It’s been William Byron’s world lately and the rest of NASCAR is just living in it.
The driver of the No. 24 Hendrick Chevrolet is going for his third consecutive Cup Series win this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway as the green flag drops on the Ambetter Health 400 on Sunday afternoon (3 p.m. FOX).
Byron is also the defending champion of this race, winning last year in Atlanta by a mere .145 seconds over Ross Chastain.
Bryon, however, enters this weekend with a cloud surrounding the Hendrick teams as they were penalized by NASCAR this week for unauthorized modifications of hood louvers on their cars. Byron, as all the Hendrick teams, will be without his crew chief Rudy Fugle, who was fined $100,000 and suspended for four races. Hendrick is appealing the penalties.
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The last Cup driver to win three straight series races was Kyle Larson, Byron’s Hendrick teammate, who did it in 2021.
Byron, to no one’s surprise, is the odds-on favorite to win again Sunday, sitting at +900 odds, according to DraftKings. Larson is also at +900 to take the checkered flag.
FrontPageBets takes a look at drivers to watch at the repaved 1.54-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway.
(All odds courtesy of DraftKings and are subject to change)
Pick to win: William Byron (+900)
Until someone beats him, Byron’s got to be the guy.
In the first four races of the 2023 NASCAR season, Byron has won at Las Vegas and Phoenix, leading a combined 240 laps.
Even though the penalties assessed by NASCAR this week dropped him out of the Cup points lead, Bryon is one of the hottest drivers behind the wheel. His average finish this year is 15.3, and his average running position is 7.8, which is second best of all Cup drivers.
In seven starts at Atlanta, to go along with last year’s victory, Byron has one top-five finish and two top 10s.
Top 3 finish: Kyle Busch (+300)
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevy, currently sits in ninth in Cup Series points, already posting one victory through four races (Fontana) this season.
Busch is coming off an 8th-place finish at Phoenix for his only other top 10 this year.
In 26 Cup starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Busch has two wins and eight top-5s.
Top 5 finish: Kyle Larson (+100)
While Larson hasn’t logged a victory yet this season, he’s fifth in Cup points and has two top-5s in four races, including runner-up at Las Vegas.
Larson hasn’t won yet in Atlanta, but has two second-place finishes at the 1.54-mile track.
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Mike Szvetitz is the General Manager and Content Director for FrontPageBets.com. Szvetitz is a 23-year veteran reporter and editor, including serving 17 years as a sports editor in Florida, Alabama and Virginia, covering everything from preps to pros. His "View From The Lazy Boy" column won multiple state and national awards. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.