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Denny Hamlin Names Atlanta Uncontested Winner Against Two Toughest NASCAR Race Tracks

Published 02/28/2024, 7:05 PM EST

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The Ambetter Health 400 race transpired at the Atlanta Motor Speedway with a lot of drama. Crashes began unfolding as soon as the second lap, where Atlanta recorded its biggest wreck ever. Denny Hamlin may have stunned the NASCAR community with a brilliant win at the Busch Light Clash. He reveled in his villain era, but Atlanta had other plans for him.

Denny Hamlin was caught in a number of wrecks last weekend. He was driving inside the top 10 when Kyle Busch clipped him on lap 53 and went spinning into the infield then. He again faced bad luck when Joey Logano wrecked at the end of Stage 2. These experiences rattled Denny Hamlin, who recently admitted to the fiery nature of the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Denny Hamlin describes Atlanta Track as a drafting beast

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NASCAR hosts some of its best races on superspeedways, also known as ‘drafting tracks’. Fans brace themselves to enjoy the close-quarters racing, even playing field, big crashes, and unpredictability. Hence, everybody is aware of the sporting thrill surrounding these racetracks. They include Daytona International Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, and most recently, Atlanta Motor Speedway.

But Denny Hamlin recently singled out one of them as the most challenging. After the Atlanta race, analysis is afloat regarding the race. In a recent episode of his podcast, ‘Actions Detrimental’, Hamlin broke down the reasons for Atlanta’s supremacy. He said, “I think with the track being so narrow, handling definitely plays a role for sure. Not all the cars are just stuck to the racetrack, and it’s strictly air that you’re battling; you’re battling being aero tight behind somebody or being loose when someone’s behind you. It’s certainly, this race is more difficult than a Daytona or Talladega.

 

Hamlin went on to draw a comparison between the three superspeedways. He exclaimed, “The actual draft and the superspeedway effect of the draft is more pronounced in Atlanta, 100% more than what it is at Talladega. And like 50% more, it feels like, than Daytona. And what I believe is because air just gets trapped in the facility, and the smaller it is, the more the air just gets swirling.”

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The Atlanta race saw multiple collisions. For instance, Hamlin’s encounter with Kyle Busch was unexpected. The two cars collided, and the former had to return to the pits for repairs. One of the other major factors that Atlanta saw in Next Gen races on superspeedways was fuel strategy.

Did the Daytona 500 drivers save gas to speed up in the end?

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Ever since the Next Gen car debuted in 2022, fuel strategy has taken center stage in NASCAR races. The season’s first race at Daytona saw most drivers spend the majority of the race saving gas. For instance, A.J. Allmendinger lost the draft in stage one and ran the risk of getting lapped. But suddenly he ran as much as five miles per hour faster than the drafting leaders.

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Adding on to the same thought, the Legacy Motor Club’s Erik Jones shared his views. “It’s frustrating, I don’t know how to fix it. It’s really hurt the racing for sure at these tracks. It’s a 480-mile fuel-saving race and a 20-mile sprint of chaos to the finish. I wish we could race more during the day.”

With the Atlanta race still haunting drivers’s dreams, the Las Vegas race is fast approaching the coming weekend. Stay tuned.

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Written by:

Sumedha Mukherjee

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Sumedha Mukherjee is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports who is known for her in-depth track analysis as well as her lifestyle coverage of Cup drivers like Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick. Inspired by the Kiwi's journey so far, Sumedha has also written pieces on Shane Van Gisbergen, predicting how the Supercars Champion would do in the new and unfamiliar American setting. Pairing her research skills with her vast experience as a writer, Sumedha creates stories her readers can easily get lost in.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta