Last Updated: 2018-11-01
It’s been a hot minute since we’ve seen the NASCAR Xfinity Series. In order to line up with the conclusion of the Cup Series playoffs, the Xfinity Series has taken a couple of weeks off recently. It seems strange to take that much downtime in the playoffs, but there are a lot of oddities and challenging situations for the teams and the drivers at that level.
None of that matters now as all parties are focused on the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway. There are only three races left this season, as there is a stop in Avondale, Arizona at ISM Raceway, formerly known as Phoenix International Raceway, and then a stop at Homestead-Miami. A champion will be crowned in that race. Because of the new Xfinity Series rules about the playoffs, only points-eligible drivers can run. As a result, this will be the first time in this race’s history, which dates back to 2005, that an Xfinity Series-only driver will win.
Like the Cup Series, the Xfinity Series makes two stops at Texas. The My Bariatric Solutions 300 was won by Ryan Blaney back in April. He won’t be winning this race. This is the second race in the Round of 8, so only eight gentlemen are left standing for a shot at the Xfinity Series championship.
Elliott Sadler has 3,058 points and a one-point lead over Daniel Hemric. Tyler Reddick is three points off of the pace. Christopher Bell finished 37th at Kansas and is fourth with 3,045 points. Matt Tifft has 3,044 points. Justin Allgaier has 3,040 points. Cole Custer has 3,022 points and Austin Cindric needs a miracle with 3,002 points. Sadler, Hemric, and Reddick were in the top-five at Kansas. Tifft was sixth. Allgaier was 38th, with Custer 26th and Cindric 39th. It was a tough day for half of the remaining drivers.
This is as standard as a NASCAR race gets. It is a 1.5-mile asphalt oval and the drivers will go around it 200 times to make up the 300 miles in this event. Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, and Brad Keselowski have nine of the 13 wins in this race, with Carl Edwards, Trevor Bayne, Kyle Larson and Erik Jones all on the board for one apiece.
Christopher Bell is +180 favorite this week per the odds at 5Dimes Sportsbook. Bell was second earlier this season in a race that featured Blaney, the winner, Harvick, Ty Dillon, and Jamie McMurray. It didn’t have the usual belles of the ball, but still had a few Cup guys. Bell did have a 1.5-mile win at Kentucky, but he had a lot of his wins on short trackers, including two at Richmond. While he has been the most accomplished points-eligible driver this season, with this price tag, it’s tough to take him here.
John Hunter Nemechek won the race two weeks ago at Kansas and he checks in at +450. Nemecheck ran 13 races in the regular season and didn’t finish higher than fourth, but he scored the win last week. He also got a little bit of an easier road to the win because of the problems that guys like Bell and Allgaier encountered. Nemechek did not run the first Texas race and really hasn’t been as impressive as last week’s win would indicate. He’s a pass at +450.
Daniel Hemric is +500 this week. Hemric has been extremely consistent this season, but hasn’t been able to secure a win. He had one of his best chances last week with a stage win and the most laps led, but he just couldn’t finish it off. Hemric ran well at Texas and actually ran really well in the 1.5-mile races. Smaller courses did seem to throw him, but he’s won at least a stage in all four playoff races thus far. One of these weeks it’s going to happen for him and this could very well be the one. He’s worth a bet at +500.
Cole Custer is +550 this week. Custer has had a lot of these low-to-mid-range prices, but, like Hemric, he hasn’t secured a win. Custer was second two races ago at Dover for his 12th top-five of the season, but none of them have ended with a trip to Victory Lane. Custer was fourth at Texas earlier in the year and had some good runs on the 1.5-mile tracks as well, with a second at Charlotte, a third at Chicagoland, and a fifth at Kentucky. Throwing a half-unit on both Hemric and Custer isn’t a bad option this week.
Ryan Preece is +880 with a couple top-fives in the four playoff races. His lone win came at Bristol in the spring, but he has only run 11 races this season. Justin Allgaier is also +880. He’s had wins at a variety of tracks this season with triumphs at Dover, Iowa, Mid-Ohio, Road America, and Indianapolis. Allgaier may not grab this one, but he was second at Phoenix at a stage win and the most laps led, so maybe that’s the one he gets in order to advance.
Coverage of the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 will be on NBC Sports Network with a 3:30 p.m. ET start time on Saturday November 3.
Odds as of November 1, 9:30 a.m. ET:
Christopher Bell +180
John Hunter Nemechek +450
Daniel Hemric +500
Cole Custer +550
Ryan Preece +880
Justin Allgaier +880
Elliott Sadler +1350
Tyler Reddick +1650
Brandon Jones +3300
Austin Cindric +3300
Field (any other driver) +3300
Matt Tifft +4400
Ryan Truex +8800
Shane Lee +11000
Ryan Reed +11000
Spencer Gallagher +11000
Michael Annett +33000
Ty Majeski +33000
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