Darlington is one of those tracks that checks your racing resume before it gives up its rewards. When it comes to the junior-circuit series of NASCAR, you might want to ask accomplished drivers like Mark Martin (12 career wins there) or Denny Hamlin (eight) about how to navigate The Lady in Black. They flourished here, but so many other stars of the sport haven’t.
In this weekend’s Steakhouse Elite 200 at Darlington, there are a couple drivers in the Xfinity Series who might just be the next dominant driver like Martin or Hamlin. And it may be worth a look to bet NASCAR online.
The past three winners are lesser-known Brandon Jones (Sept. 2020), Chase Briscoe (May 2020), and Cole Custer (Aug. 2019). Jones starts No. 22 Saturday and is the lone ranger in the field when it comes to career wins here. Briscoe and Custer will take their shot at the NASCAR Cup Series later this weekend.
It should be a wild race in the Xfinity Series. A crafty veteran who has never gotten a full-blown chance at success — A.J. Allmendinger — vs. a talented up-and-comer in Austin Cindric. Allmendinger starts No. 1 and Cindric starts No. 2.
So here are NASCAR odds this week. Who will survive The Track Too Tough to Tame?
Cindric won the Xfinity Series season championship last year and leads the circuit so far this season, and he has 33 top-10 finishes and eight wins in his last 41 starts in the series. So, not surprisingly, he leads the NASCAR betting lines going into this weekend. He also took fourth place in one of his two Darlington starts last year.
There’s no question the 22-year old is one of the hottest drivers in the sport right now. Standing in his way is A.J. Allmendinger (+450), who is a crafty veteran who has excelled in several different forms of auto racing and knows how to get around odd-shaped tracks like Darlington. This should make for a fascinating dynamic.
THE DARK HORSE THREAT
It feels a bit strange to mention the lone current race winner at Darlington as a dark horse threat, but currently Jones has the eighth-best BetMGM odds to win at this quirky track. So we’ll slide him into this spot.
Jones won a race at Darlington last year and has three top-10 finishes in six attempts at the track in the junior circuit. He starts No. 22 but with a couple of breaks, he has the experience to make a splash here.
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Brian McLaughlin is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of BMac and Herd’s FCS Podcast. He has written for The Sporting News, headed up the PARADE Magazine High School All America teams, covered FCS college football for HERO Sports … and is a veteran reporter of five spring Daytona Speedweeks (1997, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009). Follow BMac on Twitter @BrianMacWriter.