After a crash-filled Daytona 500, NASCAR moves to Atlanta’s weathered 1.54-mile asphalt track.
Since the surface allows for side-by-side racing in grooves many NASCAR drivers favor the monitor. Tires wear out setting a greater significance.
Kevin Harvick won the first two phases at Atlanta, but Brad Keselowski was allowed by a penalty 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 capture his first Cup Series win. 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 numbers.
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Elliott listed 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 end of Cup drivers (9.82) on 1.5-mile monitors last 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 on 1.5-mile paths in his career, has five wins, 14 top fives along with a series-best driver rating of 105.4 at Atlanta.
While Johnson has become the old king of 1.5-mile tracks, our pick 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 end of 2.5. He’s still searching 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 back of the area.
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