Five races in, five different winners. This is sort of how it went last year, too, no one quite getting a handle on each and every track…until Larson broke the top off of the whole season. We’re at another different track-type now, our first road course of the 2022 season. Will we see our sixth different winner, or can someone repeat?
Here’s what to look for:
–Ryan Blaney was fastest on Saturday, edging Daniel Suarez by .026 seconds. You might think “he’s a favorite because he had one quick lap?” Sure, justified, but his quick lap came when he had nobody in front of him, just as he’ll have nobody in front of him for the start of this race. He could — and should — be “off to the races” once the green flag drops. Last year he ran 17th.
–Chase Elliott is THE favorite according to many experts this week, and why shouldn’t he be? He was our 2021 Winner, and has been crushing it on road courses the last few years. He wasn’t top notch in Practice, and only Qualified 12th, but we’ll soon see how well he handles traffic and reacts to other cars around him.
–Kyle Larson was runner-up to his teammate last season, and the two of them went 1-2 more than once. He’ll probably be in the mix again today, and even more motivated after ending the race early at Atlanta. Larson, last year’s 10-time Winner, will start 13th.
–A.J. Allmendinger won the Xfinity Series race yesterday after running 2nd in the same race last year. That success did NOT translate to a Win on Sunday in 2021, but he still brought the #16 home 5th. Those are favorable runs for a less-funded team, and things to look forward to today. Justin Haley in the #31 has been running well week after week for Kaulig Racing (he starts 9th today) so maybe this team has a little more juice than they get credit for. ‘Dinger rolls off 20th.
–Ross Chastain was 4th at Austin in 2021, and has been on fire this year. Each race he gets closer and closer to getting his first career Win, and last week he was 2nd. You know what that means for today! Ross Chastain will begin 16th, and all signs point to him finishing much, much better.
It is Bills Day at Blue Cross Arena so I’ll be joining the race a little late; we’ve prepared another dessert that can be refrigerated or saved until later. Today, we’ve got layers of moist goodness awaiting…
A super artsy picture of a Hummingbird Cake. Weird enough, Austin? (Photo: Lisa Kuhmann)
It’s a Hummingbird Cake! Canned pineapple and bananas make up the middle, and we’ve got a very sweet frosting adorned with pecans. Smells great, looks great. Nice job, Leese! Can’t wait to dig into this thing, but until then we’ll be rockin’ it for the Amerks in our fresh-this-year Greg Rousseau and Micah Hyde jerseys. –And Undertaker is driving the Pace Car today!
Coverage of the race today starts on FOX at 3:30pm, green flag scheduled for 3:49pm.