Geico 500 Cheat Sheet

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·9 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Editor’s Note: Don't just bet your favorite sports. LIVE YOUR BET LIFE! Get started today at PointsBet with two risk-free bets up to $2,000. Bet now!

Carburetor-restricted superspeedways are the least predictable courses on the circuit – just ask Bubba Wallace, Austin Cindric, or Justin Haley about their first Cup victories. So far, none of them have earned a second, but they have an equal opportunity to draw the number one pill out of the spinning lottery chamber as any other driver in the field.

And while these races are certainly unpredictable, there are several drivers who generally run toward the back of the pack, but have learned how to stay out of trouble. Drivers like Corey LaJoie, Michael McDowell, and Chris Buescher outperform their season average on at Talladega Superspeedway and Daytona International Speedway with regularity. Since there are so many of these drivers, fantasy games have difficulty accounting for them and sportsbooks don't make them favorites.

The reconfiguration of Atlanta Motor Speedway seems to have added another pair of races to this track type – and those extra data points may eventually help increase the accuracy of handicapping formulas. For now, we muddle through and will handicap this entry list by the numbers.

1. Bubba Wallace
And the driver with the best average finish by a wide margin in the past two years is Wallace. Anything can happen on plate tracks as attested by his YellaWood 500 win last fall. That is surrounded by a pair of runner-up finishes at Daytona. (90)

2. Chase Elliott
From 2018 through the middle of 2020, Elliott had five results in the high 30s on plate tracks. In his last eight attempts on them, he has six top-10s with three of those in the top five. (79)

3. Brad Keselowski
In his first points' paying start for RFK Racing, Keselowski was extremely impressive at Daytona. This is a track type that marches to its own beat and Kez could earn another top-10. (44)

4. Ryan Blaney
Blaney has three wins and seven top-10s in his last 11 superspeedway starts. Better still, two of those wins came at Talladega with the most recent being in last year's Geico 500. (55)

5. Chase Briscoe
In six previous starts on this track type, Briscoe has failed to crack the top 20 just once and that is offset by his third-place finish in this year's Daytona 500. (38)

6. Corey LaJoie
These are opportunity races for teams like LaJoie's and he made the most of it in the first pack-race at Atlanta. He was one of the surprise, top-five finishers that afternoon. (57)

7. Michael McDowell
McDowell's 2021 Daytona 500 win was followed by a third in last year's Geico 500. This year, he was seventh in the season-opener in Daytona. (85)

8. Kurt Busch
Busch got off to a slow start in the pack races last year with a pair of sub-20th-place results. Things started to run around with a 12th in Daytona 2 and he's earned two top-fives in three races since. (33)

9. Joey Logano
Logano may well be the best plate driver with the least to show for it. His rarely starts incidents, but his aggressive nature often puts him in harm's way. (76)

10. Austin Cindric
This is Cindric's best opportunity to get the spotlight shining again after he won the Daytona 500 to become the first of eight unique winners in nine races. (82)

11. Kevin Harvick
Plate tracks are prone to creating dramatic storylines and if Harvick can snap his 52-race losing streak here, the Geico 500 will have one more piece of lore. (22)

12. Austin Dillon
Dillon got off to a strong start on the plate tracks last year with a third in the Daytona 500 and eighth in the Geico 500. This year has not been as productive with two results outside the top 20. (5)

13. Daniel Hemric
It will be Hemric's turn behind the wheel of the No. 16 this week. He gave this car a strong finish in the Daytona 500 by scoring 12th in the final rundown. (78)

14. Justin Haley
Haley earned a top-10 in last year's Coke Zero 400 and almost got another when he crossed under the checkers 11th in the QuikTrip 500. (18)

15. William Byron
Byron has been an all or nothing driver on the plate tracks with two wins and another pair of top-fives countered by four results outside the top 25 in his last eight attempts. (41)

16. Cole Custer
With three top-15s on this track type last year, Custer cannot be overlooked entirely. Unfortunately, his best effort this season in two races netted a 20th in the Daytona 500. (65)

17. Denny Hamlin
In 2020, Hamlin swept the top 10 on superspeedways. In 2021 he scored two top-10s in four starts. So far in 2022, his best result has been a 29th at Atlanta. (3)

18. Ty Dillon
Dillon did not have any carburetor-restricted superspeedway starts last year, but that did not matter in the Daytona 500. He finished 11th there, but crashed a third of the way through the Atlanta race. (74)

19. Ross Chastain
A second-place finish at Atlanta in the most recent pack racing event will give Chastain confidence that he lost with his 40th in the Daytona 500. (8)

20. Aric Almirola
Almirola started the season - his last as a full-time competitor - with a fifth-place finish in the Daytona 500 followed by a pair of sixths. He hopes to rekindle that magic. (68)

The App is Back! Don’t forget to download the NBC Sports EDGE app to receive real-time player news, mobile alerts and track your favorite players. Plus, now you can check out articles and player cards. Get it here!

21. Martin Truex, Jr.
For quite some while, Truex was crash prone in pack races, but he's managed to stay out of trouble recently and enters the week with three consecutive top-15s. (35)

22. Chris Buescher
Buescher is a strong plate racer. He earned three top-10s in four starts of 2020 and has a pair of them in his last three attempts, including a sixth last fall in Talladega 2. (49)

23. Kyle Busch
After backing into the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt track victory, Busch will need all the luck he can muster on the plate track. He has only one top-10 on them in his last 12 starts. (15)

24. Daniel Suarez
There were several surprise contenders at Atlanta five weeks ago. Suarez finished fourth, but that was his first top-10 in 16 attempts on this track type. (11)

25. David Ragan
Ragan has performed well on the carburetor-restricted superspeedways this year with a top-10 at Daytona and a top-20 at Atlanta. (4)

26. Christopher Bell
In 10 previous starts on this track type, Bell has one top-10. The good news is that it was a fifth in last year's Talladega 2 race. (30)

27. Kyle Larson
With only one top-10 and one other top-20 on plate tracks in the past two years, this is not where you want to risk an allocation for Larson in fantasy games or any money on the sportsbooks. (27)

28. Erik Jones
Jones' best finish on this track type in the past two years came in the fall Talladega race when he was ninth. He also has another pair of top-15s in his last four plate races. (52)

29. BJ McLeod
McLeod actually has a top-10 on carburetor-restricted superspeedways in the past two years: He finished ninth in the Coke Zero 400 last year. His best result on this track type so far in 2022 was a 19th at Atlanta. (88)

30. Tyler Reddick
Reddick showed a lot of composure after getting wrecked on his way to the Bristol finish line. Crashing is not nearly as surprising in pack races and Reddick has three straight results outside the top 25 on this course type. (46)

31. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
For a while, Stenhouse was regularly one of our go-to dark horses on plate tracks, but his recent results have fallen off to put him about 25th on average in the past two seasons. (60)

32. Cody Ware
Ware showed a flash of spirit by running into Elliott on the Bristol dirt track after he got spun by the No. 9. He's been moderate on plate tracks with four results outside the top 25 in his last six starts, but a worst result of 28th. (87)

33. Landon Cassill
Cassill's 15th-place finish in the Daytona 500 will put him on a lot of radar screens, but you should also note that he was 24th in his last Talladega attempt. (7)

34. Alex Bowman
Handicapping Bowman on plate tracks is a bit like flipping a coin. In his last six attempts, he has two top-10s and three results outside the top 25. (71)

35. Greg Biffle
Biffle will make his third superspeedway start of 2022 after scoring a top-20 in the QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta. If he avoids the 'Big One', he could be a good fantasy value. (75)

36. Harrison Burton
Burton improved dramatically between his Daytona 500 and QuikTrip 500 starts, going from 39th in Florida to 25th in Georgia. (25)

37. Todd Gilliland
Gilliland is still learning how to compete in the Cup Series on this track type, but he improved from 33rd, (because of an accident), at Daytona to 27th at Atlanta. (63)

38. Noah Gragson
In two starts on pack racing tracks, Gragson has not yet earned a top-30. He came closest with a 31st in the Daytona 500. (56)

39. JJ Yeley
Yeley may be a little rusty and that can be dangerous on the carburetor-restricted superspeedways. He failed to advance into this year's Daytona 500 and made just one start last year that produced a 26th at Talladega. (89)

PointsBet Sportsbook is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links. NJ, IA, IN, IL, CO, MI, VA, WV only. 21+. T&C apply. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER

Cheat Sheet: QuikTrip 500 [Atlanta 1]
Daytona 500 [Daytona 1]
Power Ranking after Atlanta 1