NASCAR Cup Series Heads To The New Atlanta Track
NASCAR Cup Series is headed to the south, to Atlanta, Georgia, on Sunday, March 20, for the 2022 Fields of Honor QuikTrip 500. It will mark the fifth race of the 2022 season and the 63rd running of the race, which debuted in 1960.
The 2022 Fields of Honor QuikTrip 500 will be contested over 325 laps at the brand-new Atlanta Motor Speedway, which has undergone significant reconfiguration and introduced a new pavement. With the new layout, many see the Atlanta Motor Speedway as a quasi superspeedway, so any previous track data we have can be thrown out of the window.
As a result, we can’t overvalue driver’s past success in Atlanta, meaning Kevin Harvick’s wins in 2020 and 2018 mean very little as we head into this weekend. However, we can use other similar tracks such as Talladega, Daytona, AutoClub, Las Vegas, Kansas, and Charlotte as a solid form guide.
Still, since this race will happen on a new configuration, the bookies seem to have no idea who will win, pricing Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, and Chase Elliot as the main favorites, at odds between +1000 to +1300. This tells us that the bookies set the odds as if this was a superspeedway race, with no driver’s odds falling below the +1000 mark.
The most notable changes with the new track include increased banking in the corners and the width of the track, decreasing down the backstretch, and increasing down the front stretch. That doesn’t tell us much, but it could open up exciting finishes at the end of stages.
Keep An Eye Out For Ryan Blaney
Considering the changed layout of the track, we have to treat the 2022 Fields of Honor QuikTrip 500 as a superspeedway. And if we do so, the first guy that you should look at is Ryan Blaney, who is also the opening line favorite. And there are good reasons for that.
He was phenomenal in Phoenix, where he led 143 of the 312 laps. And even though he only finished fourth, Blaney was clearly a class above everyone else for a good portion of the race. Not only did he have the fastest car of the day, but he also led the most laps. Moreover, his top-five finish is even more impressive if we consider that his pit crew had a terrible performance on the day.
It’s also worth considering that Blaney had shown solid performances on superspeedways in the past, which includes a fourth-place finish at Daytona 500, where he got blocked by his own teammate. Suffice to say, these types of tracks suit Blaney, and he should be on your watchlist as we head into the next race.
Bubba Wallace Can Deliver
Bubba Wallace opened as a +2100 underdog for the Fields of Honor QuikTrip 500, which does seem a bit high. Like Blaney, Wallace has performed well at superspeedways throughout his career, and it wouldn’t be too far from the truth to say that supers are his best tracks.
Admittedly, Wallace has not been an exceptional NASCAR driver, but he is not to be ignored when it comes to superspeedways. Wallace has 13 top-10 finishes throughout his career, nine of which came at superspeedways, while his only career victory happened in 2021 at Talladega.
On a more negative note, Wallace hasn’t been too good at tracks similar to the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Still, the added throttle time should benefit Wallace, who is known as a more aggressive driver and should be able to take advantage of that.
Ross Chastain Might Be Worth A Look
Ross Chastain is a driver that deserves attention and is someone who we should start to recognize as a good driver. Priced as high as +2400, Chastain travels to Atlanta as a lively outsider to make some noise, following solid showings in the last two races.
Chastain has placed inside the top-3 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Phoenix Raceway. And even though he could only manage 29th at Auto Club and a DNF at Daytona, it’s fair to say that Chastain has been amazing this season.
His 40th-place finish at Daytona is somewhat deceiving, as he was running inside the top-10 before Brad Keselowski took out Chastain on Lap 63. Furthermore, he had the third-fastest car on the day, so we would take his placement with a grain of salt.
Fields Of Honor QuikTrip 500 Prediction
Blaney, Wallace, and Chastain are all more than capable of claiming the checkered flag this weekend, and they all offer solid value at the provided betting odds. Admittedly, Blaney looks to be in the best spot, and Wallace could benefit the most from the recent changes, but if we had to pick a driver that is the most underrated, it’s Ross Chastain.
Chastain doesn’t seem to be getting the recognition he deserves, even though he has placed inside the top-three in the last two races. It’s true that he did not win either of them, but his figures are seriously impressive, and if he can keep at it, it’s only a matter of time before he locks in his first win of the season.
Priced as high as +2400, Chastain is an excellent pick to win the Fields of Honor QuikTrip 500 and is our main guy for this weekend race.
Prediction: Ross Chastain to win
* All odds provided by Action247 Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
**All views expressed are my own. My picks are my own and are not a guarantee, bet at your own risk.