Top 5 – Bottom 5 From Atlanta

(Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

Two weeks in to the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Season and the stories are already overflowing, questions to ponder and some comers and goers. A few surprises sitting at the top of the points standings and with the new format, that could change in a hurry.
This will be the first of a weekly feature that points out the highlights and unfortunately, the lowlights of each week.
It’s “Top 5 and Bottom 5“
TOP 5 From Atlanta. It’s good…
1: Ford – After starting the season off in Victory Lane with Stewart-Haas Racing and Kurt Busch at Daytona, The blue oval brigade was once again a force in Atlanta with SHR team and Kevin Harvick leading 292 laps, winning both segments but having issues on pit road late opened the door for another Ford in Brad Keselowski to roll in to Victory Lane.
2: Brad Keselowski – Having spent most of the day in front of the field, Keselowski averaged a 4.9 average running position for the day, but was unlikely to have anything for Harvick. It’s a good thing Vegas is up next, because “Bad Brad” is now “Lucky Brad” after capitalizing on Harvicks speeding penalty to score win number one of the season.
3: Ed Clark and Atlanta Motor Speedway – In January it was announced that the track would be resurfaced for the first time in 20 years, but drivers over the triple header weekend have said enough about the fun of slipping and sliding that a conversation is being held and may give the Georgia track surface a reprieve.
4: Chase Elliott – The hometown driver continues to give fans thrills with his fearless driving style and non willingness to accept second best. Elliott had the second best average running position, never running outside of the top five. He sits on the top of many fantasy picks and should pay off soon.
5: The Weatherman – He is typically a very unliked person when we roll in to Atlanta, but a chamber of commerce weekend at the track made life for the guys and girls in front of the green screen telling you when it’s gonna rain. Thankfully…it wasn’t Sunday.
BOTTOM 5 From Atlanta   It’s the not so good…
1: Kevin Harvick – No question he wants to forget Atlanta more than anyone. Dominating a race he hasn’t won at since his first win in 2001, and speeding on pit road with 15 laps to go. You know it’s bad when the wife is finding people to blame.
2: Denny Hamlin – Running as high as second and looking like one of the few cars that may have been able to challenge Harvick for the win, a rare occurrence hit the 11 Fed-Ex team…Mechanical failure. A 38th place finish leaves Hamlin 20th in points heading to Vegas.
3: AJ Allmendinger – A solid start to the season as put “The Dinger” in 11th in points 40 points out of the lead, but there could be a big dinger coming for the JTG Daugherty racing driver after three lug nuts were found to be loose on the Kroger Chevrolet which could result in a 35 point penalty, crew chief suspension for three weeks and 65,000 dollar fine. He could go from 11th to tied with his teammate in 35th.
4: Jimmie Johnson – After two speeding penalties in the mid portion of the race Johnson was lucky to end up 15th in the race. He still sits 66 points out of the lead. That could change in a week, but Chad Knaus is still shaking his head over that. We still haven’t found out if Johnson sped out of the track after the race or not.
5: Dale Earnhardt Jr. –  After exiting Daytona early, the sports most popular driver needed some points and a rebound on one of his better tracks. The 88 team may want to make sure they brought the right car to Atlanta after spending most of the day in the mid 20‘s and 5 laps off the pace, Junior may just be excited for a few weeks out west.
And there you have our first “Top 5 and Bottom 5 from the weekend” We will look next week at the good and the bad from Las Vegas.
What happens in Vegas, is talked about right here.
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Stephen Conley

If it races, I'll write about it, talk about it or shoot it with a camera.

I began pursuing a career in motorsports journalism immediately after attending college at Kent State University where the Indians an Browns just didn't do it for me.

The excitement and the fans make everything I put out there worth while, it's been an exciting ten years so far having covered everything from the Daytona 500 to the Rolex 24 and Indycar at Mid-Ohio.

What I like to bring is a look behind the scenes, a look at what and who makes the sport grow. From the guy that welds pieces back at the shop to the host in the tv booth.

Everyone has a story and I like to tell it. My main focus here at TPF is looking at the men and women behind the microphone and cameras, plus I also host a weekly show called Race Talk Live every Wednesday night at 8EST.

I have a full time job working at a local Country radio station that is also the MRN affiliate in central Ohio, I host an overnight show, plus I'm the sports director, writing and producing programs on our AM sports channel and getting relevant local sports for our two FM channels and handling all the NASCAR coverage.

My life long goal is to become a member of MRN or PRN Radio and bring the races to you. I hope that what I share now is enjoyable and gives you a unique look in to the world of motorsports.

See you at a track soon

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