Following a crash-filled Daytona 500, NASCAR moves into Atlanta’s weathered 1.54-mile asphalt trail.
As the surface allows for side-by-side racing in grooves the track is preferred by many NASCAR drivers. Tires wear out very quickly on the oval, putting a greater importance on speed.
Kevin Harvick won the first two phases at Atlanta, but a penalty allowed Brad Keselowski to swoop in for the flag. Keselowski passed Kyle Larson for the lead with six laps to go for his first win of 2017.
All eyes will be on Georgia native Chase Elliott this weekend has he looks to capture his first Cup Series win. Back in the No. 9 car, a number made famous by his Hall of Fame father Bill, Chase does have a fair shot to win according to last season’s numbers.
NASCAR at Atlanta weather forecast, radar for Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
Elliott recorded two second-place endings, seven top fives, and nine top-10s in 1.5-mile paths in 2017. The Dawsonville, Ga., native also averaged the third-best average end of Cup drivers (9.82) on 1.5-mile monitors this past year.
Before Keselowski’s win last year, Elliott’s teammate Jimmie Johnson was successful in two Atlanta races. Johnson, who owns a Cup Series record 28 wins on 1.5-mile tracks in his career, has five wins, 14 top fives along with a series-best motorist evaluation of 105.4 at Atlanta.
While Johnson has become the old king of 1.5-mile monitors, our pick to win Sunday is reigning champion Martin Truex Jr., who has been nearly unbeatable at intermediate ovals.
Truex won seven of the 11 1.5-mile speedway races last year with nine top fives for an average finish of 2.5. He’s still searching for his first win in Atlanta but we expect him to have the job done Sunday (if the rain stays off) despite starting from the back of the area.
Read more: rainymonster.com