NASCAR finally took a breath, and now it’s time to head back to the frantic grind again. with the Honor QuikTrip 500. After a two-month plus shutdown, NASCAR returned to action with Cup Series racing on May 17 and rattled off five series events over 15 days. It was an absurd pace of action for a series long used to running one event a week typically.
That frenzied reopening span saw the series run two events each at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway and Charlotte Motor Speedway and culminated with a race last Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Now after the typical regular week off the series goes back to another quick spasm of races with three events at three tracks over eight days from Sunday through June 14.
Honor QuikTrip 500 Preview
Things kick off Sunday with the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Kevin Harvick rolls into Atlanta wearing the favorite’s crown at the 1.54-mile D-shaped oval.
Harvick (5.5-1) only has two-career victories at Atlanta in 29 career starts there, but always seems to be in the mix up front near the end of events. He has 14 top-10 finishes at Atlanta with 11 of those coming in the past 13 events. In the last five races at Atlanta he has a win, a second, a fourth a sixth and a worst finish of ninth.
In the five races since NASCAR returned to action on May 17 Harvick has an average finish of sixth. Harvick got the first of his 50 career Cup Series victories at Atlanta in 2001.
Chase Elliott (7-1) has been in the mix up front in every event since NASCAR’s return action. In the five races since returning he has a win, a second and fourth place. Elliott, a Dawsonville, Ga. native, is still looking for his first career win at his home track. In four Cup Series starts at the facility dating back to 2016 he has an average finish of 10.5 but his best finish there is a fifth place.
Reigning Cup Series champion Kyle Busch (7.5-1) is overdue for a victory after going winless through the first nine events this season. In the last four events Busch has a second place and two fourth place finishes.
Atlanta has been an up and down track for Busch over his 21-career Cup Series starts there. He has two victories at Atlanta, but hasn’t won there since 2013. His other win at the track came in 2008.
Returning to action has been good for Brad Keselowski (9-1) and he should go well again in the Honor QuikTrip 500. He was in the right place at the right time to take advantage of a late race skirmish between Chase Elliott and Joey Logano to win last Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway. It was Keselowski’s second victory in the last four events. He’s had an average finish of 5.2 since NASCAR return to action, with a fourth, a seventh and a 13th place during the span to go along with the two victories.
Atlanta has been very kind to Keselowski of late. In the last three events at the track he has a pair of wins and a second place. Over 11 career starts at the venue he has seven top-10 finishes.
Martin Truex Jr. (10-1) has been searching for a consistent groove in 2020, still looking for his first top-five finish this year. Truex has never won at Atlanta, but has been a threat annually in recent years. Over the last eight Cup Series events at the track Truex has four top-five finishes and seven top-10’s
Seven-time series champion Jimmie Johnson (19-1) has seemingly been on the cusp of a return to victory lane of late and a return at Atlanta would hardly be surprising. Johnson has five career victories at the track over 28 starts with consecutive wins at the track in 2015 and 2016. He has top-10 finishes (16) in more than half of his career starts in Atlanta.