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It’s not yet time to slip into full Jake LaMotta mode, but all the same, it’d be nice to duck one of these weekly flurries and land a jab of our own.
But like the Raging Bull, I’m still standing. A bit bloodied, a tad bowed. But standing. With a puncher’s chance to turn this thing around at any given time.
Still standing, Ray. Still standing.
Once again, last week at Phoenix, things were looking pretty damn good, then awful, then good again, and then William Byron.
Good grief. Billy The Kid still looks way too young and angelic to be picking my pocket two weeks in a row.
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Anyway, it’s on to Atlanta, and if a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing, as proven recently, what we need instead is luck — a good turn of the roulette wheel, which Atlanta should provide.
Atlanta Motor Speedway has joined Daytona and Talladega as a kinda-sorta “plate race” track, with a rules package designed to hamstring horsepower and, like the two behemoth tracks, equalize the field along the way.
In other words, just about anybody can win.
It’s a good time to hit a big payday, but the trick is, you gotta pick the right anybody. It’s called gambling, not bankrolling.
Remember, the figure after each driver indicates how many dollars you’d win with a $100 bet. Any percentage of that C-note bet on the winner will receive the corresponding percentage in return. For the Boys from Warner Robins, that means $20 wagered on a +1,000 is worth $200.
Let’s roll …
Billy the Kid Byron +1,000, Kyle Larson +1,000, Ryan Blaney +1,200, Ross The Boss Chastain +1,200, Kyle Busch +1,200, Joey Logano +1,200, Denny Hamlin +1,200, Christopher Bell +1,200
You’ll notice no driver is below +1,000 at Atlanta, which is testament to the wildcard nature of even pseudo plate-racin’. I’m giving the low-key Jeep wave to these guys as we pass by. No serious get-back money to be found here, only some hedge funds.
Tyler Reddick +1,800, Brad Keselowski +1,800, Alex Bowman +1,800, Martin Truex Jr. +2,000, Bubba Wallace +2,000
With the exception of No Party Marty, who can’t find the left lane, I could see anyone from this group winning, and I really wish Bubba’s odds were a tad higher because he’s good at pack-racin’.
Kevin Harvick +2,500, Daniel Suarez +2,500, Chris Buescher +2,500, Aric (With an A) Almirola +2,500, Ricky Stenhouse +3,000, Erik (With a K) Jones +3,000, Austin Cindric +3,000, The Other Chase Briscoe +3,500, Austin Dillon +4,000
Now we’re talking. If we haven’t already, we’ll start building our portfolio in this group. Still have a few minutes before decision time, though.
Todd Gilliland +5,000, Ryan Preece +5,000, Noah Gragson +5,000, Michael McDowell +5,000, Justin Haley +5,000, Josh Berry +5,000, Corey LaJoie +5,000, AJ No Periods Allmendinger +5,000, Ty Gibbs +6,000, Harrison a Ford Burton +10,000
Know this: With 10 laps to go, one of these dudes will be so caught up in the lead pack, maybe even leading, you’ll wonder why you didn’t just push it all across the window in his name.
Unless, of course, there are two of these guys up there. And don’t think it can’t happen.
Meanwhile, hey, where does that milk-glassed door lead ….
Ty Dillon +25,000, Jimmy Jack Yeley +50,000, Cody B. Ware +50,000, B.J. McLeod +50,000
… Ah, yeah, the Longshot Lounge, where this week we tap our wing-tips and give a slight bob of the head while listening to Carmen McRae, who reminds us yet again, “Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets.”
Please tell me Lola doesn’t want Byron again.
Last week at Phoenix
That $100 was split four ways. Twenty bucks each on the three favorites — Joey Logano, Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney. While Logano finished 11th, Blaney was runner-up and Larson led two-thirds of the laps and finished fourth. I was right there!
The balance, $40, went to Chase Briscoe due to his good track record at Phoenix. He finished a respectable seventh.
Like the two weeks before, I had real shots but couldn’t catch a break when most needed.
How many guys have muttered those words to the goons while being chucked into the bowels of Debtors Prison?
This week at Atlanta
Much like last week when I put $20 on each of the favorites, I’m just trying to get the stink of a win on me. My first temptation was to put $10 on 10 drivers from the middle of the odds board to the rear, since Atlanta is ripe for such a thing and “such a thing” would pay enough to recoup much or all of my losses.
Some real longshots had chances to win each of Atlanta’s two races last year. Hell, Corey LaJoie had one foot in Victory Lane last July before getting the bum’s rush.
But while I’m far from cutting my losses and turning to baseball, I’m at that stage where I second-guess my initial instinct. And so I spread this thing out this week, just looking for the feel of a win, but split it between favorites and decent-paying gate-crashers.
Here goes …
Let’s go $10 each on Kyle Larson, Ross the Boss, Christopher Bell, Joey Logano and Bubba Wallace.
But also a sawbuck on each of the following: Ricky Stenhouse, Austin Cindric, Corey LaJoie, Justin Haley, and Harrison a Ford Burton.