EchoPark 250 at Atlanta (Xfinity Series) Predictions, Picks and Odds
- AJ Allmendinger will try to keep the perfect Atlanta record intact this weekend.
- Moonlighting Martin Truex Jr. plays the heavy in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race.
- Reigning champion and double winner Austin Cindric puts the top-five streak on the line.
With the EchoPark 250, the NASCAR Xfinity Series provides the nightcap to a Saturday doubleheader with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It’s the fifth race of the season for NASCAR’s Triple-A series.
Saturday’s event will be contested at 167 laps (251.02 miles), with stage breaks scheduled after 40 and 80 laps. AJ Allmendinger is the defending winner of this race. Two Georgia drivers are entered in the EchoPark 250—Ryan Sieg of family-owned RSS Racing and Brandon Jones of Joe Gibbs Racing.
How to Watch EchoPark 250
|What||EchoPark 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series race|
|Where||Atlanta Motor Speedway|
|When||Saturday, March 20, 5 p.m. ET|
|How to Watch||FS1|
AJ Allmendinger Seeks to Keep Perfect Atlanta Motor Speedway Record Intact
AJ Allmendinger is batting 1.000 at Atlanta Motor Speedway—in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at least. In his first start in the series at the 1.54-mile track last year, road course ace Allmendinger won for the first time on a NASCAR oval.
In fact, Allmendinger is the only former Atlanta winner who entered in Saturday’s EchoPark 250. Early in the 2021 season, Allmendinger already has doubled his career victory total on oval tracks. In the fourth event of the year, March 6 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the driver of the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet took the checkered flag and all but assured himself of a Playoff spot.
Allmendinger is part of a remarkable streak established by his organization, which also features drivers Justin Haley and Jeb Burton this year. In 38 straight events dating to the start of the 2020 season, Kaulig has placed at least one of its cars in the top 10. You can expect that string to continue on Saturday, though Allmendinger is the only third favorite at +650, and Haley and Burton are posted at +2000 and +5000, respectively.
Martin Truex Jr. Plays the Heavy in First Xfinity Series Start Since 2010
The favorite’s role belongs to Martin Truex Jr. (+190), even though the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series champion hasn’t made an Xfinity Series start in more than a decade. But Truex has accumulated 28 Cup wins to go with his title, his most recent coming last Sunday at Phoenix Raceway.
Truex doesn’t have an Xfinity win at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but he had considerable success in the series when he ran it full-time. The driver of the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing all-star car won back-to-back Xfinity titles in 2004 and 2005, winning six races each year. Truex said:
I’m looking forward to getting back in the Xfinity car this weekend. It’s been a long time, so just getting used to how the cars drive now will be big early in the race. Atlanta is always a fun track, with the tire fall-off and the ability to run different lanes, so I think it will be a lot of fun. (Crew chief) Chris (Gayle) and the 54 guys have looked strong so far this year. I expect that to continue this weekend. Hopefully, I can hold up my end, because I know they will bring a fast Stanley Supra, and we’ll see what we can do.
Reigning Xfinity Champion Austin Cindric Puts Top-Five Streak on the Line
Austin Cindric won the NASCAR Xfinity Series season opener at Daytona. He followed that victory with a runner-up finish at the Daytona Road Course, a fifth at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and a fourth at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Last Saturday, the reigning series champion picked up his second win of the season and expanded his lead in the standings to a whopping 47 points. Were it not for Truex’s presence in the lineup, Cindric would be a clear favorite in the EchoPark 250. As it is, he’s the second choice at +325.
Cindric has three starts at Atlanta, with finishes of seventh, 10th and 16th. But if you’re weighing a bet on the 22-year-old driver, consider Truex’s unfamiliarity with the current Xfinity cars and his 18th-place starting position—compared with Cindric’s pole position. You could make a strong argument that Cindric is the prize pick on the board.
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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]