Ambetter Health 400 at Atlanta Preview – Motorsports Tribune

Ambetter Health 400 at Atlanta Preview – Motorsports Tribune

By David Morgan, Associate Editor

After a three-week stint out west, the NASCAR Cup Series is much closer to home this weekend as it heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the second superspeedway race of the season – Sunday’s Ambetter Health 400.

Atlanta’s aging racing surface, which had been in place since 1997, held together as long as possible, but the 260 laps around the 1.5-mile track in July 2021 were the last on that particular surface as the track underwent a repave and reconfiguration for the 2022 season.

The 24-degree banking in the turns was increased to 28 degrees, making the banking the highest among intermediate tracks in NASCAR. The straightaways remain banked at five degrees. In addition, the racing surface was narrowed from 55 feet to 40 feet in the turns, 52 feet on the front stretch, and 42 feet on the back stretch.

Two races have now been held on the superspeedway version of Atlanta, with Hendrick Motorsports sweeping both races. William Byron, who comes into the weekend having won back-to-back races, claimed the win in the spring race, while hometown hero Chase Elliott captured the victory in the summer race.

Following their massive penalty that was handed out a few days ago, Hendrick will look to keep their streak alive and start to recoup some of the points losses that they have been dealt.

On the manufacturer front, Chevrolet is undefeated through the first four races of the season, with the other manufacturers hoping to use the wild-card nature of “new Atlanta” to their advantage and break the bowtie stranglehold on the Cup Series in 2023.

As is always the case at superspeedway races, there will be no practice this weekend. The drivers and teams will show up and qualify on Saturday before heading into Sunday’s main event.

By the Numbers

What: Ambetter Health 400, NASCAR Cup Series Race No. 5 of 36

Where: Atlanta Motor Speedway – Hampton, Georgia (Opened: 1960; Reconfigured: 1997/2021)

TV/Radio: FOX, 3:00 pm ET / PRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Channel 90

Track Size: 1.54-mile quad-oval

Banking: 28 degrees in turns; 5 degrees on straightaways

Race Length: 260 laps, 400.4 miles

Stage Lengths: First stage – 60 laps, Second stage and Final stage – 100 laps

March 2022 Winner: William Byron – No. 24 Chevrolet (Started 12th, 111 laps led)

July 2022 Winner: Chase Elliott – No. 9 Chevrolet (Started on pole, 96 laps led)

Track Qualifying Record: Geoffrey Bodine…

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