, but the oval races are much better for a lot of the top drivers in the Xfinity Series, so we’ll have to see how things play out down the stretch.
The silver lining, however, is that the Cup Series drivers will not be on hand in two weeks at Iowa Speedway and won’t run at either Mid-Ohio or Road America, so the Xfinity Series guys won’t have to contend with the best of the best. Some road course ringers will be making an appearance soon, though.
Ross the Boss
Ross Chastain won last week at Daytona, but because he is running for Cup Series points, he cannot participate in the Xfinity Series playoffs. That means that nothing has changed in the standings. Chastain, who has run 15 of the 16 Xfinity Series races, and had previously finished no higher than seventh, picked up his first win, but it meant nothing more than a lucrative pay day.
Daytona is always a challenge and we saw that on the Cup Series side with Justin Haley’s win. Haley was also second in the Xfinity Series race to move up to eighth in points. Tyler Reddick had the pole and still leads the way with 718 points. Christopher Bell is second with 642. Cole Custer is third with 637 points. Austin Cindric’s next point will be his 600th and Justin Allgaier rounds out the top five.
The top 12 make the playoffs in the Xfinity Series, so Noah Gragson, John Hunter Nemechek, Haley, Michael Annett, Chase Briscoe, Brandon Jones, and Ryan Sieg would all be in if the playoffs started today. Sieg is 88 points clear of Gray Gaulding, so it would take a stunning win for somebody to steal a playoff spot.
A Pleasant Surprise
No Cup Series drivers are in the field this week at Kentucky. I’m really surprised by that, as this is an event that has been dominated by Cup guys. Before Christopher Bell’s win last week, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, and Kevin Harvick had wins over the previous five years. Joey Logano won this race three consecutive times from 2008-10. Keselowski also won in 2011. Austin Dillon won in 2012. It has been a profitable race for Cup guys, but they are bypassing this one.
Bell and Reddick share co-favorite honors at +240. Custer is the third favorite at +350. You have to go all the way to +1100 to find Allgaier. You have to go to +2200 to find anybody else.
Busch has three wins this season in the Xfinity Series and all of them came on 1.5-mile tracks. That makes it a little tough to see which points guys have had the most success on those ovals. Bell, Reddick, and Custer each have a win at 1.5 miles, with Bell at Atlanta, Reddick at Charlotte, and Custer at Chicagoland.
Deciding on a Driver
Are the top three that equal heading into this race? Well, Reddick was fifth at Atlanta, won the second stage at Vegas, finished third at Phoenix, and second at Texas. He won on the big track at Michigan and was second on the big track at Pocono.
Bell won at Atlanta, led the most laps and won the first stage at Texas, won the second stage at Phoenix before finishing 30th, and was black flagged at Chicagoland.
Custer was second at Atlanta, ninth, but won Stage 1 in Vegas, finished fourth in Phoenix, won at Chicagoland, and has raced well overall on most of the oval tracks.
As far as other hopefuls, Cindric won Stage 1 in Phoenix, Allgaier was second at Charlotte and third at Atlanta, Gragson was third at Las Vegas and fourth at Charlotte, Nemechek was second in Vegas, and Brandon Jones has two top-five finishes on 1.5-mile tracks.
It’s entirely possible that somebody like Jones pulls off the win at a big number, but he’d likely need at least two, if not three, of the favorites to have mechanical issues or get tangled up in a wreck.
Which low price do we take? There’s a tad more value on Custer than Reddick and Bell, so I’d look to him as a decent value guy. If Bell doesn’t get himself in trouble, I do prefer him to Reddick, as I simply think he’s a better racer with a better team and Toyota has done very well at Kentucky in this race.
A unit on Bell and a unit on Custer is a small profit on Bell and a bigger profit on Custer. Jones is the only long shot I’d consider at +3300. Nemechek did win the second stage here last year en route to finishing seventh, so maybe he’s a guy worth a look, but I’d be shocked if somebody off the board won this race.