The always anticipated road-course portion of the NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule continues this week with Saturday’s B&L Transport 170 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Austin Cindric earned his career first Xfinity Series victory last week at the iconic Watkins Glen International road course and shows up in Ohio an absolute favorite as well. He won the pole position last year at Mid-Ohio and led a race-best 59 laps only to finish second to series veteran Justin Allgaier.
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Allgaier proved himself as the 2018 road-course ace, earning wins in two of the four events – answering his Mid-Ohio win with another at the next stop in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin (Road America). He leads the series championship contenders with three career road-course wins and could use another to secure his position in the 2019 NASCAR Playoff field.
The JR Motorsports driver is one of only two drivers ranked in the top eight without a victory, and that’s largely because the top three in the standings have absolutely dominated the win column. Championship leader and defending series champ Tyler Reddick has three wins. Christopher Bell and Cole Custer have five victories each. Allgaier is ranked fourth just behind these multi-time winners.
Allgaier’s experience, plus the fact no member of that championship leading group of three has won on an Xfinity Series road course previously, certainly makes him a favorite heading into the weekend. He has a win, two top fives and three top 10s in four Mid-Ohio starts.
Counting the last five road-course events for the series, Allgaier has a pair of wins, four top fives and is averaging a 4.6 finish in the No. 7 JRM Chevrolet.
Some of his fiercest competition this weekend may actually come from within the JR Motorsports group. Xfinity Series rookie Noah Gragson won a NASCAR K&N Series race on the Sonoma, California, road course earlier this summer. He was ninth in the Xfinity Series road-course race last week at Watkins Glen and was a perfect two-for-two in top 10s in his two Gander Outdoors Truck Series road-course events.
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The 21-year-old driver of the No. 9 JRM Chevrolet has four wins in 10 road-course races in the combined NASCAR K&N East and West series.
“I really feel like this time of year is where we can really make move because of how comfortable I feel on road courses,” said Gragson, who is ranked seventh in the championship standings. “We were able to come away with a good run despite some adversity last week in Watkins Glen and I am really confident that we can have an even better run in Mid-Ohio, despite having never been there before. It’ll be an interesting weekend for sure and I’m ready to get it going.”