Denny Hamlin picked John Hunter Nemechek, Justin Allgaier, Austin Hill and Cole Custer to make it to the Xfinity Series championship race.
With Cup Series playoffs underway, it takes much of the limelight in the NASCAR racing. However, the Xfinity Series has a lot of interesting prospects, some of whom will make the grade to the Cup Series in the near future. One such driver is John Hunter Nemechek who will join Legacy Motor Club In 2024.
With six wins in the regular season, he is one of the favorites to win the Xfinity title. And it is no surprise that Hamlin picked the driver to make it to the championship race.
“I’d say based on speed, you’re going to have the No. 20 (John Hunter Nemechek), the No. 7 (Justin Allgaier), the No. 21 (Austin Hill), maybe in there ,” Hamlin said in his Actions Detrimental podcast. “If we’re doing this off of speed, I think there’s a clear-cut four. You’ve got the No. 7 of Allgaier, the No. 20 of Nemechek, the No. 21 of Hill and the No. 00 of Custer. I think that those guys stand apart, as far as consistently being the fastest in the series.
“Now, you have others, such as you’ll have Sam Mayer have some weeks where he shows flashes, and he’ll be the fastest JRM car, or the fastest car on the track. Josh Berry, not as much, but still, he has certain race tracks that fit his style really well. I think they probably run Martinsville, which will be a great track for him, with an opportunity to get into the Final Four. Those are the next guys in, in my instant thoughts.”
However, there could be a lot of surprises along the way, as the Cup Series playoffs showed. Taking the example of Martin Truex Jr., Hamlin added that there are a lot of risks in these races.
“It never goes chalk. It never goes how you think it is. I asked on this episode a few weeks ago, when it comes to the Cup playoffs, who in the top eight is not going to make it? Zero said Martin Truex. Now, he could go out there and run really well at Bristol and put himself above, but you just never know. Like, it never goes as planned, because this is such a small sample size of playoffs.
“You know, these three-race cut-offs, that you just never know. It just takes two bad weeks, and you’re out.”
With three wins in the regular season, Truex Jr. was one of the favorites to at least make it to the championship race. However, with two bad races, he finds himself below the cutline.
Nonetheless, he still has a chance to go to the next round with the last race of round of 16 at Bristol Motor Speedway.