For NASCAR fans, this is the time of year when things really begin to heat up. The playoffs are under way across all three series, with the drivers descending on Bristol this weekend. We will get into the Cup Series race in a separate piece, but for now, we are going to focus on the Xfinity Series and the Truck Series. It’s a bit different than what we are used to this weekend, with the action starting on Thursday night with the Truck Series UNOH 200. Then, on Friday night, we will have the Xfinity Series drivers going all out to win the Food City 300. Let’s take a closer look at both of those races and see how the playoffs are currently shaping up so you can continue betting against the NASCAR odds.
NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Truck Series events
Truck Series UNOH 200
Thursday night will see the field of 10 cut to 8, with the possibility that we might see a surprise once this part of the playoffs is over. Austin Hill has had a very good season, winning 2 races, but he has hit a slump that has him in a rather precarious position. He is holding on to the 8th and final spot right now, but he has Zane Smith and Chandler Smith both within striking distance. He, probably more than anyone, needs a good run at Bristol.
Right now, the man everyone is trying to catch is Sheldon Creed. The Truck Series defending champion had just 1 win in the regular season, but he is on fire now, winning both races in the Round of 10 part of the playoffs. His ticket is automatically punched to the next round with those wins, but he is also looking like a man on a mission, so he should not be overlooked this weekend despite not needing the win.
The biggest competition for Creed appears to be John H. Nemechek, and while he is guaranteed a spot in the final 8, he would like to slow down Creed by taking the win here.
Xfinity Series Food City 300
For the drivers in the Xfinity Series, this race represents the final opportunity to get above the playoff line and into the Round of 12, with their playoff battle beginning next weekend. The cuts come quickly once the playoffs start, so getting hot now may well be the key to surviving what will be an intense set of playoff races.
Right now, there is no driver hotter than Noah Gragson, who has won each of the last 2 Xfinity Series races. He is now 4th in the overall driver standings and getting into a run of form that could make him a very serious threat once the playoff races begin.
The man to beat this season, though, is defending champion Austin Cindric, who leads the way with 5 regular season wins. He is followed by veteran driver AJ Allmendinger with 3 wins. I would expect that both of those drivers would be among the favorites to win on Friday night, but with this being the last race of the regular season, do not be surprised if an underdog get the checkered flag. There are going to be drivers who are a little desperate for points and making that final push.
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