Chase Elliott fastest in final NASCAR Cup practice at Atlanta

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Chase Elliott was fastest in Saturday’s final practice for Sunday’s Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The second-year Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver, son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott and who grew up about 85 miles away in Dawsonville, Georgia, was the only driver over 188 mph, covering the 1.54-mile oval at 188.015 mph.

Brad Keselowski was second-fastest (187.602 mph), followed by Daytona 500 winner Kurt Busch (187.576), AJ Allmendinger (187.519) and Denny Hamlin (187.506) was fifth-fastest.

Jimmie Johnson, who is going for his third consecutive win at AMS and sixth overall in his Cup career, was 23rd fastest (183.905 mph).

Derrike Cope, who will make his first Cup start Sunday since 2011, was 38th fastest (173.864 mph), while Cody Ware had engine problems and was the slowest at 164.628 mph.

Click here for the full field rundown of the final NASCAR Cup practice.

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NASCAR America: Is there cause for concern with Jimmie Johnson’s performance thus far?

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It’s no secret that Jimmie Johnson is off to a slow start in 2017.

The defending and seven-time NASCAR Cup champion has a starting average of 21.8 and a finishing average of 18.8 in the first five races of this season.

He has just one top-10 finish (ninth at Phoenix), along with 34th at Daytona, 19th at Atlanta, 11th at Las Vegas and 21st Sunday at Fontana.

And let’s not forget he’s 17th in the NASCAR Cup standings heading to one of his strongest tracks, Martinsville Speedway, this Sunday.

On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, we discussed this: After such a slow start to the season, is there a cause for concern over Johnson’s performance?

NASCAR America: Mark Martin is definitely a Kyle Larson fan

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On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin shared his experience of racing in his home state of Arkansas, as well as the excitement he feels watching  Kyle Larson compete in the Cup series.

NASCAR America: Kyle Larson involved in minor fender bender while leaving Fontana

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Kyle Larson‘s spectacular weekend at Auto Club Speedway — winning both Saturday’s Xfinity Series race and Sunday’s Auto Club 400 NASCAR Cup event — left him feeling good.

But shortly upon exiting the facility, Larson and several others were involved in a fender-bender right outside the Speedway. Larson was a passenger, not the driver.

No one was injured, Larson tweeted.

But somehow, isn’t that strange fate?

NASCAR America: Kyle Larson’s Fontana win shows continued maturing as a driver

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Kyle Larson finally broke his streak of three straight runner-up finishes with his win in Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.

On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, the crew discussed his win as well as his maturation as a driver.