HAMPTON, Ga – Ryan Newman is looking like a legitimate threat to win Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Newman, qualified his No. 31 Chevrolet on the front row for the second straight year in Atlanta and 12th time of his career. But, he also was quickest in the final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice on Saturday afternoon too.
Newman, turned a lap of 184.868 mph.
Last place starter Martin Truex Jr. had his No. 78 second on the speed chart with a lap around the 1.54-mile Georgia track at 184.597 mph. Truex, failed qualifying inspection three times, so he never made a lap in Friday’s qualifying session.
Paul Menard (184.566 mph), Denny Hamlin (183.566 mph) and Joey Logano (183.300 mph) rounded out the top five.
But, in Atlanta, the 10 lap average chart is more beneficial to look at than all our single lap speed. The racing surface in Atlanta is over 20 years old, the second oldest on the schedule. That leaves some big tire fall off. We were seeing speed drop off more than 10 mph over a 10 lap run.
So, whoever has the best long run speed and can conserve their tires will be the ones to beat.
Those drivers are the Toyota ones.
Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch were 1-2 on the 10 lap average chart. But, between them, pole sitter Busch had the most eye opening 10 lap average because his took place between laps 21-30 on a run. Hamlin’s was the 1st through 10th.
Truex, was also on that list in fifth giving Toyota’s three of the top five long run speeds.