The last race at Atlanta Motor Speedway was on March 21st of this year. It was the sixth race of the season and just like many other races this season; it was dominated by Kyle Larson. Alex Bowman and William Byron were two other Hendrick Motorsports drivers that looked fast in the race, but in the end it was Ryan Blaney who was holding the checkered flag.
The track will be much hotter and slicker this week so we could see some new drivers at the front of the field. I still think the drivers who ran well in March will be fast this week.
Race Rewind Atlanta: Folds of Honor 500 (2021)
– The 10 drivers who looked the best in the race: Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, William Byron, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Chris Buescher, Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott and Kurt Busch (Until he wrecked)
Stage / Race Results
|Stage 1||Stage 2||
|1. Kyle Larson||1. Kyle Larson||1. Ryan Blaney|
|2. Kyle Busch||2. Ryan Blaney||2. Kyle Larson|
|3. Ryan Blaney||3. Alex Bowman||3. Alex Bowman|
|4. Kurt Busch||4. Kyle Busch||4. Denny Hamlin|
|5. Denny Hamlin||5. William Byron||5. Kyle Busch|
|6. Alex Bowman||6. Matt DiBenedetto||6. Austin Dillon|
|7. Martin Truex Jr.||7. Austin Dillon||7. Chris Buescher|
|8. Chase Elliott||8. Chris Buescher||8. William Byron|
|9. Chris Buescher||9. Denny Hamlin||9. Martin Truex Jr.|
|10. William Byron||10. Daniel Suarez||10. Kevin Harvick|
– Martin Truex Jr. has been a lot better in the 750 HP aero package than he has been in the 550 HP aero package in 2021. His average finishing position in the 750 package is 5.4. His average finishing position in the 550 package (the package used this week) is 10.6. Truex was good but not great at Atlanta in March. He started 2nd, did not lead any laps, scored 4 Stage points and finished 9th. Truex has finished 7 consecutive races at Atlanta in the top-10. He will likely finish in the top-10 again Sunday, but probably not win the race.
– Kyle Busch has been the best driver from Joe Gibbs Racing on the 1.5-mile tracks this season. He won at Kansas and Rowdy has a 4.4 average finishing position at these tracks. He was good at Atlanta in March too. Busch started 19th because of a poor finish at Phoenix. Busch quickly made his way through the field. He finished 2nd in Stage 1, 4th in Stage 2 and 5th in the race. His average finishing position at Atlanta in the 550 HP aero package is 5th. He should have a good chance to finish in the top-5 again Sunday.
– Denny Hamlin has been good but not great on the 1.5-mile tracks this season. His average finishing position in the 5 races is 7.6. The good news is that the race at Atlanta was one of his best on an intermediate track. Hamlin started on the pole and led 27 laps. He scored 8 Stage points and finished 4th. His average finishing position at Atlanta in the 550 HP aero package is 6th. He should easily finish in the top-10 Sunday.
– Christopher Bell has not been very good on the 1.5-mile tracks this season. He finished 20th at Homestead, 7th at Las Vegas, 21st at Atlanta, 28th at Kansas and 24th at Charlotte (average finishing position of 20th). Bell started 8th at Atlanta in March. You would think that his top-10 starting position would lead to a good day in fantasy. That was not the case. Bell did not score any Stage points, did not lead any laps and he finished 21st. There are better tracks to use Bell at.
– Brad Keselowski has had some good runs at the 1.5-mile tracks (he finished 2nd at Las Vegas and 3rd at Kansas), but his race at Atlanta in March was not very good. Keselowski started 4th and quickly fell through the field. He did not score any Stage points or lead any laps. He finished 28th and score negative 24 place differential points. Hopefully that race was just a fluke because Keselowski finished 1st, 2nd and 1st at Atlanta between 2017 and 2019.
– Joey Logano is a not a very good track for Logano. It ranks as his 20th-best track out of 25 tracks on the schedule. His average finishing position in his last 3 trips to Atlanta Motor Speedway is 16th. He started 3rd in the race at Atlanta in March. He quickly fell outside the top-10. Logano did not score any Stage points, did not lead any laps and finished 15th. Crew Chief Paul Wolfe will need to get the notes from Ryan Blaney’s team if they want to improve this week.
– Ryan Blaney won the race at Atlanta in March. It is amazing how his two teammates (Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano) could struggle so much in the race and Blaney looked really good. The No. 12 car started 10th and quickly went to the front. Blaney finished 3rd in Stage 1, 2nd in Stage 2, led 25 laps and went to Victory Lane. His car was not as good as Kyle Larson’s car, but it was very good on the long-runs and that paid off at the end of the race.
– Matt DiBenedetto has a 15.4 average finishing position on the 1.5-mile tracks this season. One of his best races was at Atlanta in March. DiBenedetto started 20th and slowly made his way to the top-10. DiBenedetto finished 6th in Stage 2 and 11th in the race. Do not get too excited though. It was the first time DiBenedetto has ever finished in the top-20 at Atlanta.
– Kevin Harvick has dominated the races at Atlanta for years. He entered the race in March with an average finishing position of 2nd at Atlanta in the 550 HP aero package. He should have been a lock for a top-5 finish, right? Not so much. Harvick started 7th did not score any Stage points or lead any laps and he finished 10th. Harvick should still finish in the top-10 this week, but his days of dominating at Atlanta may be over.
– Chase Briscoe competed in his first Cup Series race at Atlanta in March. He would probably like to forget the race. Briscoe started 24th, did not score any Stage points or lead any laps and he finished 23rd. His average finishing position on the 1.5-mile tracks this season is 21st.
– Aric Almirola has not been very good at Atlanta in career. His average finishing position at the track is 17.5. He wasn’t very good in March either. Almirola started 16th, did not score any Stage points and finished 20th. His average finishing position on the 1.5-mile tracks this season is 27.8. Not very good.
– Cole Custer is consistent at Atlanta… Consistently mediocre. He started 31st and finished 19th last year and Custer started 27th and finished 18th in March. Those results are good for DFS because those game award place differential points, but it would not be very good for Fantasy Live or the Driver Group Game. Custer has a 22nd place average finishing position on the 1.5-mile tracks this year. He will only have value in DFS if he starts deep in the field.
– Chase Elliott had his worst race of the season at Atlanta in March. It is not because his car did not have speed though. Elliott started 5th and ran the first two Stages inside the top-10. His engine blew up on lap 220 and it caused Elliott to finish 38th. You would think that Elliott would be good at his home track but that is not the case. Atlanta ranks as his 2nd-worst track. His average finishing position at Atlanta is 15th.
– Kyle Larson completely dominated the race at Atlanta in March, but hasn’t he completed dominated most of the races this year. Larson started 6th and he used the top lane to go to the front. He finished 1st in Stage 1, 1st in Stage 2, led 269 laps and finished 2nd in the race. Larson is averaging 19.5 Stage points and 205 laps led in his last two races at Atlanta. His is the best pick in field this week.
– William Byron entered the race at Atlanta in March with a 22.6 average finishing position at the track. The Hendrick Motorsports cars have been so fast this year that their past history at a track doesn’t really matter much. Byron started 9th, scored 7 Stage points, led 2 laps and finished 8th. Byron has finished every race this season on 1.5-mile track in the top-10 with a 6th-place average finishing position.
– Alex Bowman is always good at tracks that wear out tires quickly because he is good at saving the rubber over the long runs. Bowman had his best ever finish at Atlanta in March. Bowman started 14th, finished 6th in Stage 1, 3rd in Stage 2 and finished 3rd in the race. He should be fast again Sunday with a good chance to finish in the top-5.
– Kurt Busch was on almost all of my fantasy teams at Atlanta in March. He entered the race with finishes of 6th, 3rd, 8th, 7th and 4th in his previous 5 races at the track. Busch was fast again in March. He started 11th and ran the first Stage in the top-5. Busch finished 4h in Stage 1 and led a lap. It all came to an end in Stage 2 when Busch was wrecked by Denny Hamlin. Busch finished last, but his car had top-5 speed.
– Ross Chastain must have learned something from his teammate (Kurt Busch) for the race at Atlanta in March. Chastain started 21st and he finished 14th. Chastain should be better in his 2nd trip to the track. He could be a sneaky good pick for fantasy teams Sunday.
– Ryan Newman is one of the best tracks for Newman because he is so good at saving his tires over the long runs. Newman has a 13.5 average finishing position in his last three races at Atlanta. He started 28th and finished 13th at Atlanta in March. That was good enough for the 8th most points in DraftKings contests. Newman will have a lot of value if he starts outside the top-20 Sunday.
– Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has been good at Atlanta since he joined JTG Daugherty Racing. Stenhouse started 22nd and finished 13th at Atlanta last year. He started 12th and finished 12th at Atlanta in March. Stenhouse has finished 4 of the 5 races on the 1.5-mile tracks this season in the top-13. Not too bad.
– Chris Buescher has been really good in his last three races on the 1.5-mile tracks. He finished 8th at Charlotte, 8th at Kansas and 7th at Atlanta. It was his 2nd finish in the top-10 at Atlanta in the 550 HP aero package. Buescher also finished 9th in Stage 1 and 8th in Stage 2, so he ran most of the race inside the top-10. Buescher will be a great value pick Sunday.
– Austin Dillon had a good race at Atlanta in March. That should not surprise people because Atlanta ranks as one of his best tracks. Dillon started 13th, scored 4 Stage points and finished 6th. Dillon has a 9.2 average finishing position on the 1.5-mile tracks this season. He will be a good pick in games with allocations because he should finish in the top-10 again this week.
– Tyler Reddick has been “hit or miss” on the 1.5-mile tracks this season. He finished 2nd at Homestead, 7th at Kansas and 9th at Charlotte. He also finished 26th at Atlanta and 22nd at Las Vegas. Reddick has two races at Atlanta on his resume and his average finishing position is 21st. I expect Reddick to be better since he has more experience, but I do not expect a top-10 finish from the No. 8 car.
– Erik Jones has the talent but lacks the speed to compete in the top-10 at Atlanta. Jones started 22nd and finished 24th. He also finished outside the top-20 at Atlanta last year. There are no signs that Jones will be able to finish inside the top-15 Sunday.
– Bubba Wallace has a lot of hype but not a lot of success in the Cup Series. There are much better drivers who could be in the No. 23 car, but he probably is not leaving that seat for a while. Wallace has a 21.5 average finishing position at the 1.5-mile tracks this year. The good news is that the race at Atlanta was one of his best. Wallace started 15th, did not score any Stage points and finished 16h. He will probably finish outside the top-15 this week.
– Daniel Suarez has been “OK” on the 1.5-mile tracks this year. His average finishing position in the 5 races is 16th. Suarez started 25th, finished 10th in Stage 2, led 1 lap and finished 17th in the race at Atlanta in March. It was one of the first races for Trackhouse Racing so they could show some improvement this week since they have cars built by Richard Childress Race and engine by Hendricks/Childress.
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