Race:Kobalt Tools 500 Preview and Pick to Win
Date: Sunday March, 7th 2010
Track:Atlanta Motor Speedway
Time: 1 pm ET
This week we are headed to Atlanta for its 50th anniversary. After last week’s race at Las Vegas, we’re all going to hope that someone can break Johnson’s stride, as he appears to be moving towards domination yet again. I am going to bite my tongue since I said last week that no one team or driver has yet to dominate. Johnson is proving me wrong along with crushing everyone’s hopes that there may be just enough for some one else to take the lead. Despite Johnson’s consistency, Harvick and some other drivers are proving that they have something for him this year. There’s definitely good competition out there. The Roush and Childress teams have certainly cleaned up their acts with Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth showing that they are something to reckon with.
Atlanta will prove to be a good starting point for the drivers to show what they’re truly worth. Being the 4th race of the season, teams, drivers, and crew chiefs are beginning to hit their marks and gain some important knowledge as to their strengths and weaknesses. The standouts are of course Jimmie Johnson and also Kevin Harvick.
This weekend, we are heading to a 1.5 mile quad-oval with 24 degree banking in the turns and 5 degrees on the straights. The frontstretch is 2332 feet and the backstretch is 1800 feet. Similar to Atlanta are Kansas and Charlotte. The intermediate tracks definitely have their drivers. While we see certain standouts at the short tracks (namely Jeff Gordon) and also standouts on the super speedways (Earnhardt Sr.), the 1.5 mile tracks also have their stars. Those drivers include the likes of Carl Edwards and Penske driver Kurt Busch. Although Busch has had a semi-rough start, his driving throughout the race has been nothing but progressive. He has come to the top 10 and even top 5 numerous times, so Atlanta may be just what he needs to get a victory. In the case of Carl Edwards, this track could also be a standout for him. He has driven well, but he needs something to push him into the winner’s circle. With this being a track where he has multiple wins, I’d look for him to be up there.
Other drivers to watch include Jimmie Johnson, as you can never count him out. Kyle Busch is also very good here and has shown this year that he still has the guts to be pushy on the track. Finally, keep your eyes peeled for Kasey Kahne. He’s been a great asset to RPM and could prove so again this weekend.
Most importantly at this track is often fuel mileage. With long green stretches, teams usually take some very different strategies when it comes to pitting. We see a lot of 2 tire stops here and also a lot of gas and gos towards the end of the race. It’s going to be a crew chief’s win if we see long green stretch runs here.
My pick for this week is going to be Carl Edwards. I know that he’s a bit of a long shot because of his performance, but I think that this track is just what he needs to get back into victory lane and give us fans a back flip. Others to look for at the top are Johnson, the Busch brothers, and Kahne.
Here are your current top 12 in the points after Las Vegas:
1. Kevin Harvick
2. Clint Bowyer
3. Mark Martin
4. Matt Kenseth
5. Jimmie Johnson
6. Greg Biffle
7. Jeff Burton
8. Joey Logano
9. David Reutimann
10. Carl Edwards
11. Tony Stewart
12. Kyle Busch
Look for the points to become a little more stable after this weekend. Atlanta is a great race to watch, so stay tuned as we head into another intermediate track where history will be made for 50 years of racing.