Picks for the Ag-Pro 300 – Xfinity Series (April 23, 2022)
The Xfinity Series is back after skipping Bristol Dirt weekend. That gives me a chance to recap my success with my Martinsville pick. I had Brandon Jones at (+1200) because I believed he could win with late-race carnage. That’s exactly what happened as he passed Ty Gibbs on the final lap to score the victory.
It was a wild race that ended with a pit road fight. I don’t know about a fight, but we should see another crazy week at Talladega. Let’s check out my top picks for the Ag-Pro 300.
A.J. Allmendinger (+800)
Noah Gragson and Ty Gibbs have received the spotlight early in the 2022 season, but A.J. Allmendinger has been a model of consistency. Allmendinger has led 13+ laps in five of eight races and hasn’t finished worse than ninth. You include his victory at COTA, and Allmendinger is the points leader.
There’s no denying Allmendinger is one of the championship favorites. This week, he’ll head to a Talladega track that has been the site of a few near misses.
Check out his numbers in four starts.
|Finishing Position||Laps Led|
Last year’s Fall race was the only time he wasn’t in contention. He led three laps early, but a crash on lap 24 ended his race. That came on the heels of a few close calls.
Allmendinger has a pair of top 10 finishes at Talladega, but his best performance was in the Fall 2020 race. He led 24 laps but dropped back late before being in a big crash on the final lap.
He has had much more success at Daytona, but the stats are interchangeable. Allmendinger should be in contention for his first superspeedway victory.
Daniel Hemric (+1000)
It’s still early in the Xfinity Series season, but I’m willing to say Daniel Hemric has been the biggest disappointment of the 2022 season. I felt last year’s championship would open the flood gates, but he has gone in the opposite direction.
He had a solid start to the season, but Hemric only has one top 10 finish in his last four races. We’re not seeing a championship contender. Thankfully, Hemric’s team, Kaulig Racing, has been great at Talladega.
Hemric will drive the No. 11 for Kaulig Racing. Check out Justin Haley’s Talladega finishes in that car.
- 2019: 7th
- 2020: 1st
- 2020: 1st
- 2021: 8th
- 2021: 6th
Kaulig Racing has had success on superspeedways, but Haley always had the upper hand. Maybe it’s something about the No. 11 car.
This selection isn’t only about Kaulig Racing. Hemric has a pair of top 10 finishes at Talladega in the Xfinity Series. He led 15+ laps in two races that he failed to finish top 10. Perhaps he can combine the two this weekend.
Hemric has been struggling this season, but Talladega marks an opportunity to turn things around. I expect him to be in contention on Saturday.
Jeb Burton (+1800)
Jeb Burton’s move from Kaulig Racing to Our Motorsports hasn’t worked out the way he hoped. Burton hasn’t led a lap nor finished top 10 this season. His struggles have led him being outside the top 15 in the standings.
This week, Burton returns to the track that brought him his first career Xfinity Series victory. Check out his performance in the Spring 2021 race.
- Starting Position: 9th
- Stage 1 Finish: 2nd
- Race Finish: 1st
- Laps Led: 20 of 90
- Driver Rating: 117.4 (2nd)
It may have been a rain-shortened race, but Burton ran near the front all day. He fell back towards the end of Stage 2, but he quickly worked back to the front in the final stage. Burton led the final nine laps to score the victory.
This wasn’t the only time Burton was in contention to win at Talladega. He was on the front row for the final restart in the Spring 2020 race. Unfortunately, he lost the lead and finished third. His 2021 victory marked redemption.
Burton is with a new team, but we’ve seen smaller teams rise to the top at Talladega. Will the same happen this week?
Ryan Sieg (+4000)
Ryan Sieg might not be the best driver in 2022, but it’s hard to argue with him having the most impressive performance. Sieg drives for a smaller team that doesn’t have as many resources as a big name. However, his numbers are just as strong.
If you take out a crash at Las Vegas, Sieg hasn’t finished worse than 11th. His consistency is extremely impressive for his race team.
The unpredictability of Talladega means you have to bet on at least one long shot. The top NASCAR betting sites give Sieg good value, and I’m more than willing to take it.
This season’s success is a big bonus, but Sieg’s Talladega numbers are the primary reason he’s my top long shot.
- 2020: 2nd
- 2021: 5th
- 2021: 11th
Sieg has only led one lap in that stretch, but he finds a way to put himself in position. Part of winning at Talladega is avoiding the big one, and Sieg has finished on the lead lap in eight of his ten Talladega starts.
He nearly picked up his first career win at Atlanta. The superspeedway racing at Atlanta is similar to Talladega. Perhaps Sieg will close the deal this week.
Who Will Win the Ag-Pro 300?
I feel like I’ve picked A.J. Allmendinger for the last couple superspeedway races. It’s time to go in a different direction, so why not talk about his Kaulig Racing teammate?
Hemric has been strong at Talladega. Now, he joins a teammate that has dominated on superspeedways. Hemric had one of the best cars at Daytona, but a crash ruined his race. I’m expecting another great performance.
This isn’t a race fans want to miss. Make sure you tune into FOX on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET. Our NASCAR picks page will continue to update you with the top picks for the Cup Series, Xfinity Series, and Truck Series.