The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series moves to the uber-fast Atlanta Motor Speedway for the 25th
race of the 2011 season, the AdvoCare 500. NASCAR expert Brian Brown looked at past performances, season trends, and spoke to team contacts to provide the internet's most accurate projection of how the field will finish.
Sunday, September 4, 2011; 7:46 p.m./et
Partly cloudy with a high around 95; wind out of the SW at 5 mph. There is a 20 percent chance of precipitation.
Atlanta Motor Speedway is a very wide 1.5 mile oval. It has 24 degree banking on the corners. Due to the fast surface and steep banking it is known as the fastest track on the NASCAR circuit.
Key to Race:
WILL IT BE A BUSCH SWEEP?
was very dominant at Atlanta last March while Tony Stewart
dominated in September. Kasey Kahne
, Jimmie Johnson
, Carl Edwards
and Kyle Busch
have also had recent success at the track.
47 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by qualifying on Saturday, September 3 at 5:10 pm/et. Cars in the top 35 in the 2011 owner points are guaranteed a spot in the field.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 99 Carl Edwards
: In 12 career starts at Atlanta, Edwards has finished in the top seven an impressive 10 times. He won the September 2008 race at the track and is one of our favorites to win on Sunday.
No. 22 Kurt Busch
: Busch dominated two of the last four races at Atlanta. It is tough to not choose him this weekend.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson
: Johnson has visited Victory Lane in two of the past eight Atlanta races. He will be solid this trip to Atlanta.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon
: Gordon has four career wins in theATLand has finished in the top 10 in 18 of the last 24 races at the track. He will be strong once again this weekend.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick
: Harvick has been a good-shoe in five of the last six races at Atlanta. He will be very fast on Sunday.
6 to 10
No. 14 Tony Stewart
: Stewart won last year's September race and has 14 top 10 finishes in 24 starts at the track. He should be in the top 10 once again.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth
: Kenseth has 12 top 10 finishes in 22 starts at Atlanta. The No. 17 will be very good.
No. 4 Kasey Kahne
: Kahne has six top five finishes in 14 career races at Atlanta, including a win in the September 2009 race. He is a good choice.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya
: Montoya has finished in the top three in two of the last three races. He is a great choice this weekend.
No. 18 Kyle Busch
: Busch won the March 2008 race at ATL. He will be back inside the top 10 this weekend.
11 to 20
No. 2 Brad Keselowski
: Keselowski has been one of the fastest drivers on the circuit the past few months. He will make some noise once again if he can avoid the urge to put the No. 99 into the fence to retaliate for last year's March race at Atlanta.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
: Junior has 10 top 10 finishes in the last 19 races at Atlanta, but we don't like how Junior has been driving lately. He just misses our top 10.
No. 16 Greg Biffle
: Biffle has been terrible in four of the last eightATLraces and great in the other four. His inconsistency at the track bumps him just outside our top 10.
No. 33 Clint Bowyer
: Bowyer finished in the top seven in five of the past eight races at Atlanta. He should have the No. 33 around the top 10 once again.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin
: Hamlin has just three top 10 finishes in 12 career starts in theATL. He should finish in the top 15, but we don't see a top 10 finish for the No. 11 team.
No. 31 JeffBurton: Burtonhas driven well in almost every race atAtlantasince 2004. He should have the No. 31 car in the top 20 once again.
No. 43 A.J. Allmendinger: Allmendinger has cracked the top 20 in each of his careerATLstarts. He is a nice sleeper pick this weekend.
No. 5 Mark Martin
: Martin has run over 14,000 laps at Atlanta Motor Speedway in his career. The veteran will put all the experience to good use on Sunday.
No. 39 Ryan Newman
: Newman is the maestro of qualifying atAtlanta. In the 18 races he has run at the speedway he has started from the pole seven times. We like him to challenge for the pole and finish inside the top 20.
No. 00 David Reutimann
: Reutimann finished fourth at Atlanta in September 2009 and blew an engine last March. His engine shouldn't blow and he won't have a problem finishing inside the top 20.
21 to 30
No. 83 Brian Vickers
: Vickers has averaged a 15th
place finish the past four years at Atlanta. He is a solid pick.
No. 6 David Ragan
: The Georgia native has struggled at Atlanta. He won't notch the top 15 finish he is so desperate for at his home-track
No. 56 Martin Truex Jr.
: Truex has a top 12 driver rating atATLthe past four years. He could be a bit of a sleeper pick on Sunday.
No. 27 Paul Menard
: Menard has been hot-and-cold at Atlanta. He is worth using for those of you desperate for a sleeper.
No. 20 Joey Logano
: Logano has struggled at Atlanta so far in his career. This is a difficult track for many drivers and we recommend avoiding "Sliced Bread" until he gets a few more laps under his belt.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray
: McMurray has averaged a 21st place finish in 16 career starts at Atlanta. We see him taking the checkers around there again.
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose
: The Tasmanian Devil will have the No. 9 back inside the top 25.
No. 46 Scott Speed
: Speed was awesome last March's Atlanta race. If you need someone to round out your roster there are much worse choices.
No. 13 Casey Mears
: Mears should crack the top 30.
No. 34 David Gilliland
: The faster the track the better Gilliland drives. Atlanta is the fastest.
No. 47 Bobby Labonte
No. 78 Regan Smith
No. 32 Mike Bliss
No. 51 Landon Cassill
No. 71 Andy Lally
No. 36 Dave Blaney
No. 7 Robby Gordon
No. 30 David Stremme
No. 87 Joe Nemechek
No. 35 Geoff Bodine
No. 66 Michael McDowell
No. 55 Travis Kvapil
No. 50 T.J. Bell
No. 60 Mike Skinner
No. 38 J.J. Yeley
No. 95 David Starr
No. 37 TBA
1. Carl Edwards
2. Kurt Busch
3. Jimmie Johnson
4. Jeff Gordon
1. Jeff Burton
2. Scott Speed
Bust of the Week: