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Ambetter Health 400

It took a little longer than anticipated, but The Great American Race has finally reached its conclusion and crowned a new winner. A day-long rainstorm forced a washout on Sunday, pushing the Daytona 500 to late afternoon on Monday. In a cleaner race than normal, William Byron survived some late-race chaos over the final 10 laps to earn the victory.


The 2024 version of the Daytona 500 featured just five total cautions, the lowest amount of cautions in a Daytona 500 since 2004. The cautions over the middle portion of the race were sparce. Of the three non-stage break cautions, one came in the first 10 laps of the race and two came in the final 10 laps.


Byron navigated through every one of them enroute to his first career Daytona 500 victory. The win was the 11th of his career and his fourth superspeedway victory. He has now won twice at Daytona and twice at the track we head to next – Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Certainly, his performance last week, paired with his past Atlanta success makes Byron a favorite to open up the season with back-to-back victories. Doing so would make him the first driver to accomplish the feat since 2009 when Matt Kenseth opened up the year with a Daytona 500 victory followed up by a win at Auto Club Speedway (RIP).


The best number I’m currently finding on Byron is +1200. I probably won’t invest at that price, as I’ve already got a Logano ticket at +1200, but I don’t blame anyone for looking Byron’s way this week.


The Logano ticket is the only bet I’ve got on my card as of now. Make sure to give me a follow on X @WKFCody for my full betting card on Sunday morning. While you’re there, sign up for our NASCAR One & Done. Pick a driver to win every week and accumulate points all season long. Even if you missed the Daytona 500, it won’t be impossible to catch up!


With that said, let’s dive right into it and see who could have some value this week in the Ambetter Health 500.

 

Track Facts


The Ambetter Health 400 is a 400-mile (260-lap) race around the 1.54-mile quad-oval at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. Atlanta Motor Speedway opened in 1960 and hosted two Cup Series events from 1960 through 2010. From 2011 to 2020, Atlanta hosted just one race per season, but the track was awarded a second date back following the 2020 COVID season. The track recently repaved and has raced more like a superspeedway over the past two seasons than the 1.5-mile cookie cutter oval that it had raced like for the previous 61 years. Over the past two seasons since the repave, four races have been run at the track, with three different drivers winning those four races. Recent winners at Atlanta include William Byron, Chase Elliott and Joey Logano with Byron picking up two of the last four wins. In last season’s spring race at Atlanta, Logano picked up his one and only Cup Series victory of the season thanks to a last lap pass of Brad Keselowski. Logano and Keselowski combined to lead an impressive 187 of 260 laps in the race.

 

Who’s Hot?



William Byron comes to Atlanta less than a week removed from winning his first career Daytona 500 on the 40th anniversary of his team – Hendrick Motorsports. As for his Atlanta history, Byron has picked up two victories in the last four Atlanta races. He’s got a 50%-win rate at the track since it has become a superspeedway type track. Byron has led 171 laps over the past four Atlanta races, which includes 41 laps led in one of the races he did not win. The one downside to Byron is that when he hasn’t won at Atlanta, he hasn’t even finished. His two finishing positions that weren’t wins were a 30th-place finish in the fall of 2022 and a 32nd place finish in the spring of 2023.


Joey Logano also comes to Atlanta with some momentum. Logano led a race-high 45 laps in the Daytona 500 and showed incredible speed all week long, especially in qualifying when he put his Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang on the pole. If he can carry that speed over into Atlanta, he will be tough to beat. Logano won the spring Atlanta race last year, so he’ll be motivated to defend his title.

 

Drivers I Like


For the second week in a row, I’m starting this section off with Ryan Blaney. Blaney does have one career win at Atlanta, albeit prior to the repave. However, Blaney does currently boast a streak of three-straight top-10 finishes at Atlanta and he has led 27 laps at the track since it has converted to a superspeedway. Over the past six races Atlanta races, Blaney leads all active drivers with an average Atlanta finish of 7.3 and has never finished below 17th. Pair that with Blaney’s great superspeedway record throughout his career, and he certainly deserves to be a favorite this week.


Kyle Busch seems like someone that could have a nice weekend. Once again, Busch was fast at Daytona as Richard Childress Racing flexed their superspeedway muscles yet again. Busch heads into a superspeedway where he carded a pair of top-10 finishes last season in RCR equipment. Though he only led seven laps in the spring race last season, he spent a nice portion of the early part of the race running in 2nd behind Joey Logano. He also fought his way back from a late-race spin to still finish in the top-10.





Repaved Atlanta has been easily the best track for Corey Lajoie. Since the repave, Lajoie has finished in the top-5 in two of four races, and crashed while racing for the lead on a third occasion. Lajoie has yet to get the job done in his Cup Series career as far as wins go, but Atlanta has presented a prime opportunity. Two of his three career top-5’s have come at this very track. This season Spire has aimed to take a step forward with their equipment and are fielding three full-time cars that plan to be competitive. If they do take this step forward – which is hard to say at this point – Lajoie could finally be primed to get the job done.


Drivers to Avoid


Kyle Larson has had his fair share of struggles at Atlanta since the repave. As a matter of fact, he has failed to finish three of the last four races. The one and only race he has finished here resulted in a 13th-place finish. His average finish of 21.7 over the past six races at Atlanta is third worst among drivers that have competed in all six races. The only two drivers with a lower average finish in that span are B.J. McLeod and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.




Ryan Preece has also had his fair share of troubles at Atlanta. Preece has only run here in two of the last four races, but he failed to finish on the lead lap in one of them and came home 24th in the second race. Since the repave, Preece has failed to lead a lap at Atlanta. Preece has had a tough go of things recently at superspeedways. He was collected in the last-lap incident at the Daytona 500 to finish outside the top-20, and who can forget his jaw-dropping series of flips at Daytona last fall. Preece will not be making my card this week and he may be a full fade.


Chase Briscoe remains on the list for the second week in a row. I mentioned last week that Briscoe has never been a great superspeedway racer, and nothing I saw in the Daytona 500 changed that. Despite some big crashes and late-race mayhem, all Briscoe could muster was at 10th-place finish in the 500. Briscoe has never looked that great at Atlanta since the repave either. In four tries, Briscoe has never finished better than 15th. I would shy away from Briscoe this week.


Keep an eye on…


Justin Haley showed impressive speed at times for Rick Ware Racing at Daytona. Haley now heads to another superspeedway track where lower budget teams like RWR have a better chance to compete. In his Kaulig days, Haley finished 11th or better in three of four Atlanta races. Haley could have another sneaky good run this week.


Austin Cindric nearly snuck out a second Daytona 500 victory earlier this week, but was turned by Corey Lajoie coming to the white flag. Cindric thrives on superspeedway and road course racing, so Atlanta will give him yet another opportunity to punch a playoff ticket. Cindric has three straight top-10 starts and three straight top-12 finishes at Atlanta. Look for him to be fast and run up front again this week.


Daniel Suarez is not known as a superspeedway style racer, as a matter of fact I mentioned to avoid him last week. However, since the Atlanta repave Suarez has finished sixth or better in three of four races, including a runner-up finish in the Cup Series last trip to the track. Suarez could be a sneaky good play this week.

 

Current Bets

I’m still waiting for some books to drop odds, but if I can find Joey Logano at +1000 or higher, I’m investing. As I type this, the only book with odds currently out is Caesars, where he is listed at +900.


Edit: I grabbed Logano on FanDuel at +1200.

 

Be sure to follow Cody (@WKFCody) on X for his most up-to-date NASCAR bets and weekly NASCAR betting card posted on Sunday mornings. Also, listen to the WKF NASCAR Podcast anywhere you get your podcasts. The WKF NASCAR Podcast comes out at 7 a.m. every Friday morning over the course of the season.


Don’t forget to join our WKF Fantasy NASCAR One & Done! For more information, DM @WKFCody or @WKFNate on X.

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