We saw a big one early in the Quaker State 400 in Atlanta. NASCAR is exciting when things are unpredictable, but no one saw this coming. Just after B.J. McLeod and others triggered a back-of-the-pack caution, the front of the pack got wiped out. Just the top three avoided what was a catastrophic wreck for a few teams. Just as we thought Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney would cruise to a three-stage battle, things were shaken up for sure.
Among those involved was Martin Truex Jr., who was having a good day up until this point. Kyle Larson was struggling with controlling his car for most of the race before the wreck. Additionally, Ross Chastain was involved in it – as well as Michael McDowell, who was having a good day. It was just a mess that caused more issues for some teams, and gave opportunities to others.
Starting back up on lap 38 of the second stage, Willliam Byron, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Tyler Reddick, Harrison Burton and Todd Gilliland were the ones leading the race. Not a usual list of names in the top-five.
The new Atlanta Motor Speedway changed again from the spring to now. The track now has three lanes, and more three-wide racing has already been seen early on in the race. So, this one could get very interesting. It’s superspeedway driving but on a track that is less than two miles long. That’s a recipe for excitement, even though some drivers won’t be so excited after this gets sorted out.
You hate to see those leaders get taken out, but this could lead to some exciting finishes. If we can get another first-time winner on the season, that would be something.
Quaker State 400 Had No Qualifying Due to Rain
To make this race even trickier for these drivers, no qualifying laps were done this weekend for the Quaker State 400. Rain last night caused the qualifiers to be thrown out and it gave Chase Elliott the pole position once again. He has never won at Atlanta in front of his home crowd, but he’s going to be eyeing a win today. He’s still in it after the big wreck – he’s just gotta be patient and work his way back up.
This race is throwing so many curveballs to these Cup Series drivers. However, drivers like William Byron are going to be hard to beat and there is a slew of other drivers between the Georgia native and that checkered flag. Of course, the race is a long one, and there will be chances for many drivers to take a stab at the lead.
So, we’ll see what happens. This race could end with an Elliott win. Or, it might be Burton or Stenhouse – hell, Reddick might go back-to-back after that confidence boost at Road America.