Hendrick Motorsports is looking to stay hot as the NASCAR Cup Series moves to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Quaker State 400 on Sunday.
A Hendrick driver has won eight of the last 10 Cup events. Four wins belong to Kyle Larson while Alex Bowman and Chase Elliott each have two. That includes Elliott’s victory last week at Road America. And though the team’s fourth driver, William Byron, hasn’t won since Feb. 28 at Miami, he won the pole in last week’s race before Elliott’s victory and is sixth in the Cup Series point standings.
This week, Elliott will be on the pole at his home track. The Dawsonville, Ga., native has finished in the top 10 four times in his first six NASCAR Cup races at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but he has yet to win at the track. He’ll be looking to change that while his teammate Larson will look for another strong finish as he continues to close the gap between himself and Denny Hamlin in the Cup standings. Hamlin is first but leading Larson by just three points.
That said, it may be tough for the Hendrick Chevrolets to win at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The last five races there have been won by Ford drivers. Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick have two wins each while Ryan Blaney won the most recent race earlier this year.
Sporting News is tracking updates and lap-by-lap highlights from the NASCAR Cup Series race Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart.
NASCAR at Atlanta live updates, highlights from Quaker State 400
4:35 p.m. — Kyle Busch continues to lead through 70 laps. There are 10 laps to go in the first stage of this race.
4:28 p.m. — Martin Truex Jr. was supposed to start fifth in the race but was dropped to the back of the pack after failing inspection twice on Sunday. He has since climbed from last (37th) all the way back to 10th overall.
4:26 p.m. — Alex Bowman has climbed into third place. He is the highest-ranked Hendrick Motorsports driver in the race right now. Kyle Larson (eighth) and William Byron (ninth) are also currently in the top 10.
4:24 p.m. — Strike that: Stenhouse is actually out. Tough luck.
Update: Stenhouse is now out.
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) July 11, 2021
4:20 p.m. — Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Daniel Suarez, who were involved in the crash earlier, are not out. The two will continue to race after their crash.
Update: Suarez and Stenhouse are not out.
They have met minimum speed.
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) July 11, 2021
4:18 p.m. — We’re through 40 laps, halfway through the first stage of the 260-lap race. The Busch brothers now lead the race. Kyle leads Kury by 0.57 seconds.
4:17 p.m. — We’ve got the two Busch brothers in the top three. Kurt Busch has climbed into third and trails only Denny Hamlin and his brother, Kyle.
4:09 p.m. — Caution 2 (Lap 31). Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Daniel Suarez were involved in a crash along with Cody Ware. It looks like Ware spun out just a bit and clipped Stenhouse. Anthony Alfredo, the No. 38 car, did well to dodge the crash.
4:05 p.m. — Denny Hamlin takes over first after pit row, taking it from his teammate Kyle Busch. Elliott had a rough pit stop, going a bit too far forward and having to put his car into reverse. That cost him a couple of seconds and dropped him from third to 20th coming out of the caution.
4:02 p.m. — Caution 1 (Lap 25). We’re at a competition caution with the 25th lap in the books. No major issues so far, though Elliott is trying to figure out how to drive his car. That’s part of why he dropped from first to third during the first 25 laps of the race.
4:00 p.m. — We’re through 22 total laps now and Kyle Busch is holding a 2.6 on Chase Elliott, who has Denny Hamlin breathing down his neck.
3:56 p.m. — Kyle Busch had taken the lead on Chase Elliott on the 14th lap. He passed him on the outside lane and had too much speed for Elliott to compete with.
3:55 p.m. — Tyler Reddick had a sweet pass early in the race, coming around a few cars on the outside lane.
3:53 p.m. — Elliott is off to a good start after being on the poll. He has led each of the first 10 laps of this race with Kyle Busch. sitting about half a second behind him.
3:49 p.m. — We’re off with the Quaker State 400!
3:48 p.m. — Martin Truex Jr. has to start at the back of the pack. Originally, he was supposed to be fifth, but he was moved back after failing his inspection twice on Sunday.
3:41 p.m. — The drivers have started their engines. Next up, the race!
3:35 p.m. — Chase Elliott’s car looks sharp. Is the red and black design a head nod to the Falcons?
3:30 p.m. — The pre-race ceremony is beginning now. The race is set to officially begin at 3:48 p.m. ET.
3:25 p.m. — According to the broadcast, Kyle Larson is heavily favored to win this event. He has +220 odds to win at Pointsbet Sportsbook and has won four of the last 10 NASCAR Cup series races.
3:20 p.m. — Corey LaJoie will be driving an… interesting car in the Quaker State 400. His vehicle is covered in “Boss Baby: Family Business” advertisements and imagery, as Dreamworks looks to draw attention to the second feature-length installment in the “Boss Baby” franchise.
3:17 p.m. — The pace car driver for this race will be familiar to NFL fans and Georgia natives. Lions running back D’Andre Swift, a former star at Georgia, will be the honorary pace car driver.
3:15 p.m. — The sun is out now, but there is rain in the area for the race. Fox Sports’ Bob Pockrass has said that it will be “hit-or-miss” throughout the day. So, expect some potential cautions and delays.
Rain cell came through the track. But sun is out now. I know many want a prediction for today but it seems it will be hit-and-miss so will just have to see. pic.twitter.com/wqR6mq2ShV
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) July 11, 2021
3:07 p.m. — This will be the last NASCAR race at Atlanta Motor Speedway before the track undergoes some major changes.
2:54 p.m. — Ryan Blaney won the most recent race at Atlanta Motor Speedway earlier this year. His car is looking sharp ahead of Sunday’s race.
NASCAR start time today
- Time: 3:30 p.m. ET (TV time)
- TV channel: NBCSN (TSN in Canada)
- Live stream: NBCSports.com | fuboTV (7-day free trial)
The green flag for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway is scheduled for 3:48 p.m. ET.
Weather could play a big role in when the race begins, however. The National Weather Service’s Sunday forecast for Hampton, Ga., where the track is located, calls for showers and thunderstorms after 3 p.m. and before 9 p.m., with a high temperature near 90. The chance of precipitation is 60 percent.
NASCAR starting lineup at Atlanta
Here is the complete starting lineup for Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the Quaker State 400, without qualifying. Thirty-seven drivers were entered for the race.
|Start pos.||Driver||Car No.||Team|
|1||Chase Elliott||9||Hendrick Motorsports|
|2||Kyle Busch||18||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|3||Denny Hamlin||11||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|4||Christopher Bell||20||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|5||Martin Truex Jr.||19||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|6||Kyle Larson||5||Hendrick Motorsports|
|7||Tyler Reddick||8||Richard Childress Racing|
|8||Kurt Busch||1||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|9||Ross Chastain||42||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|10||Joey Logano||22||Team Penske|
|11||Chase Briscoe||14||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|12||Matt DiBenedetto||21||Wood Brothers Racing|
|13||Austin Dillon||3||Richard Childress Racing|
|14||Brad Keselowski||2||Team Penske|
|15||Ryan Blaney||12||Team Penske|
|16||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||47||JTG Daugherty Racing|
|17||Alex Bowman||48||Hendrick Motorsports|
|18||Chris Buescher||17||Roush Fenway Racing|
|19||William Byron||24||Hendrick Motorsports|
|20||Aric Almirola||10||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|21||Kevin Harvick||4||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|22||Erik Jones||43||Richard Petty Motorsports|
|23||Cole Custer||41||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|24||Bubba Wallace||23||23XI Racing|
|25||Michael McDowell||34||Front Row Motorsports|
|26||Corey LaJoie||7||Spire Motorsports|
|27||Daniel Suarez||99||Trackhouse Racing Team|
|28||Justin Haley||77||Spire Motorsports|
|29||Ryan Newman||6||Roush Fenway Racing|
|30||Josh Bilicki||52||Rick Ware Racing|
|31||Cody Ware||51||Petty Ware Racing|
|32||Anthony Alfredo||38||Front Row Motorsports|
|33||Bayley Currey||15||Rick Ware Racing|
|34||Ryan Preece||37||JTG Daugherty Racing|
|35||Quin Houff||00||StarCom Racing|
|36||BJ McLeod||78||Live Fast Motorsports|
|37||Garrett Smithley||53||Rick Ware Racing|