Last Updated Mar 20, 2022, 5:29 PM

NASCAR Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500 Picks, Predictions

I think we’re all going to be in for a thrill watching and betting Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway’s newly configured 1.54-mile layout. In addition to the new surface and banking, we also get the new NextGen car that has produced four different winners in the first four races. 

Anyone can truly win this race, and the type of racing we’ll see has never been seen before. Seriously, they’re adjusting the new cars to use the superspeedway package with engines producing 510 horsepower and tall seven-inch spoilers. The odds at Caesars sportsbook reflect the superspeedway race package with three drivers listed as 10-to-1 co-favorites.

What can we expect with the new Atlanta surface?


On the old Atlanta surface, the biggest concern was the tire wear and how aggressive you could or couldn’t be to save your tires,” said Aric Almirola who has finished sixth or better in three of his four starts. “Atlanta was already one of the fastest racetracks we went to and now it’s newly repaved, and we’re going to be running there with a superspeedway package. It is going to be so far different than anything we have ever experienced at Atlanta that I feel like I’m going there kind of blind, like a complete rookie, because I have no idea what to expect.” 

Yes, we have another crapshoot where anyone can win, but let me tell my friends, I have had a blast this season betting half my usual bankroll (no matchups) and throwing haymakers at drivers we wouldn’t normally bet with the old car. The parity is good because we get beefy prices on drivers that can win. Bet Chase Briscoe enough times and he’ll win as he did last week. A rookie won the Daytona 500, the chalk won at Fontana and Alex Bowman paid out 20-to-1 at Las Vegas. It’s about as diverse a group of winners as I’ve seen in the first four races of any season.   

Chase Briscoe won last week's Ruoff Mortgage 500 race. (AP)

Last week at Phoenix we had Briscoe winning, Ross Chastain second, and Tyler Reddick third. It’s like a 2020 Xfinity Series race result sheet. It reminded me of 1993 and 94 when we had a trio of badasses with staying power come up together from the Busch Series – Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte, and Jeff Burton.     

So we have layers upon layers of newness about to happen in NASCAR at Atlanta and I’m glad to be watching it unfold. Let’s face it, big teams dominating wasn’t as much fun as I thought it was.

In addition to making the banking steeper up to 28 degrees, Atlanta also widened the front stretch from 55 feet to 61”6’ and sliced the backstretch width from 55” to 42” which should be interesting to watch how drivers find an edge with it.  


Kyle Busch is a two-time winner at Atlanta with a 13th-place average in 24 starts, but this Atlanta race will be a learning experience. 

“Atlanta is going to be crazy,” Busch said. “It literally got a facelift with a whole new track surface and layout and everything. Looking forward to getting to Atlanta. It’s going to be a different race than what we’ve had there in years past, where you have the old asphalt and really have fast lap times to fire off, and then you have a lot of fall-off where lap times go down throughout the run. That led to having some guys come up through the field and others drop through the field, whether or not they are fast early in the run or slow late in the run, or vice versa. 

“This time around, it’s going to be more like a Daytona or Talladega speedway race. You are going to see a lot of pack racing with some guys two-wide and maybe three-wide, and we’ll have to see how wide the track gets in the time we have on it. Really paying attention and watching some of the Truck Series and Xfinity Series racing earlier in the weekend. It’s going to be helpful to see what we’ll have for Sunday. We’ll learn as much as we can and would like to figure out how to run up front and contend for the win with our M&M’S Camry TRD.”

Pack racing at Atlanta? Wow, I think I like it already.

Anyone can win, and we can also factor in a drivers drafting success. So does that mean Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is in play at 40-to-1? Austin Dillon surely deserves a look at 30–to-1. Is Bubba Wallace a play now at 22-to-1? How about Erik Jones at 40-to-1, Daniel Suarez at 500/1, Brad Keselowski at 25-to-1, and even Noah Gagson at 50-to-1 driving the No. 16 Kaulig Camaro that finished ninth at Las Vegas. Yes, yes, yes, everyone is in play


  • Date: Sunday, March 20, 2022
  • TV-Time: FOX, 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Venue: Atlanta Motor Speedway
  • Location: Hampton, Georgia
  • Distance: 500.5 miles
  • Laps: 325

I bet Kyle Larson at 10-to-1 odds more because of Atlanta being a cookie-cutter track, William Byron at 12-to-1, and looking for Ross Chastain at 25-to-1. And then I’ll take a few darts and throw them at the top 28 different car numbers and bet the first four I hit. 

Hopefully, I hit No. 11 because Denny Hamlin is the master drafter and will find an edge quicker than most on the new track. I also like that Hamlin is desperate as he still sits without a top-10 finish after four races.


Ryan Blaney+1000
Kyle Larson+1000
Joey Logano+1200
Denny Hamlin+1200
Kyle Busch+1300
Chase Elliott+1300

How about the dart hitting No. 45? Kurt Busch is 20-to-1 to win at Caesars and he’s going for his fifth Atlanta win. He leads all active drivers with four Atlanta wins, the first ina Ford, the next two in a Dodge, and the last one in a Chevrolet. He drives a Toyota for Michael Jordan and Hamlin. 

What if Toyota puts it all together this week and utilizes the six-car draft with Wallace, the Busch brothers, Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr, and Christopher Bell to propel one of them to victory. 

And why not bet Chase Briscoe again? This guy always finds his way to the front and was third in the Daytona 500 where he was exceptional in the draft. Briscoe and his entire team have taken a giant step forward from last season.    

“I think from a confidence standpoint I feel like I belong this year,” Briscoe said. “Last year, it was very ‘eyes wide open.’ I was racing against guys I had watched on TV for years and that I’ve looked up to. Now I don’t look at the 18 car and go, ‘That’s Kyle Busch.’ It’s just the 18 car, another guy out there. I think that confidence has come a long way. Obviously with the results, the confidence builds. I feel like I belong. Especially, now, winning, I’ve proven I belong in the Cup Series. When you come in in your rookie year, you think you’re ready, but you’re never ready. To run up front and lead laps is special, for sure.”

I told a buddy of mine last week that I expected Briscoe to win soon because through the first three races he reminded me of Jimmie Johnson’s rookie year in 2002 where you just knew a driver finding his way to the front so often was going to win soon, and Johnson did get the win early in 2002 at Fontana, the 10th race of the season.

The new NextGen car and a new gaggle of serious contenders. It feels like NASCAR turned the page of its future and I’m excited to see it play out. 


  1. #5 Kyle Larson (10/1)
  2. #18 Kyle Busch (11/1)
  3. #12 Ryan Blaney (10/1)
  4. #11 Denny Hamlin (12/1)
  5. #10 Aric Almirola (25/1)


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