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Atlanta 101: Trends to watch, Goodyear tire notes, interactive ways to follow race

Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images

For the first time this season, the NASCAR Cup Series makes its encore performance at a track. On Sunday, it will be under the lights at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Quaker State 400 Available at Walmart (7 p.m. ET, USA Network, NBC Sports App, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

After a stunning result in last Sunday’s debut in downtown Chicago, Cup veterans will look to get back on track at a familiar venue.

Before the action in the Peach State gets underway this weekend, check out some trends to watch ahead of Sunday night, a special occasion for Goodyear, Next Gen updates debuting this weekend and interactive ways to follow all the action.

RELATED: See paint schemes for Atlanta | Betting favorites for Sunday’s Cup race


Sunday will mark the 2,000th win for Goodyear. In honor of the milestone for the tire manufacturing company, an extra trophy will be awarded to the winner of the race.

Cup cars will run the same tire code used in March that is specific to Atlanta. Teams will be allotted one set for Saturday’s qualifying session and an additional eight sets for Sunday evening’s race.


The GEICO Restart Zone returned to its 2022 dimensions after being extended for this season’s first five races.

Beginning Sunday at Atlanta, NASCAR will implement safety updates to the Next Gen car.

Alongside the right-side door bars and extending towards the rear clip, teams will now be mandated to run a steel plate in addition to the chassis adjustments made for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The right-side door bar gussets and the removal of the front clip V-brace are changes that remain, in addition to the removal of other front-clip components to create a softer and larger crush zone for frontal impacts.

Also included in the updates are front bumper strut softening (modifications to existing parts), the requirement of an empty front ballast box and a modified cross brace. NASCAR will incur the cost of all these updates.

Pit-stop speed-limit procedures will also look a little different this weekend with the pit entrance moved to Turn 3 in March. For green-flag stops this weekend, sections 1 and 2 will be limited at 90 mph while sections 3 through 18 will be policed at 45 mph. Under the yellow flag, pit-road speed will be 45 mph for the full distance of pit road, starting from the white commitment line in Turn 3 to pit exit in Turn 1.

Additionally, NASCAR will extend its Damaged Vehicle Policy by one minute in each series, which is consistent with the sanctioning body’s approach to the March event. Cup teams will have eight minutes to repair damage to their vehicles and meet minimum speed requirements, up from its standard seven minutes. Xfinity teams will have seven minutes to fix their cars, up from six.

In the event of a lost wheel that is contained to pit road, the offending team will be subject to a pass-through penalty under green-flag conditions. If the infraction occurs during a caution period, the offending team will restart at the tail end of the field.

If the wheel breaks free outside of pit road, the new rules guidelines mandate a two-lap penalty plus a two-race suspension for two crew members. Each penalty is series-specific: Violations in one series will not impact those crew members’ eligibility to participate in other series.

RELATED: See rules changes for 2023


— Three different drivers have won the three races on the reconfigured Atlanta.

–Ford swept the first eight starting positions in the spring at Atlanta, it was the first time they started 1st-8th since 1965.

— Chevrolet won seven of the last eight drafting track races.

— The driver leading the most laps won the last four Atlanta races.

(Via Racing Insights)


2021: Kurt Busch holds off brother Kyle to win at Atlanta | WATCH

2022: Chase Elliott scores thrilling first victory at home track | WATCH

2023: Joey Logano outduels Brad Keselowski to checkered flag | WATCH


Saturday, July 8

— 5:35 p.m. ET: Qualifying (USA, NBC Sports App, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, July 9

— 7 p.m. ET: Quaker State 400 Available at Walmart (NBC, NBC Sports App, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

MORE: Full weekend schedule at Atlanta


Fans can get in on the action all season long with NASCAR Fan Rewards, a free program that rewards fans for participating in the action when they watch races and play NASCAR Fantasy.

There’s no cost to join. Fans must be 18 years or older to participate in the program.

Earn points by checking into a race from home or at the track, setting your Fantasy Live lineup, making purchases on the shop and more. Points can be redeemed for race tickets, merchandise and VIP experiences at the track, including pace car rides and waving the green flag at qualifying.



NASCAR Mobile has now added support for fans to “Follow the Race” and access live leaderboard and race information from Live Activities in the current app release (v13.2.0), available now. Android users, we didn’t forget you — the same functionality has been custom-built for Android devices, as well.

How to access Live Activities on iPhones:

  1. Make sure your iOS device has been updated to 16.1 or higher.
  2. Available on the leaderboard of all NASCAR Series races.
  3. Click on the three-dot menu near the top right of screen.
  4. Select “Follow the Race.”
  5. Swipe up to access the home screen and you will see the Live Activities at the top.
  6. Lock the device and you will see Live Activities on the Lock Screen.
  7. To turn off, simply visit the leaderboard, click the three-dot menu and “Unfollow the Race.”


Want to manage a team and race your way to the top of the leaderboards? Check out NASCAR Fantasy Live, which is open now. The free-to-play game lets you choose your drivers each week and show off your crew-chief instincts by garaging a driver by the end of Stage 2, and there is a $25,000 prize for the winner.

How to play: Fantasy Live | Set up a team today!


Get additional camera views by logging on to NASCAR Drive, where each week a select number of in-car cameras will be available — as well as a battle cam and an overhead look.

NASCAR has partnered with LiveLike to add fan engagement to the NASCAR Mobile App. Log in to the mobile app during the race for polls, quizzes, the cheer meter and more — and see instant results from NASCAR fans like you.