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Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook.
Three notable full-time NASCAR Cup Series drivers have opted to gain extra seat time at Auto Club Speedway this weekend by competing in both Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race and Sunday’s Pala Casino 400 Cup event.
Ross Chastain is driving the No. 91 Chevrolet for DGM Racing; Austin Dillon is behind the wheel of the No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevy; and Tyler Reddick will compete for the win in the No. 24 Sam Hunt Racing Toyota.
Of the three, we favor Reddick, even though this will be his first trip in a Supra, after he switched from Richard Childress Racing’s Chevrolet to 23XI Racing’s Toyota to start the current Cip season.
Reddick finished seventh and fourth in his two Xfinity starts at Auto Club. He led a race-high 90 laps in last year’s Cup race there, before mechanical troubles knocked him back in the running order.
Frankly, the old, abrasive asphalt at this 2.0-mile track is a great fit for Reddick, who likes to run the high line. We think he’ll finish in the top five on Saturday, but we don’t expect him to win, and we don’t like his relatively stingy payoff at +600 via DraftKings Sportsbook.
In his first full-time season in a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, John Hunter Nemechek opened the campaign with a second-place run on Feb. 18 at Daytona International Speedway.
Nemechek won’t turn 26 until June 11, but he has been racing in NASCAR’s national series since he was 16 and has accumulated 255 starts across the three national platforms—Cup, Xfinity and Craftsman Truck.
That experience should pay dividends throughout the year, especially since Nemechek is driving the best equipment of his career.
However, we don’t expect him to win at Auto Club Speedway. His two previous Xfinity starts there have ended in finishes of 29th and 28th. Given that, his +700 odds to win at DraftKings are just too short.
After three years of relative struggles at the Cup level, Cole Custer is back in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, driving the No. 00 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing.
That’s the car that carried him to a pair of runner-up finishes in the Xfinity Series championship race. It’s also the car that gave him his first victory at Auto Club Speedway in 2019.
Last year, while still racing full-time in the Cup Series, Custer qualified second and won the Fontana race in a Stewart-Haas-prepared Ford fielded by SS Greenlight Racing.
The bottom line is that the driver from Ladera Ranch, Calif., is a formidable threat at his home track, no matter what he’s driving. We expect him to win a third straight start at the Auto Club and think he’s the best bet, even at the short odds of +400 at 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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