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Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook.
John Hunter Nemechek
When it comes to superspeedway racing, the margin between Justin Haley and Austin Hill is negligible.
The two drivers have combined to win three of the last five NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Daytona International Speedway, with Haley holding the edge with two victories to Hill’s one.
But Hill also has a Daytona win in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, a feat he accomplished in 2019.
We give the edge to Haley, however, because of his back-to-back victories at sister track Talladega, where he swept the Xfinity Series races in 2020.
As a body of work, Haley’s resume suggests a special gift for superspeedway racing, and we think he’s the pick for the season opener over co-favorite Hill at +700 via DraftKings Sportsbook.
The movement of chess pieces around the NASCAR board has opened a long-awaited opportunity for John Hunter Nemechek.
Unable to find sponsorship to replace departing M&M’s, Kyle Busch left Joe Gibbs Racing for Richard Childress Racing.
Busch’s departure elevated JGR owner Joe Gibbs’ grandson Ty Gibbs to the NASCAR Cup Series. Gibbs comes to a full-time Cup ride with 11 victories in 51 Xfinity starts.
Gibbs’ promotion and the departure of Brandon Jones for JR Motorsports opened the No. 20 Xfinity Series Toyota ride at JGR for Nemechek, who drove full-time for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Truck Series for the past two seasons.
Expectations are high. Nemechek will win races in the No. 20 car. We just don’t think his first victory will come on Saturday.
But we do think Nemechek will beat rookie Chandler Smith head-to-head in the Xfinity opener at -110 via DraftKings.
Cole Custer’s three-year stint in the NASCAR Cup Series didn’t produce the results the driver wanted. He won one race in 2020, nothing since.
Accordingly, Custer has taken a step back to the NASCAR Xfinity Series, where he enjoyed considerable success—particularly in his final season in 2019, when he won seven races.
In his most recent Xfinity Series seasons, Custer finished second in the final standings each year.
We expect him to compete for the championship again this season, but we don’t expect him to win on Saturday. Custer has never triumphed in a superspeedway race, and we don’t expect that to change this weekend.
Consequently, we advise steering clear of Custer at +1000 via DraftKings.
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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]More info on Reid Spencer
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