The Ambetter Health 400 is the fifth race of the 2023 regular season for the NASCAR Cup Series and will be held at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the southern U.S.
Some of NASCAR’s greatest drivers, both past and present, got their starts in Atlanta. It appears to be a stellar nursery.
Last year at Atlanta, William Byron won the Cup Series race for the second time in his career. He has since lit up the track, and he is the defending champion after victories in Las Vegas and Phoenix, which he will bring into this weekend’s event.
The 25-year-old driver seems as good a bet as any to compete on the 1.54-mile oval, despite his current 29th-place standing in the standings (he, Kyle Larson, and Alex Bowman were docked 100 regular-season points and 10 playoff points each after NASCAR found Hendrick Motorsports had illegally modified their cars’ hood louvres).
What about Byron, though? It’s anyone’s conjecture as to what will happen. Results from Saturday’s qualification, which will determine the starting position for Sunday’s race, are a more reliable indicator of who will do well.
Now that you know the sequence of the races on Sunday, here is the starting lineup.
When and where is NASCAR Ambetter Health 400 Held
- Date: Sunday, March 19
- Time: 3 PM EST
- Location: The Atlanta Motor Speedway (Hampton, Ga.)
How to watch NASCAR Ambetter Health 400 Live
Live Broadcast: NASCAR Ambetter Health 400 Live
When the Ambetter Health 400 was run in 2023, who started in the pole position?
During the final round of qualifying on Saturday, Joey Logano clocked in at an average pace of 177.734 mph, earning him the pole position. It’s his second pole of the year and his fourth at Atlanta, giving him a total of 28 for his lifetime. In 2015, he won a prime position for the first time in his career.
Fords dominate the top eight positions, with three from Team Penske, three from Stewart-Haas Racing, and two from RFK Racing.
As Logano put it, “I’m hoping it’s transferable to the race,” as reported by NASCAR.com. Now that the season has started, it’s easy to see which manufacturers made which modifications to their cars’ noses and other bodywork during the downtime. When you visit larger racetracks or superspeedways like Fontana, Michigan, Atlanta, Talladega, and Daytona, it’s easy to see that this is where we shine. Those are the types of racetracks where I expect we’ll do best, and I believe that was evident once again today.
Ambetter Health 400 Participants 2023
Joey Logano and Austin Cindric, both of Team Penske, qualified in the top two spots, guaranteeing them the front row of the starting grid for Sunday’s race. Ryan Blaney, another Penske driver, placed in third place.
Josh Berry will drive the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports once again while Chase Elliott recovers from a knee injury sustained in a snowboarding mishap in Colorado and has to have surgery.
Predictions from NASCAR experts for the Ambetter Health 400
One surprising fact is that Roberts is not rooting for Kyle Larson, one of the NASCAR Atlanta favourites. As the 2021 Cup Series winner, he has never been a danger on superspeedways, and Roberts doesn’t expect that to change this week. The 25-year-old is so low on Roberts’ list of predicted race winners that he doesn’t even make the top 20. Last year, Larson placed 30th in the spring event and 13th in the fall competition. The Atlanta track will be resurfaced in 2021, but not before Larson has twice placed in the top five there.
Before the superspeedway kit was installed, “this was a better track for him,” Roberts explains. The expert also opines that Larson performs best when given ample space to manoeuvre and that he isn’t suited to pack racing. In the second half of last season, he placed 18th at Talladega and 37th at Daytona. Larson has 19 Cup wins to his name, but not a single one of them came at a superspeedway. Check out these other actors who have faded away.
Another curveball: Roberts has great hopes for the 30-to-1 chance for Aric Almirola. Three of the 39-year-old’s Cup wins have occurred on superspeedways. Six times he finished in the top five, and 12 times he finished in the top ten. Last year in the summer race at Atlanta, Almirola placed ninth, and in the spring race, he led for six circuits before running into trouble and finishing 22nd.
Superspeedway racing expert, according to Roberts of SportsLine. This week, Alimirola will attempt to get back on track, and Roberts is optimistic about his prospects at a venue where he can really shine.