With the Cup Series having this past weekend off, it was yet another opportunity for drivers in the NASCAR Xfinity and Gander Outdoors Truck Series to show their skills.
It also was an opportunity for NASCAR Talk to gauge the best drivers in the two series, particularly with this season’s playoffs either already underway or soon to be. The Truck Series is already two races into its seven-race playoffs, while the Xfinity Series begins its seven-race playoff Sept. 20 at Richmond Raceway.
With that said, here’s how we envision how they’ll perform heading into the season-ending Ford Championship Weekend in Miami in mid-November:
1. Christopher Bell (40 points): A unanimous selection from the NBC Sports’ NASCAR writers, Bell is the odds-on favorite to win the Xfinity Series championship.
2. Tyler Reddick (36 points): Has failed to finish in the top five in just five of 23 Xfinity races. He’s really good and likely Bell’s toughest challenger in the upcoming playoffs.
3. Cole Custer (31 points): A legitimate contender to overtake Bell and Reddick for the Xfinity championship if he gets hot in the playoffs. Even though he’s been in a slump of late, there’s still plenty of time to turn things back in the right direction.
4. Brett Moffitt (28 points): Mr. Playoffs in the Truck Series. The reigning series champ has won the past four Truck playoff races, dating back to last year. Has a great shot at making it two titles in a row, especially having started this year’s playoffs strong with two straight wins and has 34 playoff points. He’s a safe bet.
5. Austin Cindric (23 points): Has had an August to remember with two wins and four top fives. But what happens when the Xfinity Series gets back on speedways?
6. Ross Chastain (20 points): Nearly 60 starts over three series in 2019 and no signs of slowing down. Will race any car (or Truck) anywhere and any time. He’s second in the Truck points standings heading into the final playoff race in the opening round. Bona-fide champion material.
7. Chase Briscoe (18 points): Has finished seventh or better in the last seven Xfinity races, performing well on road courses, short tracks and big tracks. With everyone focused on Bell, Reddick and Custer, Briscoe could be a dark horse for the championship.
8. Justin Allgaier (11 points): His photo should be next to the word “resilient” in the dictionary. Not much has gone in Allgaier’s favor this year, yet he’s still fourth in the Xfinity standings. If he gets hot in the playoffs, look out.
(tie) 9. Justin Haley (4 points): A sleeper pick for the Xfinity championship round because of consistency.
(tie) 9. Austin Hill (4 points): Proving worthy of defending Hattori Racing Enterprise’s truck championship last year.
Others receiving votes: Stewart Friesen (3 points), Matt Crafton (1 point), Michael Annett (1 point).