After coming off three straight Xfinity wins, Austin Cindric was looking to add to his incredible win streak at Kansas. Cindric had cleared both of the first two stages and would lead 131 of 175 laps. However, Gibbs driver Brandon Jones would end up spoiling those plans. As it would come down to a second green-white-checkered.
On the last restart, Ryan Sieg grabbed the early lead but would quickly lose it to Cindric. As they hit the final lap, Jones had managed to push himself up from seventh to second place. He would then make a sharp pass on the inside of Cindric, and quickly jump out to a two car length lead. Jones would not relinquish his position from that point on, finishing with a comfortable victory. This win is Jones’ second of the year, which ties him for third among Xfinity drivers. Harrison Burton, Sieg, and Ross Chastain rounded out the top five.
After having a week off, we now travel to Road America on the outskirts of Elkhart, Wisconsin. This track is a 1.1-mile road course and has a clay surface. It’s a track that plays host to numerous forms of Motorsport racing events. This includes the AMA Super Bike series, IndyCar series, Pirelli World Challenge, Pro Racing Trans-Am series, and SportsCar Championship. Christopher Bell would win last year’s Road America event, as he would beat out A J Allmendinger on a late restart.
Michael Annett drew the pole position for Saturday afternoon and will start opposite Cindric on the front row. Also, Jesse Iwuji will get his debut start in the Xfinity series at Road America. So far this season, Iwuji has a pair of truck series events under his belt. So without further ado, let’s delve into the driver options for this upcoming Cup series event. I’ve broken down the selections between high salary, and mid-range. Best of luck to everyone with their lineups this weekend.
Noah Gragson (10,000 DK)
Gragson comes off a pair of runs in which he’s finished 30th and 15th respectively. However, prior to these recent struggles, Gragson was in a very good place. He had finished top 10 or better in seven of the previous nine races, and five of those results were inside the top five. Gragson still currently holds down the third-place position and is nursing a four-point lead over Chastain.
Gragson now returns to Road America, a track in which he would carve out a fourth-place finish last August. In that race, he would also earn himself 12 stage points and a driver rating of 103.4. His most recent road course attempt would end up in a gritty third-place finish at Indianapolis in early July.
With Chastain hot on his heels for that third spot, Gragson needs to get his head back into the game. As a road course driver, Gragson has shown to have the ability to work himself in among the top five and hold that position. Gragson is slated to start in the ninth-place position and will be a candidate for racking up points through place differential, along with the fastest lap. I also like Gragson, as a potential race winner for this event.
Justin Allgaier (10,600 DK)
Allgaier comes off a top 10 finish at Kansas and currently sits one point behind Burton for the sixth position. Outside of an unfortunate crash at Kentucky, Allgaier has been one of the better performers since late June. In the past six events, he has carved out five top 10 finishes. Allgaier now comes to a track in Road America, in which he has finished top six or better in the past five attempts.
Just two seasons ago, he would pick up his first win at this track, leading 14 laps and earning himself an insane 141.5 driver rating. Allgaier will be slated to start in the 12th place position and should have enough speed in which to add points through place differential and fastest lap. Allgaier is still looking for his first victory this season, and I expect him to put together another strong run as the season hits early August.
Jeremy Clements (8,600 DK)
My mid-range choice for the event at Texas, Clements would finish 11th after having started in 22nd place. Now as we focus on Road America, I have no problem giving him another whirl this weekend. Consider that in his past three tries here, Clements has two finishes inside the top 10. Clements’ first NASCAR victory would in fact be here at Road America, three seasons ago.
He is ranked sixth in average finish among Xfinity drivers at Road America since 2017. And has an average driver rating of 102.1 over his career at the course. Clements is slated to start 18th in the running order and has the potential to work himself past at least half a dozen or more cars. If Clements manages to run a clean race, he should help you earn numerous points through place differential and possibly fastest lap. He makes for a nice sleeper choice with the price tag.
Andy Lally (9,100 DK)
My road course ringer for this upcoming event, Lally has been quite solid at Road America in his handful of opportunities as an Xfinity driver. In three attempts at this course, Lally has an average finish of 10.67, along with a driver rating of 88.8. Although Lally would be absent for the Xfinity event last year, he would manage to visit Road America in the SportsCar series. In that event, he would finish sixth overall.
Lally is slated to start 23rd in the starting order, which gives him plenty of opportunity to pick up points through place differential. As an Xfinity driver at Road America, Lally has a spotless lap completed percentage. With this in mind, I do expect Lally to keep his car on the lead lap throughout the event. He should be well within striking distance of a top 12 or better performance.
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