It’s uncanny for the second NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway this season to have the word “karma” in its title sponsor, but maybe, karma will be in store Saturday for multiple reasons.
This weekend will mark the end of an era for the current configuration of the 1.5-mile track as Speedway Motorsports, without consultation from drivers, will increase banking in the turns by four degrees and reduce the width of the track for the goal of producing a mini Daytona or Talladega.
It wouldn’t be NASCAR if the Xfinity Series doesn’t put on an absolute show Saturday and make the certain SMI heads start sweating over the reactions they will receive if both series can deliver great products in the current configurations swan song.
The first race in March delivered some fisticuffs as Noah Gragson and Daniel Hemric threw down after an incident during the pit stops.
With the karma theme potentially playing a role Saturday, it’s likely the two could suffer an entanglement inside and/or outside the cockpit.
Kyle Busch will lead the field to green and is looking to make it a perfect five for five in 2021. He’s won four of the previous seven Xfinity races and won the most-recent event at Road America following a roller coaster day.
Current points leader Austin Cindric will look to thwart Busch’s perfect run as he is the most recent championship-eligible winner.
The Team Penske product has earned four wins in 2021 and is well on his way to a regular-season title and 15 extra playoff points as he sits 89 points ahead of AJ Allmendinger.
Speaking of Allmendinger, his two-career Xfinity starts at Atlanta have served him well as he won his debut on the track last season for Kaulig Racing and picked up a fifth-place finish in March. Saturday should be another productive day for the title contender with a third-place starting position.
At the playoff cutline, there is a 33-point gap, according to NASCAR, separating Jeremy Clements and Brandon Brown.
The battle of the independent teams currently sees Clements with the high ground over Brown, but Brown will have the jump on Clements with a 12th-place starting spot while the No. 51 Chevrolet driver has work to do starting from the 19th position after a 28th-place run at Road America.
Stages for the Credit Karma Money 250 will end on lap 40, lap 80 and the finish on lap 163. There will be a competition caution scheduled at lap 20.
NBC Sports Network will carry television coverage beginning at 3:30 p.m. EST while the Performance Racing Network provides your auditory necessities.
Pit stall assignments:
Goodyear tire notes: https://www.jayski.com/2021/07/06/goodyear-fast-facts-atlanta-and-knoxville/