The newly configured Atlanta racetrack combined with the new car sure is providing some interesting racing. While different, it provided some Daytona- and Talladega-like racing.
The cars are stacked together but have more throttle response than at Daytona or Talladega. Handling is more important like Daytona but you also need the raw speed, like Talladega.
Those needs were what Chase Elliott delivered while winning at his “home” track. Chase proved to be a master of the draft as he carefully picked off his opponents one by one on his march to the front each time he was shuffled back at the end of the first two Stages, which he swept. He seemed to be the only one with that kind of speed to get it done.
Running towards the front while having enough skill and speed to move forward allowed Elliott to stay out of the wrecks that plagued some of his competitors. Ross Chastain also managed to stay at the front almost all day in spite of being involved in two wrecks that caught up, once again, Martin Truex, Jr. and Denny Hamlin. It was hard to blame Chastain for the Truex kerfuffle as tight as the racing was. Truex was forced to slow as Chastain got bumped from behind by Kyle Larson. That sent Truex spinning.
The Hamlin incident occurred later in the race as Chastain drifted up the track and caught the rear bumper of Hamlin who then went spinning and damaging his car further. It was surely a racing incident but Hamlin is fed up with what he views as Chastain’s lack of skill and aggressive style. Not that long ago, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was saying that drivers need to toughen up and NASCAR needs aggressive drivers like Chastain. Sunday, Jeff Burton was of the opinion that Chastain needs to know when to lift the throttle and stay off of his fellow racers. I am not sure Chastain would be any more loved or hated had he lifted as he drifted up towards Hamlin. It is possible that had he lifted in traffic, he could still have caused a wreck with those behind him and been blamed for checking up and causing that wreck.
In any case, even with a damaged front end, the Trackhouse Racing Chevy stayed up front pushing people and wound up second after Corey Lajoie’s bid for the win ended in a wreck creating the final caution at the end of the race.
If you didn’t like this style of superspeedway racing, I am not sure what you can like.
Good on ya, mate
- Chase Elliott (P1) leads all others with his third win of the year.
- Ross Chastain (P2) managed to keep it headed in the right direction but also managed to piss off a few drivers.
- Austin Cindric (P3) had his best finish since Daytona.
- Erik Jones (P4) is trying to stay in the playoff hunt.
- Ryan Blaney (P5) ran in the Top 5 all day.
- Daniel Suarez (P6) was the beneficiary of some of the race shenanigans.
- Justin Haley (P7) had some race luck at the end.
- Aric Almirola (P8) also had some race luck at the end.
- Cole Custer (P9) had a nice finish.
- Harrison Burton (P10) kept his head on straight and got his best finish.
- Corey Lajoie (P21) had a bad day at the end but was super excited right up until that moment.
So you had a bad day
- Martin Truex, Jr. (P11) led 27 laps but had a run in with Chastain.
- Kevin Harvick (P12) needed a way better finish.
- Bubba Wallace (P14) got in someone else’s wreck. Again.
- Michael McDowell (P15) had a much better race going and then got in a wreck.
- Kyle Busch (P20) had a horrible race, late race melee allowed him to finished 20th.
- Denny Hamlin (25) feels like he has some payback coming.
- Joey Logano (P26) had all 4 wheels off the ground at one point.
- Tyler Reddick (P29) led 13 laps and looked stout until a mid-race wreck.
- William Byron (P30) led 41 laps until his wreck.
Next up: New Hampshire
Will this be the race for Kevin Harvick to break through? He has a win and 3 Top 10 finishes here in the last 3 races.
Harvick, Almirola and Brad Keselowski are the last three winners at New Hampshire – none of them have won this season.
Aric Almirola is the defending race winner but he’ll need a lot more speed and luck than he has shown to stay up front.
If Erik Jones gets a win here, it may be all she wrote for Harvick.
This could be a bounce back race for Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin usually runs far better than Chastain here so this may not be the payback race since it may not matter much. But look out of Chastain is having a good race.
That’s it for this week folks, drive fast, turn left and keep the shiny side up.