Ty Gibbs, Noah Gragson, and AJ Allmendinger combined for twenty wins in the Xfinity Series in 2022 and accounted for two spots in the championship four race. Those three drivers are moving on up to the NASCAR Cup Series for 2023. This opens up many wins, including a few spots in the playoffs and subsequent final four for a new champion.
GRAGSON TRIES, BUT IT'S NOT ENOUGH!
TY GIBBS IS THE CHAMPION!!! pic.twitter.com/ihen6RLTn6
— NASCAR Xfinity (@NASCAR_Xfinity) November 6, 2022
The 33-race NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule will kick off Saturday, February 18th at Daytona International Speedway, and conclude Saturday, November 4th at Phoenix raceway. Let’s take a look at the current championship odds, and which drivers have a chance at taking home the crown.
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NASCAR Xfinity Series 2023 Championship Odds
Cole Custer +300
Josh Berry +400
Justin Allgaier +400
John Hunter Nemechek +600
Sam Mayer +800
Sammy Smith +850
Brandon Jones +1000
Austin Hill +1300
Daniel Hemric +1800
Sheldon Creed +2000
Chandler Smith +2500
Riley Herbst +5500
Ryan Sieg +6000
Parker Kligerman +15000
Brett Moffitt +15000
Jeremy Clements +15000
Myatt Snider +25000
Kaz Grala +45000
Jeffrey Earnhardt +50000
Anthony Alfredo +100000
Bayley Currey +100000
Blaine Perkins +200000
Brennan Poole +200000
The New Big Three
Last year it was Gragson, Gibbs, and Allmendinger. This year it’s shaping up to be Custer, Berry, and Allgaier as the top dogs in the series. Cole Custer returns to the Xfinity Series where he ran full-time from 2017-2019. In 2020 Custer was promoted to the Cup Series where he won a race his rookie season on an incredible late-race pass at Kentucky Speedway.
After three rocky seasons in Cup, Custer stays with the Stewart-Haas race team and returns to the Xfinity Series where he’s won ten races in just 108 career starts. Custer is the favorite for a reason and is expected to have a stellar season. While 3/1 odds are short, expect Custer to be in victory lane upwards of five times this season and vying for his first title. Custer is a great bet at +300.
Cole Custer DOMINATES in Miami for his first NASCAR XFINITY Series win.
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) November 18, 2017
Teammates Josh Berry and Justin Allgaier represent JRM as the other part of the big three. Berry is coming off a highly successful first full-time season in the Xfinity Series where he collected three wins, twenty top 10s, and a spot in the championship four.
Allgaier is heading into his thirteenth full-time season in Xfinity. A title hasn’t been in the cards quite yet for Allgaier but 2023 may be his best shot at one. Allgaier also scored three wins and twenty-three top-10 finishes in 2022.
With teammate Noah Gragson departing for the Cup Series after eight wins and twenty-six top 10 finishes, Berry and Allgaier become the de facto 1-A, 1-B at JRM. Expect both of these drivers to improve on their three-win seasons, and both made the championship four race in 2022, look for them to have a solid shot at the title in 2023.
Ty Gibbs turns teammate Brandon Jones to win at Martinsville.
The Championship 4: Noah Gragson, Josh Berry, Gibbs and Justin Allgaier. pic.twitter.com/TE5SAVkpD3
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) October 29, 2022
The New Gibbs Lineup
John-Hunter Nemechek and Sammy Smith take over the full-time rides for Joe Gibbs racing. Gibbs has fielded the championship-winning car two seasons in a row, Daniel Hemric in 2021, and Ty Gibbs in 2022. John-Hunter went down to the truck series in 2021 from the Cup Series and won five races.
However, he failed to make the championship four. In 2022 he only won two races and again did not make the final four.
If Nemechek will have to prove he can hang in the Xfinity Series before I’m willing to bet on him. Sammy Smith is a fast up-and-coming star for Toyota Racing Development. Smith has fifteen wins across the three ARCA Series divisions, but only nine starts so far in the Xfinity Series. He should be a star soon, the odds just aren’t good enough for these unproven Gibbs drivers.
The Rest of Junior Motorsports
Sam Mayer and Brandon Jones are the other two drivers in the JRM stable. Mayer is back for his second full-time season, while Jones comes over from Gibbs to replace Noah Gragson. Mayer has twenty-five top 10 finishes in fifty-one career Xfinity Series starts.
The 19-year-old hasn’t visited victory lane yet, but that will likely change in 2023. Mayer finished seventh in the 2022 points race and might still be a season or two away from title contention.
Brandon Jones has never finished better than sixth in the standings in his seven full-time Xfinity Series seasons. He slides into the ride vacated by Noah Gragson, in the car that won eight races in 2022 and finished second in the standings.
Jones only won one race in 2022 but would have likely won at Martinsville if his teammate Ty Gibbs hadn’t wrecked him. At 10/1 in a car that was that good last year, with a driver as good as Jones, this one is worth a bet.
The Chevy Contingent
Teammates Austin Hill and Sheldon Creed return to Richard Childress Racing for each of their second years. Hill Visited victory lane twice in 2022. Creed had a car good enough for victory lane multiple times but always seemed to catch a bad break and run into an issue. At 13/1 (Hill) and 20/1 (Creed), you can’t argue a bet on either of these drivers.
The 2021 Xfinity Series champion Daniel Hemric returns to Kaulig Racing, where he will be joined by new teammate Chandler Smith. Smith won three races in the Truck Series in 2022. After winning the title with Joe Gibbs Racing, Hemric had a rough season in his first at Kaulig.
Now with AJ Allmendinger departing the team, it opens many questions about how good this team will be in 2023. Until they show something different on track, I cannot put anything down on either of these drivers.
What a crazy finish as Daniel Hemric passes Austin Cindric for the championship win at NASCAR Phoenix Raceway pic.twitter.com/aJbVKt7BUi
— Rocket Sportz (@RocketSportz) November 7, 2021
Others Receiving Votes
Riley Herbst is back at Stewart-Haas Racing for another season. While his teammate Cole Custer is the clear-cut favorite, there isn’t much hope instilled in Herbst. Listed at 55/1, it shows just how much the books don’t believe in him, and it’s hard to argue. In 109 career starts, he has zero wins and only 17 top-5 finishes.
Parker Kligerman is the only other driver worth mentioning just because it’s fun. At 150/1 his realistic chance of winning the title is slim. However, the team scored seven top-10 finishes and one victory (with Cup Series star Tyler Reddick) in 2022. Parker Kligerman is a solid driver and could sneak his way into the final four race with a late-season win in the playoffs. If he does, holding onto a 150/1 ticket would be pretty fun!