UNOH 188 at Daytona Road Course (Xfinity Series) Predictions, Odds & Picks
- As the favorite, Austin Cindric goes for his second straight road course victory.
- AJ Allmendinger will be more of a threat from a top-10 starting position.
- The Daytona Road Course is the great unknown for most Xfinity drivers.
UNOH 188 at Daytona Odds
|Any Other Driver||+2000|
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UNOH 188 Predictions and Picks
Given his recent hot streak and his road course prowess, it’s difficult to argue against Austin Cindric, who is starting from the pole position in Saturday’s race.
Austin Cindric +130
How to Watch the Daytona Road Course Xfinity Race
|UNOH 188 Information|
|What||UNOH 188 NASCAR Xfinity Series race|
|Where||Daytona Road Course|
|When||Saturday, August 15, 3 PM EST|
|How to Watch||NBCSN|
The NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers have the distinction of baptizing the Daytona Road Course, which heretofore has not been used in competition in any of NASCAR’s top three touring series. The layout is familiar, of course, to competitors in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, the sports car race that kicks off Daytona Speedweeks in late January.
Several drivers who have raced—and even won—in the Rolex 24 are competing in Saturday’s race, and doubtless, they’ll have an advantage. The UNOH 188, which precedes Sunday’s NASCAR Truck Series and Cup Series events at the 3.57-mile, 14-turn circuit, will be contested over 52 laps (187.72 miles), with stage breaks at 15 and 30 laps.
Austin Cindric Is the Favorite on Saturday—As He Should Be
It would be the height of folly not to install Austin Cindric as the favorite to win Saturday’s UNOH 188 at the Daytona International Speedway Road Course. After all, Cindric has won four of the last five NASCAR Xfinity Series races, including the most recent at the Road America road course.
Once upon a time—as recently as the July 4 weekend, in fact—Chase Briscoe was the dominant driver in the Xfinity Series with five victories to none for Cindric. That changed during the course of a weekend in Kentucky when Cindric won twice. Two weeks later, after a win at Texas and a runner-up finish at Kansas, Cindric seized the series lead from his fellow Ford driver and has held it ever since.
A win at Daytona would give Cindric another leg up on the regular-season championship and the significant bonus that goes with it.
I think that’s my number one focus, said the driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford, who will start on the pole for Saturday’s race. That’s been my number one focus since the start of the year. I’ve entered the playoffs with no playoff points, some playoff points, and kind of been there in-between, but I’ve never had a lot of playoff points.
Winning the regular-season championship gives you the equivalent of three wins in playoff points (15 points), and that’s a big deal for me. That’s a big deal for our team to be able to approach the playoffs with a solid approach, so, for me, that’s the first box to be checked.
Rolex 24 Hours Champion AJ Allmendinger Brings a Wealth of Experience
Back in 2012, AJ Allmendinger teamed with Oswaldo Negri, John Pew, and the late Justin Wilson to win the 50th Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona—and Allmendinger has the watch to prove it. In the late stages of that race, Allmendinger prevailed in a pitched battle against Scotsman Allan McNish to deliver the overall victory to Michael Shank Racing.
No other driver in the UNOH 188 has a greater depth of knowledge of the Daytona Road course than Allmendinger—even though NASCAR has added a frontstretch chicane to complicate the issue. Under NASCAR’s new rules for determining starting order—where finishing position and fastest lap from the previous race are critical factors—Allmendinger will start 10th in Saturday’s race, a vast improvement over his 33rd-place starting spot at Road America a week earlier.
The Daytona road course—it’s happening. I’m ready. Road America was a great day, and we almost got the win. I’m so proud of everyone at Kaulig racing. We’re making such great progress. I can’t wait to get to Daytona. I think I’ve done 15 Rolex 24-hour races now. This will be the first time in an Xfinity car on the road course. With the added chicane off of Turn 4, it’s going to make for some good action.
No doubt Allmendinger will be right in the middle of it.
Daytona Road Course Is Unknown Territory for Most Xfinity Drivers
Unlike Cindric and Allmendinger, most drivers in the UNOH 188 have garnered absolutely no experience on the Daytona Road Course. Without the benefit of practice or qualifying, they will be launching themselves into the potentially disastrous task of negotiating the first turn, as they leave the more familiar banking of the Daytona oval.
Even those with sports car experience on the 14-turn circuit will run the opening laps with trepidation. Add to the equation track temperatures that will exceed 100 degrees.
I at least have some experience there with the IMSA car, where other guys don’t have any laps around that place and don’t realize how slick it is in the infield and how much tire wear is going to be an issue. You add 100-degree weather on top of that, and it’s just going to be worse for everybody in terms of trying to manage that grip, slipping and sliding around.
It’s definitely going to be a race where your balance is a big deal, a bigger deal than typically it is, where if you burn your tires off at Daytona on the road course, you’re going to have a hard time making moves and catching guys.
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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.