Predictions for the Dead on Tools 250 – NASCAR Xfinity Series (October 30, 2021)
Ty Gibbs continued the trend of non-playoff drivers winning in the Xfinity Series. That means we go into the Round of 8 finale with all four spots in the Championship 4 up for grabs. It’s going to be a thrilling race as drivers look to use their aggression at Martinsville.
The 0.526-mile short track will have a ton of action. The race will be Saturday at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
No one is safe at Martinsville. Let’s check out my picks to come out on top.
Ty Gibbs (+450)
Last week, Ty Gibbs continued the win streak for non-playoff drivers. He passed Austin Cindric with 11 laps to go to score his fourth victory of the season. Can the 18-year-old do it again at Martinsville?
Because Gibbs is running a part-time schedule and is in his first season in the Xfinity Series, we’ve yet to see him race at a track more than one. That’ll all change this weekend.
Gibbs’ third career start came at Martinsville in April.
He started 16th but worked his way into the top five by the end of Stage 1. In the late stages, Gibbs battled Josh Berry for the win. After leading 28 laps, Gibbs lost the lead to Berry and wound up finishing fourth.
The No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota is the fastest car in the field. The car has won the last two weeks and it shouldn’t surprise anyone if they make it three in a row.
Gibbs will start on the outside of the front row.
Noah Gragson (+600)
Back-to-back wins late in the regular season put Noah Gragson in an excellent spot for the playoffs. He only strengthened that position with a third-place finish at Texas.
Last week, Gragson was running inside the top five when a late-race crash relegated him to a 35th place finish.
Now, Gragson comes into Martinsville 24 points below the playoff cutline. Unless fourth-place Daniel Hemric has an issue, Gragson is going to have to win his way into the Championship 4. Well, I’m not sure there is a better track for him to achieve that.
Gragson has a pair of starts in the Xfinity Series at Martinsville. Here are his results.
- 2020: 3rd (23 laps led)
- 2021: 2nd (12 laps led)
And this isn’t just Gragson showing up at the end of races. In the four stages across the two races, Gragson has a pair of wins and two second-place finishes.
His success at Martinsville goes back to his days in the Truck Series. In four career starts at the track, he has never finished worse than seventh. That includes his first career victory.
He’ll start Saturday’s race in ninth. It won’t take long for him to work his way into the top three.
A.J. Allmendinger (+800)
A.J. Allmendinger came into the Round of 8 in a great spot. As long as he didn’t have a terrible finish, he wouldn’t need a win to qualify for the Championship 4.
That’s exactly what he has done with finishes of sixth and third to open the Round of 8. Now, he enters Martinsville with a 47-point cushion.
There might be a narrative that he’ll take it easy since he doesn’t need to win. However, Allmendinger isn’t the type of guy to pull over and let someone go.
Surprisingly, Allmendinger hasn’t finished better than 13th in his two starts at Martinsville in the Xfinity Series. He led 68 laps in his first start.
My faith in Allmendinger actually comes from his success in the Cup Series in Martinsville. Check out his numbers in 21 starts.
- 2 top-five finishes
- 7 top 10 finishes
- 50 laps led
His seven top 10 finishes are his most at any track in the Cup Series. It’s also the only non-superspeedway oval that he has more than one top-five finish.
With essentially nothing to lose, I like his chances on Saturday. He’ll roll off the grid on the inside of the second row.
Josh Berry (+1200)
Josh Berry has bounced around a few rides this season, but he has made the most of his part-time schedule. His success has earned him a full-time ride next season with JR Motorsports. A big reason for the opportunity is his run at Martinsville this season.
Berry made a name for himself driving late models on short tracks.
In 2019, he won one of the biggest late model races of the year at Martinsville.
This season, Berry had the Spring race at Martinsville circled on his calendar. He came into the race with high hopes and showed out.
He led 10 laps early on but didn’t take control of the race until just after halfway. Berry battled with Ty Gibbs down the stretch before taking the lead for good with 29 laps to go.
The only difference is he won’t be driving for JR Motorsports. This time, he’ll drive the No. 31 for Jordan Anderson Racing.
It doesn’t have as much speed as the JR Motorsports cars, but it does have six top 10 finishes this season.
Now it might scare some to see Berry starting in 29th. However, that’s where he started when he won in the Spring.
Who Will Win the 2021 Dead on Tools 250?
It’s now or never for some of the playoff drivers. With that in mind, I’m going with Noah Gragson to win his way into the Championship 4.
Gragson is as aggressive as they come and he has shown a ton of speed at Martinsville. There’s no reason to believe he won’t show up with speed on Saturday.
The Xfinity Series season is almost complete. Be sure to place your bets using the top NASCAR betting sites.