The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series moves to the uber-fast Atlanta Motor Speedway for the 25th race of the 2013 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.
When: Sunday, September 1, 2013; 7:46 p.m./et
Weather: Isolated T-Storms with a high around 84; wind out of the SSW at 6 mph. There is a 40 percent chance of precipitation.
The Track: Atlanta MotorSpeedway
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: WHO CAN HANDLE THE SPEED?
Jeff Gordon dominated at Atlanta in 2011; Kurt Busch was very dominant at Atlanta in spring of 2010 and Tony Stewart dominated in September 2011. Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch have also had recent success at the track.
44 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has five career wins in theATLand has finished in the top 10 in 20 of the last 26 races at the track. He will be strong once again this weekend.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has visited Victory Lane in two of the past 10 Atlanta races. He will be solid this trip to Atlanta.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has been a good-shoe in seven of the last eight races at Atlanta. He will be very fast on Sunday.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: In 14 career starts at Atlanta, Edwards has finished in the top seven an impressive 11 times. He won the September 2008 race at the track and is one of our favorites to win on Sunday.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski has been one of the fastest drivers on the circuit the past few Atlanta races. He will make some noise once again in the ATL.
6 to 10
No. 20 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has 14 top 10 finishes in 24 starts at Atlanta. The No. 20 will be very good.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has 11 top 10 finishes in the last 21 races at Atlanta. With the way he has been driving this year he is a good choice.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has six top five finishes in 16 career races at Atlanta, including a win in the September 2009 race. He is a good choice.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Busch won the March 2008 race at ATL. He will be back inside the top 10 this weekend.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin won last year’s race at Atlanta. He is unlikely to find victory lane again, but a top 10 finish is expected.
11 to 20
No. 15 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer finished in the top seven in five of the past 10 races at Atlanta. He should have the No. 15 near the top 10 once again.
No. 78 Kurt Busch: Busch dominated two of the last six races at Atlanta. He is only worth using in most leagues.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has been terrible in four of the last 10ATLraces and great in the other six. His inconsistency at the track bumps him just outside our top 10.
No. 14 Mark Martin: Martin has run over 15,000 laps at Atlanta Motor Speedway in his career. The veteran will put all the experience to good use on Sunday.
No. 56 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex has a top 11 driver rating atATLthe past five years. He is a bit of a sleeper pick on Sunday.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya has finished in the top three in two of the last five races. He is a great choice this weekend.
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. 39 Ryan Newman: Newman is the maestro of qualifying atAtlanta. In the 20 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. 1 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has averaged a 20th place finish in 18 career starts at Atlanta. We see him taking the checkers around there again.
No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard has been hot-and-cold at Atlanta. He is worth using for those of you desperate for a sleeper.
21 to 30
No. 43 Aric Almirola: Almirola should have no issue getting the No. 43 inside the top 25.
No. 22 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. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Stenhouse is expected to struggle in his first Cup visit to Atlanta.
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose: The Tasmanian Devil will have the No. 9 back inside the top 25.
No. 55 Brian Vickers: Vickers has been great at Atlanta in his career. He is a decent choice.
No. 13 Casey Mears: Mears should crack the top 30.
No. 33 Austin Dillon: Dillon is definitely earning the yellow stripe on his bumper, but he is bound to notch some decent finishes soon.
No. 38 David Gilliland: The faster the track the better Gilliland drives. Atlanta is the fastest.
No. 10 Danica Patrick: Patrick finished 29th at Atlanta last season. She will finish about the same this weekend.
No. 34 David Ragan: Ragan, a Georgia native would love nothing more than to notch a top 20 finish at his home track. We don’t see it happening this time around.
No. 47 A.J. Allmendinger
No. 51 Mike Bliss
No. 83 David Reutimann
No. 93 Travis Kvapil
No. 7 Dave Blaney
No. 87 Joe Nemechek
No. 35 Josh Wise
No. 30 David Stremme
No. 36 J.J. Yeley
No. 98 Michael McDowell
No. 95 Scott Speed
No. 32 Timmy Hill
No. 40 Landon Cassill
No. 19 TBA
My Yahoo! Fantasy NASCAR Team for this Week:
A. Jeff Gordon
B. Jeff Burton
B. Kurt Busch
C. Austin Dillon