Sparks 300 Predictions, Odds & Picks (Xfinity Series)
- How can you bet against Kaulig Racing’s Justin Haley in a superspeedway race?
- Defending series champ Austin Cindric may be due for a Talladega victory.
- Noah Gragson has been close at Talladega, and he’s in the right make of car.
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In an event that saw eight drivers crash out within the first 31 laps, Playoff drivers Riley Herbst, Jeb Burton, and Jeremy Clements put themselves in must-win situations with finishes of 33rd or worse.
Saturday’s Sparks 300 at Talladega gives them the best chance to advance to the Round of 8 with a victory. The event will be contested over 113 laps (300.58 miles), with stage breaks scheduled after 25 and 50 laps. Justin Haley is the defending winner of this race.
When It Comes to Superspeedway Racing, Kaulig’s Justin Haley Is the Man
We’re heading to a superspeedway for the middle race in the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ Round of 12 in the Playoff. That means Justin Haley is the favorite, right?
No argument here. Haley swept both Talladega races last year, and he has won two of the last three events at sister track Daytona International Speedway.
Bet against Haley? We’re not that crazy. He and his Kaulig Racing teammates, AJ Allmendinger and Jeb Burton are adept at working together to reach the front of the field. And Haley has a special knack of being the first one to the finish line.
Defending Series Champ Austin Cindric May Be Due for a Talladega Win
Austin Cindric held serve in the Xfinity Playoff opener at Las Vegas and moved into the series lead with a fourth-place finish to AJ Allmendinger’s seventh.
Already a superspeedway winner this year in the season opener at Daytona, Cindric has been close at Talladega before.
In five Talladega starts, Cindric has three top fives, including a runner-up finish behind Kaulig Racing’s Jeb Burton in April. But it’s been boom or bust for the driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford, who ran 30th and 34th in his other two starts at the track.
Nevertheless, though Haley is our top choice for Saturday’s race, we think Cindric is another excellent prospect for victory, and he’s available at +800 via PointsBet Sportsbook.
One word of caution: Chevrolets have won the last five Xfinity races at Talladega, and as we noted earlier, Cindric drives a Ford.
Noah Gragson Is Another Chevy Daytona Winner Who Has a Shot at ‘Dega
If he can exercise the necessary patience, Noah Gragson can score a breakthrough victory at Talladega and gain a spot in the Round of 8 in the Xfinity Playoff.
Driving the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, Gragson won the season opener at sister superspeedway Daytona last year, but he has struggled through a disappointing 2021 campaign—until recently.
Back-to-back victories at Darlington and Richmond in September propelled him into the Playoff as the No. 4 seed, and a strong third-place run at Las Vegas solidified his claim to a berth in the Round of 8.
Gragson has never finished lower than 11th in five starts at Talladega. He was third in last year’s Playoff race there and sixth in April of this year. His average finish at the track is an enviable 6.8.
Gragson is available at +1000 to win through DraftKings Sportsbook, but we like him even more as a top-three candidate at +330 and a potential top-five finisher at +140. His record supports both those wagers.
How to Watch Sparks 300
|Sparks 300 Information|
|Race||Sparks 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race|
|Time||Saturday, October 2, 4:30 p.m. ET|
|How to Watch||NBCSN|
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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]