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After a crash-filled Daytona 500, NASCAR moves to Atlanta’s weathered 1.54-mile asphalt track.
The monitor is favored by many NASCAR drivers as the surface allows for racing in grooves. Tires wear out setting a higher significance on speed.
Kevin Harvick won the first two phases at Atlanta last year, but a punishment 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 gets he looks 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 chance to win based on last season’s numbers.
NASCAR in Atlanta weather forecast
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 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 1.5-mile tracks in his career, has five wins, 14 top fives together with a series-best motorist rating of 105.4 at Atlanta.
While Johnson has become the older king of 1.5-mile monitors, our pick 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 out from the back of the field.
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