NASCAR at Atlanta 2018: Odds, fantasy advice, prediction, sleepers, drivers to watch

Following a crash-filled Daytona 500, NASCAR proceeds to Atlanta’s weathered 1.54-mile asphalt trail.

As the surface permits for side-by-side racing in grooves the track is preferred by most NASCAR drivers. Tires wear out quite quickly on the oblong, setting a higher significance on rate.

Kevin Harvick won the first two stages at Atlanta, last year, but a penalty allowed Brad Keselowski in for the checkered flag. Keselowski handed Kyle Larson for the lead with six laps to go for his first win of 2017.

All eyes will be on Georgia native Chase Elliott this weekend gets he looks to capture his first Cup Series win. Back at the No. 9 car, a number made famous by his Hall of Fame father Bill, Chase does have a fair shot to win according to last year’s figures.

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Elliott listed two second-place endings, seven top fives, and nine top-10s at 1.5-mile paths in 2017. The Dawsonville, Ga., native also averaged the third-best average finish of Cup drivers (9.82) on 1.5-mile tracks this past year.

Before Keselowski’s win Elliott’s teammate Jimmie Johnson was victorious in two Atlanta races that are straight. Johnson, who owns a Cup Series record 28 wins 1.5-mile paths in his career, has five wins, 14 top fives together with a series-best motorist evaluation of 105.4 at Atlanta.

While Johnson has been the older king of 1.5-mile monitors, our pick to win Sunday is reigning champion Martin Truex Jr., who has been nearly unbeatable at intermediate ovals.

Truex won seven of those 11 1.5-mile speedway races last year with nine top fives for an average end of 2.5. He is still looking for his first win at Atlanta but we expect him to have the job done Sunday (if the rain holds off) despite starting from the back of the area.

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