NASCAR Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Picks, Predictions
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Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Picks
Date: Sunday, June 7, 2020
Venue: Atlanta Motor Speedway
Location: Hampton, Georgia
Television-Time: FOX, 3:30 p.m. ET
Chase Elliott is a solid contender on the NASCAR series and is a top pick to win Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 from Atlanta. (AP)
Handicapping NASCAR at Atlanta
Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway will be the 10th race of the scrambled 2020 season and also be the seventh race using the race package featuring engines with 550 horsepower meaning we have lots of relevant data to sort through before betting.
The first six races with this package have been won by six different drivers showing parity to be alive and well offering some entertaining races with lots of different lap leaders.
The Atlanta race was originally scheduled to be the fifth race of the season on March 15 and became the first casualty of the season for NASCAR due to the global coronavirus pandemic, which has been forgotten by all in the media due to the recent riots being the top daily story.
But NASCAR has been part of the recovery process for fans being cooped up at home with no sports on TV as many of the other sports haggle about money. NASCAR was the first live sport back on network TV on May 17 after having a string of eNASCAR events that a few Las Vegas sportsbooks posted odds on and the TV ratings were good.
It seems like so long ago because NASCAR is playing catch-up with the schedule to get all 36 races completed on the season. They’ve given us five traces to handicap since May 17, which includes two midweek races at Darlington and Charlotte. I know I keep saying it, but NASCAR backed into a winner with the weekday night races, something I hope they continue to do in seasons to come. I have the feeling the drivers like it as well.
“I think the procedures and everything has been really smooth, really easy,” Kyle Busch said. “I compliment and applaud NASCAR as much as possible just on their efforts and the things that they’ve done in order to go through and get us to this point to have us an opportunity to go out here and put on a show for the fans on television. Obviously, we miss having the fans at the racetrack, but it’s a great effort by everybody involved to get us to this point. It’s been way smoother than I thought it was going to be and I hope that it continues to be as smooth and seamless as possible for everybody, and we can get through a couple months of just getting back with our feet going and getting the show going. And then maybe we can get back to a little more normalcy here in, I don’t know, say a couple months.”
Of the five races run since coming back from the shutdown, four of them have been run with this week’s race package between Darlington and Charlotte. Atlanta is Charlotte’s sister-track and they’re almost identical 1.5-mile high-banked layouts with the main difference being the worn abrasive surface at Atlanta which takes a special kind of driver to win.
Brad Keselowski won the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte and then Chase Elliott won the shorter Alsco 500K last Thursday at Charlotte. Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin each won at Darlington and if we go to the races before the shutdown we have Joey Logano winning at Las Vegas thanks to late pit strategy and Alex Bowman dominating at Fontana. Six races, six different winners.
Who might be the top contenders to be the seventh different driver to win this season?
Ryan Blaney first comes to mind because he’s been solid with this package, but the best value might be Erik Jones who is offered at 32-to-1 odds to win Circa Sports in Las Vegas. He had a career-best seventh-place at Atlanta last season and has a 10.6 average finish in three Cup starts. For a young driver, he’s proved to be one of the best at saving tires on abrasive surfaces.
After that, maybe it’s Martin Truex Jr. who led the series with seven wins last season but has yet to have a top-five in nine races so far. And what’s up with Kyle Busch having no wins? He’s a two-time winner at Atlanta. He hasn’t led a lot of laps this season but he does have five top-five finishes which are tied for the most with Kevin Harvick.
Atlanta - Drivers to Watch
Best Value at the Sportsbook
Here’s a look at my top NASCAR drivers to watch along with fair odds, picks and predictions.
Chase Elliott (7/1)
It doesn’t matter what race package he’s using because chances are he’s going to have a car capable of winning. He’s been on a roll all season, but only has one win to show for it -- the last race at Charlotte using this week’s race package. In four Cup starts at Atlanta, he’s averaged a 10th-place finish which is tops among active drivers. Atlanta is his home track. This is a great spot for him to win.
Alex Bowman (9/1)
He’s never had a finish better than 15th in four Cup races at Atlanta, but he’s quickly becoming one of the best. Whenever he’s on a cookie-cutter track like Atlanta, Charlotte, or Fontana he should be part of the betting mix to win.
Brad Keselowski (10/1)
He comes in with the momentum of winning two of the last three races on the schedule while also winning two of the last three races at Atlanta. The race he didn’t win in 2018 he was runner-up. That’s about as good as it gets and why he should be in your odds to win wagering equation.
Ryan Blaney (14/1)
His best Atlanta finish was 12th in 2018 and last season he led 41 laps before finishing 22nd. He’s been up and down all season so far, but he’s had a car capable of winning in four of the six races using this race package, including third-place in both Charlotte races. Luck has to swing his way soon. I’m certain he’ll have another fast car and the track isn’t all that tricky like Darlington is. Blaney could become the new cookie-cutter King.
Denny Hamlin (12/1)
His lone Atlanta win was in 2012 and he’s had a couple of early exits since then there, but I like how his team is set with this week’s race package which includes a win at Darlington and a fast-charging runner-up at Charlotte. He may be the best at saving his tires for long runs on sandpaper surfaces, and Atlanta’s got a rough one.
Kevin Harvick (7/1)
He’s a two-time winner, including his first cup win in 2001 just two weeks after taking over the No. 3 team. He leads all active drivers with 1,197 laps led, and probably should have at least four wins. In his last eight Atlanta starts he’s led at least 101 laps in six of those and had the best car in four of those, but only came away with a 2018 win. He’s got top-10s in all six races using this week’s race package leading laps in four of them.
Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
Top-5 Finish Prediction