2020 Xfinity Series Preview: Daytona 1

Photo via Daytona International Speedway

The Xfinity Series has returned for the first race in three months when Tyler Reddick outlasted Christopher Bell at Homestead to win the 2019 Xfinity Series championship. Today will be the NASCAR Racing Experience 300 as the Xfinity Series in Daytona.

In last years’ race, Michael Annett was able to hold off Justin Allgaier to win by .12 of a second in an intense finish. Annett returns to the series this year to defend his Daytona title.

The Xfinity Series’ leaderboard will look a lot different this season as their top three drivers, Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell and Cole Custer have all moved up to the Cup Series. These three drivers combined to win 21 of the 33 races in the 2019 Xfinity Cup Series.  This will be a big year for drivers such as Austin Cindric, who won back to back races last August and, especially, Justin Allgaier, who was the fourth driver at Homestead behind the other three. This will be his chance to win Xfinity and win at Daytona since he was last years’ runner-up.

We have some drama heading into the race as the team for the No. 66, driven by Timmy Hill, was penalized for manipulating body work on the nose of the car. It was classified as an L2-level penalty and the crew chief, Sebastian Laforge, has been suspended six races. It is effective immediately and he was promptly ejected from the garage. The team has been fined $50,000 and docked 75 points. Hill is still eligible to qualify, and he qualified 26th.

Several new drivers to the Xfinity Series include three of the finalists from last years’ truck series, Austin Hill, Brett Moffitt and Ross Chastain. They will look to work their way up the Xfinity leaderboard after dominating the truck series last year.

As far as qualifying goes, AJ Allmendinger, Ross Chastain, Colin Garrett and Tommy Joe Martins did not qualify but due to Jeff Green’s injury, Chastain will drive in the No. 38 car. Kaulig Racing, who finished 1-2-3 in the July Daytona race last year, begin this season with two of their cars missing out on Daytona.

The pole belongs to Chevy as Myatt Snider won qualifying and will start the race at the pole. The next four drivers are all Chevy as Annett is second as he looks to defend his title. Justin Haley, Jeb Burton and Joe Graf Jr. are third, fourth and fifth respectively.

With a superspeedway and the steep banking, which is 31 degrees, crashes are bound to happen due to aggressive driving and insistent blocking. Part of winning a race at Daytona means avoiding crashes when possible and being in the right position to avoid them. This makes predicting a race difficult but I will pick Allgaier to win as he will assert himself as the best driver in the Xfinity Series this year and make up for coming up just short last year.

The race will be at 2:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Starting lineup: https://www.jayski.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/31/2020/02/15/2020-01nxs-lineup.pdf

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