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Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook.
Cole Custer to win the race at +650
Cole Custer to beat John Hunter Nemechek head-to-head at +135
Sammy Smith to beat Sam Mayer head-to-head at -115
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Of all three of NASCAR’s national series, the Xfinity Series has the shortest history at Pocono Raceway, with the first race in the division held there in 2016.
Full-time NASCAR Cup Series drivers—Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, and Kyle Busch—won the first three Xfinity races at the 2.5-mile track before the Xfinity regulars took over.
That’s why it’s tempting to assume that Chase Elliott, moonlighting from the Cup Series, is likely to win the race. After all, Elliott is driving the speedy No. 17 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in the nightcap of Saturday’s doubleheader with the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series.
The oddsmakers certainly think Elliott is the pick against the full-time Xfinity drivers. He’s listed at +240 via DraftKings Sportsbook, but we’re going to look for a better value among the regulars.
John Hunter Nemechek’s victory last Saturday at New Hampshire was his second straight in the Xfinity Series and fourth overall this season.
Interestingly, all four of Nemechek’s victories have come from the second starting position. Not surprisingly, he leads the series standings.
Nemechek is foremost among the Joe Gibbs Racing Xfinity drivers, but his best result in two races at Pocono is seventh in 2018, with Chip Ganassi Racing.
As good as he’s been recently, we don’t think Nemechek (+400 via DraftKings) will claim a third straight Xfinity trophy on Saturday.
On the other hand, if he qualifies second…
It’s true that Chase Elliott has a higher average driver rating at Pocono than Cole Custer—115.4 to 110.9.
But Elliott’s rating is based on a single event, the 2018 race in which he finished second to Kyle Busch.
Custer’s rating, on the other hand, is based on four starts—three of which came in the No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford he will drive on Saturday.
Overall, Custer boasts an average finish of 5.8, including a win from the pole in 2019. His driver rating in that race—144.9—is unmatched among Xfinity Series regulars.
Our last pick of Custer paid off in the Chicago Street race. We hope this one does just as well because he’s our choice to win on Saturday at +650 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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