Hello everyone this is Ryan Larkin and welcome to the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity series season preview. Here I will be breaking down the new changes for the 2019 season as well as my favorite plays and potnetial fades heading into the new season.
Toyota switched to the Supra body for 2019 season
The flange-fit composite bodies were made mandatory thus elimating the remaining steel body cars.
Field size dropped from 40 to 38 cars
Driver and Team Changes
There are a ton of drivers joining new teams for 2019 especially in top rides such as JR Motorports, Stewart-Haas Racing, RCR and GMS. It will be important to recognize the level of performance of these teams early in the season.
We start with the teams we are losing this season.
#42 Chip Gannasi team shutdown due to sponsorship issues. They won 6 races and had 21 top 10s so this is sure to open things up for someone to step into the elite.
#16 & #60 Roush Fenway Racing. Both teams shutdown due to lack of funding. They were mid tier teams with some upside occasionally. Losing these teams should opening things in that 10-15th place for drivers like Jeremy Clements and Ross Chastain.
Drivers who left:
Elliott Sadler – Retirement
Ryan Reed – Lost sponsorship
Spencer Gallagher – Retirement/Team Management role with his family owned GMS, will run 3 races for JRM
Daniel Hemric, Matt Tifft and Ryan Preece – Moving up to Cup series
Spencer Boyd – To the truck series
Other notables without rides at this time who could show up later are Shane Lee, Kaz Grala and Ty Majeski.
Drivers new to teams:
Noah Gragson – JRM #1 (Technically replacing Tyler Reddick who was in the #9)
Numerous drivers – JRM #8 (Partial Schedule for 6-7 drivers, last years #1 of Elliott Sadler)
Riley Herbst (8 races) & Jeffery Earnhardt (9 races) – Joe Gibbs #18
Justin Haley – Kaulig Racing #11 replacing Ryan Truex
Chase Briscoe – SHR #98 drove part time with team last year. Will be Full Time this season
Austin Cindric – Penske #22 drove part time with team last year. Will be Full Time this season
Tyler Reddick – RCR #2 replacing Matt Tifft
John Hunter Nemechek – GMS #23
Vinnie Miller and Matt Mills – B.J. Mcloed #78 & number to be announced
Josh Williams – DGM #36 replacing Alex Labbe
Ray Black Jr & Gray Gaulding – SS Greenlight #07 & #08
We can expect a couple more changes the next couple weeks as deals get put together last minute. With all this turnover in drivers it is important to rely on stats from the previous year for the driver and their new teams. Even more so will be to pay attention to how they are running early in 2019.
The best way to do this is to become a VIP member which gives you access to the NASCAR Research Station and the Domination Station Optimizer.
Now for my preseason picks of who to play and who to fade for the 2019 Xfinity series. This is strickly a preseason assesment and should be ignored the second we see results to the contrary. Just be careful of that early season small sample size.
Drivers to play
Heading into 2019 Christopher Bell should sit atop everyone’s list of top drivers for the Xfinity series. In his first full season in the series last year Bell scored 7 wins and 18 Top 5s in 33 races. He also has his Crew Chief Jason Ratcliff returning this year which is a huge advantage for him. Ratcliff has 43 Xfinity series wins as well as 15 Cup series wins. Bell has everything set up perfectly for him to truely dominate this season and should be a top pick to dominate most races. However, that will also make him a fantastic fade considering we will see his ownership soar into the 50-60% for gpps on a regular basis. No matter what Christopher Bell will be a part of the conversation for every lineup made this season
The son of Team Penske president Tim Cindric saw himself at 19 years old thrust into running Xfinity full time last year when he quite frankly wasn’t ready. He was splitting the year between three different teams, two different organizations (Penske & Stewart-Haas) and showed massive inconsistency as a result. He also struggled with staying out of trouble with eight finishes of 30th or worse. With all that being said we also saw flashes of talent. This year Austin gets the gift of a full time ride with the #22 Penske team which is a proven championship winner. During the eight race playoffs last season Cindric made the switch to the 22 and racked up 4 top 5s including the final 3 races of the year. Getting to be with the same team should do wonders for a maturing driver. His upside is massive especially considering we should see him priced $500-$1000 below where he should be the first part of the season.
Allgaier is the veteran of the series at 32 years old and 273 races. He has 10 career wins with half of those coming last season. Justin was 2nd in top 5s, 2nd laps led behind Christopher Bell last year but had 4 more top 10s than Bell. He goes into the season as the biggest threat to Bell on a weekly basis. He rarely makes a mistake and always gets the most out of any race. Through the summer stretch the veteran racked up 14 straight top 10s and 4 wins. Allgaier will be a fantastic Cash and GPP play almost every week.
Drivers to fade
Reddick is the defending series champion having won the first race of the season and the last race of the season. That should see his price start on the higher side of what we have seen. However, this should be a case of ignore the shiny trophy he got and pay attention to the 31 races in between his two wins. In those 31 races he led a total of 111 laps. Bell and Allgaier both led over 700 last year. Also, in those 31 races Reddick had a total of 5 top 5’s. His 7 total top 5s on the season were far below his contemporaries. Bell 18, Allgaier 17, Hemric 16, Sadler 14, Custer 14. His Average start and finish were 2-3 positions worse than all those guys as well. Tyler is making the move to RCR for this season, a move that I don’t expect to do him any favors as well. He will be a solid GPP play occasionally but most weeks will be a driver you wish you avoided.
The young driver takes over for the retired Elliott Sadler at JRM in one of the top cars in the series. It will be his first full time season of Xfinity. Last year in Trucks Gragson showed tons of speed capturing 6 poles as well as an average starting position far better than everyone else. The problem comes with his consistency and ability to close. Noah only had one victory while his closet competitors (Sauter and Moffitt) had 6 each. Justin Hayley another Xfinity newcomer had 3 wins. There was a rather underperforming quality to his 2018 truck campaign which gives me pause with him jumping up in competition quality and depth of field. I still believe he will have the speed to qualify well which is why I will be fading him often. He hasn’t shown to be able to finish where he qualifies and there is nothing worse than drivers starting top 5 but finishing 8th-12th range especially when the will cost $9-$10k
Jones almost always falls into the play at your own risk category. Driving for Joe Gibbs, the best Xfinity organization of the past decade makes you believe he can deliver but he can’t. In his 104 career races he has a total of TWO!! Top 5s. His average starting position of 11th often gave optimism but his average finsh of 14th showed a lack of scoring. He will consistently score 30ish points and could definitely be used in cash games but it is important not to be tempted too much in GPPs.
This concludes the 2019 Xfinity season preview. If you would like to reachout and talk NASCAR Folow me on twitter @Larkin8 or SIGN UP FOR VIP and join me as well as our other DFS Army NASCAR contributors in the NASCAR slack chat. When you sign up for VIP you also get the NASCAR Research Station and Domination Station Optimizer as well Premium VIP articles on all sports