Byron is also attempting to drive the No. 24 to Victory Lane three times in a row for the first time since Jeff Gordon won four straight races 25 years ago. Gordon would win his third Cup Series championship that year.
An additional hurdle for all four Hendrick team drivers is the penalties imposed for unauthorized modification of the hood louvers on their cars. Byron’s crew chief Rudy Fugle has been fined $100,000 and will sit out Sunday’s race, although Hendrick has appealed the penalties.
Byron also lost 100 championship points and 10 of the 13 playoff points he earned from his wins in Las Vegas and Phoenix, but that doesn’t take away from how well he’s been running lately.
“It feels like we’re going forward and leading laps more consistently,” Byron said of his hot start to 2023, comparing it to two early wins he had last year.
Chevrolet drivers have won the first four races of 2023, and Chevys took five of the top six places at last year’s spring race in Atlanta.
BETTER HEALTH 400
The place: Atlanta Motor Speedway
The date: Sunday, March 19, 3 p.m. ET
Defending Champion: William Byron
Radio: SiriusXM NASCAR (Channel 90)
Distance: 400 miles
William Byron (+900 at BetMGM)
Byron goes to Atlanta with two wins, where he won the first race on the repaved track last year while using NASCAR’s new Superspeedway competition package. Partly due to his favorite odds, Byron was modestly supported in sports betting with 4.7 percent of total bets and 6.1 percent of the money.
Kyle Larson (+1000)
Larson finished fourth at Phoenix, where he led for 201 laps. However, he has never won a series event at a superspeedway and has only one top-5 in 36 career starts. That hasn’t deterred the public, who have backed him with the most bets won at 11.6 percent, making Larson BetMGM’s second-biggest liability for the week.
Ross Chastain (+1200)
Chastain finished 0.145 seconds behind Byron in last year’s race and finished second in both Atlanta events in 2023. Chastain usually does well on superspeedways, including a win at Talladega last year, and is fourth on BetMGM with 4.8 percent of the tickets and 8.7 percent of the money backing him.
Ryan Blaney (+1200)
Blaney comes off a second-place finish in Phoenix for his second top-10 in the first four races. He won that race two years ago, was fifth in the second race at Atlanta last year and has had four top five finishes in his last five starts at the track.
Alex Bowman (+1600)
He doesn’t have a win yet, but he does among the full-time drivers, but Bowman has the best average this season at 6.25. That got him to the top of the points, and the Hendrick drivers won both races in Atlanta last year. On the other hand, Bowman has an average finish of 20.6 on Superspeedways.
Kevin Harvick (+2000)
Harvick is the largest contributor to Atlanta sportsbooks, pulling the most money at 17.0 percent and the third-most overall bets at 7.9 percent.
Daniel Suarez (+2500)
Suarez coped well with the new surface in 2023, finishing fourth in March and sixth in July. He comes in 22nd at Phoenix, but Suarez finished seventh at Daytona and fourth at Fontana to start the season.
Source : www.yardbarker.com