Predictions for the Championship 4 at Phoenix – NASCAR Xfinity Series (November 6, 2021)

| November 3, 2021 9:45 am PDT

It all comes down to this. Austin Cindric, A.J. Allmendinger, Noah Gragson, and Daniel Hemric will battle for the right to become the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion.

Gragson punched his ticket with a clutch win last week, while the other three drivers clinched on points.

There will still be a 40-car field, but all eyes will be on the Championship 4 drivers. Whichever finishes highest will win the championship. Fans can watch the Championship race Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Let’s break down the Championship 4 drivers and see who has the upper hand.

Austin Cindric (+225)

Austin Cindric comes into Phoenix as the defending series champion. For much of the season, he looked like the best driver. That was until A.J. Allmendinger surged at the end of the regular season to capture the regular-season championship.

While Cindric has five wins this season, none have come in the playoffs. It’s fair to question if momentum is on his side, but he has led at least 10 laps in eight straight races. Cindric also hasn’t finished worse than eighth in a playoff race.

Last season, Cindric came into Phoenix in a similar situation. He had five wins but none in the playoffs. This is what he did in the Championship race.

  • Starting Position: 3rd
  • Finishing Position: 1st
  • Laps Led: 72 of 206

Earlier this season, Cindric returned to Phoenix and put on a dominant performance. He led 119 of 200 laps en route to his second victory of the season.

There’s also a little extra incentive for Cindric. This will be his final race in the Xfinity Series, as he’ll replace Brad Keselowski in the No. 2 Cup Series car for Team Penske next season.

Can Cindric become the seventh driver in Xfinity Series history to win back-to-back championships?

A.J. Allmendinger (+275)

A.J. Allmendinger has come a long way from just being a road course specialist. Allmendinger has become a complete driver and is in position to win the championship.

The 39-year-old stole the regular-season title from Austin Cindric following a thrilling victory at Bristol. Unlike Cindric, Allmendinger has a victory in the playoffs this season. He led 21 of 68 laps in his victory at the Charlotte Roval.

While we didn’t see race-winning speed from Allmendinger in the Round of 8, he ran consistent enough to make the Championship 4 on points.

Because this is his first full-time season in the Xfinity Series, we only have the Spring Phoenix race to go off of.

In that race, Allmendinger started fourth and finished fifth. Most weeks, I’d say fifth is a good finish. However, that likely won’t be good enough to win the Championship.

When it comes to the Championship race, I think past Phoenix success matters less. You still need to be good but his fifth-place finish shows they had speed. His team has what it takes to improve.

Allmendinger’s five wins are tied for most in the Xfinity Series. Can he break the tie with a victory at Phoenix?

Noah Gragson (+275)

You know the saying “It’s not how you start that’s important, but how well you finish!” That applies to Noah Gragson’s 2021 season.

Halfway through the season, Gragson was ninth in points and there was concern he could miss the playoffs altogether. From there, he began to run better and officially clinched his spot in the playoffs with back-to-back wins late in the regular season.

The playoff points put him in a good spot, but a crash at Kansas put him in a must-win situation. Luckily for him, the Round of 8 concluded with one of his best tracks.

Gragson went to Martinsville and did this.

  • Starting Position: 9th
  • Finishing Position: 1st
  • Laps Led: 153 of 257

He lost the lead with just under 20 laps to go, but successfully passed Daniel Hemric on a late restart to win the race. His third win of the season locked him into the Championship 4.

In the Spring race at Phoenix, Gragson finished fifth in Stage 1 before an engine issue ended his day. He finished second in last fall’s race.

Momentum is a real thing and Gragson has it right now. He will do anything to win the Championship.

Daniel Hemric (+330)

Daniel Hemric has to be the best driver in NASCAR history that has never won a race. I don’t understand how things continue to go against him.

Last week, he was running away from Noah Gragson until a late caution allowed Gragson to catch up and pass him.

Hemric has been one of the best drivers in the playoffs. He has finished top five in six of the seven races. His only non top-five came after a wreck at Kansas. Mind you, he was running top five at the time of the crash.

In an era where winning means everything and it’ll likely take a race-win to win the Championship, there’s no way you can pick Hemric, right? I’m not sure I agree with that logic.

At some point, Hemric is going to win a race. He is running too well not to. Now that he is the only Joe Gibbs Racing driver in the playoffs, that team is going to throw everything they have at that car.

Hemric started on the pole in the Spring at Phoenix. He led 44 laps and won Stage 2 before the handling went away on his car.

He comes in as the underdog but I wouldn’t fade him.

Who Will Win the 2021 Xfinity Series Championship?

All four drivers are deserving of the title. It wouldn’t surprise me to see any of them win.

Personally, I think Austin Cindric will make it back-to-back championships. That team is running so well right now and is due for a win. His past Phoenix success gives him the upper hand on the competition.

This is your final chance to bet on the Xfinity Series. You can do so using the top NASCAR betting sites.

Nicholas Sterling

Nicholas has been a Sports Writer with since May 2021. He has a rich sports background, writing about NASCAR, NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, Golf, etc. Nick is always ready for a new challenge.

He enjoys rooting on D.C. sports teams, including the Commanders, Wizards, and Capitals.

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