NASCAR moves east this weekend, leaving Phoenix Raceway for the Atlanta Motor Speedway. The Xfinity Series event will be the RAPTOR King of Tough 250, a 163-lap event set for Saturday at 5:00 pm Eastern time. You can catch the race on FS1 or listen on PRN or SiriusXM. Last week, Sammy Smith came out of nowhere to win the United Rentals 200 at the age of 18, the youngest winner in the history of the series. The high-school senior led 92 laps, including the last 52, after taking the lead from Kyle Busch on Lap 149. He made it through restarts on Laps 157, 177, and 186, to win in just his 13th race. Ryan Truex finished second, and then Sheldon Creed mounted a furious rally to finish third after he spun and lost track position on Lap 148, leading to the ninth caution. Who can win this week? Don’t miss our Xfinity Series betting preview.
NASCAR News: Xfinity Series RAPTOR King of Tough 250
|Justin Allgaier, John H. Nemechek||+900|
|Sammy Smith, Sam Mayer, Ryan Truex, Cole Custer, Chandler Smith||+1200|
|Sheldon Creed, Daniel Hemric||+1500|
|Ryan Sieg, Jeb Burton||+5000|
|Sage Karam, Parker Retzlaff, Kyle Weatherman, Kaz Grala,Jeremy Clements, Brett Moffitt||+10000|
|Josh Williams, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Connor Mosack||+15000|
|Timmy Hill, Ryan Ellis, Kyle Sieg, Joe Graf Jr, Gray Gaulding,Garrett Smithley, Brennan Poole, Blaine Perkins||+20000|
|Patrick Emerling, Joey Gase||+50000|
This is the third trip for the NASCAR Xfinity Series to Atlanta since the track was altered to a high-banked superspeedway, turning what had been a more fun venue for the drivers into a smaller version of Daytona. What had once been a place to go into the corners and look for grip is now a place to push and side-draft along the straightaways. This will lead to more chaos, particularly at the end.
One new wrinkle for 2023 is the pit lane entry. The commitment cone will now sit on the apron in Turn 3 in an attempt to keep a big wreck from happening if everyone attempts to pit after Turn 4. This means that cars will have to brake on the backstretch and maintain pit speed through Turns 3 and 4. When Atlanta opened in 1960, it was a traditional oval, becoming a tri-oval in 1997. In 2021, it was repaved with the higher banking.
Austin Hill has won two of the last four races on superspeedways and two of the first four races of 2023. His team (Richard Childress Racing) has been one of two to dominate superspeedway racing the last few years, along with Kaulig Racing. He returns to his home state this week, which should give him extra motivation. He will have the three Kaulig drivers to contend with, but if he can stay ahead of him, it would be hard to see anyone else beating him if he can stay clear of chaos.
Sheldon Creed also races for Richard Childress Racing, and he has the aggressive nature to make moves at the right time to snag a win. If you’re looking for a slightly darker horse, Creed might be the one to take here, given his team and equipment. Remember that rally he pulled off a week ago, vaulting back to third after a late spin. If he can avoid the spin while maintaining the aggressive driving, he could get the win.
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