NASCAR REPORT

Quick Trip Folds of Honor 500 preview

credit to https://outlawnation.com/nascar-atlanta/ for the photo

The Monster Energy Cup Series heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Folds Of Honor Quiktrip 500.

Since 2015, this track has played host to the second race of the season and after all the smoke cleared last week at Daytona, these drivers will now face a new challenge. As mentioned last week, the sport will be using a new rules package here at Atlanta which has caused much intrigue among spectators and drivers alike. There have been many questions regarding this such as, Will there be pack racing like we saw at Daytona? Will the cars be tremendously slower than they have been? How will it effect the drivers ability to pass? All of these questions should be answered come first practice on Friday when the drivers go out and get a feel for the new set-ups.

Last Week Denny Hamlin captured his second Daytona 500 victory. It was a sentimental win for him and his owner Joe Gibbs after the loss of Joe's son JD. Over the course of the team's history, JD was a major part of the team and its success. His career in racing began in 1998 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. He found most of his success when he left racing to become the president of the team in 2007 as his dad went back to coaching the Redskins. Over the years following JD would help shape one of NASCAR's most prestigious teams, in fact Hamlin was quoted in a Racingnews.CO article by Shane Walters as saying "JD was instrumental in bringing me to JGR. He is essentially the reason I got hired." Not only was the win huge for Denny but for the whole company as well. When the checkered flag flew, Joe Gibbs Racing finished 1-2-3 with Kyle Busch and Erik Jones finishing second and third. At the end of the day, I am sure somewhere JD was looking down and smiling ear to ear.

Another big story-line was the dispute between Joey Logano and Michael McDowell. In the closing laps, Logano appeared to have a big run on the leader and needed drafting help from McDowell. After the race Joey assumed that because both drivers drove for Ford, McDowell and his Front Row Racing team would be willing to help him win but instead McDowell chose to draft with Kyle Busch instead. When confronted McDowell replied "My team doesn't pay me to push Joey Logano to a win." Overall, what McDowell was saying makes a lot of sense for a team that does nothing for Front Row Motorsports why should McDowell and his team do anything for Logano? Over time NASCAR drivers have become more vocal about things like this and while this isn't anything new, Joey was wrong to go and confront McDowell for something he would have probably done if roles were reversed. I wish McDowell luck this season in his situation because I think that he is a good race-car driver and I commend him on not caving to Logano and the Penske elites.

The favorite coming into this week's race at Atlanta has to be Kevin Harvick. He enters this race at 4/1 odds of winning on Sunday and he also holds the third highest average finishing position here. Despite last week's disappointing 26th place finish, this is a track where Harvick absolutely shines. Another good reason is that Harvick is the only driver who won in anything remotely close to the aero package they are running on Sunday, Harvick won last year's famous All-star race. He should be tough to beat come Sunday. It should be quite the race as no one really knows what we are going to see but overall it will be intriguing to watch.

(All stats and information used in this article is brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com the best website for all NASCAR stats).

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TEXANS HAVE ZERO DEPTH AT CORNER

Here's what Davante Adams' big day against the Texans really proved

Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images

Seven weeks into the season, Bradley Roby has been the sole bright spot playing for a secondary that has been subpar at best. He entered Week 7 against the Green Bay Packers trailing only Eric Murray for the most tackles as a defensive back, while owning the Houston Texans' only interception of the season.

During his media availability on Thursday, Roby spoke about having the Texans' confidence to trust him as the primary defender shadowing the opposing team's best receiver.

And with Davante Adams coming to NRG Stadium with Aaron Rodgers on Sunday, Roby had an opportunity to illustrate why Houston's coaching staff have so much faith in him.

Three plays into the game, Roby sustained a knee injury that sidelined him the rest of the afternoon. In his absence, the Texans felt his importance competing with a depleted secondary.

Adams would go on to have a career day against the Texans. He recorded a career-best 196 receiving yards on 13-of-18 targets and two touchdowns — as the Packers handed the Texans a 35-20 loss on Sunday.

Had the Fort Worth native avoided the injury, would it have resulted in a victory for the Texans? Perhaps not. It is always hard for a team to come away victorious after going scoreless during the first half, but Roby would have limited the destruction caused by Adams. Rogers completed four deep passes where he recorded 28 or more yards, with Adams being the recipient of three.

Not only did Houston have to deal with the effects of not having their best corner shadow one of the league's premier receivers, but the team was not prepared to battle without Roby, according to Michael Thomas following the loss.

"When you lose your starting corner like that, it's going to affect [the team]," Thomas said. "Anytime you have to make adjustments. If you're not prepared, and you don't have the right mindset, then you're probably not going to get the right results you want. Maybe we could have done it a little sooner, but you definitely miss a guy like Roby. You plan on having your number one guy go against their number one guy all the time."

Roby's premature exit left the Texans with a gaping void to slowdown Rodgers and the Packers without two of their projected starting corners. Gareon Conley — who revived his career during the second half of last season — has yet to play a single snap for Houston in 2020 as he continues to recover from offseason ankle surgery.

Their lackluster performance on Sunday showcased the lack of depth and talent the Texans have in the secondary. And with the trade deadline a week away, it may be in the Texans' best interest to invest in a young defensive back they can build around in the future — especially considering the timetable on Conley's return remains unknown.

Interim head coach Romeo Crennel said on Monday that the team is hoping Roby's injury is short-term and hopes to have their top corner make his return following the bye.

At 1-6 on the year, all the Texans have left to play for is pride as they close out the remaining nine games of the season, and the best way is to prevent another receiver from recording nearly 200 yards in a single game.

For this vulnerable secondary, it is a feat easier said than done. And with the talents of Jarvis Landry, T.Y. Hilton, and A.J. Brown remaining on the schedule, it is only best for Roby to make his return to the field sooner rather than later.

"I take pride in it. It's an opportunity that not a lot of guys get throughout the league, and I'm thankful for that. Just to be able to go against the best and try my best for the team and see how I match up. I'm very thankful for that." — Roby.

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