Column By: SHANE CARLSON / RPW – FORT WORTH, TX – When the NASCAR XFINITY Series takes the green flag on Saturday afternoon, it will have been 20 days since their last race at Auto Club Speedway.
With the Easter break behind us now, this is the portion of the season that sets the table for the summer. It can go one of two ways; either drivers can head into the summer months with confidence and maybe even a win to boot, or teams can enter the summer trying to play catch-up from a lackluster start to the season. Since the three-week layoff, teams should be recharged and ready to get back out on the track.
Texas Motor Speedway is a high-speed, 1.5-mile intermediate track, and will share the stage this weekend with the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday afternoon. Elliott Sadler continues to lead the standings, but has yet to earn himself a win. He would certainly make a popular win if he can get one soon. His teammate, Justin Allgaier has scored three straight top-threes, but is also winless.
One of the “races within the race” to watch is among XFINITY Series full-time drivers competing for a championship. The top-four finishing regulars at the conclusion of Saturday’s race will be eligible to compete in the Dash 4 Cash incentive program. The Dash 4 Cash begins next week at Bristol Motor Speedway. The highest finisher of the four eligible drivers wins $100,000. Every single XFINITY regular is well aware of what’s at stake and if there are some late cautions, expect some regulars to gamble and gain track position to be one of those first four regualars to the finish line.
Saturday, April 7 2018
Texas Motor Speedway
NASCAR Xfinity Series My Bariatric Solutions 300
200 laps, 300 miles
3:00 PM ET
Radio: Performance Racing Network
My Pick to Win is…
No. 98 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang
I know it’s not the flashy pick, and it won’t surprise anyone if he does indeed win on Saturday afternoon, but Harvick has a way about him this season, no matter he’s driving. In his lone XFINITY Series start in 2018, Harvick dominated at Atlanta Motor Speedway en route to a win.
Over the course of his career in the XFINITY Series at Texas Motor Speedway, Harvick has five wins, with the last coming in 2012. In 20 career NXS starts at Texas, he owns 18 top-10s and 11 top-five finishes. The numbers are in his favor, and paired with the uptick in Ford’s performance across all three national touring series this season, he will be the one to beat on Saturday afternoon.
NASCAR XFINITY Series Power Rankings
- Elliott Sadler: The only driver to score a top-10 in each of the season’s first five races, Sadler is finding his way to the front of the field and staying there. He just needs to get a win and lock himself into the playoffs before frustration starts to set in.
- Justin Allgaier: Coming off a runner-up finish at Auto Club Speedway, Allgaier seems to be the most consistent threat to win races for the JR Motorsports stable. In fact, his last three finishes: second at Auto Club, second at the Phoenix, and a third-place finish at Las Vegas.
- Tyler Reddick: The rookie isn’t doing anything flashy outside of the win at Daytona, but he’s maintaining his equipment and getting the finishes necessary to build up his confidence and make a nice summer run.
- Christopher Bell: Three top-fives in five races is a solid start for Bell, and he is putting himself in a good position to battle for a title at the end of the season. The No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing has had tremendous success at Texas Motor Speedway recently, winning both races last year with Erik Jones behind the wheel.
- Daniel Hemric: Hemric recently made some headlines when he announced he will drive the No. 8 Chevrolet in two races at the Cup level this season, and would love to solidify him earning a Cup ride with a win in the XFINITY Series for Richard Childress.