Aside from our Xfinity Series bets, what a battle in the last few laps in Pocono as two of the most talented drivers in the series and potential future Cup Series stars, Noah Gragson and Ty Gibbs, went move for move in a very clean but exciting finish. Gragson held Gibbs off and claimed his third victory of the season. AJ Allmendinger now holds a 16-point lead in the regular season points standings. Only four races remain before the playoffs begin.
The Xfinity Series now heads to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for some road-course action. The series, along with IndyCar and the NASCAR Cup Series, will run on the 2.4-mile road course that includes going backwards down the famed front straightaway and over the brickyard.
While the practice was short, with most drivers only getting in 5-7 laps, AJ Allmendinger laid down the fastest lap. Austin Hill, who I talked about on this week’s NASCAR GAMBLING PODCAST as a longshot, was 2nd fastest. Allmendinger went on to qualify for the pole, with Ty Gibbs starting next to him. The entry list this week is loaded with Cup Series regulars, as they seek more track time in preparation for Sunday’s race. Ty Dillion, Chase Briscoe, Alex Bowman, Bubba Wallace, Austin Dillion, and Ross Chastain are all included.
NASCAR Xfinity Best Bets:
Josh Berry Over Sam Mayer (-105)
Josh Berry has somewhat surprised on road courses so far in 2022. After a not-so-great run at COTA, Berry finished 4th at Portland and 3rd at Road America. Berry ran the better time in practice while Mayer bested him in qualifying. Mayer will start 5th, and Berry will start 8th. Mayer has had the opposite track record on road courses. Starting the season strong at COTA with a 5th place finish, Mayer was the first car eliminated at Portland and settled for 20th at Road America. Berry has been more consistent and the veteran presence makes me trust him to get a solid finish more than the young Mayer.
Ty Gibbs Over Alex Bowman (-120)
Bowman is in the 17 Hendrick Motorsports entry this week and has proven to be a pretty decent road racer. But Ty Gibbs is one of the top dogs in the Xfinity Series, especially on road courses. Last time out at Road America he out-wheeled Cup champion and road-course ace Kyle Larson in that same #17 car. Look for him to do it again this week.
To Win: Chase Briscoe (+500)
The case can be made for so many this week. Earlier in the week, I was on Gibbs (+450), but he’s come down to +350 now. Gibbs and Allmendinger (+300) will start on row 1. Chase Briscoe, the full-time Cup Series driver who is driving the 07 entry this week, will be starting in 5th. The Mitchell, Indiana native wants nothing more than to win at this track in front of all his family and friends. Briscoe won this event just 2 years ago in the inaugural race here, and last year battled for the win near the end of the Cup Series race before being forced off the track and penalized. Briscoe has one thing on his mind, and it’s that checkered flag.
To Win Long-shot: Josh Berry (+2000)
Yes, you read the correct one. The guy who finished 3rd and 4th respectively in the last two road course races is now 20/1 odds to win. And that is after he qualified 6th place on Friday afternoon. Yes, there are cup drivers in the field; yes, AJ and Ty have a thing for road courses. But at 20/1, Berry is too sweet to pass up on and anything can happen!
NASCAR Xfinity Series DraftKings DFS Picks:
DFS Top Play: Ross Chastain ($10,200)
Ross struggled a little in practice as the 19th fastest car, and again in qualifying as he will start 18th. This may scare some off but not me. Chastain has proven he’s one of the best wheelmen in the business and a very capable road course racer. I don’t foresee him getting up front and suddenly dominating this race. But in a road course, that’s not what you need. He offers solid place-differential with his mid-pack starting spot as well as the upside of a good finish. And it’s not out of the question for him to lead laps or win.
Great Play: Brandon Jones ($7,600)
Jones is almost a must-play this weekend. He will start from the rear after the team made unapproved adjustments before qualifying. Jones will be scored from 36th, and this leaves him very little downside with only 38 cars in the race. He owns a potentially very high ceiling. Jones finished 5th in the last road course event at Road America, 11th in the race at Portland, and 18th at COTA. He’s a solid enough road course driver and a guy you can trust to get a good finish week in and week out. Don’t overthink it and play Jones this week.
Solid Play: Parker Kligerman ($7,300)
Parker proved himself a few weeks ago snagging a road course win in the Truck Series. He is of course just a part-time driver, as this week he’s in the 35 car for Emerling Gase. This doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. However, starting 37th this is another case of a guy who can’t fall very far but has the potential to give you a very solid return. We know Kligerman is capable of keeping it clean and out of trouble. That’s what we need from him today for a solid return.
Value Play: Ryan Sieg ($5,900)
I have no clue why Sieg is even priced down here but I do not care. He’ll roll off the grid 31st. Another juicy place differential guy. At Road America, he started 27th and finished 10th. Portland started 27th and finished 16th, COTA started 35th and finished 11th. I do not think there is a better play on this week’s slate than Ryan Sieg at $5,900. Write down that hot take and take it to the bank!