Pennzoil 150 Predictions, Picks & Odds (Xfinity Series)
- Don’t make the mistake of ignoring Ty Gibbs, who is seeking his fourth Xfinity win.
- Series leader Austin Cindric hopes to make up for last year’s disappointment.
- Squelched in the closing laps at the Glen, AJ Allmendinger looks to even the score.
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Last year marked the first time NASCAR raced anywhere at Indianapolis Motor Speedway other than the traditional oval, and the event got aggressive as a handful of drivers battled for the win.
On Saturday, the NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to the vaunted Brickyard for the Pennzoil 150, and the later position on this year’s schedule portends considerable jousting for a position in an equally competitive race.
Saturday’s Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard will be contested over 62 laps (151.22 miles) at the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course, with stage breaks scheduled after 20 and 40 laps. Chase Briscoe won last year’s race but has moved on to the NASCAR Cup Series and will not compete in Saturday’s Xfinity event.
How to Watch Pennzoil 150
|Pennzoil 150 Information|
|Race||Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard NASCAR Xfinity Series race|
|Location||Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course|
|Time||Saturday, August 14, 4 p.m. ET|
|How to Watch||NBCSN|
Don’t Ignore Ty Gibbs as He Seeks to Make History on Saturday
Unlike many of his NASCAR Xfinity Series competitors, Ty Gibbs has never raced on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, but that doesn’t mean you should discount his chances in Saturday’s Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard.
We made that mistake last week, opting instead for veteran road racer AJ Allmendinger. We didn’t count on Gibbs powering his No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota past Allmendinger in the closing laps to win for the third time in 10 starts this season.
This week, Gibbs will benefit from a 50-minute practice session Friday and qualifying on Saturday morning, as he gains experience at the track. And on Saturday afternoon, he’ll be chasing a significant milestone.
Only one driver has won four times in the Xfinity Series in his first 11 career starts. NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip accomplished the feat over three seasons from 1982-1984. Gibbs, who plans to run 14 Xfinity races this year, will do it in a single season if he wins on Saturday.
Our advice? Ride the wave. Even when he doesn’t win, the grandson of team owner Joe Gibbs is competitive. In his 10 starts this season, he has eight top-five finishes, six of them on the podium.
Will Indy Road Course Experience Pay Off for Series Leader Austin Cindric?
In last year’s Xfinity Series debut at the Indy Road Course, Austin Cindric led twice early for 21 laps and was part of a five-car battle for the win that got physical near the end of the race.
Ultimately, Cindric was shuffled back and finished fifth as Chase Briscoe pulled out the win. But the race proved a launching pad of sorts for Cindric, who won the next three Xfinity events and went on to beat Briscoe for the series title.
Cindric comes to Indy this year as the series leader and the favorite to win on Saturday, and, almost certainly, he’ll contend for the victory once again. But at +180, we don’t consider the reward worth the risk and advise looking elsewhere (see Ty Gibbs above).
Can Road Course Gunslinger AJ Allmendinger Get Revenge on “The Kid”
Though he took the defeat with consummate grace, it had to sting veteran driver AJ Allmendinger to get schooled by 18-year-old Ty Gibbs at Watkins Glen, the site of Allmendinger’s only NASCAR Cup Series victory.
At the Indy Road Course, the “Dinger” has the same advantage he had at the Glen—experience. Allmendinger finished fourth in last year’s Indy inaugural after surrendering the lead to Chase Briscoe with two circuits left.
Despite last week’s result, we still think Allmendinger is the best road racer in the series. The problem is that Gibbs is driving the best car. In addition to his three victories in the No. 54 Supra, Kyle Busch has five in the same car and Christopher Bell has one.
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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]