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Preview of NASCAR race weekend at Atlanta

HAMPTON, GEORGIA – Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, leads the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on June 07, 2020. (Credits: NASCAR, Getty Images)

This week all three NASCAR Series will be at Atlanta Motor Speedway with the Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity Series playing double-duty on Saturday and the Cup Series on Sunday, as always.

The track itself is a 1.5-mile oval, but it isn’t the traditional/classic oval, but a quad-oval due to the front-stretch dogleg. Each turn has approximately 24 degrees of banking and 5 degrees on the straightaways. Atlanta will be the third track this season that will have the Cup Series drivers driving the 550hp high-downforce package, so it should make for some interesting racing and most likely a lot of passing.

HAMPTON, GEORGIA – JUNE 07: Tyler Reddick, driver of the #8 Roland Chevrolet, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on June 07, 2020, in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

This will be the first race of the season where the Camping World Truck Series will not be running under the lights, but during daylight in the afternoon. This affects the amount of grip the trucks will have on this track due to the hotter temperatures as opposed to cooler temperatures at night, which is what they’re used to. The race will be led by two KBM trucks with John Hunter Nemechek and his boss Kyle Busch on the front row, which should make the initial green-flag start very compelling.

The Xfinity Series start time is a little later in the afternoon/evening and will have the inverse problem of the Truck Series in which they will see cooler track temperatures, which should help the grip of those race cars. The Xfinity Series has boasted extremely exciting racing so far this season, and some would argue that the packages on the Xfinity Series’ cars are better than that of the Cup Series. The two drivers to watch out for in this race are last year’s winner AJ Allmendinger and this year’s most decorated driver, thus far, Austin Cindric.

Finally, the Cup Series will be running that 550HP high-downforce package that we saw earlier this season at Homestead-Miami and Las Vegas. In both races we saw crazy restarts, a ton of lead changes, three and four-wide racing across the board; and overall just really exciting racing. While the width of the track at Atlanta is a little more narrow than we’ve seen at the past three racetracks, that should make for some sketchy passing where drivers might have to squeeze through traffic more precisely.

There are two drivers who are obvious to watch out for this weekend, and that’s because in the last four Cup Series races they have exclusively alternated wins. Kevin Harvick won here last year, and the race in 2018; while Brad Keselowski won in 2017 and 2019. Diving-deeper into some advanced statistics, Harvick has three wins, nine top 5s, fifteen top 10s, two poles; and has a series-best 102.2 driver rating at Atlanta. Alternatively, Keselowski has two wins, four top 5s, eight top 10s; and a second-best driver rating of 96.9 at Atlanta.

Make sure to stick with ASN as we will bring you live commentary, race recaps, and all important pre-race news for all three NASCAR races this weekend.

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