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Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway



How about a little throwback to start the second half of the Cup Series season?


Its been a while since I’ve written a NASCAR preview. As a matter of fact it was COTA last season. But without the ability to get a podcast out this week, I’m back to tapping on the keyboard to try to get a race preview out for everyone.


Let’s start by talking a bit about the race two weeks ago in Sonoma. Martin Truex Jr. earned his second victory of the season. Running away with the race at Sonoma. He led 51 of 110 laps and seemed to have the fastest car all day. He certainly earned the win, cashing my +4000 ticket after he was the first bet made for the Sonoma race.


Truex outdueled Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott and (surprisingly) Michael McDowell throughout the race to earn his second victory of the season. Truex joins Larson, Kyle Busch and William Byron as drivers to earn multiple victories this season. Truex’s win also advanced him into the regular season points lead, a position that earns an incredibly valuable 15 playoff points if he were to hold on and win the regular season championship.


News

In other off-week news, Josh Berry will be going full-time Cup Series racing next season, signing a contract to take over for the retiring Kevin Harvick in the No.4 car for Stewart-Haas racing. Berry’s sponsors are yet to be announced.


Berry earned a chance to see what he could do in a Cup car earlier this season when he stepped in for the injured Chase Elliott for a handful of races. He also ran some races for the injured Alex Bowman as well. He earned a second-place finish at Richmond and has been a short-track ringer in his short time at JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series.


It will be fun to see what Berry can do in the Cup Series, and perhaps even more intriguing… could Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s right-hand-man overtake Chase Elliott as NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver? Only time will tell, but I for one, hope so.


In other off-week news, Noah Gragson will return to pilot the No.42 Legacy Motor Club Chevrolet following a one-week hiatus with concussion-like symptoms. It’s a quick turnaround for the Cup Series rookie who missed just one race. As we’ve seen in the past, Kurt Busch never returned from his concussion and it took Alex Bowman an extended period of time last season as well.


This seems to be a big step forward for NASCAR and the safety of the Next-Gen cars in my opinion, as Gragson’s hit was much more violent than Busch’s or Bowman’s and they missed much more time. Hopefully Gragson can return and post a few solid runs before the team’s transition to Toyota next season.


Betting Card Breakdown

Let’s look back at Sonoma one more time to break down last week’s betting card before we move into Nashville.


As I mentioned earlier, we hit the outright winner in Truex at +4000, betting him early in the week before he showed exactly how much speed his car had in practice and qualifying.

We missed on our lone Top-Ford bet, taking Michael McDowell after his great speed shown in practice. McDowell had some pit road issues and rebounded to finish seventh, but Joey Logano earned Top-Ford honors with his third-place finish.


Ross Chastain hit a top-10 bet for us right on the money. I bet Chastain because he was the only driver in the top-10 in average practice speed that was being offered at plus money on the books for a top-10 finish. I had to hold my breath, but he came home exactly 10th to cash the bet.


In Head-to-Heads we hit one of two. Kyle Larson outran Tyler Reddick thanks to a Reddick flat tire and subsequent penalty for cutting track limits. The other H2H never came close, as Daniel Suarez missed a shift early and never recovered while Michael McDowell had a hot rod all day long, never falling off as I had thought may happen.

It all it was a +9.9 unit weekend, improving our overall winnings on the season to +14.4 units.


Track Facts

Moving ahead to Nashville, lets hit the track facts.


This weekend’s race – The Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway – is a 399-mile (300 lap) race around the 1.333-mile Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon, Tennessee. This will be NASCAR’s third trip to Nashville, with Hendrick Motorsports coming home with the win in both races up to this point. Kyle Larson won the inaugural race here in 2021 while Chase Elliott won the race here last year in the only race at the track in Nex Gen equipment. Despite Hendrick Motorsports coming home with both trophies, this track has been great for the Toyota bunch, especially last year. In 2020, Toyota led 253 of 300 laps in the race, but late-race pit calls took Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. out of contention after the duo combined to lead 136 laps in the race. With Toyota’s improved performance this year as compared to last year, I expect them to be fast yet again. I’ll be quite surprised if a Toyota doesn’t win, though this year’s top Hendrick duo of Kyle Larson or William Byron could steal one in the end.


With limited series history at Nashville, I think its important to point out the drivers that have led the most laps in the 600 total laps that have been run at Nashville Superspeedway, as well as drivers with the best average finish in those two races.

Laps Led

1. Kyle Larson (264)

2. Denny Hamlin (114)

3. Martin Truex Jr. (82)

4. Kyle Busch (64)

5. Chase Elliott (55)

Average Finish

1. Kyle Larson (2.5)

2. Ross Chastain (3.5)

3. Austin Cindric (7.0)

4. Kevin Harvick (7.5)

5. Christopher Bell (8.5)


A lot can be taken from those few numbers. The top lap leaders all fall into the Toyota/Hendrick category, while average finish throws a few more wildcards into the mix.


I want to point out Ross Chastain who finished second in the inaugural race and fifth last season. Chastain showed speed in practice despite not showing much speed lately. Looking back on Ross’s performances, He hasn’t carded a top-5 finish since Kansas, and his top-10 last week at Sonoma came in a race where he had top-10 speed, but not much more.


I’m keeping one eye on Chastain. He may crack my betting card this week. Keep an eye on my Twitter page @WKFCody on Sunday to see if I roll with Ross.


Drivers I Like

Martin Truex Jr. ($10,900)

I really love Martin this week, but there are plenty of guys in DraftKings’ $10k+ range that could return value this week. I particularly lean toward Truex because of the way he wins races. When Truex is fast, he doesn’t just come on at the end, he is dominant. He can post fast laps, he can lead a ton of laps and those things translate into DraftKings points. I also really like William Byron at his $10.1k price point here. He’s been fast almost everywhere this year and Nashville shouldn’t be any different. He was top-five in 5, 10, 15 and 20 lap averages in practice, so he should be up front all day. He’s the cheapest driver in this price range and will have potential to lead laps with a good qualifying performance.


Ross Chastain ($9,600)

I wrote a small blurb on Chastain above. He has never finished outside the Top-5 at this track and his car has shown speed early this weekend. He led the field in 15 and 20-lap averages in practice and as I type this is looking strong in qualifying as well. Despite not doing much recently, I expect Ross to turn it on this weekend. Tyler Reddick is also a strong competitor in this price range. He’ll be behind the wheel of a Toyota and has been super-fast in practice. Gotta take a look at him as well at the low-low price of $9.1k.


Bubba Wallace ($8,400)

You guessed it… Toyota. Wallace showed top-5 speed on the short run in practice but didn’t really run a whole lot of laps. Maybe the team knows the car is fast? That could be. He finished 12th here last season and looks to be even more improved this year, as he has already carded four top-5 finishes this season (five if you count the all-star race). He finished top-5 in just five total races last year. I like his chances to compete this week.

The $8k range is absolutely loaded this week. There are a ton of guys here that I like, but I’ll take the road course ringer, A.J. Allmendinger (I’m a poet and didn’t even know it). Anyway, Allmendinger finished seventh at the Daytona road course earlier in the season, and he did so battling back from multiple setbacks all race long. Allmendinger could easily steal a win away from the sport’s top dogs. His one and only win as a full-time Cup Series driver came at a road course in Watkins Glen, so he knows how to wheel his way around. He has two top-10s in four road course races over the past three seasons. Other drivers I like in this area include Austin Cindric, who has been dominating road courses in the Xfinity Series over the past few years, as well as Christopher Bell, the winner of this season’s lone road course race at the Daytona road course in the second week of the season.


Chris Buescher ($7,500)

I won’t continue the streak here, though I could… more on that later. Buescher has been fast on concrete tracks throughout his career. He carded a top-10 earlier this year at Dover. He won Bristol last fall and he averaged top-10 speed in practice. Buescher is a bit of a bargain that shows some upside this week. Ty Gibbs also has to be mentioned here, as he is in a Toyota and has had some solid runs this season. Also a shout out to Daniel Suarez here. He made the final round of qualifying and looks to be quick. I doubt I’m playing him at all anywhere, but a strong run from Mi Amigo wouldn’t surprise me with hometown sponsor Tootsies Bar on the car this week.


A.J. Allmendinger ($6,500)

Allmendinger was surprisingly solid in practice. He was ninth in 5-lap average speed in practice. A wiggle in qualifying cost him the best starting spot he could have had, but Allmendinger could be a dark horse. Maybe a top-10 bet is in the works for Sunday.


Drivers I’m Avoiding

Kyle Busch ($11,200)

Busch is the only driver in the $10k+ range that doesn’t fit into the Toyota/Hendrick group that I’m expecting to win this race. Busch struggled in Friday’s practice session, including a spin through the grass on the front stretch. It doesn’t seem he’s got a great car this weekend, so I don’t mind fading him at an inflated price.


Christopher Bell ($9,400)

I hate to fade a Toyota after all of the kind words I have for them this weekend, but despite all of the manufacturer’s recent success at this track, Bell has struggled. He was the lone Gibbs car to not lead a lap in this race last season, and his car has looked average at best in practice, hanging around the 7th-10th position in average lap times. Ryan Blaney is tricky this week as well, coming in at $9.9k. He finished third here last season and 2nd earlier this year at Dover – a similar concrete track. However, his practice speeds were also low, but did improve past Bell’s times over the long run. He could sneak his way to a solid day, but he just doesn’t seem to have a race-winning car early this weekend.


Kevin Harvick ($8,800)

A lot of guys seem to be high on Harvick this weekend. I for one, am not. He finished 10th here last year, but hasn’t been showing speed on larger tracks this year. SHR has flexed their muscles on short tracks, but I believe this track will race more like a 1.5-mile which is where Harvick and the rest of the Fords have struggled this year. I’m out on the Closer. I also don’t love Joey Logano here, though his team has been known to roll the dice in situations where they may not have the fastest car. Logano barely cracked the top-20 in 5-lap average in practice, but the fact his team is willing to try anything at any time makes me somewhat hesitant to fully fade him.


Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($7,300)

Stenhouse has had a phenomenal year, but I just don’t see it this week. His car improved over the long run in practice speeds, so he will need long runs to find his way to the front, But still, his average speed is barely inside the top-20. Ryan Preece is also on my list of guys to avoid here. Similar to Harvick, Preece is in a SHR car that has struggled to find speed on this style of race track.


Chase Briscoe ($6,900)

Briscoe has been really bad this season. He has rarely run inside the top-20 on tracks like this. His best weeks come at short tracks and superspeedways, so I’m staying away here. His recent finishes on ovals over 1-mile 34th, 20th, 17th, 32nd, 30th, 24th. No thank you. Another guy really struggling this year is Austin Cindric. Earlier in the article you saw he has one of the best average finishes, but Cindric’s performances has been just marginally better than Briscoe. Here are Cindric’s results at the same tracks as Briscoe… 13th, 31st, 19th, 31st, 26th, 11th. Still pretty gross.


DraftKings Lineup

($50,000 budget, 6 driver lineup)


I haven’t done any DraftKings this year, but let’s give it a try.


1. William Byron ($10,100)

2. Ross Chastain ($9,600)

3. Tyler Reddick ($9,100)

4. Bubba Wallace ($8,400)

5. Chris Buescher ($7,500)

6. Corey Lajoie ($5,300)


Remaining Budget: $0


Sonoma’s perfect lineup: 315.30 pts.


1. Kyle Busch ($10,100): 58.95 pts.

2. Martin Truex Jr. ($8,800): 73.75 pts.

3. Joey Logano ($8,300): 56.35 pts.

4. Kevin Harvick ($8,100): 42.45 pts.

5. Chris Buescher ($7,900): 44.80 pts.

6. Ryan Preece ($6,300): 39.00 pts.


Remaining Budget: $500


This Week’s Betting Card

Up to this point I’ve made very minimal bets, but the ones I have made revolve around Toyota’s success at Nashville Superspeedway. Martin Truex Jr. led 82 laps here last year and won at Dover earlier this season which I believe is a track that profiles somewhat similarly to Nashville. Fellow JGR driver Ty Gibbs is also on my early card for the week. Gibbs is the longest shot of all Toyotas, but has run well at points this season including a three-race top-10 stretch early in the season. I believe this rookie’s time is coming. I think he can pick up a win before the season ends, maybe this week at Nashville? Finally, I’ve added fellow Toyota and 23XI driver Tyler Reddick to the card following practice. Reddick was 2nd fastest in 5, 15 and 20-lap averages in Friday’s practice session, meaning he’s got some short and long-run speed. I’d expect to see Reddick hang around up front despite Nashville not really profiling as a great track for him, especially with the conditions we will see in the race. With a 7 p.m. start, expect to see cars running as close to the bottom of the track as they can.


Martin Truex Jr. to win (+700, 1.5 units)

Ty Gibbs to win (+4500, 0.3 units)

Tyler Reddick to win (+1000, 1 unit)


One and Done

*Rules for One and Done: Each driver can only be picked one time over the course of the season, unless you pick the race winner, then that driver can be picked again. Driver’s finishing position is the number of “points” you score each week. Goal: Finish with as few points as possible. Feel free to play along!


Last week:

Devyn earned another win as Ty Gibbs came home 18th in his Sonoma debut. Daniel Suarez missed a shift early in the race, dropping him back through the field. He never recovered and came home 22nd, giving Devyn a win in the overall standings while she also gains four points in the total points standings.


This week:

Cody:

Martin Truex Jr.

We’re moving into the second half of the season and I’m trailing by quite a bit, so I have to try to start picking some winners here. Truex is coming off a win at Sonoma as we head to Nashville where he had a great chance to win last season before a late-race pit strategy call derailed his chances. He led 82 of 300 laps that day and Toyota dominated despite Chase Elliott earning the win. If he shows great speed again this week, I could see him earning back-to-back wins.


Devyn:

Bubba Wallace

I don’t necessarily have any idea why Devyn decided to go with Bubba this week, but I’ve been talking up Toyota all week, so that would probably be one reason why. Can’t question her though, she’s pretty much beating my ass at Once and Done this year.


Weekly Results:

Devyn: 11

Cody: 5


Total Points:

Devyn: 269

Cody: 336 (-67)

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