After a disappointing end to the NASCAR Cup Series’ West Coast swing, Harrison Burton and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team are aiming to get back on track in this weekend’s Ambetter Health 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Historically, the Atlanta track has been one of the better venues for the Wood Brothers and their No. 21 team. In 111 starts they have 12 wins, nine poles, 33 top-five and 47 top-10 finishes. Most of the Wood Brothers success came on the original Atlanta configuration, but the most recent top-10 came last fall on the track’s current layout, its third, which made its debut last year.
“Heading into Atlanta, the No. 21 Ford team will look to rebound after a few tough weeks,” crew chief Brian Wilson said. “During our last trip to the new Atlanta we came away with a top-10 finish and plan to build from there.”
Wilson said the new layout of the 1.5-mile quad oval, which has more banking and is narrower than before, is unique.
“It’s a combination of speedway racing like Daytona or Talladega, but also has some handling characteristics like an intermediate track,” he said. “Balancing out aerodynamic drag versus downforce will be the focus of this week’s prep.
“As all the Ford teams showed in Daytona, our Mustangs will produce a great balance even while trimmed out for speed.”
Wilson said the March weather in Atlanta, which in the past has had races snowed out, is expected to be a factor this weekend as well.
“Looking at the forecast for this weekend they’re calling for cooler temps,” he said. “The denser air will produce more horsepower and downforce. I believe that will add up to a very entertaining race.”
There will be no practice prior to qualifying, which is set for Saturday at 11:35 a.m. with TV coverage on FOX Sports 1.
Sunday’s 400-mile, 260-lap race is scheduled to get the green flag just after 3 p.m. with the TV coverage switching to FOX.
Stage breaks are planned for Laps 60 and 160.