After a crash-filled Daytona 500, NASCAR moves to Atlanta’s weathered 1.54-mile asphalt track.
As the surface allows for side-by-side racing in grooves the monitor is preferred by most NASCAR drivers. Tires wear out quickly on the oblong, putting a higher importance on rate.
Kevin Harvick won the first two phases at Atlanta, but Brad Keselowski was allowed by a punishment in for the checkered flag. Keselowski handed 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 seems to capture his first Cup Series win at his hometown track. Back in the No. 9 car, a number made famous by his Hall of Fame father Bill, Chase has a fair shot to win based on last year’s numbers.
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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 finish of Cup drivers (9.82) on 1.5-mile tracks this past year.
Ahead of Keselowski’s win last year, Elliott’s teammate Jimmie Johnson was victorious in two Atlanta races. Johnson, who possesses a Cup Series record 28 wins 1.5-mile paths in his profession, 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 choice to win Sunday is reigning champion Martin Truex Jr., that has been nearly unbeatable at intermediate ovals.
Truex won seven of those 11 1.5-mile speedway races last year 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 have the job done Sunday (if the rain stays off) despite starting out from the back of the field.
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