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Analysis: Focusing on Ford for Atlanta

A lot of talk in recent weeks has been centered around Hendrick Motorsports, and understandably so. The Chevrolet organization has won seven of the last eight points-paying events.

The outlier in that stretch was a win by Joe Gibbs Racing, and with that came chatter about whether the Toyota-backed team is catching up to its competitor.

ATLANTA: Weekend schedule | Betting odds | Paint schemes

Remember, there is still a third manufacturer in the field. Ford just hasn’t visited Victory Lane since April 25. Sunday’s Quaker State 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, though, could be the end of that 10-race drought.Screen Shot 2021 07 07 At 6.18.09 Pm

Ford has won the last five races at Atlanta, making it the only make to win five consecutive times in track history.

Chevrolet’s last Atlanta win was in 2016 with Jimmie Johnson, who is now retired from the series. Toyota’s goes back to 2013 with Kyle Busch.

Those details paint a different picture than the current 2021 landscape in which Chevrolet claims 10 of the 20 races so far, Toyota has six and Ford has four.

Atlanta’s winningest active drivers are Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch, with three victories apiece. Two of Harvick’s wins were in a Ford, the other a Chevrolet. Busch had one win in a Ford, the others in a Dodge, which no longer runs in the sport. Neither the elder Busch nor Harvick has won this season, and they both won in 2020. Busch had one win, but Harvick had a series-best and career-high nine wins. Harvick still drives a Ford, and Busch is now in a Chevrolet.

BetMGM put Harvick at 9-1 odds for Sunday, making him for the highest-favored Ford driver and putting him fourth overall. Busch is further down on the list at 33-1.

Chase Elliott is then 8-1 from the pole position, Kyle Busch represents the highest Toyota at 15-2 and Kyle Larson is 9-4 to put Chevrolet atop the board.

Ryan Blaney, who won the Atlanta race earlier this season, is an 10-1 favorite. He actually took the lead from Larson with nine laps remaining in the 325-lap event. Compared to Larson’s race-high 269 laps led, Blaney was out for just 25 – including the most important one. There were three Fords in the top 10, three Toyotas and four Chevys.

Chevrolet has been dominant in 2021, with Toyota trailing, but Ford has dominated at Atlanta in recent years – and Atlanta is up next.