NXS: What to Watch For — Hisense 250

Kyle Souza NASCAR, Southeast 0 Comments

ATLANTA, GA and CHARLOTTE N.C. — Preview by Race Chaser Online New England Correspondent Kyle Souza — Dave Tulis/AP photo —

After Ryan Reed stormed to the win on the final lap last Saturday at Daytona, the NASCAR Xfinity Series will debut their new name at a 1.5 mile track for the first time today at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

This race was in the summer months last year, so a switch to the chilly late winter month of February will completely change things for the teams.

Let us take a look at what to expect during this afternoon’s race:

TV/Radio Coverage

TV: Fox Sports 1 (2 p.m. EST)

Radio: PRN (Performance Racing Network) 1:30 p.m. EST

Weather

With NASCAR swapping the Atlanta race to February instead of having it in the fall, fans and teams are going to be dealing with some chilly temperatures all day long.  Low 40’s are forecasted for much of the daytime hours and will make the cars extremely fast and will give the drivers plenty of grip.  The sun is expected to be shining over the XFINITY Series teams however, despite the cold.

Tire Wear

Any race that is held at Atlanta — no matter the series — comes down to tires. Does someone pit late in the last run and come through drivers with older tires? Will the final stint of the race go green and no one will have to make a tough pit road decision?

The Favorites

Kevin Harvick (No. 88 Bad Boy Buggies Chevy)

Does anyone remember the performance that Harvick put on in the fall?  Harvick lead the final 159 laps of the race that night and absolutely tore apart the field behind him.  His experience in the JR Motorsports ride all of last season should only help his continued success as he goes into season number two.  He is the clear cut favorite going into the weekend.

Joey Logano (No. 22 Discount Tire Ford)

Any time that the No. 22 Team Penske XFINITY Series ride hits the track, it is a threat to go to victory lane.  Even though Logano has not won in that ride since late 2013, expect him to be in the front when it matters on Saturday.  He is filled with mommentum following his win in the Sprint Cup Series at Daytona.

Kyle Larson (No. 42 ENEOS Chevy)

Atlanta Motor Speedway can favor any driver who wants to run up near the wall.  Is there anyone more excited about that then Kyle Larson?  He can rim-ride around any track, any time, and will be right in his wheel house at Atlanta. He has run strong in the past in the XFINITY Series at Atlanta, finishing third last fall.

The Underdogs

Chris Buescher (No. 60 Fastenal Ford)

Buescher has quietly become a staple in the XFINITY Series since his win at Mid-Ohio last season. His strong runs in the second half of 2014 and his second place finish at Daytona to start this season bring him flying into Atlanta with momentum.  Watch for a solid top ten run from Buescher.

Brian Scott (No. 2 Shore Lodge Chevy)

Scott has become another staple of NXS competition and also one of the top series regulars. His experiences with RCR in the past few seasons have him poised and ready for continued and additional success this season.

Who Wins 

Kyle Larson (No. 42 ENEOS Chevy)

Larson is a high-line master when it comes to the XFINITY Series, something he will need on Saturday afternoon.  Expect Larson to hang around in the top six or seven for much of the day and make a charge to the front in the final fifty laps.  He will likely make the pass for the win on Kevin Harvick to score the checkers on Saturday.

Buckle up fans, it’s Raceday!

The opinions expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Race Chaser Online, Speed77 Radio, the Performance Motorsports Network, their sponsors or other contributors.

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