NASCAR: Five bold predictions, plus everything you need to know about the Atlanta race

Kevin Harvick is on the pole for Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Kevin Harvick is on the pole for Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. AP

Here’s what to expect in Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway:

5 bold predictions

▪  It will be one of the season’s more entertaining races, with NASCAR’s new aero package being introduced on a well-worn track.

▪  After the race, drivers will bemoan Atlanta’s decision to repave the track, a process that will begin in a few weeks.

▪  Pole-winner Kevin Harvick will dominate the early part of the race, winning the first stage, but Ryan Newman (starting second), will fade.

▪  This will be the race that the five-minute clock will elapse as a crew works on a car on pit road, forcing the car from the race.

▪  Matt Kenseth, starting from the 16th spot, will win, reestablishing Joe Gibbs Racing’s spot – for now at least – as the top team in the sport.

By the numbers

84 Race winless streak by Kasey Kahne (most recent victory came at Atlanta in 2014).

2.375 Height (in inches) of spoiler on Cup cars (decreased from 3.5 inches), part of new aerodynamic package being introduced Sunday.

2,500 Number of NASCAR Cup races that will have been run after Sunday’s race.

186 Different winners in those previous 2,499 races.

He said it

“We will try not to get too greedy and keep working on our confidence over the next several weeks and try to move those goals up as we go.” -- Dale Earnhardt Jr., who starts 12th.


Getting there

Race facts

Folds Of Honor QuikTrip 500

Where: Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton, Ga.

Track type: 1.54-mile banked, asphalt oval.

Race distance: 500.5 miles, or 325 laps (stages of 85, 85, 155).

Green flag: 2:46 p.m.

Weather: Mostly sunny, high of 64; zero percent chance of rain.

TV: Fox.

Radio: Performance Racing Network.