The NASCAR Cup Series takes on Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 19. The Chevrolet drivers controlled the West Coast swing, but Ford Performance is rising up the ranks for the min-superspeedway.
According to DraftKings, Ryan Blaney has the second-best odds to win at the Georgia track. He enters the weekend at 12-1. He is just behind two Team Chevy drivers — William Byron and Kyle Larson — who sit at 10-1.
Blaney is actually in a tie of his own with multiple contenders. This includes Team Penske teammate Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Ross Chastain, Denny Hamlin, and Christopher Bell.
One intriguing Ford Performance driver sits just behind this group at 18-1. Brad Keselowski has put the No. 6 in contention for strong finishes early in his second season with RFK Racing.
This run includes a trip to Phoenix Raceway where Keselowski ran inside the top 10 all day. Though he ultimately finished 18th due to the car failing to shift on a restart with three laps remaining.
Blaney Has Achieved Success at Atlanta Motor Speedway
Beating Larson and Byron will not be a simple task. The two Hendrick Motorsports drivers have been the class of the field in terms of speed, and Byron has won consecutive races after late cautions — races that Larson would have likely won. Byron is also the defending winner of the spring Atlanta race.
If there is a driver that can “upset” these two Hendrick cars, it is Blaney. The driver of the No. 12 has achieved success and contended for wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway in both configurations.
Blaney has nine starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway — seven on the old configuration and two on the mini-superspeedway. Four of these races have resulted in top-five finishes.
This run includes the spring race in 2021 when Larson swept the first two stages and led 269 of 325 laps. However, he finished second due to Blaney making a pass for the lead with eight laps remaining.
When the configuration changed Atlanta Motor Speedway, Blaney continued to make moves. He finished 17th in the first race on the new layout, but he also won Stage 2. He then went on to finish fifth in the summer race after scoring 14 bonus points in the first two stages.
Ford Performance Was Strong at Another Superspeedway
Atlanta Motor Speedway is not a traditional superspeedway. It’s one mile shorter than Daytona International Speedway and there are some bumps that affect the drivers. Though it still forces them to race in a pack and hold it wide open.
The last time the drivers took on a superspeedway was the Daytona 500. Ford Performance drivers delivered some solid performances as Joey Logano finished second — after a video review — while Chris Buescher finished fourth. Blaney was eighth and Riley Herbst was 10th in his first-ever Cup Series appearance.
The trip to Atlanta Motor Speedway will draw considerable interest as the Ford Performance and Toyota Racing drivers attempt once again to disrupt Team Chevy’s strong start to the season. Whether they achieve this goal remains to be seen, but they will provide the answer on Sunday, March 19, at 3 p.m. ET (FOX).