Ag-Pro 300 (Xfinity Series) Predictions, Betting Odds & Picks
- Kaulig Racing’s Justin Haley looks to extend his mastery at NASCAR’s biggest track.
- Can Austin Cindric get to Victory Lane with a dearth of Ford dancing partners?
- There’s another $100,000 bonus waiting to be won in this Xfinity Dash 4 Cash race.
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Two weeks after visiting NASCAR’s shortest race track (.526-mile Martinsville), the Xfinity Series heads for the largest closed course on the circuit (2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway). Good brakes are a necessity at Martinsville, but at Talladega, drivers can keep the accelerators wide open around the entire speedway as they draft together in large aerodynamic packs.
Saturday’s Ag-Pro 300 will be contested over 113 laps (300.58 miles), with stage breaks scheduled after 25 and 50 laps. Kaulig Racing’s Justin Haley swept both Xfinity Series races at Talladega last year.
How to Watch Ag-Pro 300
|Ag-Pro 300 Information|
|What||Ag-Pro 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race|
|When||Saturday, April 24, 4 p.m. ET|
|How to Watch||FOX|
Kaulig Racing’s Justin Haley Goes for Talladega Triple on Saturday
Some call successful high-speed drafting on a superspeedway an art form. Some call it a knack. Others might call it pure luck. Whatever the case, no driver in the last two years has been more adept at navigating the perils of superspeedway racing than Justin Haley.
The driver of the No. 11 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet comes to Talladega with wins in the two most recent races at the mammoth track in his rear-view mirror. Haley’s only other Xfinity Series victory came at Daytona, sister track to Talladega.
Nevertheless, Haley has to share the favorite’s role in the Ag-Pro 300 with teammate AJ Allmendinger. Both are posted at +650, though Allmendinger has never won a superspeedway race in any of NASCAR’s top three series. Accordingly, the smart money is on Haley, and at +650, a wager on the fearless 21-year-old driver is a bargain.
Series Leader Austin Cindric Starts on the Pole, But He Won’t Have Help
NASCAR Xfinity Series leader and defending champion Austin Cindric won the season opener at Daytona International Speedway from the pole and has held the top spot in the standings ever since. In Saturday’s Ag-Pro 300 at Talladega, Cindric is back in the top starting spot under NASCAR’s Metric Qualifying algorithm.
That doesn’t mean you should expect a repeat of the Daytona performance, even though Cindric is the oddsmakers’ third choice at +850. Talladega is a track where competent drafting partners are at a premium, and Cindric 1) has no teammates in the race and 2) won’t find much help from others in the small Ford contingent.
All told, Chevrolets have 29 entries in a field of 40, compared with just four Fords and seven Toyotas. Kaulig Racing has three drivers in the show—Jeb Burton as well as Haley and Allmendinger—and they have shown the ability to work together, until the final lap at least. That’s another reason to bet on the Kaulig boys and not Cindric.
Big Dash 4 Cash Bonus Provides Extra Incentive to Eligible Drivers
JR Motorsports driver Noah Gragson finished second in the April 8 Xfinity Series race at Martinsville Speedway, and he earned a nice consolation prize for the runner-up result. As the highest finisher among four eligible drivers, Gragson pocket a $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus.
As a consequence, Gragson is eligible to pursue another $100,000 bonus in Saturday’s race at Talladega, along with Martinsville winner and JR Motorsports teammate Josh Berry and Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Daniel Hemric and Brandon Jones. Gragson (+1000) is tied for the fourth choice with Harrison Burton and has a superspeedway record to back it up—a victory at Daytona and two top fives and an additional top 10 in four starts at Talladega.
Berry, on the other hand, isn’t a good bet at +1600. In his only career Xfinity Series start on a superspeedway, Berry crashed out in 27th place in this year’s season opener at Daytona. Harrison Burton would be a much better choice at +1000. Though his Talladega record leaves much to be desired, the driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota has scored three top-fives in three starts (including a second and a third) at sister track Daytona.
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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]