Shady Rays 200 at Kentucky (Xfinity Series) - Predictions, Betting Odds & Picks
- Chase Briscoe is on an incredible roll in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Can anyone stop him?
- Despite the long history of the Xfinity Series at Kentucky Speedway, there are no former winners in the field for Thursday night’s race.
- After a frustrating finish on the Indy Road Course, star-crossed Austin Cindric is still looking for his first victory of the season.
|What||Shady Rays 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series race|
|When||Thursday, July 9, 7:30 p.m. EST|
|How to watch||FS1|
After a thrilling inaugural race last Saturday on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, the NASCAR Xfinity drivers return to Kentucky Speedway, where the series boasts a 25-year history dating to 2001. It wasn’t until 10 years later that the NASCAR Cup Series first raced on the 1.5-mile intermediate track.
Cole Custer won last year’s Xfinity race at Kentucky, but he has made the jump to the Cup Series and won’t be in the field on Thursday. All four national series will run the same tire codes this weekend, the same configuration used at Las Vegas Motor Speedway earlier this year in a race won by Chase Briscoe.
The Shady Rays 200 will be contested at 134 laps (201 miles), with stage breaks scheduled for 30 and 60 laps. Michael Annett, who ran fourth last year, is the highest returning finisher from 2019. Briscoe was fifth last season.
NASCAR Xfinity Series at Kentucky July 9 Odds
The odds for the Shady Rays 200 are provided by DraftKings
|Any Other Driver||+3300|
Chase Briscoe’s Amazing Run Shows No Signs of Slowing
Stewart-Haas Racing driver Chase Briscoe called his shot at the beginning of the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series season, and after 13 races, the 25-year-old from Mitchell, Indiana, has an excellent chance to exceed his own expectations.
A Ford development driver, Briscoe felt he needed to win eight to 10 races this season to ensure a solid future in the sport. In Saturday’s hard-fought Pennzoil 150 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, Briscoe seized the lead from road course ace AJ Allmendinger on the penultimate lap and pulled away to win for the fifth time this season.
Briscoe (+225) has won three of the last four Xfinity contests without regular crew chief Richard Boswell, who drew a four-race suspension after unsecured ballast dropped from Briscoe’s car during warmup laps for the June 13 event at Homestead. Stewart-Haas competition director Greg Zipadelli, who guided Tony Stewart to 33 of his 49 Cup wins, filled in admirably, but Briscoe gets Boswell back this week—as if he needs any more help.
Wide-Open Field Could Create Opportunity for Underdogs
Though the Xfinity Series has raced at Kentucky Speedway 25 times, there are no former winners in the field for Thursday night’s Shady Rays 200. Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell and Cole Custer—the respective 2017, 2018 and 2019 winners at the 1.5-mile track—are competing for rookie-of-the-year honors in the NASCAR Cup Series this season.
Coincidentally, Custer, Bell and Reddick finished 1-2-3 at Kentucky last year. But if you look beyond the top three finishers, one team stands out. With Michael Annett (+6600) running fourth, Noah Gragson (+500) sixth and Justin Allgaier (+500) seventh, JRM features three of the top four returning finishers from last year’s race.
In fact, Ryan Truex came home eighth in a fourth JRM car, but the younger brother of 2017 Cup champion Martin Truex Jr. isn’t entered this week. Jeb Burton (+3300) will pilot the No. 8 entry on Thursday, completing a formidable lineup for the team co-owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Also worthy of consideration is the Kaulig Racing tandem of Justin Haley (+2500) and Ross Chastain (+500).
Will Austin Cindric Finally Catch a Break at Kentucky?
If fast cars alone constituted a recipe for success, Austin Cindric would have two or three NASCAR Xfinity victories this season. Because of unfortunate circumstances, however, he’s still stuck on zero.
Cindric’s No. 22 Team Penske Ford was the fastest car at Pocono on June 28, but the 21-year-old driver from Mooresville, N.C., completed just 52 of 91 laps before being collected in a six-car crash that knocked him out of the race. Last Saturday at the Indianapolis Road Course, Cindric led 21 of 62 laps, but a pass-through penalty for jumping a restart and a fender-banging battle with AJ Allmendinger left him fifth at the finish.
So when will Cindric use the speed in his cars to claim his first win of the season? Last year at Kentucky, he won the pole with a lap at 180.030 mph but finished the race two laps down in 14th place. Thursday night is likely to produce a better result, but will it be good enough to earn a trip to Victory Lane?
Chase Briscoe (+225)—Following the thesis that it’s wise to bet on the hot hand until he cools off, Briscoe has to be the pick. He won at Las Vegas earlier this year on the same tire codes Goodyear is providing for Thursday night’s event.
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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.