Atlanta Motor Speedway – 325 laps / 500 miles
The past four races here have been dominated by two drivers: Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski. This is a worn-down track, which the drivers love, but that means track position is more important than ever. Tires are huge here and much like every other 1.5-mile track, whoever has the best pit strategy will take the checkered flag. Martin Truex Jr. blew it last night in the Xfinity Series race due to a late-race speeding penalty. I wouldn’t be shocked to see someone beat themselves today in similar fashion. Let’s get into my picks:
William Byron (+1200/+450): Am I a little biased? Yes. But, that’s ok. How am I biased? Check out next week’s podcast to see why. He has only raced here three times with a best finish of 17th. However, he already has a win this season on a similar track and Hendrick Motorsports is the hottest team in racing. He’ll be competitive today at the least.
Tail Byron: Am I a little biased? Yes. We’re tailing instead of fading this week. William has finished 8th, 8th, and 1st in the only intermediate tacks this season. He’s trending up and seems to be getting better every week. He more or less started the #FadeTrain and every once in a while respects must be paid. He also has the 6th pit stall today, with an easy entry due to the 7th pit stall being vacant, and he is starting inside the top 10. Time to go all in on Byron this week.
William Byron over Joey Logano (+115): Logano only has two top 5s in his fourteen career races here. He has an average finish of 13 in recent races at this track, and Penske doesn’t seem to have their 1.5-mile package figured out. They look great on the short-run but fall of in the long-run. To top it off, I would expect Keselowski to be the guy on Team Penske this week.
William Byron over Kyle Busch (+130): I hate Kyle Busch and I hate even more that he is known as “Rowdy”. He’s coming off a third-place finish at the most recent 1.5-mile track of Vegas, but finished last week 25th, and 10th at Homestead – where Byron won. He has the 29th pit stall and is starting in the 19th position.
William Byron over Ryan Blaney (+115): Ryan Blaney is the antithesis of Kyle Busch here; I’m a big fan. He actually is trending in the right direction with back-to-back top 10s after a slow start to the season. However, Keselowski is the Penske guy today. In only five career races here, Blaney finishes on average 16.20. Looking back to Homestead, which to me is a good indicator for other 1.5-mile tracks, he finished 29th.