The Atlanta Hussle: Who’s Battling for What?

Atlanta. A-Town. ATL. The dirty. Home of the pimps and the money makers…and Vurb. Never before has the ATL played such a pivotal role in the championship hunt. But while everyone knows what’s at stake for Cooper Webb (275 pts) and Ken Roczen (260 pts) there’s plenty of other battles being waged, and with the season winding down, the Atlanta Hustle (as we’re now calling it) will decide a lot of these outcomes. The implications will be HUGE in the points chase, and will also help decide who still has a factory ride going into 2022.

So, sit back, relax and let the Bird Dog take it from here.

Battle for 5th: Aaron Plessinger (183 pts.) vs. Malcolm Stewart (179 pts.) vs. Jason Anderson (171 pts.)

The battle for a top five overall finish is on, and it’s largely coming down to these three. Barcia is on an island in fourth and Ferrandis is too far back in eighth to mount a charge. If you’re asking Bird’s professional opinion, which you should be, this is Ples Dog’s to lose.

Think about it, Texas didn’t do Stewart any favors. His retribution attempt on Jason Anderson began a downward slide that saw him finish 14th and 13th in the first two rounds, and a rebound race at A3 showed promise with a sixth, but AP’s back-to-back top five results were like biting into two smokin’ hot pockets straight out of the microwave. Don’t think about that metaphor too long, it doesn’t make sense.

The point is, I’m loving me so Malcolm this year, but considering AP damn near won Daytona and Atlanta looks like the red neck version of that, he should build on this gap.  

Anderson, on the other hand, is a wild card. I wrote a few weeks ago about how damn aggressive he looked in Texas and how much that made me want to throw a pack of Nathan’s on the grill to celebrate, but he’s got some bad voodoo going on or something. If there’s an external issue that can go wrong, it has been going wrong for Anderson.

I personally think he still has another title run in him, but it ain’t this year and he ain’t going to rain on AP’s parade. Stamp it.

Battle for 9th: Savatgy (138 pts.) vs. Marvin Musquin (136 pts.)

This one has piqued the interest of my humongous brain. Sure, Musquin’s concussion at round two in Arlington is the only reason we’re not talking about him in the top five hunt. Head to head he’s also the better rider. But a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, and you drive for show but putt for dough, if you pick up what I’m putting down. (Damnit, my metaphor game is weak today).

What I’m driving at here is, I’ve been pretty pumped on Versace lately and something tells me poor Marv won’t be hanging onto to that factory ride for long. I think Musquin finishes stronger than Savatgy in most of the Atlanta rounds, but I’m betting the honey money that Joey finishes the season in ninth.

250 West

Foreword. If you’re reading this article I’ll assume you know that only six points separate Justin Cooper, Cameron McAdoo and Hunter Lawrence, so we’ll I’ll leave that one in the refrigerator to cool for now.

Battle for 4th: Garrett Marchbanks (93 pts.) vs. Jalek Swoll (93 pts.) vs. Seth Hammaker (88 pts.)

I’m more excited about this than I am for my kids to go to bed at night. And damn if I’m not torn on who will come out on top. If Marchbanks can get off the gate he’d be my lead horse, but I’m not sure he can. The Jalek Swoll story is simply amazing. I’m all in on this kid, which I wasn’t before the season started, so, yes, I’m totally a bandwagon fan at this point. Don’t lie to yourself and tell me you’re not.

But while Swoll is coming into his own, I don’t seem him getting through ATL without some mistakes.

That leads me to Hammaker. I think Mitch is going to sit him down in the back of the shop and cosmically pass on the mental prowess that’s gotten him so far in his career. Whatever inner lion secrets Mitch has are going to be telepathically morphed into Hammaker’s brain and he will out duel the likes of Marchbanks and Swoll for fourth OA.

Battle for 7th: Chris Blose (68 pts.) vs. Kyle Peters (63 pts.) vs. Coty Schock (57 pts) vs. Nate Thrasher (56 pts.)

Slap yo mama this is gonna be a barn burner, and one the Bird Dog will be paying close attention to. Thrasher is the rookie of the class, so I don’t think he’s ready to make the end of season push. And while I’m loving me some of what Schock’s got cooking this year, there ain’t enough shake in the bake for him to close the gap, either.

Then there’s Kyle Peters. The dude just went 20/20 in Arenacross and landed on the podium at Round 2 in Arlington. Not to mention he didn’t even race Daytona. But not so fast my friends. While the betting money may be on Peters, Bird Dog is going to throw his bitcoin on the old tried and true, Chris Blose.

Blose has been a damn staple inside the top 10 (except for one round, but who’s counting). He finished 9th, 8th and 7th in Texas, which naturally means he’ll place 6th in ATL. Peters may have some flashes, but Blose will throw down on all these young guns in ATL and come out on top, and by top I mean 7th OA in the points.  

Thanks for reading. Got questions? Email me at [email protected] (that’s not my real email).

Written by Bird Dog

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