Following a crash-filled Daytona 500, NASCAR proceeds to Atlanta’s weathered 1.54-mile asphalt trail.
Since the surface permits for side-by-side racing in grooves, the monitor is favored by most NASCAR drivers. Tires wear out quickly on the oval, putting a higher significance on rate.
Kevin Harvick won the first two stages at Atlanta, but a punishment allowed Brad Keselowski to swoop in for the checkered flag. Keselowski passed Kyle Larson for the lead with six rebounds to go for his first win of 2017.
All eyes will be on Georgia native Chase Elliott this weekend gets he looks to capture his first Cup Series win in his hometown track. Back in the No. 9 car, a number made famous by his Hall of Fame father Bill, Chase does have a fair chance to win according to last year’s figures.
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Elliott listed two second-place finishes, seven top fives, and nine top-10s at 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 tracks last year.
Before Keselowski’s win last year, Elliott’s teammate Jimmie Johnson was successful in two Atlanta races that are straight. Johnson, who possesses a Cup Series record 28 wins 1.5-mile tracks in his career, has five wins, 14 top fives together with a series-best motorist evaluation of 105.4 in Atlanta.
While Johnson has been the old king of 1.5-mile monitors, our choice 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 season with nine top fives for an average finish of 2.5. He is still looking for his first win in Atlanta but we expect him to get the job done Sunday (if the rain holds off) despite starting out from the back of the area.
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