The Xfinity Series will partake in some Friday night racing this week with the Circle K Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway on July 5. Formerly sponsored by Coca-Cola for over a decade, a Polar Pop might be the only thing cool in hot and humid Daytona Beach for this race. The racing should be hot as well, as each of the last seven and 13 of the last 14 races have required NASCAR’s version of Overtime.
Odds for this Xfinity Series event are on the right-hand side for desktop viewers and down below the comment box for mobile viewers.
Drivers will make at least 100 trips around the 2.5-mile track in the Sunshine State. This is one of the longer Xfinity Series races, so that will be a pretty interesting development with only AJ Allmendinger in the field as a full-time Cup Series driver. The first Daytona race this season was won Michael Annett, who is the only points driver not named Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick, or Cole Custer to have a win.
Crazy things tend to happen on this track, but there has been one constant of late. Chevy has fared very well. Chevrolet has won nine of the last 11 installments of this race. In fact, Toyota’s only win came back in 2008 when Tony Stewart won in Toyota’s first year in NASCAR. He won the next three years in a Chevy and won in a Chevy in 2013 for good measure.
We could use some drama at Daytona because there isn’t any in the standings. Tyler Reddick has 693 points and a commanding lead over Cole Custer, who has 622. Custer did pick up his fourth win last week to tie Christopher Bell for the most this season. Bell was disqualified following a post-race inspection at Chicagoland and went from third to 38th. He’s third with 599 points. Austin Cindric and Justin Allgaier round out the top five.
The Xfinity Series Playoffs take the top 12 drivers in either points or wins. So far, the aforementioned Michael Annett is the only driver outside the top three with a win, but he is ninth in points. Ryan Sieg is 98 points ahead of Gray Gaulding for the last playoff spot. That means that we have very little question as to the drivers that will be in the playoffs.
Also, the wins need to be from full-time drivers in order to get in, so road course ringers and part-timers don’t count.
The Big Board
In the Cup Series race on Saturday, the co-favorites were +880 as of Wednesday afternoon. In the Xfinity Series race, the favorite is +495 and that is Tyler Reddick, who won the PowerShares QQQ 300 at Daytona to open last season and was victorious at Talladega earlier this year. He was 27th on the Cup Series side in the Daytona 500 earlier this year.
Justin Allgaier is +550, with Christopher Bell at +770, Cole Custer at +880, and everybody else +1320 on down. This week’s Cup Series sandbagger is AJ Allmendinger, who is going off at +1400. This is just the second Xfinity Series start for Allmendinger since 2013. He was second last year at Watkins Glen. He’s known as more of a road course guy, so I’m sure we’ll talk about him in a few weeks.
Annett checks in at +1980, so he’s well down the board. He isn’t the only one, as a lot of drivers are, but the spread on these odds is a lot different because of the plate race element. A lot of guys that would be +2500 are down under +2000. These are some of the hardest handicaps because of the mechanical failures and the crashes, but also because there are lower values on the board.
You may want to go chalky here as a result. On the Cup Series side, guys like Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Erik Jones, David Ragan, and Aric Almirola have won in the past in the first weekend of July. Almirola has a win in this race, but the last five winners are Kyle Larson, William Byron, Almirola, Austin Dillon, and Kasey Kahne. Before that, it was all Cup Series guys.
Some races are all about equipment. Some races are all about driver. Daytona tends to be the latter. That’s why you want to look at lower prices in this race. Some of the upstarts could get up there if there are accidents or other malfunctions, like how Cindric was fifth earlier this year or how Sieg was fourth. Cindric was also fifth at Talladega, so maybe he’s an option, but his price is already depressed around 13/1.
With that in mind, Reddick, even at +495 is probably the way to go. He’s arguably the most accomplished driver in the field as far as plate racing goes. Plus, this has been a top-notch race for Chevrolet in the past. Reddick also had the pole in that first race.
Bell is also a compelling pick this weekend because you’re never going to get him at +770 again. It’s not like his success is solely tied to his team. He’s one of the most promising prospects in quite some time.