TOP FIVE DRIVERS

Quik Trip 500 from ATLANTA

My #5 driver is a two time former-winner in Atlanta #18 Kyle Busch. Kyle has 19 starts: two wins, and five Top 5’s. His last win came here in 2013 and he is ranked #7 for me on tracks like this. The Joe Gibbs Racing team had a tough time at Daytona and are looking to turn things around in Atlanta.

My #4 pick is a driver that has never won here, #24 Chase Elliott. Chase has only raced here twice, his first finish was an 8th place effort and last year and he finished 5th. Not a bad start. His team Hendrick Motorsports has won here three of the last four years. You know they know this track.  Chase is very good and getting better. I look for him to lead the HMS pack on Sunday.

The #3 driver is a three time former winner, #41 Kurt Busch. Kurt has 26 starts, three wins and just six Top 5’s. Five of those Top 5’s came in his last ten starts. That is a tremendous streak.  Kurt comes in confident with his past wins and a pretty good run for most of the day at Daytona.

My #2 driver is a former winner here in the A-T-L, #4 Kevin Harvick. Kevin has 27 starts, one win, and six Top 5’s. Kevin doesn’t have the best stats in Atlanta, but he finished 9th here last year and nine of his last 11 races here were Top 10’s. Lastly, he is my #2 ranked intermediate track driver.

The #1 is a driver without great stats but should not be overlooked, #22 Joey Logano. Joey has 11 starts with just two Top 5’s. But his two Top 5’s were recent – 2013 and 2015. Joey and his crew looked great at Daytona and look hot coming out of 2016.

 

Monday look for our preview of the Kobolt Tools 400 from Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

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TOP 30 POWER RANKINGS

TOP 30 POWER RANKINGS

QUIK TRIP 500 from ATLANTA

 

  1. JOEY LOGANO #22
  2. KEVIN HARVICK #4
  3. KURT BUSCH #41
  4. CHASE ELLIOTT #9
  5. KYLE BUSCH #18
  6. MARTIN TRUEX #78
  7. RYAN BLANEY #12
  8. JIMMIE JOHNSON #48
  9. ARIC ALMIROLA #10
  10. BRAD KESELOWSKI #2
  11. RYAN NEWMAN #31
  12. PAUL MENARD #21
  13. DENNY HAMLIN #11
  14. ERIK JONES #20
  15. KYLE LARSON #42
  16. KASEY KAHNE #95
  17. TREVOR BAYNE #6
  18. JAMIE MCMURRAY #1
  19. RICKY STENHOUSE #17
  20. AUSTIN DILLON #3
  21. CHRIS BUESCHER #37
  22. CLINT BOWYER #14
  23. DARRELL WALLACE JR. #43
  24. DANIEL SUAREZ #19
  25. A. J. ALLMENDINGER #47
  26. WILLIAM BYRON #24
  27. MICHAEL MCDOWELL #34
  28. TY DILLON #13
  29. ALEX BOWMAN #88
  30. DAVID RAGAN #38

 

Friday we break down the Top 5 drives to watch.

 

*STILL MUST QUALIFY

 

LANDON CASSILL #38 DALE EARNHARDT JR #88 MATT KENSETH #20

GREG BIFFLE #16 REGAN SMITH#7 CASEY MEARS #13 DANICA PATRICK #10

BRIAN VICKERS #55 BOBBY LABONTE #51 MATT DiBENEDETTO #32 REED SORENSON #15

 

TOP TEN TEAMS

TOP 10 TEAMS POST DAYTONA

  1. TEAM PENSKE (LW #3)
  2. FURNITURE ROW RACING (LW #1)
  3. STEWART HAAS RACING (LW #4)
  4. WOOD BROTHERS RACING (LW #5)
  5. JOE GIBBS RACING (LW #2)
  6. RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING (LW #9)
  7. ROUSH FENWAY RACING (LW #8)
  8. CHIP GANASSI RACING (LW #7)
  9. HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS (LW #6)
  10. JTG RACING (LW Off)

 

One race into the season Furniture Row Racing drops from #1 to #2 and Team Penske moves into the top spot. Stewart Haas Racing also move up a spot. Wood Brothers Racing move up a spot to #4. Joe Gibbs Racing drop three places coming off a very bad race. Look for them to begin moving up as the season moves forward. Richard Childress Racing with a big win from Austin Dillon and great run from his team mate Ryan Newman move up three spots to #6.   Roush Fenway Racing move forward a place to #7.  Chip Ganassi Racing drops back a spot to #8. Hendrick Motorsports drop three places to #9, without question they will begin moving back up in the next couple of weeks. JTG Racing missed our pre season Top 10 but join this week at #10. Leavine Family Racing and new driver Kasey Kahne drop out of the Top 10 after being ranked #10 in our preseason Top 10. Look for this to shake up a little more in the first few weeks of the season and then begin to settle in.

 

Thursday look for our Top 30 drivers for the Quik Trip 500.

TOP TEN DRIVERS by TRACK TYPE

TOP 10: INTERMEDIATE TRACKS

  1. MARTIN TRUEX #78
  2. KEVIN HARVICK #4
  3. BRAD KESELOWSKI #2
  4. JOEY LOGANO #22
  5. CHASE ELLIOTT #9
  6. JIMMIE JOHNSON #48
  7. KYLE BUSCH #18
  8. ERIK JONES #20
  9. KURT BUSCH #41
  10. JAMIE MCMURRAY #1

Top 10 drivers on Intermediate tracks, Wednesday look for our Top 10 Teams and Thursday look for our Top 30 driver rankings for Sunday’s QUIK TRIP 500 from Atlanta Motor Speedway.

RACE PREVIEW

atl 16

QUIK TRIP 500

ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY

February 25th, 2:00PM ET on FOX TV

1.54 Miles 24 Degrees of Banking

Atlanta is the fastest and probably the #1 favorite track amongst the drivers to drive on. Great sweeping turns and a smooth surface are two of the main reasons. At 1.54 miles, it is a tad bigger than the many other “cookie cutter tracks.” But the date for this race has seen many changes over the years. For the fourth year it is the second race of the year, or really the first “real race.” Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing are the two most dominate teams here in the last 10 years. In the 13 races run in ten years, HMS and JGR  each has four wins. No question these two teams dominate this track. But Brad Keselowski won here last year giving Team Penske their third win in the last ten years. Who will get the first non-restrictor plate win of the year? We’ll find out on Sunday.

Tuesday look for our Top 10 drivers on intermediate tracks for week two.  Thursday we rank the top 30 drivers for the QUIK TRIP 500.

TOP FIVE DRIVERS TO WATCH

My #5 driver knows his way around a plate track, #4 Kevin Harvick. Kevin has 33 starts, two wins and nine Top 5’s. Three of those top 5’s came in the last four races.  He is #7 rated on restrictor place tracks. He ended the year last year #2 hottest, I look for the heat to continue.

My #4 pick finished in 38th place last year in the 500, #18 Kyle Busch. Kyle has 25 starts one win and eight Top 5’s. He likes to run up front COULD keep him outta trouble—but I thought that last year. Kyle ended #5 hottest in the last six races of last year.

My #3 pick is the defending champ of this, #41 Kurt Busch. Kurt is my #2 rated restrictor plate driver and he has 33 starts, one win and 13 Top 5’s. He is Top 10 hottest over the last six races last year. His third place performance in the Clash shows the Fords are they better than they looked in qualifying.

The #2 driver to watch was the second place driver Sunday in the Advanced Auto Parts Clash, #22 Joey Logano. He won the 500 in 2015 and last year finished 6th .  Joey is also #9 hottest over the last six races of the year, last year and is my #3 ranked plate driver.

My #1 pick is starting up front, #11 Denny Hamlin. Denny has 24 starts, a win in the 500 two years ago and six Top 5 finishes. Denny is #4 hottest over the last six points races and is my #1 ranked plate track driver.

 

Monday look for our preview of the Quik Trip 500 from Atlanta.

TOP 30 DRIVERS

DAYTONA 500 from DAYTONA

 

  1. DENNY HAMLIN #11
  2. JOEY LOGANO #22
  3. KURT BUSCH #41
  4. KYLE BUSCH #18
  5. KEVIN HARVICK #4
  6. PAUL MENARD #21
  7. AUSTIN DILLON #3
  8. CLINT BOWYER #14
  9. RYAN NEWMAN #31
  10. RICKY STENHOUSE #17
  11. RYAN BLANEY #12
  12. MARTIN TRUEX #78
  13. ARIC ALMIROLA #10
  14. ERIK JONES #20
  15. CHASE ELLIOTT #9
  16. JIMMIE JOHNSON #48
  17. TREVOR BAYNE #6
  18. A. J. ALLMENDINGER #47
  19. BRAD KESELOWSKI #2
  20. KASEY KAHNE #95
  21. MICHAEL McDOWELL #34
  22. DANIEL SUAREZ #19
  23. DAVID RAGAN #38
  24. JAMIE MCMURRAY #1
  25. KYLE LARSON #42
  26. ALEX BOWMAN #88
  27. TY DILLION #13
  28. DARRELL WALLACE #43
  29. BRENDAN GAUGHN #62
  30. WILLIAM BYRON #24

 

Friday we break down the Top 5 drivers to watch in Sunday’s Daytona 500.