Food City 300 NASCAR Picks – NASCAR Xfinity Series (September 17, 2021)
The Xfinity Series regular season comes to an end this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. Bristol always produces exciting action, and you know drivers outside the playoff cutline will go for broke.
This will be the first and only time this season the Xfinity Series will visit the 0.533-mile short track. Fans can watch the Food City 300 Friday, September 17 at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
Noah Gragson comes into this race with back-to-back wins. Can he make it three in a row? Let’s check out my best bets, using odds from BetOnline.
Justin Allgaier (+350)
Justin Allgaier came into last week’s race as the favorite. Allgaier had won back-to-back races at Richmond but struggled throughout the race. He did recover to finish fourth.
This week, Allgaier looks to pick up his third win of the season at one of his best tracks.
Over his last four races at Bristol, Allgaier has had a dominant car.
|Race||Finishing Position||Laps Led (of 300)|
|2019 Bristol 1||30th||138|
|2019 Bristol 2||8th||131|
|2020 Bristol 1||18th||156|
|2020 Bristol 2||5th||126|
He had the best car in all four of those races but he always had a problem that kept him from victory lane.
Allgaier led the race with under 15 laps to go twice but a flat tire in the second 2019 race and a crash in the first 2020 race took him out of contention. Will the bad luck finally end for Allgaier this weekend?
I’ve been high on Allgaier the last two weeks and things didn’t work out. Allgaier has led more laps at Bristol than any other track. He clearly knows how to run out front and dominate the race.
Now, it’s time for him to close the deal. He starts on the outside of the front row Friday night.
Harrison Burton (+750)
Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen Justin Haley and Noah Gragson pick up their first win of the season. With the playoffs fast approaching, it’s time for Harrison Burton to capture his first win of 2021.
Burton will look to score that elusive first victory at one of his best tracks.
He made his Xfinity Series debut at Bristol in 2019. Burton finished top 10 in both stages and ultimately finished 10th.
Last season, he returned to Bristol driving full-time for Joe Gibbs Racing. He started on the pole in the first race, leading 81 laps before coming home fourth.
In the second race of 2020, he failed to lead a lap and finished in the back half of the top 10 in both stages. Burton recovered to score another fourth-place finish.
He has seven straight top 10 finishes and was in position to win last weekend at Richmond. Unfortunately, a late caution bunched the field up and he fell back to ninth.
Burton continues to find himself in position to win. Is this the weekend he finally closes the deal?
He starts sixth, but I think we’ll quickly see him work his way to the lead.
Noah Gragson (+1200)
A few weeks ago, I mentioned that it’s time for Noah Gragson to win some races and pick up playoff points.
Well, check out what he has done over the last two weeks.
|Track||Starting Position||Finishing Position||Laps Led|
I’d say they received the message. Now, Gragson has a chance to make it three-in-a-row at the track that he has had success at in the past.
Gragson finished ninth and 17th in his first two starts at Bristol, but he came through in his third start.
On a late-race restart, Gragson made contact with teammate Justin Allgaier.
Allgaier spun and Gragson took the lead. He held off the pack on the final restart to pick up his first victory at Bristol. He led 55 laps in that race.
In his most recent start at Bristol, Gragson finished seventh.
Outside of the win, he doesn’t have the best results at the track, but can you really count out Gragson right now? The driver of the No. 9 JR Motorsports has all the momentum and looks like a serious championship contender.
It certainly doesn’t hurt his case that he starts on the pole for Friday night’s race.
Sam Mayer (+1600)
It’s not a huge long shot, but Sam Mayer is my dark horse pick for this weekend.
Mayer has had a tough 2021 season. The 18-year-old has just two top 10 finishes in 10 races this season. He desperately needs a good run just to build some confidence. Mayer may not have a start at Bristol in the Xfinity Series, but he does in both the ARCA Series and Truck Series.
Check out what he did in each series at Bristol.
|Event||Starting Position||Finishing Position||Laps Led|
|Truck Series (2020)||17th||1st||30|
Let’s talk about how impressive each of those wins were.
For starters, they both came on the same day. That’s 500 laps across two races for a 17-year-old. In the ARCA race, he defeated Ty Gibbs. Xfinity Series fans are very familiar with Gibbs and his success.
In the Truck Series, Mayer went up against veterans of the sport and won the race by four seconds.
He has struggled in the Xfinity Series this season, but his Bristol success speaks volumes. I think we’ll see him surprise a lot of people Friday night.
If nothing else, he presents great value.
Mayer will have his work cut out for him, as he starts in the 22nd position.
Who Will Win the 2021 Food City 300 at Bristol?
Bristol is one of those tracks that can produce a surprise winner. Because it’s so small, there are usually only a handful of drivers on the lead lap by the end of the race.
If you are one of those drivers, you can take advantage of some late-race carnage and move forward.
The Xfinity Series playoffs start next week. Feel free to check out my championship picks for the Cup Series.