Following a crash-filled Daytona 500, NASCAR moves to Atlanta’s weathered 1.54-mile asphalt trail.
Many NASCAR drivers favor the monitor since the surface allows for racing in numerous grooves. Tires wear out putting a higher importance.
Kevin Harvick won the first two stages at Atlanta, last year, but a penalty allowed Brad Keselowski in for the 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 seems to catch his first Cup Series win in his hometown track. Back at 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.
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Elliott listed two second-place endings, seven top fives, and nine top-10s at 1.5-mile tracks 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.
Ahead of 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 driver evaluation of 105.4 in Atlanta.
While Johnson has become the old king of 1.5-mile tracks, 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 year with nine top fives for an average finish of 2.5. He is still searching for his first win at Atlanta but we expect him to get the job done Sunday (if the rain holds off) despite starting from the back of the area.
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