Race Day Schedule
8:30 am: Garage Opens
2:15 pm: Drivers To Cars
2:20 pm: Driver Intros
2:51 pm: Invocation
2:52 pm: National Anthem
2:59 pm: Command
3:10 pm: Green Flag
Coverage: 3 p.m. ET
Green Flag: 3:10 p.m. ET
Phone: NASCAR App
Race Distance: 200 Laps/300 Miles
Stage Lengths: 45-45-110
Competition Caution – None
Playoffs: Round 2, Race 1
Track: Texas Motor Speedway
Who Win’s Saturday’s Andy’s Frozen Custard 335, Who Advances Onto The Championship 4?
The opening race of the Round of 8 is here for the Xfinity Series too with a shot at the Championship 4 next month in Phoenix on the line should one of the eight remaining drivers triumph on Saturday afternoon. I think we’ll see that occur. The question is, who?
AJ Allmendinger and Austin Cindric have nice cushions at the moment with sitting +34 and +28 in the standings. Everyone else is jumbled up from third on back with Justin Allgaier only at +5 and Noah Gragson at +1 but Daniel Hemric -1, Justin Haley -2, Harrison Burton -9 and Brandon Jones -14 well within striking distance.
Do any of the four on the outside looking in bump their ways back up?
If we get three separate playoff winners this round, then that’s three spots to Phoenix with one in on points. The best way to get there is to win and Hemric has never won, Burton hasn’t won in the last 30 races and Jones having a 39 race winless drought. Three of the four drivers on the bottom portion of the playoff grid haven’t won a race this year at all.
Can that change?
It’s going to be hard and cut throat in terms of points racing because all eight drivers have been so consistent as of late. Allmendinger has six top two’s in his last 10 starts on the season with seven of the last 10 being in the top 10 at that. Cindric has five top eight’s in his last six including a pair of runner-ups. Over the last 14 races, he has 11 top 10’s. Allgaier has eight straight top 10’s and 11 in the last 12 in general. Seven of his last eight have been in the top seven including nine of the last 11 overall. Gragson, has eight top seven’s in his last 10. Hemric has five straight top 10’s and six in the last seven. Five of his last six at that have resulted in a top six. Haley has seven straight top 10’s and 13 of the last 14. Out of his last seven starts, six were in the top six. Burton has nine top 10’s in his last 11 races. Jones has four straight top sixes.
See where this is going to be a tight points battle. You absolutely need as many stage points as possible because that could be the difference in advancing or not.
So, who goes onto the Championship 4 and who wins on Sunday?
The key is that winless drought for those three below the cutline right now as well as Burton having one finish better than fifth in his last 14 tries on the year too. Yes, he’s the defending race winner here, but he’s not looking at the moment that he can back that up. A solid top three or four would suffice.
The other key is the first two races this round are on 1.5-mile tracks. Allmendinger won earlier this year in Vegas but has generally not been great on them. He has two top fives in 10 starts on intermediate tracks this season including a sixth place run here in June.
Same deal for Cindric. He’s not won on them this year but does have six top fives in the same races. He also has four straight top fours at Texas in Xfinity Series competition as well as six in his last eight if you include his runner-up in his last Truck Series start.
Both are top 10 threats for sure, Cindric maybe higher in the top five than Allmendinger, but the door to win is open.
JGR has won three of the last four Fall races here with three different drivers and four of the last five in general at Texas. The thing is, JR Motorsports has been the top team on these tracks this season.
Allgaier, has two wins, three runner-ups and seven top sevens. Gragson, has seven top sevens himself including three straight in the top three. This could be their time to shine in Texas as well as Kansas.
At Texas specifically, Allgaier was runner-up in July and has three top sixes in his last four there. Gragson, was runner-up in this race a year ago.
Hemric, has been solid and with the JGR trend could keep this going, as he’s had five top five’s on intermediates this season to go along with a fourth place run back in June as well as three straight Texas top 10’s.
So, time for the picks. Who wins Saturday’s race?
- 7 Allgaier
- 18 Hemric
- 22 Cindric
- 9 Gragson
- 19 Jones
Championship 4 Predictions
Justin Allgaier (Texas win)
Austin Cindric (Kansas win)
Noah Gragson (Martinsville win)
AJ Allmendinger (Wildcard Driver)