Following a crash-filled Daytona 500, NASCAR moves into Atlanta’s weathered 1.54-mile asphalt trail.
Most NASCAR drivers favor the monitor as the surface allows for side-by-side racing in multiple grooves. Tires wear out very quickly on the oblong, putting a higher importance.
Kevin Harvick won the first two phases at Atlanta, but Brad Keselowski was allowed by a penalty to swoop 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. Back at 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 season’s numbers.
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Elliott recorded two second-place endings, seven top fives, and nine top-10s in 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 monitors this past year.
Before Keselowski’s win Elliott’s teammate Jimmie Johnson was successful in two Atlanta races that are consecutive. Johnson, who owns a Cup Series record 28 wins on 1.5-mile tracks in his career, has five wins, 14 top fives together with a series-best motorist evaluation of 105.4 at Atlanta.
While Johnson has become the older king of 1.5-mile tracks, our choice to win Sunday is reigning champion Martin Truex Jr., that 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 searching for his first win at Atlanta but we expect him to have the job done Sunday (if the rain holds off) despite starting from the rear of the field.
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