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The NASCAR Xfinity Series goes from NASCAR’s shortest oval (.526-mile Martinsville Speedway) to its largest (2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway) for a close-quarters race characterized by unpredictability.
Saturday’s Ag-Pro 300 will be contested over 113 laps (300.58 miles), with stage breaks scheduled after 25 and 50 laps. Jeb Burton is the defending winner of this race.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series is racing on Saturday after a week off, and that means oddsmakers once again have installed Ty Gibbs as their favorite.
Sure, the grandson of team owner and three-time Super Bowl-winning football coach Joe Gibbs already has three victories in eight starts this season. And there’s no better car in the series than his No. 54 JGR Toyota.
But Gibbs’ experience on superspeedways is severely limited. He has never raced at Talladega, where side-by-side white-knuckled competition is the norm. And in his only start at sister track Daytona earlier this year, he finished 11th.
That doesn’t bode well for a breakthrough victory in the Ag-Pro 300. Consequently, we advise avoiding Gibbs at +700 (via DraftKings Sportsbook) and looking elsewhere for a more likely winner.
This pick comes with a disclaimer. Superspeedway races—almost without exception—feature massive crashes that wipe out sizable portions of the field. To win, a driver must avoid the inevitable wrecks.
Austin Hill wasn’t able to accomplish that in his last two Talladega starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, both of which ended in crashes. But in the two races before that, Hill was running at the finish and posted a pair of top 10s.
Hill is an adept superspeedway racer, which he proved emphatically by winning the Xfinity Series season opener at Daytona in February. He also won a Truck Series race at Daytona in 2019.
Hill is an excellent choice to win Saturday’s Ag-Pro 300. He’s available at +1200, and we can’t find a better bet on the board—provided he can avoid “The Big One.”
In his only NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, Kaz Grala started 38th and finished sixth in last year’s spring event at the 2.66-mile track.
That’s not the only superspeedway success for the driver of the No. 48 Big Machine Records Chevrolet. In his only Truck Series start at sister track Daytona in 2017, Grala won from the pole.
And in his only two Xfinity Series starts at Daytona, Grala ran fourth and fifth in the two 2018 races. Clearly, he has a good feel for the drafting and high-speed maneuvering necessary to win at superspeedways.
Talladega is a track that has crowned unlikely winners. In the last two races there, Jeb Burton and Brandon Brown claimed their only Xfinity Series victories to date.
We think Grala could join that club on Saturday, with a handsome payoff (+3000 via DraftKings) available to those savvy enough to bet on him.
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|Ag-Pro 300 Information
|Ag-Pro 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race
|Saturday, April 23, 4 p.m. ET
|How to Watch
Award-winning motorsports writer Reid Spencer has served as lead writer for the NASCAR Wire Service for 16 years, having also spent a four-year stint as NASCAR columnist and beat writer for Sporting News. He is currently serving as president of the National Motorsports Press Association. Email: [email protected]More info on Reid Spencer
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