Sean Gardner | Getty Images
Everything you need to know for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the 19th regular season event of the 2022 campaign.
Race day info 📝
Where: Hampton, Georgia
Approximate start time: 3 p.m. ET | Full weekend program
TV/Radio: US Network, NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio | Full TV lineup
Provide: Showers and thunderstorms likely, mostly after 2 p.m. ET, according to NOAA.gov | Weather tracking
Race distance: 260 rounds | 400 miles
Steps: 60 | 160 | 260
Pit road speed: 45 mph
Warning car speed: 55 mph
Atlanta 101: Get the full detail
Starting lineup: Where pilots will start | Cup qualifiers rained
Pit stands: Where the drivers will go to the pits
Key things to watch out for 🔑
Great story line
Is Atlanta another wild-card race? If so, then a handful of drivers with just one win this season have cause for concern. There are already 13 winners. Add in a revamped Atlanta, two road courses (which have proven parity this season) and the regular season finale at Daytona International Speedway, and the current playoff standings could be completely different heading into the knockout stages. So for drivers who falter on the right side of the bubble, Sunday’s race presents an incredible opportunity to set their destiny in stone. Get a second win and it’s virtually a guaranteed playoff spot. Missing the opportunity and a winning driver below the cut line only adds to the mounting pressure on the stretch. | Playoff prospects, so far
Who fired? Who is not ?
Suddenly Daytona 500 winner Austin Cindric kept improving on the consistency he struggled to find in his rookie year. Cindric enters Atlanta on a three-race streak with top-seven finishes and has had just one sub-11 finish since Darlington Raceway on May 8. We all know how prominent Team Penske’s superspeedway program has been over the years, with Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney being serial contenders. Cindric should be more comfortable this time around, despite crashing here in the spring race. With a host of new winners upending the standings, that elusive second Cup win couldn’t come at a better time than Sunday.
On the other hand, Austin Dillon is almost certainly in an inescapable situation 219 points below the playoff line. A moderately promising start to the season saw the #3 car enter a handful of races. But lately that has not been the case. Dillon has six straight finishes of 11th or worse and has just one top 10 at Atlanta in 11 starts. Like Cindric, Dillon was also taken out early due to a shipwreck and will need a completely different outcome this time around. With the #8 car locked in a tentative playoff spot, the focus is on the #3’s participation.
Driving under the radar
Although he dominated the spring race, William Byron is not the big favorite this weekend. Even being one of only five multi-race winners this season, Byron’s story still seems to be an underdog. Of course, his breakneck pace to start the season has cooled off in recent weeks. But he has a significant advantage on his side this weekend: no training. Only a spring notebook will give teams a chance to iron out any issues from the previous race – one in which Byron led 111 laps. Car 24 was the one to beat from start to finish, and while trends have favored the others lately, Byron is a solid bet to be first to three wins.
Race day essentials ✅
Our biggest bits of the week – get covered for race day from every angle.
• Paint scheme preview: Denny Hamlin reveals the Coca-Cola scheme | Choose a favorite
• Power ratings: Is Kyle Larson reaching his 2021 form? | Latest Cup Series Driver Rankings
• Fantastic Fast Lane: Bubba Wallace is a must-have for your programming | Top games, sleepers
• NASCAR Bet: Which driver is the favorite for Sunday? | BetMGM Betting Odds
• Drivers at the rear: How far will Tyler Reddick go in the playoffs? | Watch the debate
• Watch the playoffs: How the 2022 Cup playoff picture is shaping up | Bubble battles, playoff locks
Catch the pack 💨
Read headlines from the week leading up to Sunday’s race.
• Control : Two cars lose a crew member, pit selection | Full report
• Joe Gibbs Race: The organization provides an update on the status of Kyle Busch | Read more
• Crucial Race: Analyzing why Bubba Wallace must treat Sunday as Game 7 | Read more
• Crew changes: Christopher Bell and Bubba Wallace swap crew members for Sunday | Drivers provide insight | More details
• Denny Hamlin: The #11 Toyota Camry will sport the Coca-Cola program this weekend | Read more
• 10 things: What to pack when preparing to camp for a NASCAR race | Learn more
• Corey Lajoie: #7 Spire Motorsports driver targeting Hail Mary in Atlanta | Read more
• Why Tyler Reddick? : Richard Childress explains his confidence in driver #8 | Whole story
• Drivers at the rear: Is Ty Gibbs ready for the Cup Series? | Watch the show
• eNASCAR: Steven Wilson as Road America | Results, summary
• Stack pennies: Corey LaJoie recaps mad rush at Road America, Ty Gibbs joins the show | listen now
•Garage 56: Hendrick Motorsports gives insight after visiting the endurance classic last month | Read more
• Without a win, so far: The 2022 Cup Series finalists are still looking for a first victory | Complete list
• Speed Sport Rankings: Chase Elliott stands out on another list | Read more
Get in on the action 💰
Think you know NASCAR? Test your mettle with play, fantasy.
• The Action Network: Why You Should Bet On Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Sunday | Read more
• PariMGM: No clear favorite with wild and unpredictable Atlanta on the horizon | What drivers to bet
• Featured Match: How to bet Michael McDowell against Bubba Wallace | The opinion of an expert
• Play live: Complete NASCAR Fantasy Live 2022 Game Guide | Get the FAQ
• Go until the end : 2022 Cup Series Championship Odds | See them here
New track layout, same story ⏳
Wisconsin and cheese go hand in hand, but see what Road America memories go hand in hand with the Cup Series.
• Do you remember?: List of the most memorable moments in Atlanta | Relive them
• Winner, winner: All-time Cup Series winners in Atlanta | Complete list
• Last season: Kurt Busch beats Kyle in summer showdown for the ages | Race summary
• Race rewind: Best video highlights of 2021 from a busy race on the old layout | look now
Fast facts ⏩
Hard-hitting, race-relevant stats from the experts at Racing Insights.
• Six Atlanta races have ended in overtime, the most recent being in 2016.
• The race winner has led more than 100 laps in four of Atlanta’s last six races.
• Nine of Atlanta’s last 10 winners got their first wins of the season.
• Joey Logano has been passed for the win in three of Atlanta’s last six races.
• Atlanta’s last five races have been won by five different drivers.
Say what? 🎙
Notable quotes from sports stars ahead of Sunday’s race.
• “Atlanta was a really good race for us in the spring. Our team performed well on the new surface of the superspeedway track and without practice this time around, I think that should work in our favour. — Christopher Bell, driver of the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
• “Making the playoffs is the goal. You can’t run for a championship if you don’t make the playoffs, so we start every year before we leave to go to Daytona with a list of goals and the number one priority is to do everything you can to ensure that the regular season puts yourself in a position to make the playoffs. Whether it’s on points or winning races, we’ve done a good job throughout the year scoring points and putting ourselves in a position that would normally have allowed us to win points, but it’s a very unusual year. — Aric Almirola, driver of the #10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford.
• “Old Atlanta versus new is quite a different change. But now, having run a race here earlier this year, I think it kind of helps the transition and you see that with the weekend schedule now with qualifying and the races. Where before we had full workouts. Cars have probably evolved since [the first Atlanta race], setups and engines and aero packages and stuff within the team. So it could be a totally different race. — Kyle Larson, #5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet driver