NASCAR at Atlanta 2014 Live Stream, TV Schedule and More

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 30, 2014

HAMPTON, GA - AUGUST 29:  Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John's Chevrolet, poses with the trophy after qualifying at the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 29, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Drivers outside the Chase have just two more chances to make it, and their next opportunity will come Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' best will look to conquer the fastest track on the circuit as they vie for supremacy in the Oral-B USA 500. The absence of restrictor plates at a track as big as Atlanta makes it one of the most exciting and unpredictable races on the schedule.

Many teams will have nothing to lose since they'll need to win one of the next two races in order to qualify for the Chase. That means there will be plenty of gambling and intriguing strategies throughout Sunday night's event.

Here is everything you need to know about the Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta, including a look at which drivers have the best chance of reaching Victory Lane.

 

Where: Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia

When: Sunday, Aug. 31, at 7:30 p.m. ET

Watch: ESPN

Live Steam: WatchESPN

Radio: Performance Racing Network

 

Qualifying Order

Qualifying Lineup for Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta
PositionDriverCar No.
1Kevin Harvick4
2Brad Keselowski2
3Kyle Larson42
4Ryan Newman31
5Matt Kenseth20
6Martin Truex Jr.78
7Aric Almirola43
8Kyle Busch18
9Jeff Gordon24
10Kasey Kahne5
11Carl Edwards99
12Tony Stewart14
13Austin Dillon3
14Joey Logano22
15Jamie McMurray1
16Jimmie Johnson48
17Denny Hamlin11
18Greg Biffle16
19Brian Vickers55
20Dale Earnhardt Jr.88
21Clint Bowyer15
22Kurt Busch41
23A.J. Allmendinger47
24Casey Mears13
25Michael Annett7
26Ricky Stenhouse Jr.17
27Danica Patrick10
28Mike Bliss37
29Ty Dillon33
30Alex Bowman23
31Justin Allgaier51
32Marcos Ambrose9
33Paul Menard27
34Joe Nemechek77
35Brett Moffitt66
36Josh Wise98
37David Gilliland38
38David Ragan34
39Ryan Truex83
40Cole Whitt26
41J.J. Yeley32
42Landon Cassill40
43Reed Sorenson36
NASCAR.com

 

Drivers to Watch

Carl Edwards

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With two wins in the eighth spot in points, Carl Edwards is enjoying an excellent final season with Roush Fenway Racing. He will certainly be among the top contenders in the Chase, but he has a chance to put himself in an even better position if he can win one of the next two races.

Five different drivers have three victories this season to lead the Sprint Cup Series, and it would behoove the No. 99 team to join that group. With three career wins and 10 top-10 finishes in just 16 tries at Atlanta, Edwards has as good of a chance as anyone to take the checkered flag Sunday.

While Edwards qualified a somewhat disappointing 11th, that shouldn't matter much once the race begins. In fact, he has already proved that his car is extremely fast by beating out everyone else in this week's first practice at Atlanta, according to Dustin Long of Motor Racing Network:

All the pieces are in place for Edwards to win for a third time this season. Doing so certainly won't be easy, but he'll be determined to come out on top with an improved spot in the Chase on the line.

 

Jimmie Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JULY 26:  Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's / Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, looks on from the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor S
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The 2014 season has been an up-and-down one for Jimmie Johnson, but it seems as though he is finally rounding into form. After finishing 28th or worse in three out of four races, the six-time Sprint Cup champion now has consecutive top-10 results to his credit.

Johnson is also among the best in the business at Atlanta, with three wins and 13 top-10 finishes in 22 races. As uneven as this campaign has been for JJ, a victory Sunday night would suddenly vault him to the top of the Chase standings all by himself.

It would also give him a great deal of confidence entering NASCAR's version of the playoffs, and that would be bad news for every other driver. As evidenced by this tweet courtesy of Johnson, that confidence seems to already be building:

Johnson can certainly afford to take some risks in this race since his spot near the top of the Chase is already secure. With that in mind, it will be interesting to see where he and the No. 48 team stand once the Oral-B USA 500 reaches its latter stages.

 

Kasey Kahne

TALLADEGA, AL - MAY 02: Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance / Thankamillionteachers.com Chevrolet, on track during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 2, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo b
Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

Of the drivers currently outside the top 16 in the Chase standings, it can be argued that Kasey Kahne has the best chance to triumph Sunday night. With two wins and top-10 finishes in nearly half his starts at Atlanta, Kahne feels right at home on NASCAR's fastest track.

Kahne is 13th in points, but the lack of a victory on his resume this season leaves him in a desperate situation. He knows that it isn't ideal, but he and his crew are not feeling sorry for themselves, per Bob Pockrass of Sporting News.

"It's just a tough spot," Kahne said. "It's a spot that we wish we weren't in but we're in. We just have to do the best we can and get on to the Chase."

He has two more chances to make that happen, but winning at Atlanta probably represents his best chance considering how much success he has had there in the past. Kahne has raced well enough to deserve a Chase spot, but luck hasn't been on his side in terms of crossing that finish line first.

All it takes is one win to turn an entire season around, and Kahne will do everything in his power to get it.

 

Prediction

Edwards, Johnson and Kahne should all be in the mix provided they are able to avoid crashes or mechanical problems throughout Sunday's race. With that said, they are far from the only drivers with a legitimate shot to win.

No active, full-time driver has won more at Atlanta than Jeff Gordon, who has five career victories. He also happens to be in the midst of his best season in years, so he is certainly a big-time threat.

Kyle Busch isn't in particularly good form, but he has two Atlanta wins under his belt, including last year's race. He is the type of driver who has the ability to turn things around at any time due to his free-wheeling style.

Kevin Harvick's career stats at Atlanta aren't as good as some of his counterparts, but he does have one Atlanta win, and he will be starting from the pole as well.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth both have a history of success at Atlanta, so they shouldn't be counted out either.

This promises to be one of the wildest races of the season, with so many drivers desperately trying to make the Chase, but look for Edwards to beat them all and pick up his third win this year.

 

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