ATLANTA, Ga. — The NASCAR Cup Series is done with the west coast swing and is now heading to Atlanta.
After Kurt Busch’s win last July at Atlanta Motor Speedway, crews began dismantling the track in preparation for its first repave since 1997.
The reconfiguration produced 28-degrees of banking in every corner of the 1.54-mile speedway, making Atlanta the steepest intermediate track on the NASCAR schedule.
AMS Executive Vice President and General Manager Brandon Hutchison said the goal all along for the reconfiguration has been to create a first-of-its-kind experience on the NASCAR circuit.
“Never before has NASCAR raced on an intermediate track like ours with 28 degrees of banking, much less with superspeedway cars. Both will happen for the first time in Atlanta this year,” he said.
In addition to the steeper turns, over the course of the five months of transformation the changes to the speedway include a new drainage technology and brand-new asphalt.
There are many unknowns on how this weekend’s racing will play out, but all indications are pointing to superspeedway-style racing that has been seen at Daytona and Talladega.
NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt leads the NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway with nine victories. Kurt Busch (2002, 2009, 2010, 2021) leads all active NASCAR Cup Series winners at Atlanta Motor Speedway with four victories, including the most recent race last July.
Busch has the opportunity to become the 12th different driver to win consecutive races at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Cup Series joining Marvin Panch, Bobby Allison, David Pearson, Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, Bill Elliott, Dale Earnhardt, Bobby Labonte, Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson.
Team Penske driver Joey Logano has returned to the driver points standings lead for the first time since following Martinsville Speedway’s Playoff race in 2020.
Logano heads to Atlanta looking for his first win at the 1.54-mile track. In 16 series career starts at Atlanta, Logano has posted two top fives and five top 10s.
Though Logano has yet to win at Atlanta, with the new configuration and anticipation of superspeedway-type racing he might be one to watch. Logano is considered one of the best active drivers at Daytona and Talladega; where he has combined to win four times with one win at Daytona and three wins at Talladega.
Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe became the 200th different winner in NASCAR Cup Series history with his victory last weekend at Phoenix Raceway. He now joins Daytona 500 winner and rookie Austin Cindric to get a first-time win in the 2022 season.
Georgia’s favorite son Chase Elliott visits his home track in Atlanta this weekend. Elliott, who sits third in the NASCAR Cup Series points, has had an up and down luck to start the season after showing race-winning speed in both Fontana and Phoenix, and only posting finishes of 26th and 11th to show for it.
Country superstar Brantley Gilbert has been named the grand marshal for Sunday’s race and will give the command to start the engines for the 500-mile race.
“I can’t wait to be part of a weekend full of fun and incredible NASCAR racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway,” Gilbert said. “I know that nobody brings more excitement and enthusiasm than Georgia race fans and I can’t wait to kick things off at my home track.”
Coverage for Sunday’s race in Atlanta will begin Sunday at 1:30 p.m. CT on FOX4.