2017 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Preview
Where: Atlanta Motor Speedway – Hampton, Georgia
When: Sunday, March 5
Line: view racing lines here
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Jimmie Johnson was well in contention for victory at Daytona last week, but got involved in a 16-car crash which ended his race. While that might’ve been a tough setback, expect No. 48 to get over that disappointment in a hurry.
JJ couldn’t have picked a better track than Atlanta to help him bounce back, either. He has won the last two races at the track, the most recent coming just last year, and has claimed five checkered flags overall. He also has a better than 50 percent rate in terms of finishing in the top-5, with 14 in 25 career starts. With that sort of track record, expect Johnson to once again be one of, if not the car to beat in Atlanta.
Kyle Busch had a rough race at Daytona. He won the first stage of the race, but eventually caused a crash that took him as well as two teammates out of the race. And to top it all off, he saw brother Kurt go on to claim the first checkered flag of the season.
However, it’s Kyle who should be one of the favorites to get the win at the second race of the season in Atlanta. Kyle has two career wins at the track, and has four top-6 finishes in his last six starts as well.
Like Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick looked as if it was going to be his day at Daytona. He finished in the top two in the first two stages of the race, but eventually finished all the way down in 22nd. Nevertheless, Harvick will once again be one of the top contenders like he always seems to be in just about every race he’s in, especially in Atlanta.
Although he hasn’t actually won at the track since the inaugural race way back in 2001, Harvick has been right in the mix. He has an impressive eight top-10 finishes in his last 10 starts, and finished 2nd to Johnson last year. With a couple more breaks, Harvick could finally taste victory in Atlanta again after a 16-year drought.
Elliott’s chase for his first ever win continues after he fell short once again at Daytona. The second-year driver did have a good run overall, though, and that elusive win looks like it’s just around the corner. It could come this very weekend on the intermediate track of Atlanta, which is similar to the tracks where Elliott excelled last season. He had nine top-10 finishes on intermediate tracks last season, including an 8th-place finish in Atlanta.
Kahne didn’t have the greatest season last year, but he began this campaign strong with a 7th-place finish at Daytona. He will look to keep that positive momentum going this weekend at Atlanta. Although Kahne hasn’t won a race since 2014, Atlanta is as good a track as any for him to break his years-long drought. He has three career wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and could be worth a speculative long shot bet.
Jimmie Johnson once again sets the pace in Atlanta has he wins his sixth race at the track.
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