Speed and experience are going to be the key this Sunday at the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, and Jimmie Johnson has plenty of both at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Though I don’t believe Johnson will win, I do like him finishing in the top 5. That is why with this week’s One Bet, $100 I am taking Johnson at 3/1 at BetMGM to finish in the top 5 at the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500.
Last week I chose Matt DiBenedetto to win his group of four racers at the Supermarket Heroes 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. DiBenedetto laid an egg, however, finishing last among Clint Bowyer, William Byron, and Aric Almirola, and 31st overall.
One Bet, $100
This Week’s Pick Last Result Season Total Jimmie Johnson top 5 Lost DiBenedetto win group 2-3, up $100
Taking Johnson to finish in the top 5 at Atlanta Motor Speedway is a leap of faith, considering his results there his previous three appearances. He has finished 24th, 27th, and 18th his last three times at the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500.
But, he had victories in 2015 and 2016. I would like to think he is going to repeat closer to those performances.
Johnson Ready for Atlanta Motor Speedway
The biggest reason Johnson might improve on his last three results at Atlanta Motor Speedway is what he and his crew discovered after last year’s poor finish. Johnson told reporters this week that any flaw in the race car is going to be exposed.
“Atlanta is just so abrasive that if you have any imbalances in your race car, you’re over-working a particular corner or you have the wrong shock package or aero concept, whatever it is, it’s going to show up,” Johnson said. “That track is so abrasive. You get one lap with grip and then everything from there is downhill. We were able to really understand just how far off we were. That was in a lot of areas and I think we quickly addressed the mechanical grip issues that we had and our Hendrick cars were more competitive throughout the year.”
That should help Johnson and his teammates compete at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
“When you look at Atlanta, Darlington, Fontana, these tracks with a lot of wear and require a lot of downforce and grip,” Johnson said. “We seem to have a really strong package right now.”
Why Johnson Will Place Top 5
That, and a couple of intangibles, should help Johnson on Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The first is this is his final year driving full time in NASCAR. He would like nothing more than to win here, though he did say he is trying not to dwell on it.
“This weekend will be a track that I won’t see again, potentially, as a race car driver,” Johnson said. “It’ll be interesting to see how I feel being at the track this weekend, but knowing we have so many races left and we’ll be coming back to these tracks, it hasn’t been on my mind.”
Motivation has been big for Johnson. He hasn’t won since Dover in June of 2017. That desire to win has shown this season. He has finished in the top 10 four of the nine races in 2020, including a third at Bristol last Sunday, his best result this year.
The other is speed. Chevrolet has been scorching the shorter race tracks, and that trend should continue on Sunday.
Johnson might not be victorious on Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but he should have yet another good performance. At 3/1 to finish in the top 5, it is a great value bet.