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Drivers to watch in NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway

Parker Kligerman, Jeff Burton, and Marty Snider scrutinize William Byron's second straight NASCAR Cup victory, with Kligerman calling the Hendrick driver comfortable and confident, and Burton dubbing him clutch.

Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway will be the third at the 1.5-mile track since it was revamped in 2021.

Hendrick Motorsports drivers William Byron and Chase Elliott won last year’s Cup races there.

The track changes -- most notably higher banking in the turns -- made drafting much more important. The racing there now leans more toward Daytona-Talladega competition than the typical 1.5-mile track.

MORE: NBC Sports Power Rankings: William Byron is No. 1

Chevrolet drivers have won all four Cup races this season.

A look at drivers to watch Sunday at Atlanta:


William Byron

  • Points position: 29th
  • Best seasonal finish: 1st (Las Vegas I, Phoenix I)
  • Past at Atlanta: Won last March and has led 154 laps over the past four AMS races

Byron’s early-season burst has made him the driver to beat. He put together back-to-back wins (at Las Vegas and Phoenix) for the first time in his Cup career and has three stage wins this season. He and other Hendrick Motorsports drivers will be racing at Atlanta under the shadow of severe penalties issued to the team Wednesday.

Ross Chastain

  • Points position: 2nd
  • Best seasonal finish: 3rd (Auto Club)
  • Past at Atlanta: Runner-up finishes in both races last season

Chastain’s run at Phoenix Sunday was marred by another altercation with Denny Hamlin, this time on the last lap. He figures to be a contender at AMS with 74 laps led at the track last year.

Daniel Suarez

  • Points position: 7th
  • Best seasonal finish: 4th (Auto Club)
  • Past at Atlanta: Finishes of 4th and 6th last year

Suarez finished outside the top 10 for the first time this season at Phoenix, his run hampered by a pair of pit-road speeding penalties. He has led laps in two of the past four races at Atlanta.


Kevin Harvick

  • Points position: 1st
  • Best seasonal finish: 5th (Auto Club, Phoenix I)
  • Past at Atlanta: 3 career wins

Harvick owns three wins at Atlanta but finished 12th and 21st in the races at the “new” AMS last year. He enters Atlanta with three straight top-nine runs this year. Can he finally close out a win?

Brad Keselowski

  • Points position: 9th
  • Best seasonal finish: 7th (Auto Club)
  • Past at Atlanta: 2 career wins

Keselowski and Chris Buescher, his teammate at RFK Racing, have shown early-season improvement in Keselowski’s second year of operating as an owner of the team. Keselowski finished 12th and 18th in the first two races on the repaved Atlanta track last year.

Kyle Busch

  • Points position: 5th
  • Best seasonal finish: 1st (Auto Club)
  • Past at Atlanta: 2 career wins

Busch’s worst finish in his first season at Richard Childress Racing is a 19th in the season opener at Daytona. He won the following week at Auto Club Speedway. He has won twice at AMS but was 33rd and 20th on the new surface last year.