CONCORD, N.C. -  This weekend, the NASCAR Cup Series makes its second stop of the season at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Unlike the spring race, Sunday’s event will take place under the lights. 

While the series has raced at the repaved and reconfigured Georgia track on three occasions, a night race will bring a completely different atmosphere to the event. With a lower track temperature, expect more grip to be available for drivers to make daring moves. 

An added wrinkle will also be a unique pit road entry that is being utilized by the track for the second time. Rather than exit turn four at speed, drivers will exit on the backstretch with pit entry located on the apron in turn three. For green-flag pit stops, sections one and two of pit road will be limited at 90 mph and sections three through 18 will be limited to 45 mph. Under caution, the full distance of pit road will be 45 mph from the white commitment line to the exit in turn one.

Hendrick Motorsports has visited victory lane 16 times at Atlanta dating back to the team’s first win at the venue in 1989 with Darrell Waltrip. Since then, Ken Schrader, Jerry Nadeau, Kasey Kahne, William Byron and Chase Elliott have each matched Waltrip’s single victory. Vice chairman Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson are the only repeat winners from Hendrick Motorsports at the Georgia track, each earning five victories during their careers. 

RELATED: Elliott gains in playoff pursuit, looks back at Atlanta win

The street race at Chicago resulted in a strong run for Elliott and the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts team. With a third-place finish, Elliott made up considerable ground on the playoff cutline as he heads into his home track. With eight regular season races remaining, he now sits 55 points outside of the provisional playoff picture. Last year’s summer event in the "Peach State" saw the Dawsonville, Georgia, native score his first win at the 1.54-mile facility. Elliott has also shown considerable pace since the track’s reconfiguration prior to the 2022 season with 125 laps led (third-most among drivers in the field). He did not compete in the spring race as he was sidelined by injury. 

Sunday's race will also be the seventh edition of the Chase Elliott Foundation's "DESI9N TO DRIVE" program benefiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In partnership with NAPA and Hendrick Motorsports, Elliott’s race car and all elements of his race uniform – racing suit, gloves, shoes and helmet – were designed by two cancer patients at Children’s. This year's theme is summer nights. 

PHOTOS: See every angle of the No. 9 NAPA/Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Chevy

Kyle Larson has done everything but win at Atlanta in his career. The Elk Grove, California, native has earned two runner-up finishes while leading 419 laps – the most by any driver without a win at the 1.54-mile track. That laps led total are his sixth-most at any one circuit on the schedule. The No. 5 team has been snakebit on drafting tracks this season. In the three races on that track type, late-race incidents have found Larson while he was running in the top five. 

With a win already under his belt in the first race at the reconfigured Atlanta track, Byron is looking to make this the first venue he has multiple Cup Series wins at. The 25-year-old driver's two drafting track wins also include his first Cup Series triumph at Daytona International Speedway in the summer of 2020. Stats would point to the driver of the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 as a favorite. In the three races since the repave, his 152 laps led is tied for the most by any driver. Byron is also looking to grab the regular season standings lead and he sits nine points back of Martin Truex Jr. for that spot. 

RELATED: Relay Payments to sponsor Byron, No. 24 team in 2023

Alex Bowman is looking to rebound at Atlanta. The driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 has had mixed results on the high-banked 1.54-mile track. In two of the three races he has competed at on this configuration, Bowman has earned top-15 results. For the season on drafting tracks, the 30-year-old driver has three top-15 finishes and a 10.7 average finish, headlined by a top-five finish in the season-opening DAYTONA 500. Bowman sits 26 points outside the provisional playoff grid and will look to make up valuable points on the cutline with a solid run in Georgia. 

Here's what you need to know to catch this weekend’s action.

RELATED: Paint scheme preview: Atlanta summer race


There will be no practice at Atlanta this weekend. Qualifying will take place 5:45 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 8, on USA Network. The top 10 drivers in the opening round of qualifying will compete for the pole position in the final round of qualifying. 

Bowman will be the 10th driver to take time, while Byron will be the 33rd entry to hit the track for qualifying. Elliott and Larson will go 35th and 36th, respectively, as they will be the third-to-last and second-to-last drivers in round one. 


The Cup Series main event will begin at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 9, with coverage available on USA NetworkPeacock will have a post-race show following the Cup Series race.


The Cup Series race will be broadcast on PRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).


Yes. Download the NBC Sports App or Peacock for online coverage. Fans can also keep up with the action on Twitter by following @TeamHendrick.  

Data provided by Racing Insights

3: Top-five finishes streak for Elliott and the No. 9 team. This is the longest active top-five streak in the series.

8: Top-five results earned by Larson in 2023. The 30-year-old driver leads Byron (second-most) by one in this category. 

14: Bowman has finished inside the top-14 spots in each of the first three races on drafting tracks this season. The Tucson, Arizona, native also earned a top-five result at the season-opening DAYTONA 500.

31: Hendrick Motorsports' Cup Series record of 31 wins on drafting tracks are 11 more than the next closest team. 

194: Laps led by Byron on drafting tracks since the start of the 2022 season. The mark is the most by any driver in the Cup Series.