Xfinity qualifying went about as you would expect Friday afternoon at COTA. The two HUGE favorites, Ty Gibbs & AJ Almendinger both ended up in the Top 4, belying the seriousness of their act.
But the rest of the Top 5 fit well with what subs got earlier this week. The hottest driver right now in the Cup Series is Ross Chastain.
We advocated subs grab him at Caesar's early week at +2500 to Win....and he qualified second.
He won't re-open that cheap.
Chastain and the two other part-time cars from DMG Motorsports overcame their expected equipment quality to land second, fifth (Alex Labbe) and seventh (Preston Pardus). Labbe is always a fun road course dart, and was as cheap as +10000 before qualifying.
Fellow Cup regular Cole Custer starts third, in a car that won for him at Fontana a couple weeks ago. He was +1500 before qualifying and that should get less cheap by post time.
Sheldon Creed won the Trucks pole and is sixth here in the time trial. Love him in matchups, and still a fair price if +2000 or cheaper to win. He and Chastain are still well placed if you can do a Top 5 in the +250 to 300 area.
Maybe a deeper dart Top 5 on Parker Kligerman out around +500 for a Top 5; he's running Xfinity & Trucks as well, qualifed fast in both.
Who looked mediocre? All five of the Dale Jr. team cars will start 9th or further back. Road racing specialist Miguel Paludo is in one of their cars and is back in 17th. Probably too expensive. They will collectively figure it out, but are in a mire with the other Kaulig cars (Hemric & Cassill) in the grid.
Who should have been better? Bubba Wallace, running the All-Star Toyota from the Gibbs team that is fast every week. Mid-teens qualifier, not good at road courses.
See what's up when the matchups re-open, but there are a lot of good options to go short on Bubba there, especially if you are offshore.
Remember, this is a return to some normalcy, and more granular info on the cars. Practice, and qualifying, and now having nearly 24 hours to marinate about track position and how it affects matchups.
I liked a taste of Brandon Jones at +5000.......before he had a mechanical, missed qualifying and starts in the back. Nevermind that.
Starting spot can have a ton of effect at a road course, especially if you are playing strictly matchups.
Long: Chastain, Creed
Short: Bubba Wallace, Paludo, Cassill