After a crash-filled Daytona 500, NASCAR proceeds into Atlanta’s weathered 1.54-mile asphalt trail.
As the surface permits for side-by-side racing in grooves many NASCAR drivers favor the track. Tires wear out setting a greater importance on rate.
Kevin Harvick won the first two phases at Atlanta, This past year, 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 has 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 based on last year’s numbers.
NASCAR at Atlanta weather forecast
Elliott recorded 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 finish of Cup drivers (9.82) on 1.5-mile tracks last year.
Before Keselowski’s win Elliott’s teammate Jimmie Johnson was successful in two Atlanta races. Johnson, who possesses a Cup Series record 28 wins on 1.5-mile paths in his career, has five wins, 14 top fives together with a series-best driver evaluation of 105.4 at Atlanta.
While Johnson has been 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 season with nine top fives for an average finish of 2.5. He’s still looking for his first win in Atlanta but we expect him to get the job done Sunday (if the rain stays off) despite starting out from the rear of the area.
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