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March 15, 2023

Advance to Victory Lane: Can Hendrick Motorsports make it three in a row?


Kyle Larson congratulates William Byron for his win at Las Vegas.
Meg Oliphant
Getty Images

The combination of the Next Gen car and a repaved/reconfigured track helped produce two of the wildest races in Atlanta Motor Speedway history last year. Lead changes (46 in the spring race) and caution flags (13 in the summer race) were plentiful as the track played more like Talladega Superspeedway than a typical 1.5-miler.

Hendrick Motorsports swept the races last year with William Byron in the spring and Chase Elliott in the summer, but if Atlanta continues to live up to its superspeedway billing, then it’s still possible a surprise winner could emerge. Remember, Spire Motorsports’ Corey LaJoie was leading last summer’s race with two laps to go before he wrecked on the final restart while running second.

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To shed some light on what could go down on Sunday in the Ambetter Health 400 (3 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), Racing Insights is here with its advanced statistical formula for picking the winner and full race results. Racing Insights uses data on the current track, current track type, recent performance, teams and pit crews to make its projections.

RYAN BLANEY: Has led laps in five of the last six Atlanta races (85 laps led in that span).

ROSS CHASTAIN: Finished second in both Atlanta races in 2022, leading 74 laps.

ERIK JONES: Finished top 10 in three of the last five races on drafting tracks.

CHRISTOPHER BELL: Has finished sixth or better in three of four races this year, but was 23rd and 19th at Atlanta last year.

TYLER REDDICK: A third-place run at Phoenix was his best of the season, but he did not finish either Atlanta race in 2022.

Projections as of Wednesday, March 15:

RACING INSIGHTS’ PROJECTIONS FOR THE AMBETTER HEALTH 400

Finish Car No. Driver
1 12 Ryan Blaney
2 4 Kevin Harvick
3 1 Ross Chastain
4 11 Denny Hamlin
5 24 William Byron
6 5 Kyle Larson
7 19 Martin Truex Jr.
8 22 Joey Logano
9 8 Kyle Busch
10 14 Chase Briscoe
11 20 Christopher Bell
12 43 Erik Jones
13 99 Daniel Suárez
14 48 Alex Bowman
15 6 Brad Keselowski
16 23 Bubba Wallace
17 2 Austin Cindric
18 10 Aric Almirola
19 17 Chris Buescher
20 3 Austin Dillon
21 7 Corey LaJoie
22 41 Ryan Preece
23 31 Justin Haley
24 45 Tyler Reddick
25 34 Michael McDowell
26 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
27 16 AJ Allmendinger
28 21 Harrison Burton
29 38 Todd Gilliland
30 42 Noah Gragson
31 77 Ty Dillon
32 54 Ty Gibbs
33 9 Josh Berry
34 51 Cody Ware
35 15 J.J. Yeley
36 78 BJ McLeod

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