The drivers of the Xfinity Series will have the chance to Dash 4 some Cash this week at Bristol Motor Speedway in the first of four points-eligible drivers only events from now through the first week of May. That’s right, racing fans, the Cup Series guys are not allowed to join the fray for these events. The first of these events is the Alsco 300.
You would think that would change the handicap, but it really doesn’t in a lot of ways. While Christopher Bell isn’t priced the same as Kyle Busch, he’s still going to be the favorite in all four of these races at a much shorter price than the others. The others are going to be grouped together in the 3/1 to 6/1 range so that the operators can limit their exposure. You’ll need a real long shot to get a big price, but that doesn’t mean you want to discredit those guys that are typically 8/1 or 10/1. They have a much better shot without Cup Series guys in the mix.
I do want to point out that the Alsco 300 is not to be confused with the Alsco 300 at Charlotte or the Alsco 300 at Kentucky. This is the Alsco 300 at Bristol.
We’ll break all that down as we go along with this look at the Alsco 300 in Thunder Valley on Saturday April 6. Odds are on the right side for desktop viewers and below the comment box for mobile viewers.
A Freeing Feeling?
The Xfinity Series drivers, especially the younger, less accomplished ones, have to love these Dash 4 Cash races. They don’t have to worry about outrunning and outgunning one of the sport’s best. On the other hand, drivers better maximize these four chances because there won’t be many down the line. There are two stops in Iowa and stops at Road America and Mid-Ohio for the drivers to run uninhibited by Cup Series guys, but it is still hard to find opportunities this good.
Does that put pressure on some of the drivers and teams? Surely it should. Last year’s Dash 4 Cash winners were Ryan Preece, Elliott Sadler twice, and Justin Allgaier. Sadler retired and Preece isn’t in the field this week.
The Big Board
As mentioned, Bell is the favorite and a noticeable one at +250. Points leader Tyler Reddick is +365. Both Cole Custer and Justin Allgaier are at +475. There is a substantial drop-off beyond that, with Brandon Jones at +1100 and Austin Cindric and Harrison Burton at +1750.
Kyle Busch has won three Xfinity Series races. Bell, Custer, and Michael Annett each have one. These are important for the playoffs, as the 12 drivers with a win or the most points make it into the postseason. These are the best chances to get wins.
Reddick is first with 268 points. Bell is second with 256 points. Custer is 30 points off the pace and Annett and Cindric make up the top five. Allgaier started with a couple top-five finishes, but he hasn’t finished higher than ninth since. Jones also started with two top-five finishes and hasn’t been better than seventh since.
This .533-mile track at Bristol can be very dangerous in a race like this. There are some very tight racing conditions at the World’s Fastest Half-Mile and there are some drivers with lesser experience levels in this field. Except for Daniel Hemric and winner Ryan Preece, it was mostly veteran guys that had high finishes. That may be something you want to watch for this week as well.
At least the weather looks like it will be nice on Saturday. Sunday’s Food City 500 is up in the air, but Saturday’s forecast looks pristine for the drivers.
Looking for Long Shots
How about Chase Briscoe this week at +2500? The 24-year-old “rookie” scored a win last year on the road course configuration at Charlotte and has progressively gotten better this year. Briscoe was outside the top 10 at Daytona and Atlanta, but has finished eighth, sixth, fifth, and fourth the last four races. He was only 23rd and 34th at Bristol last year, but he seems to be getting more comfortable behind the wheel of the #98 Ford and this should be something of a wide-open race after the top four on the board. All it takes is a little luck to get up there.
Noah Gragson didn’t run this race last year, but he ran second, fourth, and seventh in the other Dash 4 Cash races. The 20-year-old only has one top-10 finish this year, but he ran well at Bristol last year in the K&N Pro Series and finished third, along with the top qualifying speed for the pole position. At +3300, you could do a lot worse.
Look, any time you can get Chris Bell at better than 2/1 without Cup Series competition, you have to throw something on that. As far as the rest of the race, a half-unit on Allgaier makes sense as the elder statesman on a tough track. Briscoe and Gragson for maybe .25 units will give you some long shots to root in. Have some fun with these Dash 4 Cash races because there are chances that aren’t normally there for the drivers.