Detailed driver notes and statistics to help set your fantasy racing lineup for Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Who’s HOT at Atlanta
• Kevin Harvick has posted a 5.7 average finish and has combined to lead 539 laps in the last three races. He also won the first two stages in 2017.
• Brad Keselowski won this event last year for his third consecutive top 10.
• Chase Elliott has finished in the top 10 in his two starts with a 6.5 average finish.
• Five-time winner Jimmie Johnson has won two of the last three races.
• Martin Truex Jr. has finished eighth or better in his last three starts.
• Kyle Busch, who missed the 2015 race due to injury, has finished sixth or better in three of his last five starts, including a win in 2013.
• Three-time Atlanta winner Kurt Busch has finished in the top 10 in three of the last four races.
• Joey Logano has finished sixth or better in three of the last five races.
Who to Keep an Eye On at Atlanta
• Kyle Larson finished second at Atlanta last season and in the runner-up spot three additional times at 1.5-mile tracks in 2017. Larson also got the opportunity to test the new Camaro ZL1 at a 1.5-mile track three weeks ago at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
• Kasey Kahne, who is making his first Atlanta start with Leavine Family Racing, has finished in the top five in two of the last four races, including a win with Hendrick Motorsports in 2014.
• Seven-time Atlanta pole winner Ryan Newman has qualified seventh or better in the last four races and has finished in the top 10 in three of the last five. He posted the second fastest lap with the new Camaro ZL1 during testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
• Denny Hamlin (11.5), Ryan Blaney (12.0) and Jamie McMurray (12.0) each ranked in the top 10 in average finish in the 11 races at 1.5-mile tracks last season.
• Darrell Wallace Jr. finished 11th in his only start at a 1.5-mile track (Kentucky) in the Cup Series last season when he subbed for Aric Almirola.
• Alex Bowman will make his first start in the No. 88 Chevrolet at Atlanta. Crew chief Greg Ives has two top-five finishes at the track with Dale Earnhardt Jr.
• Along with Larson and Newman, Chris Buescher, Kurt Busch, William Byron, Ty Dillon, Erik Jones, Kahne, Keselowski, Paul Menard, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Wallace Jr. were able to turn some preseason laps during the two-day test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
*Best Average Finish at Atlanta
|Last # of Races||Driver||Average Finish|
|Two Races||Brad Keselowski||5.0|
|Four Races||Jimmie Johnson||6.2|
|Six Races||Kevin Harvick||8.3|
|Eight Races||Martin Truex Jr.||9.6|
|Ten Races||Kevin Harvick||10.1|
* – The best average finish is based off a driver entered in the race who has competed in every race during that time span.
Laps Led Leaders at Atlanta
|Last # of Races||Driver||Laps Led|
|Two Races||Kevin Harvick||423|
|Four Races||Kevin Harvick||734|
|Six Races||Kevin Harvick||835|
|Eight Races||Kevin Harvick||835|
|Ten Races||Kevin Harvick||901|
Click Here to view all laps led leaders at Atlanta over the past 10 races.
Atlanta Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2017, 19 Races)*
|Average Running Pos.||Laps in Top 15|
|1. Chase Elliott – 7.1||1. Jimmie Johnson – 5,109|
|2. Jimmie Johnson – 9.1||2. Martin Truex Jr. – 4,643|
|3. Martin Truex Jr. – 11.1||3. Kevin Harvick – 4,000|
|4. Brad Keselowski – 11.3||4. Denny Hamlin – 3,897|
|5. Erik Jones – 11.9||5. Kurt Busch – 3,798|
|Fastest Laps Run||Driver Rating|
|1. Kevin Harvick – 439||1. Jimmie Johnson – 105.4|
|2. Jimmie Johnson – 358||2. Chase Elliott – 105.2|
|3. Denny Hamlin – 297||3. Kevin Harvick – 97.0|
|4. Kurt Busch – 275||4. Kurt Busch – 95.2|
|5. Kasey Kahne – 267||5. Denny Hamlin – 93.9|
2017 Atlanta Stage Finishes
|Stage 1 Top 10||Stage 2 Top 10|
|1. Kevin Harvick||1. Kevin Harvick|
|2. Brad Keselowski||2. Chase Elliott|
|3. Chase Elliott||3. Ryan Newman|
|4. Martin Truex Jr.||4. Martin Truex Jr.|
|5. Joey Logano||5. Kyle Larson|
|6. Ryan Newman||6. Austin Dillon|
|7. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||7. Brad Keselowski|
|8. Denny Hamlin||8. Erik Jones|
|9. Kyle Larson||9. Clint Bowyer|
|10. Jimmie Johnson||10. Trevor Bayne|
Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidates Darrell Wallace Jr. and William Byron both will be making their first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Wallace, who finished second in the Daytona 500, does have one Cup start at a 1.5-mile track – finishing 11th at Kentucky Speedway in 2017 when he subbed for Aric Almirola. Wallace’s best Atlanta finish in the Xfinity Series was sixth last season while Byron finished seventh in that event. Both Wallace and Byron did get to test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway earlier this year.
MRN.com Staff Picks
Jeff Wackerlin: Kyle Larson
Pete Pistone: Kevin Harvick
Robbie Mays: Ryan Blaney
Tyler Burnett: Kyle Busch
Driver Notes – Ordered by Average Finish (Top 15) in the Last Five Races at Atlanta
Chase Elliott has finished in the top 10 in his two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Atlanta, with a 6.5 average finish. In this event last year, Elliott posted a 4.4 average running position en route to a fifth-place finish – one of seven top fives in the 11 races at 1.5-mile tracks in 2017. Elliott did get some track time with the new Camaro ZL1 at a 1.5-mile speedway last month at Texas Motor Speedway during a Goodyear Tire test.
Kurt Busch has posted an 8.0 average finish and one pole (2016) in his three Atlanta starts with Stewart-Haas Racing. Busch’s last of three wins at the track came in 2010 when he was driving for Team Penske. Last year, Busch posted five top fives in the 11 races at 1.5-mile tracks, including his seventh-place run at Atlanta. Busch did get some track time at a 1.5-mile track this year when he tested for Stewart-Haas at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Joey Logano has finished sixth or better in three of the last five races at Atlanta. His sixth-place finish was one of seven top 10s in the 11 races at 1.5-mile tracks last season.
Kyle Busch is a two-time winner at Atlanta with the last coming in 2013 September race. He scored his best finish in the two races since Atlanta went to the second race of the season in 2016, finishing third after starting 39th. Busch did not win in one of the 11 races at 1.5-mile tracks last season, but did score two runner-up finishes.
Kevin Harvick has finished ninth or better in six of the last seven races at Atlanta and has combined to lead a series-high 835 laps in that span. Harvick dominated last year’s race, leading 292 laps and posting a 1.5 average running position, but finished ninth after a late-race speeding penalty. Last year, Harvick posted 10 top 10s in the 11 races at 1.5-mile tracks and had the second-best average finish (8.2).
Martin Truex Jr. has finished eighth or better in his last three starts at Atlanta with Furniture Row Racing. Truex dominated 1.5-mile tracks last season, posting seven wins and a 2.5 average finish in the 11 races. Atlanta was the only 1.5-mile track last year that he failed to lead a lap.
Jimmie Johnson is a five-time winner at Atlanta with two coming recently in 2015 and 2016. He only finished in the top 10 three times in the 11 races at 1.5-mile tracks last season, including a win at Texas Motor Speedway in the spring. Johnson has a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series record 28 wins on 1.5-mile tracks.
Erik Jones finished 14th last season in his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Atlanta. Jones ended his rookie season with three top 10s and an average finish of 18.4 in the 11 races at 1.5-mile tracks. Jones was able to get some track time at a 1.5-mile track in 2018, testing for Joe Gibbs Racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway where he posted the third fastest lap.
Kyle Larson is coming off a runner-up finish at Atlanta to lower his average finish to 15.5 in four starts. It was the first of three straight second-place finishes at 1.5-mile tracks to start the 2017 season. Larson combined to lead 219 laps in the final two races of 11 on the season at 1.5-mile tracks. Larson did test the new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at a 1.5-mile three weeks ago at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and posted the fastest lap.
Kasey Kahne will make his intermediate track debut with Leavine Family Racing on Sunday. In his 21 previous starts at Atlanta, Kahne has posted 10 top 10s, including three wins. Kahne did get track time with his new team at a 1.5-mile track three weeks ago in the test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Ryan Newman has finished 24th or worse in the last two Atlanta races, snapping a streak of three consecutive top 10s. He will be looking to turn around his 1.5-mile performance as of late (25.0 average finish, two top 10s in 2017) with the new Camaro ZL1. He tested the Camaro at a 1.5-mile track earlier this month at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and posted the second fastest lap.
Aric Almirola will be making his intermediate track debut with Stewart-Haas Racing on Sunday. In his seven previous starts at Atlanta, Almirola posted one top 10 (Richard Petty Motorsports) in 2014. Almirola did get some track time with his new team at a 1.5-mile speedway last month at Texas Motor Speedway during a Goodyear Tire test.
Trevor Bayne is coming off his best Atlanta finish in fourth starts, 12th. Bayne’s only top 10 (10th) in the 11 races at 1.5-mile tracks last season came at Kansas Speedway in the spring.
Brad Keselowski won this race last year for his third straight top 10 at Atlanta. The win was the first of four consecutive finishes of sixth or better at 1.5-mile tracks in 2017. Keselowski did get some track time at a 1.5-mile track this year when he tested for Team Penske at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Jamie McMurray finished 10th last season at Atlanta for one of seven top 10s in the 11 races at 1.5-mile tracks in 2017. The finish was his fifth top 10 in 24 starts at Atlanta.