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It couldn’t be much closer. With one race left to decide the final berth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs, Riley Herbst leads Parker Kligerman by one point for that coveted spot.
Each driver has posted one top-10 finish at the 1.5-mile speedway, Herbst in four starts at the track, and Kligerman in three.
Kligerman, however, hasn’t raced at Kansas in the Xfinity Series since 2013, so it’s difficult to pick him to have any sort of success in Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300. He’s posted at +8000 to win at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Herbst, on the other hand, has shown a vast improvement in speed from last season to this one and wouldn’t be on the Playoff bubble were it not for five DNFs (who did not finish) in a 10-race span earlier this year.
Though we don’t think Herbst will win on Saturday at +3500 via DraftKings, we do like him to finish in the top three at a generous +1000. In doing so, he will secure the final berth in the Xfinity Playoffs.
Brandon Jones posted back-to-back victories at Kansas Speedway in 2019 and 2020. In the field for Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300, he’s also the most recent winner at the track.
So why aren’t oddsmakers giving Jones credit for his past success? He’s listed at +1800 at DraftKings.
There’s a reason. Jones’ two victories at Kansas came in Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas. His move to JR Motorsports Chevrolets this season hasn’t been a good fit. Jones is winless this year and needs a victory on Saturday to shoe-horn his way into the Playoffs.
That’s not likely to happen, and that’s why we’re avoiding Jones this week at odds that might seem attractive on the surface.
After rejecting Jones in the previous segment, we’re going to accentuate the positive at JR Motorsports.
Specifically, veteran driver Justin Allgaier has posted 10 top-10 finishes in 13 starts at Kansas Speedway. Allgaier doesn’t have a win there, but he finished second to teammate Noah Gragson in last year’s race—and Gragson won’t be in the field on Saturday.
It’s true that JR Motorsports got off to an uncharacteristically slow start this season, but the speed in the JRM Chevrolets has improved steadily, and now they’re competitive with the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas.
Collectively, the JRM drivers claimed four of the top eight finishing positions at Kansas last year, and we’re looking to Allgaier to win Saturday’s race at +350 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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