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Kurt Busch drives through turn four during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400. (Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire)
June 5th, 2020
One week after a thrilling finish at Bristol that saw Brad Keselowski inherit the lead late from the dueling Chase Elliott and Joey Logano, who wrecked on Lap 498, the NASCAR drivers head to Atlanta Motor Speedway for Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (3:00 p.m., FOX).
Kevin Harvick was installed as a tepid +500 favorite, and there’s a strong case to be made for him. His average finishing position through nine races this year is sixth, and he has a win at Darlington. Harvick has also led more laps at Atlanta than any active driver (1,197). However, we’ll provide three higher-priced alternatives for Sunday’s event.
Elliott has been a victim of Murphy’s Law since the season restarted despite his win at Charlotte on May 28. He was spun out by Kyle Busch at Darlington on May 20, made a bad call on pit road in the Coca-Cola 600 four days later, and just crashed at Bristol on Sunday. But he’s been in contention for the win each time.
"I'll certainly take the blame."- Chase Elliott on his late-race incident with Joey Logano pic.twitter.com/9O0SfYEB7b— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) May 31, 2020
"I'll certainly take the blame."- Chase Elliott on his late-race incident with Joey Logano pic.twitter.com/9O0SfYEB7b
Elliott, despite an average starting position of 21st in four career NASCAR races at Atlanta, has an average finishing position of 10.5, the best mark of any active driver. A win in his home state of Georgia would be sweet. He’ll start on the pole by virtue of winning a random draw.
Can lightning strike again for Keselowski? The No. 2 Ford driver is now co-favored to win the year-end championship following two wins over his last three races. But he seems to be somewhat undervalued to win the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500.
Keselowski has been tough to tame at Atlanta with two victories and a runner-up result in his last three visits to this course with 82 laps led. He’ll roll off the grid sixth.
Kurt Busch has quietly put together a solid second half of the season, hitting the Top 10 in four of the first five races. His prowess at Atlanta could help him break through for a score at boxcar odds.
Kurt Busch is one of the best restarters in the cup series over the last few years. Here, he not only defends his position from the non-preferred groove, but also takes the lead from his teammate Clint Bowyer (who ranked 6th in restarts from the preferred groove). pic.twitter.com/8gqhDWGkQm— Avery Hage (@AveryHage) May 31, 2020
Kurt Busch is one of the best restarters in the cup series over the last few years. Here, he not only defends his position from the non-preferred groove, but also takes the lead from his teammate Clint Bowyer (who ranked 6th in restarts from the preferred groove). pic.twitter.com/8gqhDWGkQm
Busch has led 802 career laps over this course, second only to Harvick among active drivers, and has hit the Top 10 four straight times at Atlanta. He has three career victories on this oval. Busch begins his day in 12th.
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