2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series preview: Talladega 1

Surprise, surprise, rain is playing a factor at a superspeedway this weekend. Luckily, bad weather is only forecasted for Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway, which may mean a tripleheader on Sunday for the ARCA Menards Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Cup Series. 

However, for this preview, we are solely focusing on the Xfinity race. 

In 2020, Justin Haley became the “Pied Piper” of superspeedways as he won three of the four races at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega (won both). The wins at Talladega made Haley the only full-time driver with Xfinity wins at the 2.66-mile oval. The only other winners in Saturday’s field were Justin Allgaier (2008) and Ty Dillon (2011) in ARCA. Haley will start fifth on Saturday and look to become the fifth driver to clinch a spot in the Xfinity playoffs. 

Allgaier won at Atlanta Motor Speedway last month to clinch his berth into the Xfinity playoffs. Although he has six top-10 finishes in 11 races at Talladega, he has DNF’d in the last three. Allgaier will seek better fortunes Saturday as he rolls off eighth. 

As for Dillon, his part-time schedule with Joe Gibbs Racing for 2021 has been anything but pretty. He was caught up in the “Big One” at Daytona to open the season, DNF’d with a mechanical issue at Homestead-Miami Speedway and was involved in an incident at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which led to a 31st-place finish. At Talladega in the Xfinity Series, Dillon hasn’t been bad. He has one top 10 and an average finish of 16th in five starts. Dillon will start 16th. 

Defending champion Austin Cindric remains the points leader in 2021 and is the only two-time winner this season. Talladega has been hit-or-miss for the Team Penske driver as he has two top fives, but two finishes of 30th or worse in his four starts on the superspeedway. Cindric will look to stay out front as he rolls off from the pole. 

Daniel Hemric is having a phenomenal start with JGR in 2021. He sits second in overall points with four top fives and six top 10’s through seven races this year. Hemric will start alongside Cindric on the front row. 

With permission from Davey Allison’s widow, Joey Gase will run the historic No. 28 in tribute to the late legend. Gase will run a throwback scheme that will echo the look of Allison’s car from the late 1980’s-early 1990’s. The tribute will also raise awareness for organ donation. 

Stages for the Ag-Pro 300 end on lap 25, lap 50 and the finish on lap 113. FOX will handle TV coverage at 4:00 p.m. EST, while the Motor Racing Network will take care of your auditory needs.

Starting lineup:

Pit stall assignments:

Goodyear tire notes: https://www.jayski.com/2021/04/20/goodyear-fast-facts-talladega-6/

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