Ally 400 Race Picks & Analysis

by | Jun 23, 2022 | nascar

Race: Ally 400

Date: Sunday June 26, 2022

Track: Nashville Speedway

Time: 5pm ET

Channel: NBC

What Did We Learn From Last Weekend?

Sonoma turned out to be a winning proposition for TrackHouse Racing with Daniel Suarez winning his first race in the NASCAR Cup Series. This also makes him the first Mexican born driver to win in the series. That’s a pretty awesome accomplishment for Suarez, who remains humble despite winning on NASCAR’s biggest stage. It took Suarez a bit of time, but in all honesty, I think a lot of the hindrances he encountered were a result of not having the best fit for a team. He’s been racing in the Cup Series since 2017 and has a total of 195 races under his belt. During that time, however, he’s managed to get 2 poles and a total of 41 top 10s. That’s definitely not a bad record. In his last couple of years with TrackHouse Racing, he’s done markedly well. So far for the season, he’s led a career high 203 laps in just 16 races. The closest he’s gotten to that mark was back in 2019 when he led 166 laps over the course of 36 races. That just goes to show his consistency so far this year and what a good fit he is with his team. A driver can be the greatest driver in the world, but in NASCAR, if you don’t mesh with your team, you’re going to be fighting an uphill battle.

Many drivers at Sonoma fought an uphill battle. Bubba Wallace ended the day with a last place finish and a DNF. Kyle Busch and teammate Denny Hamlin struggled, ending the day with a 30th and 31st, respectively. Another Gibbs driver, Martin Truex Jr., also had a less than desirable finish in 26th place. The top of the leaderboard was dominated by some lesser spoken of guys. Chris Buescher took the runner up spot with Michael McDowell finishing in a strong 3rd place. Kevin Harvick and Austin Cindric rounded out the top 5 spots. Ryan Blaney, Ross Chastain, Chase Elliott, Willam Byron, and Brad Keselowski finished out the top 10 on the leaderboard. For Keselowski, this was one of the few top 10s of the year, actually. He’s struggled with the new team, so it’s nice to see a good finish from that group. This weekend, they will have an opportunity to capitalize on the momentum heading into Nashville.

Where Are We Headed This Weekend?

Nashville is a track with not much NASCAR history. It has hosted the truck and Xfinity series in the past, but the track is a newcomer to the Cup Series as of 2021. Last year, we saw the first laps run for that track with Kyle Larson leading the way to the checkered flag. This was actually Larson’s 3rd straight win of the year last year while he was on a pretty big dominating streak. I’m not sure if we will see a repeat or not this year, but it will surely be an exciting race with being such a new addition to the schedule on top of the new gen cars. This track took over one of the races in Dover beginning in 2021, which is interesting being that it is a completely different style of track in many aspects. Nashville is a 1.333 mile concrete tri-oval with 14 degrees of banking throughout the track. As such, its superspeedway status means that tires are going to be significant but no more significant than track position. Clean air is going to be critical, meaning pit stops and pit stop box positions are always of high value.

Odds and Value Picks

It’s easy to throw Kyle Larson out there as the favorite purely on him being the defending champion, but this season hasn’t been as kind to him or as easy as it seemingly was last year. That’s not to say he hasn’t had a good year, but I don’t think that’s he’s necessarily a shoe-in for the win this weekend. Definitely keep him on your radar, but look for some other drivers to be leading the pack and ultimately the final chase to the checkered flag on Sunday. He’s clearly the odds-on favorite just based on the only race we’ve had here, but that is not telling us the entire story. The 2022 season has seen many changes brought in, especially with the new car and some new(ish) teams. If you want an idea of who to keep your eyes on, I’m going to throw it out there. The Watermelon Man is going to give everyone a run for their money. Even though he’s still a relative newcomer, Ross Chastain is holding his own near the top of the leaderboard and has been consistently strong the entire year. There’s no single style of track that he hasn’t proven to be a force to be reckoned with, and I will take a gander to say that Nashville will be no different. In fact, Chastain was the runner-up here last year only second to Kyle Larson who happened to be pretty unstoppable. Given Larson’s inability to remain infallible this year, Chastain will be the one to watch as the teams head into this weekend’s events. Let’s take a look at your potential winners.

  • Favorite: Ross Chastain +830
  • Mid-Range Pick: Daniel Suarez +3000
  • Dark Horse: Aric Almirola +4200

Odds avaialble at MyBookie

Almirola has his far share of struggles, but he thrives on configurations like this one at Nashville. He seems to be much more competitive on these type of tracks. If he can come to the track with a solid car and remain consistent throughout the race, he might surprise us this weekend. He managed a 4th place finish in the inaugural race here last year, and it wasn’t something that he just lucked into. Look for Almirola to have one of his stronger finishes of the season at Nashville. Our Sonoma winner is another guy to lookout for. Daniel Suarez had a top 10 here last year and seems to be getting better and better. The win at Sonoma was the confidence boost that this entire team needed to prove that they are exactly where they should be. Nashville will give them another chance to show everyone that they aren’t just competitive and winners on the road courses. Suarez will work for his first oval win this time around. He will be chasing teammate Ross Chastain, though, along with the rest of the field. Chastain is having a fairytale season. That being said, it’s not due to anything else other than hard work, dedication, and some top notch skill from both team and driver. These two guys are fire. The entire organization is fire. Justin Marks and Pitbull have proven to everyone that they have a right to be respected in this sport. Just to prove it, let’s see where everyone is standing in the points after the race at Sonoma:

  1. Ross Chastain
  2. Chase Elliott
  3. Joey Logano
  4. William Byron
  5. Kyle Busch
  6. Denny Hamlin
  7. Kyle Larson
  8. Ryan Blaney
  9. Alex Bowman
  10. Martin Truex Jr.
  11. Kurt Busch
  12. Daniel Suarez
  13. Chase Briscoe
  14. Austin Cindric
  15. Christopher Bell
  16. Aric Almirola

Our dark horse is 7 points above the cutoff line. He’s hanging in there and needs to use this weekend as an opportunity to gain some valuable points or even that potential win to solidify his spot in the Chase. It may seem far away now, but it’s actually only 10 races away. The reality is starting to set in and that means we’re going to see the styles of racing shifting as we move forward. Who would’ve thought we’d see both TrackHouse Racing drivers settled into the Chase this year? Surely people had doubts, but Justin Marks really gave these drivers and teams something to believe in. That means everything. It’s evident in their successes as well. The HMS teams are still holding strong with all 4 drivers in the top 16 for now. The Gibbs teams are hanging in there too, but they are going to need to step up a little bit with the consistency moving towards the Chase. Kyle Busch is someone I didn’t speak on for Nashville, but he should have a good finish as well. Stay tuned as the drivers resume the season this weekend for only the 2nd running of the NASCAR Cup Series since 1984 at Nashville Speedway! Bet your NASCAR predictions for FREE at a sportsbook where you can bet on races live, as they happen! Simply register for an account at Bovada Sportsbook, deposit $50 to $500 and they’ll give you a 50% bonus! Example: Deposit $100, they’ll give you a FREE $50 bet!