The Pocono Green 250 is one of the youngest NASCAR Xfinity Series events. It began in 2016 and has been won by three Cup Series drivers. With the Dash 4 Cash events in the rearview mirror and the drivers’ desire to get out and find the right lines on the Tricky Triangle, it looks like it could be a challenging weekend for the points-eligible drivers. Odds are on the right-hand side for desktop viewers and below the comment box for the mobile viewers as we dig into the Pocono Green 250 on June 1, 2019.
As The World Turns
There are so many difficult elements to Pocono Raceway. This is one of the hardest events on the season on the drivers, cars, and pit crews. There are three very different turns on the course, all modeled after different race tracks. There are plenty of reasons why Cup Series guys have so much success in this Xfinity Series race. This is a hard race on the car and the best drivers have the best teams and the best equipment. Those more experience drivers are also masters of the shifter and this is a track that requires a lot of precision when it comes to shifting gears to avoid wrecks and blown engines. This is one of the youngest crops of Xfinity Series drivers that we’ve seen. Justin Allgaier is the elder statesman, but a lot of other guys have retired or moved on. There are five rookies in the standings and a lot of greener drivers like Cole Custer, Christopher Bell, Austin Cindric, Brandon Jones, and even Tyler Reddick behind the wheel this season. This is a real challenge and a good learning experience, but it’s clear to see why the Xfinity Series only races once a year here. When the Cup Series returns in late July, the Xfinity Series will be at Iowa Speedway.
How They Stand
Tyler Reddick won last week’s race at Charlotte with the most laps led and the stage win. Christopher Bell’s exit may have paved the way for Reddick to get the win. With that victory, Reddick has opened up a monster 65-point lead over Bell. Bell is 28 points ahead of Cole Custer, who has led the most laps twice in his last four races and has three stage wins and a race victory in that span. Austin Cindric and Justin Allgaier round out the top five. Rookie Chase Briscoe has five top-five finishes in his last seven races and sits sixth. John Hunter Nemechek, Noah Gragson, Ryan Sieg, and Michael Annett finish out the top 10. The top 12 make the playoffs in the Xfinity Series, which begin on September 20. Unlike the Cup Series, which is past the midpoint of the regular season, this is only the 12th race of 26 in the regular season for the Xfinity Series.
As mentioned, this has not been a kind event to Xfinity Series drivers. Custer was fifth, Hemric was third, and Cindric was fourth last season. Bell finished 36th. Reddick, the eventual champion, finished ninth. Cup Series guys finished first, second, and eighth, as Kyle Busch won the race, Chase Elliott finished second, and Paul Menard finished eighth and won the second stage. Back in 2017, Cup Series guys were first, third, fifth, eighth, and 31st. That win went to Brad Keselowski, who swept the board. Larson was third. Suarez was fifth. Allgaier was second and Sadler was fourth. It stands to reason that the most experienced active driver in Allgaier has a great shot this week among the points guys. The race in 2016 was limited to just 53 laps because of rain, so there isn’t a whole lot to add about that one. We’ll see how Mother Nature feels about this year’s race.
On-Time Arrival
Something interesting about the Xfinity Series is that single-car qualifying has returned. Because of some shenanigans during the qualifying laps, the Xfinity Series decided to get rid of its multi-car qualifying approach on oval tracks. That can have a significant impact on how the starting gate gets set for these events. We saw the odds for last week’s Alsco 300 spend periods of time not listed and we’ll likely see the same here this week at Pocono. Bettors may want to wait until those times are posted to see how the drivers will be set, especially with this race only going 100 laps. On the other hand, you could get some equity on fast qualifiers.
With that in mind, Cole Custer has to be on your radar this week. He may not be the most experienced driver and the best fit for this track, but he does have four pole positions so far this season. Christopher Bell has three and he’s a consideration every week, but Custer may provide a little more value. Allgaier is a guy that makes a lot of sense with his experience level and his solid efforts at Pocono in the past, especially with no Cup Series guys in the race.