2021 NASCAR Cup Series preview: Atlanta 2

One last time on the brittle pavement and regular configuration. 

After Speedway Motorsports and other decision-makers chose to revise Atlanta Motor Speedway for the future, Sunday will mark the final race on the current track layout that’s been in existence since 1997. 

The second Atlanta date on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the first season to have two dates at the Hampton, Georgia facility since 2010, which replaces Kentucky Speedway after that track initially took away the second date for Atlanta. 

He completed the 5/5 sweep in the Xfinity Series on Saturday and now, he’ll go for his third win in the Cup Series as Kyle Busch rolls off on the front row next to pole-sitter and hometown favorite Chase Elliott. 

Following Saturday’s Xfinity race, Busch stressed his frustration with the reconfiguration of Atlanta. 

“I sure am glad to win the final Xfinity Series race on a real Atlanta racetrack,” Busch said. “Because the next one is just going to be a showpiece and it’s going to be sh*t.” 

Busch scored a fifth-place finish at the track back in March. 

Elliott hails from Dawsonville, which lies 85 miles north of the speedway. The driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports regained his spot among the Cup Series elite as he dominated the second half at Road America last Sunday to net his second win of the 2021 season. Elliott is still seeking his first win at Atlanta and DNF’d with a mechanical issue in March. 

Kyle Larson dominated at Atlanta in March. 

He led 269 of the 325 laps, but as the laps wound down, Larson’s car betrayed him and Ryan Blaney rallied from a lengthy deficit to the No. 5 Chevy and passed Larson to net his lone win of 2021. 

The late spring/early summer months have not done any favors for Blaney as he’s only managed four top-10 finishes in the last 10 races, so a good result at Atlanta could give the Team Penske product some much-needed momentum before the final push to the postseason. 

Martin Truex Jr. will drop to the rear at the start of the race after failing pre-race inspection twice. The first failure was due to the deck lid being too high and the second happened because the tail of the car was out of compliance

The violation only adds to the disappointing run the No. 19 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing has had since a 19th-place run at Dover International Speedway. Since that race, Truex has only netted two top-10 finishes, which both came at road courses (Sonoma, Road America). 

Stages for the Quaker State 400 will end on lap 80, lap 160 and the finish at lap 260. A competition caution is slated to be thrown on lap 25. 

NBC Sports Network will carry TV coverage beginning at 3:30 p.m. EST while the Performance Racing Network will provide all auditory necessities.

Starting lineup:

Pit stall assignments:

Goodyear tire notes: https://www.jayski.com/2021/07/06/goodyear-fast-facts-atlanta-and-knoxville/

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