Let’s go road course racing again. After last week at Watkins Glen, the Xfinity Series makes the only NASCAR stop in the state of Ohio for the B&L Transport 170at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington. Thirteen turns over 2.258 miles await the drivers on Saturday deep in the heart of the Buckeye State in a quaint little town called Lexington.
We’ll be taking a look at this week’s race, which does not feature any Cup Series drivers. There aren’t even that many road course ringers out there this week, but these events do have a tendency to go off the rails a little bit, so we’ll see how things play out for this one.
Odds are on the right-hand side for desktop viewers and down below the comment box for mobile viewers.
I Guess Not
Last week I said that it would be hard for Austin Cindric to beat out Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, and Justin Allgaier. Well, he managed to do it to pick up his first win of the season. Busch wrecked out after winning Stage 1 and Blaney finished fourth after winning Stage 2. AJ Allmendinger led the most laps, but was black-flagged for the second time this season.
So, Cindric was your winner, with Christopher Bell, Allgaier, and Tyler Reddick all in the top five. The only top-six driver without a win this season now is Allgaier. We’ll see if he gets this week’s checkered flag at +770.
With Cindric’s win, he sits fifth in points. Allgaier is fourth, with Cole Custer third, Bell second, and Reddick still in first, but his lead is down to 32 points. Chase Briscoe, the winner two weeks ago at Iowa, Noah Gragson, Michael Annett, Justin Haley, and John Hunter Nemechek round out the top 10.
Calling for Chaos
If we don’t get some chaos over the next three races, we won’t get any. This week’s race is another road course. The race on August 24 at Road America is also a road course race, as the venue name suggests. In between, the drivers will be at Thunder Valley in Bristol. If we don’t get a surprise in those three races, we won’t get one, as three ovals are left for the regular season.
Right now, there would be more drama in Alabama vs. UTEP than in the chase for the Xfinity Series playoffs. Brandon Jones has a lead of 102 points on Gray Gaulding for the final playoff spot. Unless a full-time, points-eligible driver can get a win soon, there won’t be anything to follow over the last few races.
Unless the regular season crown means something to you, but Reddick has lost ground while having four straight top-five finishes, so that seems unlikely.
On The Road Again, Again
Another road course this week after a road course last week. Another one on the horizon. Normally we see the best of the best in the Xfinity Series operating with a little bit of a handicap in these races. That may not be the case this season. Bell was ninth, 11th, 23rd, and fifth in the four road course races last year. He was second last week.
Custer was seventh last week, but he doesn’t seem to mind these as much, as he was sixth, seventh, fourth, and seventh in the four roadies last year. Reddick’s fifth-place finish last week was his top outcome in a road course race in his Xfinity Series career.
Then there’s Allmendinger. He won at Road America and Mid-Ohio in the Xfinity Series back in 2013. He won at Watkins Glen on the Cup Series side in 2014. He was second at Watkins Glen last year and led the most laps last week before his DQ. His Cup Series prices on road courses were a little absurd. He’s probably deserving of the second favorite role at this level, but I’d still be skeptical.
Cindric is your +220 favorite this week, followed by Allmendinger at +275 and then Allgaier at +770. Custer and Bell are +1100. Regan Smith is +1320 in his first Xfinity Series start since this race two years ago. He’s running for JR Motorsports, the team he won this race with in 2015. After that, Reddick and Briscoe are +2200.
As a rookie last season, Cindric led the most laps and won Stage 2 in this event last year. He’s coming off of a road course win. He’s certainly worthy of the favorite role, but it’s a hard bet to make with next to no equity after last week’s win.
Allgaier is the guy in the spotlight. He needs a win, for his own sanity if nothing else. He won this race and the race at Road America last year. He had a top-five finish in two of the three road course races in 2017. He was third last week. At +770, there is some value.
Most of the better drivers on road courses over the last two years don’t run in the Xfinity Series anymore. Daniel Hemric and Matt Tifft did well on these types of tracks, but they aren’t on hand for this one.
So, Allgaier is definitely on the card at +770. He’s probably the most accomplished road course racer in the field, though Cindric is likely to have a similar or better resume as his career continues. Briscoe is a decent home run shot at +2200. He did win on the Roval last year in Charlotte.
Beyond Allgaier, there aren’t many guys I find value in this week. Bell at +1100 is worth a look because you never get the best driver on the circuit at a price like that. Toyota hasn’t won here yet, however, so there is that to consider.
It looks like just Allgaier for me this week.