THE LEFT TURN

The show goes on in Atlanta for the QuickTrip 500

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

The show goes on this weekend as NASCAR heads for Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Folds of Honor Quiktrip 500. As everyone knows, the world is in a crisis right now with the Corona-virus and with the NBA, MLB, MLS and the NCAA all canceling events, the question then became what was next for NASCAR. On Thursday it was announced that both races at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead Miami will be run as planned without fans. Of the 24 years that I have been on earth, this is something that I have never seen before in my life. Right now with all that is going on with people's livelihood at stake, a NASCAR race is secondary. I hope that everyone out there that is taking the time to read this article is well and remains healthy. With all of the bad news out there, I do take comfort in knowing that my favorite sport will be running this week but my heart breaks for everyone that planned for months to make it down there to Atlanta and watch. I would imagine that there will be a lot more attention on the sport considering it will be one of the only major events happening. This track has provided many classic moments over the course of it's 60 year tenure on the schedule and this week, I think there is a good chance we see another classic finish. There is however a chance of rain in the forecast though so that could also be another factor come sunday.

While the Cup cars will run on Sunday, one of the big headlines this week is the truck race that will be run on Saturday. Two weeks ago at Vegas, Kyle Busch went on to claim his 57th career victory after he thoroughly destroyed the field. This prompted driver Kyle Larson to go on twitter and suggest that Busch cherry-picks the races in the truck series that he wants to run and goes out and dominates. This led Kevin Harvick to offer up $50,000 to any Cup regular that can go out and beat him. After seeing this owner of Gander Outdoor's (the title sponsor of the truck series) offered $50,000 of his own to the bounty. The rules are that drivers won't have to win the race to claim the money just finish ahead of Busch and they also can't wreck him either otherwise they will not be eligible to claim the money. While the added drama will definitely bring a lot more attention to the race, I have to say it's rather quaint to see a lot of fans get excited when most of them were calling for Cup drivers not to race in the lower leagues. Regardless, just as a race fan I will be interested to see if any of these drivers can step up and beat one of the best drivers around. This "bounty" doesn't just extend to Cup regulars either as the Haulmark trailer company also offered $50,000 to any truck series regular that can beat Kyle Busch as well. The rules are that drivers won't have to win the race to claim the money just finish ahead of Busch. It should be one of the better truck races of the season.

The driver that I have winning the race on Sunday is Martin Truex Jr. As we all know, 2020 has not been a kind season to the 2017 champion as he has ran into his fair share of trouble. At Las Vegas he seemed to have a race winning car before cutting down a tire and crashing then last week at Phoenix he was involved in a late race crash with Aric Almirola. He has an abysmal average finish of 24.5 but that shouldn't indicate how fast he has been this season and if he can just get luck on his side, I really think he is going to win a lot of races this season. I look for Truex to really be a contender come Sunday to finally break the cycle and get his first win of the season

(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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Houston looked much more like themselves

Astros return to form in win over Angels at home

Cristian Javier was impressive Thursday night. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Hoping to avoid spiraling further out of control, the Astros turned the page from their disappointing road trip and the recent stretch of games. They hoped to start this new homestand on a good note, welcoming in the Angels for four games of this eight-game stint at Minute Maid Park.

Houston would get the much-needed win, with their offense coming alive early in the game to put up big innings, which they rode to the victory thanks in part to a great start by Cristian Javier.

Final Score: Astros 8, Angels 2

Astros' Record: 8-10, fifth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Cristian Javier (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Alex Cobb (1-1)

Astros' offense starts clicking early

Houston would grab the early momentum, despite leaving the bases loaded in the first inning. They would get a leadoff double by Aledmys Diaz in the bottom of the second, followed by an RBI triple by Myles Straw to jump in front 1-0. They made it a three-run inning, with an RBI by Carlos Correa then a bases-loaded RBI-walk by Yuli Gurriel, though for consecutive innings would leave three runners stranded on base.

Correa drove in another in the bottom of the next inning, getting an RBI single to push the lead to four runs, then would come in on a two-run single by Alex Bregman, who made it 6-0. That set things up nicely for Cristian Javier, who was on the mound trying to take advantage of the opportunity for another start.

Javier has an electric start



Javier was electric over the first three innings, including getting eight of the first nine outs by strikeout while allowing only a walk and double during that span. He would have longer innings in the next two, but in both cases would keep the Angels off the board, finishing in line for the win. His final line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 98 P.

Houston gets the much-needed win

Meanwhile, Houston's offense kept scoring. They pushed the lead two runs further over the fourth and fifth, getting a run in each with another RBI each for Straw and Bregman. With Javier's night done, Bryan Abreu was first out of the Astros bullpen, and despite allowing a controversial two-run home run to Albert Pujols, of all people, that looked to be a foul ball, got through the inning.

Abreu remained in the game in the top of the seventh but would get just one out while hitting a batter and allowing a single before Dusty Baker brought in Brooks Raley to face the heavy left-handed part of the Angels lineup. Raley would get through it, sending things to the seventh-inning stretch with the six-run lead intact.

Raley would get another out before Joe Smith would finish that inning in the top of the eighth. Ryan Pressly, who has been starved for work lately with no save opportunities, would close things out in the ninth as Houston would start this series off with a win.

Up Next: Game two of this four-game set will be another 7:10 PM start on Friday night. Andrew Heaney (1-1, 5.65 ERA) will be on the mound for the Angels, while Zack Greinke (2-1, 2.81 ERA) will look to repeat the success of his last start; an eight-inning shutout performance for the Astros.

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