Henry 180 at Road America (Xfinity Series) Predictions, Odds & Picks
- Austin Cindric tries to preserve Xfinity Series lead at his favorite type of venue.
- Former Road America winner AJ Allmendinger returns to action in “ringer” role.
- Saturday’s race provides a golden opportunity for hapless Justin Allgaier.
NASCAR Xfinity Series at Road America Odds
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Henry 180 Predictions and Picks
Though it’s tempting to go with road course specialist AJ Allmendinger (+300), a front-row starting spot tilts the choice toward Austin Cindric, who won three straight races before finishing second in his last outing at Kansas Speedway.
Austin Cindric +138
How to Watch the Road America Xfinity Race
|Road America Information|
|What||Henry 180 NASCAR Xfinity Series race|
|Where||Road America (Elkhart Lake, Wis.)|
|When||Saturday, August 8, 12 noon EST|
|How to Watch||NBCSN|
The 37-driver field for the Henry 180 is populated with a handful of favorites and boatloads of long shots. Why? Because road course racing isn’t the forte of the majority of Xfinity drivers, most of whom learned their trade on ovals.
At 4.048 miles, Road America is the longest track that hosts a race in any of NASCAR’s top three touring divisions. That’s why Saturday’s event consists of only 45 laps, with stage breaks scheduled after 14 and 29 circuits.
Last year’s winner was Christopher Bell, who is running for rookie-of-the-year honors in the NASCAR Cup Series and won’t be at Elkhart Lake to defend his victory.
Austin Cindric Is on a Roll, and Road America Is the Ideal Venue to Sustain It
With three victories and a second-place finish in his last four starts, all on oval tracks, Austin Cindric wrested the NASCAR Xfinity Series lead from fellow Ford driver Chase Briscoe. Cindric looks to be an excellent bet to extend his four-point advantage on the 4.048-mile Road America road course.
Despite his recent prowess on ovals, Cindric will showcase his primary strength as a driver on circuits that turn right as well as left. Add to that skill set a second-place starting position earned by the luck of the draw, and it’s no wonder the driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford is a heavy favorite to take the checkered flag in Wisconsin.
Though Cindric tops the Xfinity standings, his three victories are two short of Briscoe’s series-leading five, but that margin should narrow on Saturday. The stats favor Cindric, too. In 10 Xfinity races at Road America, there have been 10 different winners, and Cindric isn’t one of them—yet.
AJ Allmendinger, a.k.a. Road Course Ringer, Returns to Action
If he’s racing on a road course, even on a one-off basis, AJ Allmendinger is a contender. The part-time driver of the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet has one victory in the NASCAR Cup Series and four in the Xfinity Series. All but his most recent Xfinity win at Atlanta have come on road courses.
Allmendinger (+300) visited Victory Lane at Road America in 2013, and he knows the circuit well, dating to his days in Champ Car from 2004-2006. But Allmendinger will face one major challenge on Saturday. Because he’s not driving a full-time car, Allmendinger will start 33rd.
If a combination of skill and strategy can get Allmendinger near the front during the 45-lap race, he’ll be a threat to win—but that’s a big “if.”
Adept on Road Courses, Justin Allgaier Looks for a Change of Luck
There’s no team in the Xfinity Series better at starting races than JR Motorsports. The problem comes—at least for Justin Allgaier—when it’s time to finish them. Allgaier has won seven stages this season, worth seven Playoff points. That’s second only to JRM teammate Noah Gragson, who has eight stage wins.
But there’s a big difference. Gragson has two victories, worth a combined 10 Playoff points. Allgaier has none. In fact, Allgaier has as many DNFs (did not finish) as he has top-fives—four of each. But he’s a demon on a road course and a former winner at Road America.
“I’m really looking forward to heading to Road America and getting back to some road course racing,” Allgaier says. “There are definitely some guys who will be tough to beat, but if we can avoid the chaos and keep our car on the track, we’ll have a great shot at battling for the win.”
If you’re not inclined to bet on favorites, Allgaier is a strong pick at +900
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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.