Last week we saw a thrilling finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway with Chase Elliott fending off Kyle Busch to claim the $100,000 bounty hosted by Marcus Lemonis and Kevin Harvick. The NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series will continue their momentum this week as they head to Atlanta Motor Speedway Saturday afternoon as part of the Truck-Xfinity Series doubleheader planned for the track.
Like the previous Charlotte races, Kyle Busch has been dominant at Atlanta recently with multiple race wins at the 1.5-mile speedway. This weekend, however, he won’t have to worry about a bounty as that has been claimed. However, competitor and last week’s race winner, Chase Elliott, will be back in the field to give Busch another run for his money.
As those two names are more than likely the favorites to win the Vet Tix/Camping World 200 at Atlanta Saturday, there are some sleepers in the field to keep an eye on. Despite that, we’ll also give you reasons why Busch and Elliott might dominate the competition once more.
Here is this week’s preview that details five drivers who might have a solid chance to win on Saturday afternoon.
- Grant Enfinger – Enfinger has made four Truck Series starts at Atlanta dating back to 2016, the first time with ThorSport in 2017, three years ago. In all four of those starts, the Alabama native has managed to finish inside the top-10 in all of his starts. In last year’s race, Enfinger scored his best finish to date at Atlanta by finishing third. He piloted the No. 98 Truck to four laps led, finished third in Stage 1 and eighth in Stage 2. While Enfinger was certainly strong last year, he’s also managed to complete 100 percent of the laps in all four races. The ThorSport driver should be a strong contender Saturday.
- Austin Hill – Hill has been having a solid season so far in the three races run. The Georgia native collected one top-five and three top-10 finishes in 2020 with a best finish of third at Las Vegas back in February, another 1.5-mile track, similar to Atlanta. Hill had his first outing with the team last year in 2019 and had a great run in the No. 16 Toyota when he finished seventh. He was also able to earn some stage points after placing fifth in Stage 1 and sixth in Stage 2. Hill never got to lead a lap, but it was still another solid run for Hill and the No. 16 team.
- Brett Moffitt – Moffitt has three starts at Atlanta dating back to his first start in 2017. However, last year was his first start with the GMS Racing team. Moffitt had a great run with the team when he piloted his No. 24 Truck to a fourth-place finishing position. He averaged seventh mid-race, had 44 green-flag passes and had the two fastest laps throughout the event. Moffitt finished fifth in Stage 2. He is also the 2018 winner of this event.
- Johnny Sauter – Surprisingly, Johnny Sauter has not had a win yet out of his nine starts but has been really close multiple times to securing a victory. His first few outings from 2009 to 2011 didn’t go well but in the last three since 2017, Sauter has really picked it up and has been a challenger for the win only to fall short. In the 2019 race, he secured his best finish ever at the track after placing second and leading nine laps. Sauter also placed fourth in both stages in the 2019 race. The year before in 2018, he led 12 laps en route to a third-place finish. Expect Sauter to be a front runner in the No. 13.
- Chase Elliott – Elliott is back in the field this week with the GMS Racing team in the No. 24 Chevy. The Georgia native is coming into the race with momentum after the win at Charlotte last week. This weekend will mark the first time in three years that Elliott will make a start at Atlanta in a Truck. The last time he competed in the race was 2017. In that race, Elliott started ninth and came home to a fifth-place finish and finished eighth in Stage 2.
When the entry list came out, 47 Trucks were once again entered, but seven drivers were sent home. Those sent home were Tim Viens, Norm Benning, Trey Hutchens, David Ragan, Bryant Barnhill, Dawson Cram, and Parker Kligerman.
Since 2004, Atlanta Motor Speedway has hosted 18 races and has seen many different winners.
The list of winners includes Bobby Hamilton, Ron Hornaday Jr, Kyle Busch, Todd Bodine, Mike Bliss, Mike Skinner, Ryan Newman, Kevin Harvick, Ty Dillon, Matt Crafton, John Hunter Nemechek, Christopher Bell, and Brett Moffitt.
Out of those race winners, Kyle Busch has the most victories with five, while Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday has two victories. Everyone else has scored one win each.
As for qualifying, the lowest a winner has started from was 18th and that happened twice. That was set by Hornaday in 2005 and Nemechek in 2016. The highest a race winner has started from was from the pole, which happened five times, with Bodine being the first to do so in 2006. However, due to the ongoing pandemic and limited team exposure, there continues to be no live qualifying.
Chevrolet narrowly edges out Toyota in terms of victories at the track. The manufacturer has nine race wins in total while Toyota has eight wins. Dodge only has one win that took place in the first race in 2004. Ford has yet to secure a win.
The most ever lead changes was seen in 2006, with 21. The fewest lead changes in the Atlanta Truck race was six back in 2015, five years ago.
The Atlanta Truck race can be an eventful race as it has seen a lot of cautions flown from time to time. The most caution flags that occurred was nine times for 45 laps back in 2007. The least amount of cautions happened two times, with the 2015 race leading the way with three yellows for 13 laps, followed by the 2012 race with three cautions for 16 laps. In last year’s race, there was six cautions for 30 laps.
As far as stage winners go, Christopher Bell, Noah Gragson, and Kyle Busch have all won stages. Busch has the most stage victories with three, including sweeping last years stages.
Stages will be broken into 30-30-70 to make up the 130 lap race.
The race can be seen on Fox Sports 1 at 1 p.m. ET and can be heard on MRN Radio.