Column By: SHANE CARLSON / RPW – NEWTON, IA – Iowa Speedway will host the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ 14th race of the season on Sunday afternoon. In the season’s first 13 races, there have been 12 different winners and the trend may very well continue this weekend. Only three of this year’s winners are entered in Sunday’s Iowa 250 (Justin Allgaier, Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick).
The youth movement also has way of coming to the forefront at Iowa Speedway as it has produced three first time winners in the Xfinity Series. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won for the first time in 2011 and last year, both Iowa races produced first-time winners with William Byron and a popular victory for Ryan Preece.
JR Motorsports driver Elliott Sadler remains the points leader by 41 points over Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer. Iowa Speedway has been a good track for Sadler in the past, posting three poles, seven top-fives, 13 top-10s and a win back in 2012 in 14 career Iowa starts. He has an average finish of 5.9.
John Hunter Nemechek is another driver to keep an eye on as he will be making his first appearance at Iowa in the Xfinity Series. Last year, Nemechek won in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Iowa as he took the lead with six laps remaining. He will look to duplicate that sort of success over to the Xfinity Series this weekend.
The forecast is showing a hot day in store for Sunday afternoon’s race which means grip will be at a premium. Teams will be looking to get four tires at any opportunity they can so I wouldn’t expect much in the way of gambling for two tires or no tires if a caution were to fly near the end of the race, but stranger things have happened.
Track: Iowa Speedway
Race: Iowa 250 presented by Enogen
Date: Sunday, June 17
Time: 5 PM ET
Length: 250 laps, 218.75 miles
TV: FOX Sports 1
Radio: Motor Racing Network
My Pick to win is…
No. 1 OneMain Financial Chevrolet Camaro
Sadler scored a win at Iowa Speedway in 2012 and the series points leader is still looking for his first win of 2018. The veteran is at one of his best tracks and should perform well based on his past history. He’s been by far the most consistent driver to start the season but wants to stop hearing about when the win will come.
NASCAR Xfinity Series Power Rankings
- Elliott Sadler: My pick to win, Sadler has an average finish of 5.9 and is still searching for his first win of the year to keep pace with teammates Tyler Reddick and Justin Allgaier.
- Cole Custer: Custer’s 10 top-10s are second only to Sadler, who he trails in the standings. Custer finished 24th and fifth last year in his two Iowa starts.
- Daniel Hemric: Last week at Michigan, Hemric scored a career-best runner-up finish to Austin Dillon. He looks to improve by one position in Iowa and score his first win.
- Tyler Reddick: Nine top-10s in 13 starts and a win has Reddick fourth in the standings. He had a solid run last week in Michigan, finishing seventh.
- Justin Allgaier: Eight top-10s including a ninth-place run last week in Michigan have Allgaier seventh in the standings. In 12 starts at Iowa Speedway, Allgaier has just one top-five, so he looks to add to that total on Sunday.