Quaker State 400 Race Analysis & Value Picks
Date: Sunday July 10, 2022
Track: Atlanta Motor Speedway
Time: 3pm ET
What Did We Learn From Last Weekend?
NASCAR had a moment of nostalgia when the #8 car pulled into victory lane for the first time since 2006. Tyler Reddick managed to hold off Chase Elliott to take the win at Road America on Sunday. In what many say is a course too long or not set up for NASCAR, Tyler Reddick clearly would tell you otherwise, especially since it’s his first NASCAR Cup win. This kid has had this coming for a long time, in my opinion. He’s had a little bit of a rough 2022 so far, but the tide seems to be turning in his favor. After experiencing 5-second place finishes in his Cup career, Reddick was due for the win. He’s now locked into the playoffs, which is exactly what he needed. For a guy like him, that is a huge amount of weight lifted off his shoulders. This will allow him to spend the remainder of the regular season concentrating on just driving and experimenting with setting up his car and even getting things just right with his pit crew and team. Some say that the drivers that win on road courses won’t win on a “regular” track, but I don’t see that as the case for this kid. I think that Reddick has a bright future ahead of him.
In fact, Reddick beat one of the all-time greats on road courses. To say that about a driver as green as Chase Elliott still it seems a bit crazy, but he’s only third to Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon. That’s an impressive company to be in. Do you know who else is impressive? Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez. Those guys are unstoppable right now. They took 4th and 5th behind Kyle Larson, who took home 3rd place. Chris Buescher, Austin Cindric, Michael McDowell, AJ Allmendinger, and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top 10 spots. Overall, it looked like Elliott was going to dominate the race, leading a substantial amount of laps over the rest of the field. It was down to him and Reddick with 20 to go when Elliott came out leading from the pits. His lead was narrow, though, and Reddick was able to overtake him as the drivers caught the rest of the field. Reddick clearly had the better car there at the end, winning with a substantial margin of over 3 seconds.
Where Are We Headed This Weekend?
The drivers are headed back to the typical track this weekend. The teams return to Atlanta. They’ve already graced this track once this year in March. This place is a 1.54-mile quad-oval with 28 degrees of banking in the turns and 5 degrees on the straights. That’s pretty significant banking, allowing the drivers to keep their momentum into and out of the turns. There’s little use of the brakes as they all carry speed around the whole track. It’s a pretty fast intermediate track. Overall, tires seem to be an issue, but that’s been the story for every track across the season with the new car configuration. It seems like that’s something that is going to be a big opportunity for both NASCAR and all of the teams during the off-season. The one lug nut and just set up leaves a lot to be desired. Besides that, Atlanta was recently repaved, with only a few of the drivers testing tires prior to the March race. It didn’t seem to help too much. There was still some carnage during that race.
Odds and Value Picks
Atlanta was a bit of a crapshoot earlier this year because we just didn’t know how everything would play out with the new surface, new cars, and little to no testing. Regardless, William Byron came away with the win, and Ross Chastain, Kurt Busch, Daniel Suarez, and Corey Lajoie rounded out the top of the leaderboard. There we go with TrackHouse Racing once again showing dominance with both cars in the top 5 finishes. Kurt Busch showed strength here, which I expect to see again this weekend, while Corey Lajoie had probably his best finish in this series overall. I’m not sure that we’ll see a repeat of that, but hey, the kid’s got something going for him with that result. That being said, we have to keep in mind that sometimes luck truly does help a driver or knock him out. In the case of Kyle Larson, well, luck was not on his side in March. I do believe that we will see that luck turn around if he can stay away from the accidents this time. Larson hasn’t lost his ability to win on these types of tracks. He just needs a little luck on his side. Let’s take a look at your potential winners heading into this weekend’s race with their odds listed at MyBookie:
- Winner: Kyle Busch +1300
- Mid-Range Pick: Kurt Busch +1800
- Dark Horse: Chris Buescher +3300
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So, other guys that did notably well in March don’t seem to have the consistency to pull that off again. While Lajoie and even Josh Bilicki had some pretty good finishes, those came by happenstance due to some major incidents on the track. That’s not to say that we won’t see it again, but the likelihood of them actually having a good run on their own accord is probably slim to none. That said, Chris Buescher is one of the few with a few top 10 finishes here and a little more experience than some of the other younger drivers. He might just surprise us all and pull off another strong weekend when all is said and done. Kurt Busch is another guy that been consistently getting better and better as the season goes on. Road America aside, he’s had some very good finishes. Busch is also moving the right way in the points standings. Overall, Busch finished 3rd here in the March race while taking the win in this race back in 2021. He has multiple wins over the years and is a top 5 or top 10 contender here in almost every start. He’s got a good handle on this track. Can he beat Kyle Busch, though? While Busch has not won at this track since 2013, he has multiple top 5 and top 10 finishes, with one of those being a runner-up finish in 2021. Kyle has struggled in the consistency department this season. What he needs is to come to the track with a strong car, a confident team, and the ability to keep his head screwed on right. He’s due for another win, and this might just be his ticket. The points standings are a reflection of his lack of consistency, but he luckily has a win to carry him into the playoffs, lest others are so lucky! Let’s take a look at your potential winners as these guys get ready to race in Atlanta once again.
- Chase Elliott
- Ross Chastain
- Joey Logano
- Ryan Blaney
- William Byron
- Kyle Larson
- Denny Hamlin
- Kyle Busch
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Alex Bowman
- Tyler Reddick
- Kurt Busch
- Chase Briscoe
- Daniel Suarez
- Austin Cindric
- Christopher Bell
Do you know who’s not in the top 16? Kevin Harvick. He’s still struggling and currently sitting 20 points outside the cutoff. He needs a win at this point. To gamble on pointing his way in is going to be something that he just does not want to do. I think that he is out of his prime, to be honest. He probably should’ve retired a couple of years ago when he was dominating and at his peak. All of these guys always think that they have one more year left in them, but it just doesn’t always work out that way. On another note, who really thought that Ross Chastain would be sitting pretty in second place right now? If you had asked me at the beginning of the year, I would’ve likely laughed. Well, look who’s laughing now? Teammate Daniel Suarez is no laughing matter either! Both of those drivers are locked into the Chase, and with only eight races to go before the playoffs, it’s getting ready to be on. Stay tuned for a great afternoon of racing as these guys battle it out for a coveted win and a chance at locking in their playoff spot this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway!