Xfinity heads to Talladega for the AG-Pro 300!
After a week off the Nascar Xfinity series heads to Alabama and the largest oval on the schedule in Talladega Superspeedway. The drivers will go from short track racing to drafting when they get the green flag on Saturday.
If you read the track preview for this weekend you already know that my strategy for this week is quite a bit different than when the race is held on basically any other type of track. The reason for this is because there are so many variables that can contribute to the outcome of the race. Our normal strategy goes out the window whenever we have the potential for this much chaos in one race.
The Xfinity series is a little easier to handicap because the teams at the top are so much better prepared and have so much more technology – the drivers in the premier rides usually will outperform their competitors by a lot. In the cup series the teams still have big disparities but they are much further apart as you travel to the lower levels.
Although there were 43 drivers/teams entered into this race only 40 will take the green flag. The three cars who will not be in the field are the #77 Ronnie Bassett Jr., #31 Jordan Anderson, and #3 Andy Lally. There are only three drivers doing double duty this weekend and they include Harrison Burton who will make his cup debut Sunday, Justin Haley, and Timmy Hill.
Looking at the entry list for this race there are a few drivers who will stand out and that we should be targeting. I am going to spotlight a few of these before we go into the full field rankings.
The first driver we need to talk about is Justin Haley. In his career Justin has raced three times in the Xfinity series. He has won two of them. His lowest career finish is 7th and that was his first race here in the Xfinity series. That means he has won the past two starts here. If you recall not only has Justin won in the Xfinity series on a superspeedway but he also has a victory in the Cup series. Justin has to be the favorite this weekend. He will be used in most lineups and he starts 5th so there isn’t a ton of value but he is a strong candidate for the top of our lineup.
The next driver we want to spotlight is Austin Cindric. This year’s Daytona winner isn’t high on the list of drivers with the best finishes at Talladega but as we saw earlier in the year he knows how to win on these types of tracks. When we look at his finishes here the average is a little thrown off by a couple accidents. In his four starts, he has two top fives and two finishes in the thirties. Austin is a guy who is on the fast track to the cup series and he has a ton of talent. He may not be owned in as many contests as Justin Haley but he should be up front battling for the lead all race long. He also starts on the pole so once again we don’t get a ton of value here but he is a strong candidate at the top.
Another driver we want to discuss is Jeb Burton. He finished 3rd here last year and followed that up with a 4th place run in Daytona earlier this year. Jeb will be starting in the 9th spot but anytime you can post top 5’s on these tracks consistently he has to be on our radar.
We also have to pay attention to Harrison Burton this weekend. He is making his cup debut Sunday so he has that going for him but he also has a chance to back up his strong run in Daytona when he finished 3rd. His finishes have been less than stellar at Talladega however with runs of 23rd and 32nd in his two starts.
Let’s look at some drivers who have had great finishes in their career but will not be in too many lineups. The first one that we can highlight Gray Gaulding. In his two races at Talladega he has finished 2nd and 8th. That is unbelievable when you think of where he runs at most other tracks. He is starting 24th this week which gives us a ton of value. If Gray can back up those performances in any way he is a driver we want to put him in our lineups.
Landon Cassill who rolls off 32nd is a driver who has a good amount of experience on these tracks and will most likely be an afterthought for most lineups. Landon finished 9th here last year and although he isn’t quite the lock we love to see his starting position and experience gives us a chance to get some value at the bottom of our lineups.
I also like Riley Herbst starting 19th. I think there is a ton of value to be had in that spot as long as he can avoid some of the wrecks.
Ty Dillon is a driver who if he started in the cup series this week would be in my lineup for sure since he is that good on these tracks. Having him start 16th in a Joe Gibbs Racing car is just pure value to me. In the track preview article I talked about how he is so good at the cup level that him racing down at the Xfinity series is something I love to see. I am interested to see what his salaries are on the big sites but if I can get him in the 2nd or 3rd spot I will be all over it.
Brandon Brown who rolls off 18th is another driver on my radar for this race. He hasn’t been great here but he has finished these races in his career. His finishes range from 9th to 15th which for us is a great play in the 5th spot for example. If he can stay out of the wrecks and finish in the top ten there is a ton of value there.
AJ Allmendinger and Justin Allgaier are going to be drivers that are used in 25% of lineups or higher and for good reason. I don’t think you can get both drivers in but if I had to choose one of the two I would be going with AJ for this race.
Here are my full field rankings for the race on Saturday.
- Justin Haley
- Jeb Burton
- Noah Gragson
- Austin Cindric
- Ty Dillon
- Harrison Burton
- Gray Gaulding
- Brandon Jones
- AJ Allmendinger
- Josh Berry
- Brandon Brown
- Daniel Hemric
- Justin Allgaier
- Michael Annett
- Myatt Snider
- Riley Herbst
- Landon Cassill
- Brett Moffitt
- Ryan Sieg
- Jeremy Clements
- Kyle Weatherman
- Timmy Hill
- Joey Gase
- Bayley Currey
- Josh Williams
- David Starr
- Alex Labbe
- Jeffrey Earnhardt
- Ryan Vargas
- Tommy Joe Martins
- Matt Mills
- Collin Garrett
- Joe Graf Jr
- Caesar Bacarella
- Jade Buford
- Natalie Decker
- Jesse Little
- Colby Howard
- Mason Massey
- Jason White
There are some good value picks in the field that I think we can target this weekend. Ty Dillon at $7.900 seems like an easy selection. Landon Cassill at $7,100 is another driver who I will target Saturday. They are easy picks in the middle of our lineups.
In terms of the top of the lineup I like Justin Haley and his $9,200 price tag. I like him at the top of my lineup and the fact that he is less than 10k is music to my ears. I like the combo of Haley and Allmendinger at the top a great deal
At the bottom of our lineup there are a ton of options. I would be looking at drivers who could survive till the end of the race and start 25th or worse. Jeffrey Earnhardt at $6,300 seems like a good choice starting 33rd. Maybe it’s just the name but he has been able to get through a couple of these races and stay on the lead lap which could equal a nice finish. I like Timmy Hill for the experience but he has not been able to stay on the leap lap whenever he has raced down a series.
Gray Gaulding, Josh Williams and Joe Graf Jr are the rest of the drivers I would round out the bottom of the lineup.
You can follow me all weekend long on Twitter @mikejforbes for the updates from the track!