2022 Echopark Automotive Grand Prix at COTA Predictions and Pick
Last week’s race at Atlanta brought a superspeedway feel to a 1.5-mile track. It didn’t race quite how I expected, but Ryan Blaney nearly pulled through as my top pick. He was running top five on the final lap but hit the wall.
The NASCAR Cup Series shifts its focus to COTA for the first road course race of 2022. Last year’s race had many problems, as rain forced multiple stoppages. The forecast looks good for Sunday’s race, so we should see less carnage.
Let’s check out my top picks for the 2022 Echopark Automotive Grand Prix.
Chase Elliott (+250)
Don’t look now, but 2020 Cup Series champion Chase Elliott has taken the points lead. It’s still early in the season, but Elliott has established himself as a week-to-week contender. Elliott is the lone Hendrick Motorsports driver to not reach victory lane in 2022. There’s a good chance that changes at COTA.
Even early in his career, I had Elliott as the best road course driver in NASCAR history. He has been unreal on the track type. Check out his career numbers in the Cup Series.
- 19 starts
- 7 wins
- 11 top-five finishes
- 13 top 10 finishes
- 342 laps led
- 7.9 average finish
Much has been talked about with Elliott not winning on an oval since 2020. Well, that doesn’t apply to COTA.
Last season, Elliott won the inaugural race at COTA. He didn’t lead many laps but put himself in position at the end. It looked like Elliott’s great run would come up short as he had to pit late for fuel. However, the race ended early due to rain.
Elliott doesn’t have a bad road course on the Cup Series schedule. He has a strong chance to make it back-to-back wins at COTA.
Kyle Busch (+1000)
The top NASCAR betting sites have this race as a battle between Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson. They dominated road course racing, but Kyle Busch was a close third.
Busch has been consistent this season. He has led 20+ laps in three races, scoring a top-five finish at Las Vegas. The speed is there, but can Busch close the deal with a victory? COTA represents a shot at redemption.
He won stage two, leading 12 laps in last year’s COTA race. Busch had one of the best cars but had to make a pit stop while running third. Ultimately, the pit stop was unnecessary because the race ended a lap later for rain.
In last year’s Xfinity Series race at COTA, no one could contend with Busch. He led 35 of 46 laps en route to the victory. This year, he’ll compete in the Truck Series race. A great performance could give him momentum for the Cup Series.
Busch is knocking on the door of a great performance. It may very well come at COTA.
Joey Logano (+2500)
There is a lot of value on the board for the Cup Series race at COTA, but Joey Logano has to be the best. Having a driver of his caliber with (+2500) odds is insane.
Logano’s 2022 season is very similar to Kyle Busch. We’ve seen him lead laps here and there, but he hasn’t been a true threat to win. Perhaps a road course race will change that.
We talk about Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, and Kyle Busch on road courses. However, one could argue Logano had the best car in last year’s COTA race. Check out his numbers.
- Starting Position: 6th
- Finishing Position: 3rd
- Laps Led: 14 of 54
- Driver Rating: 124.6
I don’t typically mention driver rating because the finishing position and laps led indicate a driver’s success. However, it’s different at road courses because of the differing pit strategy. Logano had the best driver rating and led the most laps.
And COTA wasn’t his only successful road course race of 2021. He had four top 10 finishes, including a second-place finish at the Daytona Road Course. Logano should be among the top contenders at COTA.
Ross Chastain (+2500)
We just talked about all the value for this week’s race. Joey Logano presents the best value, but Ross Chastain is a close second.
Chastain is having a breakout season in 2022. He shook off a pair of rough finishes to post three straight top-three finishes. Chastain has led 40+ laps in two of his last three races, scoring back-to-back second-place finishes. I don’t think it’s far-fetched to say Chastain is a championship contender.
It’s not a matter of if, but when will Chastain score his first career Cup Series victory. It wouldn’t surprise me if that happened at COTA.
Let’s check out his top finishes on road courses in 2021.
- COTA: 4th
- Sonoma: 7th
- Road America: 7th
We see his best result on a road course came at COTA. Chastain started 20th and was outside the top 20 halfway through the race. He methodically worked his way through the field, scoring a top-five finish.
Chastain is running much better than he was last season. He finished top 10 in multiple road courses races in 2021, so imagine what he’ll do this year.
Who Will Win the 2022 Echopark Automotive Grand Prix?
I want to preface this by saying all four drivers among my top picks are viable options for COTA. I have no problem if you’d prefer to take the value play with Joey Logano or Ross Chastain.
Putting odds aside, Chase Elliott is my top pick for COTA. The road course king is a threat to win on any road course, and COTA is no exception. It took him a while to show speed in last year’s race, but he came to the front when it mattered most.
Tune in to Sunday’s race at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX. Feel free to check out more betting options for NASCAR racing at COTA.