Despite finishing seventh in the 5-hour Energy 400 at Kansas, Danica Patrick has shown only minor improvement on the similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks this year. Her five-race average on this course type to date is 23.0 compared to a 26.7 in 2013.
One week after being a part of Roush-Fenway Racing’s sweep of the top 10 at Bristol, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. hopes to help them sweep the top 15 at Atlanta. That would be his first such finish, but he missed last year by only one position—finishing 16th.
Along with Michigan and Auto Club, Atlanta was one of three tracks on which Carl Edwards had almost-perfect records at the start of his career. His first 10 races in Georgia ended in three victories, another second-place finish, two thirds, and two sevenths.
So far in 2014, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has alternated one top-five on a similarly-configured, 1.5-mile track with a result outside the top 15 and if the pattern holds, he is due to finish poorly this week.
In the past two seasons, David Gilliland has finished in the top 20 only twice in 15 similarly-configured, 1.5-mile track races. His best result was a 17th in last year’s Atlanta AdvoCare 500.
Martin Truex Jr. finished in the top five in his last two Atlanta attempts with Michael Waltrip Racing. The No. 78 team finished fourth last year with Kurt Busch behind the wheel and they both hope to keep that momentum alive.
Greg Biffle enters the weekend with a four-race, top-10 streak this season dating back to the GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono. His previous two attempts at New Hampshire and Indy ended in top-15s.
Joey Logano has scored six consecutive top-12 finishes on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks, including a victory in the Duck Commander 500 at Texas.
Michael Annett finished in the mid to high-20s in the first four races held on the similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks this year, but he may wind up on a few fantasy owners’ radar screens after finishing 18th in the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky.
Nine of Brian Vickers’ last 10 Atlanta attempts have ended in top-15 finishes. He missed the 2010 and 2012 fall races on this track, however.
Kasey Kahne won his second Atlanta race in fall 2009 and that was part of a three-race, top-10 streak there. His last four efforts have all ended well outside the top 20, however, with an average finish of 31.2.
After winning his first Atlanta race in his first attempt in 2001 and sweeping the top five that season, Harvick struggled on this track until 2008. Since then, he has earned eight top-15s in the past nine races.
In four previous NASCAR Nationwide Series starts at the 1.54-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway, Trevor Bayne has recorded one top-10 finish, a seventh-place result in this event in 2013.
Jeb Burton will make his second start at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park north of the border, and this year he is looking for redemption.
In the last three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races Matt Crafton, driver of the No. 88 IDEAL Door/Menards Toyota Tundra, has gained four points on the championship points leader.