Another chapter will be written in the illustrious history of Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend when the Cup Series runs its first points-paying race under the lights. And even for a track that has survived two tornados and hosted last race for the King himself -- Mr.
Adding environmentally-friendly and NASCAR-sanctioned unleaded octane to the inferno, is the fact that Sunday's event is the penultimate race before the Chase cutoff occurs post Richmond, and with the drivers placed 7th through 14th separated by just 89 points, there's more than enough reason to believe the night cap might just live up to the track's self-styled moniker "Real Racing. Real Fast."
Aside from the excitement of seeing something different, from a Fantasy perspective this race is much harder to call as no one truly knows how the Cup car will react to the cooler weather and increased grip. On a track already renowned for three-wide racing, multiple racing grooves and raw, right on the raggedy-edge speed, it could lead to some intense action, especially on late-race double-file restarts right after the field has pitted for fresh rubber. One thing that should hold up despite the later green flag time is the need to qualify well. Only four times in the past decade has a driver started outside the top 10 and won the race. Conversely, though, in the same time period only one driver (
So how does this stack up in terms of team selection this weekend? Let's take a look, starting with the favorites.