Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook
Even though NASCAR has mandated a restricted-horsepower superspeedway package for the repaved and reconfigured Atlanta Motor Speedway, the speeds at the 1.54-mile intermediate track should be lightning fast.
Whether the NASCAR Cup Series cars will be able to maintain close contact in the draft or achieve separation as the race progresses remains to be seen. Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 will be contested over 325 laps (500.5 miles), with stage breaks scheduled after 105 and 210 laps.
After a star-crossed start to the 2022 season (40th at Daytona and 29th at Fontana), Ross Chastain has found his mojo.
Driving for the Trackhouse Racing team co-owned by Justin Marks and rapper Pitbull, Chastain led 83 laps two weeks ago at Las Vegas and finished third. Last Sunday at Phoenix, he finished second to first-time winner Chase Briscoe.
Atlanta just might be the track to give Chastain a breakthrough victory. He’s one of three drivers who participated in a Goodyear tire test there in January. The sneak preview of the resurfaced track could pay dividends on Sunday.
Chastain is a fearless driver who is comfortable at high speeds in close quarters. He’s priced very attractively at +2500 via DraftKings Sportsbook, and he’s our pick to win the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500.
Taking advantage of a pair of late-race restarts, Kurt Busch came home fifth last Sunday at Phoenix as the highest finishing Toyota.
It hasn’t been a stellar start to the season for the Camry contingent. Ford and Chevrolet have won two of the first four races each, but Toyota has yet to find Victory Lane.
That could change on Sunday if Busch has his way. Busch won last year’s summer race at Atlanta in a Chevrolet, hours before renovation began. No Cup driver has raced on the 1.54-mile speedway yet, but Busch, like Chastain, participated in the January tire test at the speedway.
Oddsmakers don’t give Busch much of a chance to win on Sunday, but we do—especially at +2000 odds via DraftKings. In fact, we like Busch across the board, including +550 to finish in the top three and +250 to finish in the top five.
If you were to assert that the NASCAR Cup Series is undergoing a changing of the guard, you’d have plenty of ammunition for your argument.
After all, drivers under 30 years old have won the last 10 races in the series. The oldest of those is reigning series champion Kyle Larson, who is 29.
Rookie Austin Cindric, 23, collected his first Cup win in the Daytona 500. Last Sunday, 27-year-old Chase Briscoe won at Phoenix, likewise his first victory in NASCAR’s premier series.
If you’re inclined to stick with the youth movement, we suggest third-place Phoenix finisher Tyler Reddick, 26, as the most likely prospect, particularly at a track like Atlanta, where running the top lane (Reddick’s preference) may pay dividends.
Reddick is offered at +1600 to win (DraftKings) and +500 to finish in the top three. We think both plays are reasonable.
|Race||Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 NASCAR Cup Series race|
|Location||Atlanta Motor Speedway|
|Time||Sunday, March 20, 3 p.m. ET|
|How to Watch||FOX|
Award-winning motorsports writer Reid Spencer has served as lead writer for the NASCAR Wire Service for 16 years, having also spent a four-year stint as NASCAR columnist and beat writer for Sporting News. He is currently serving as president of the National Motorsports Press Association. Email: [email protected]More info on Reid Spencer
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