Denny Hamlin won a crash-addled race at Daytona last week, a true last man standing affair. The Series now heads slightly north to Atlanta, the first intermediate track on the circuit this season.
Here’s what to look for:
–Aric Almirola won the Pole on Friday, his first since 2007. He could be one to watch this week with 3/4 of the Stewart-Haas Fords looking pretty strong. More on the exception in a minute..
–Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spent some time out front at Daytona, and will look to do the same at Atlanta this weekend. He’ll start 2nd, his fourth straight Top 6 start at this track which he claims as the best mile and a half they race at.
–Clint Bowyer was fast in Practice and was the provisional Pole-sitter before teammate Aric Almirola took the final round. He led the first two rounds but some sort of miscommunication / misunderstanding on pit road with Austin Dillon led to Bowyer not getting the jump he wanted. He’ll roll off 3rd on Sunday, and was fastest in Happy Hour.
–Kevin Harvick won the 2018 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, but power steering issues put a damper on most of Friday, at one point calling it “a complete waste of time” for his team. He was 21st in Happy Hour and logged 75 laps trying to figure things out. His win last year (after leading 181 laps) was the first of three straight victories.
–Chase Elliott, it is your birthright to win at Atlanta. As Son of Awesome Bill from Dawsonville, the throne of Atlanta is yours once you desire it so. All kidding aside, it would be pretty cool for Chase to turn this place into his stomping ground as his dad did in his heyday. Three Top 10s in three starts, but no laps led. Yet.
Coverage of the race starts on FOX at 2:00pm, green flag scheduled for 2:30pm.