From 1990 to 2008, there had not been a repeat winner in the Xfinity Series race at New Hampshire. That changed when Kyle Busch won back-to-back times in 2009 and 2010. Those two victories happened to be the first of six for Busch. He’s not in this weekend’s ROXOR 200, which means that somebody else actually has a chance.
Known last year as the Lakes Region 200, this is once again the 18th race of 26 set for the Xfinity Series regular season. The Xfinity Series will be on its own next week at Iowa before rejoining the Cup Series at Watkins Glen.
Odds for the ROXOR 200 are on the right-hand side for desktop viewers and down below the comment box for mobile viewers as we break this one down.
Two for the Road (Course)
This is an important race for a lot of drivers. So is next week’s race at Iowa. After that, three of the next four races will be on road courses. Some guys are comfortable with that format and some guys aren’t. Just about everybody is comfortable with the 1.058-mile loop in Loudon.
The lack of Cup Series participation at the Xfinity Series level has been rather staggering this season. Ross Chastain, who won at Daytona a couple weeks ago, Riley Herbst, and Bayley Currey are the only non-points drivers with more than five Xfinity Series starts. Kyle Busch has only run four races. Joey Logano ran one. Austin Dillon ran three. Paul Menard ran at Michigan. Chase Elliott ran the first Daytona race. Brad Keselowski ran that race and one at Texas.
It has really been a very, very quiet year for Cup guys at this level, which is good for the drivers, but it can’t be good for fan interest in these races.
Stack ‘Em Up
Cole Custer was the winner last week, so hopefully you were on board and profited off of the Alsco 300 Kentucky, not to be confused with the other Alsco 300 races. Tyler Reddick still has a commanding points lead, even though Christopher Bell won the first two stages last week and finished second. Custer is just eight points behind Bell for second. Then there is another big gap to Austin Cindric and then four points behind Cindric is Justin Allgaier.
Noah Gragson, Michael Annett – the only points driver not named Reddick, Bell, or Custer with a win – Chase Briscoe, John Hunter Nemechek, and Justin Haley round out the top 10. Ryan Sieg and Brandon Jones occupy the last two playoff spots right now. Gray Gaulding is 95 points behind Jones, so barring a monumental surprise, those top 12 will be your playoff drivers.
Custer’s five wins lead the field. Bell has four and Reddick has three. Annett has another. Ross Chastain has one and Kyle Busch has three. That’s it. Six drivers have combined to win the first 17 races.
More of the Same
And we should see more of the same this week at New Hampshire. Bell won this race last year and did so with the most laps led and a Stage 1 win. Brad Keselowski won Stage 2 and finished second. There were some top-five surprises. Ryan Preece was third, with Nemechek fourth and Matt Tifft in fifth.
Still, I’d be surprised if we saw anything different this week. The short-track races have been won by Reddick, Busch, Bell, and Custer and Busch isn’t out there this week. Bell has wins at Bristol and Dover. Custer won at Richmond. With that in mind, Bell is a very deserving +130 favorite. There isn’t a whole lot of incentive to play him at that price, but he has the best hopes of taking the checkered flag here of any of the drivers.
Custer is second at +320, with Reddick third at +495. Allgaier is next on the board at +1100. You would think that he would be a good guy to back as a veteran racer, but he hasn’t finished better than sixth in this race at the Xfinity Series level and that was nearly a decade ago. The Xfinity Series has only stopped here one a year, unlike the Cup Series, which used to come twice a year. He was third at Richmond and second at Dover, so he’s had some short track success.
Paul Menard will be back in this race for the first time since 2014, but he’s never really had much success at this track in the Cup Series. He may be worth a look at Watkins Glen in a couple of weeks, if he runs, but not here.
Will any of the heavy prices win? It’d be great to cash a long shot ticket, but as mentioned, that really hasn’t been a thing outside of the two fluky races at Daytona. Chase Briscoe had top-five finishes at Richmond and Dover, so he’s run well on the shorter to intermediate tracks this season. He’s got a fairly big number at +2250. It’s not as big as we’ve seen in the past, so he has drawn some early interest.
Outside of that, there isn’t much to say. A longer shot like Brandon Jones runs better on bigger ovals. Austin Cindric was second at Richmond, so maybe he works his way up the board, but that’s the only race in which he was a noticeable threat.
As chalky as it is, if Christopher Bell doesn’t have a mechanical failure or get caught up in a wreck, this really is his race to lose. Maybe two units on him with a unit on Custer and .25 units on Briscoe would be the way to approach this one. Custer had two stage wins at Dover and led the most laps. He led the most laps at Pocono, another tighter track. He won at Richmond. He’s +320, so the same strategy is in play as last week. A Bell win turns a slight profit, a Custer win does the same, and a long shot gamble pays nicely.