Five Questions for Atlanta

2020 NASCAR defending champion Chase Elliott's No. 9 will start from the pole for this Sunday's Quaker State 400 NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (3:30pm/et; TV: NBCSN; Radio: PRN, Sirius XM NASCAR Channel 90.)

Kyle Busch (18) will start second, followed by Denny Hamlin (11), Christopher Bell (20), Martin Truex, Jr. (19), with Kyle Larson (5) rounding out the top five. The lineup was determined by NASCAR's qualifying metrics, based on race finish, points position, and fastest race lap.

First, will there be practice or qualifying this weekend?  Short answer: No.

Who is this week's favorite?  Again, an easy answer: Kyle Larson, currently showing 9/4 odds of winning, followed by Kyle Busch, with 29/4 odds.  

Will there be rain?  Hurricane Elsa has let it go and headed up the East Coast, so Sunday's Cup race weather looks to be mostly cloudy, humid, with a low chance of precipitation.  Wear sunscreen.

Which current driver has won the most times at Atlanta Motor Speedway?  Kurt Busch (41) and Kevin Harvick (4) are currently tied for the most wins at this track, with three each.  Busch has raced here 30 times, while Harvick has participated in 31 Atlanta Cup races. The all-time leader for wins in Atlanta, however, would be Dale Earnhardt, Sr.  He led the last lap 9 times out of 46 races entered, with 30 top-ten finishes overall.

What's this I hear about Denny Hamlin's remarks on Twitter?  Following Sunday's race, AMS will start on an ambitious but controversial (to some) project to create the next generation of Atlanta Motor Speedway and a brand-new, unique race experience for 2022. With input from iRacing and others, the repaving and reconfiguration will increase the current 24-degree banking in Atlanta’s turns to 28-degrees, which is higher than any other intermediate track on the current NASCAR circuit. The straightaway will remain five degrees banked. Additionally, the track surface will become narrower--an overall decrease in width from 55 feet to 40 feet. The new widths will be 52 feet on the front stretch, 42 feet on the back stretch and 40 feet in the turns.  

When the reprofile was announced this week, Hamlin took to Twitter to voice his displeasure: "With all due respect. This same group has reconfigured Texas, Kentucky, Bristol with 0 driver input. One of those lost a race, other one we don’t race anymore and last one we put dirt over it. But hey, what do the drivers know Face with rolling eyes"

Tune in, in 2022, to find out.  And watch the Quaker State 400 this Sunday to see the track in its current form one last time. 

Five Questions for Atlanta Five Questions for Atlanta Reviewed by laweez on Friday, July 09, 2021 Rating: 5