The Cup Series will compete at Atlanta Motor Speedway Sunday. The track is now considered a Superspeedway so that means the Cup Series will follow the rules for the races at the Superspeedway tracks. The teams did not have any practice sessions (other than to get on and off of pit road). The cars qualified Saturday and will race Sunday. We do not really have much data other than the two races at Atlanta last year to predict which drivers will run up front. This is going to be a tricky race for the Driver Group Game, so we will need some luck Sunday.
Nothing really changed since Thursday when I posted my initial Driver Group Game picks, so the lineups will look the same. Here is my starting lineup for the race at the race at Atlanta…
CUP SERIES PICKS
WILLIAM BYRON (9): I am going to play the hot driver and use Willy-B Sunday. He won this race last year and he won the last two races this year. He starts 11th Sunday. He led 111 laps and scored 12 Stage Points from the 12th starting position last year. Now he is one spot closer to the front. I am not worried about his Crew Chief being suspended. Hendrick Motorsports is deep enough to fill in the spot and help Byron score the hat trick with his third win in a row Sunday.
DANIEL SUAREZ (9): Suarez finished fourth and sixth in the two races at Atlanta last year. He also finished three of the four races in 2023 in the top-10. The No. 99 team also has the fourth-fast pit crew, so there is a lot to like about Suarez Sunday. He got into the dirty part of the track in qualifying, so now he starts deep in the field. Suarez finished seventh from the 24th starting position and he finished 10th from the 24th starting position at Las Vegas this year. His starting position does not bother me on a Superspeedway track.
BRAD KESELOWSKI (9): Clint Bowyer said during qualifying, “I asked Keselowski when he was going to win a race and he firmly believes it will happen this week at Atlanta.” Keselowski may be right. He had the best car on the Superspeedway track at Daytona when he led a race high 42 laps. Now Keselowski starts fourth and he has the track position to lead some laps, score some Stage Points and finish in the top-10.
COREY LAJOIE (8): My two Group C drivers did not qualify well. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. starts 27th and LaJoie starts 31st. I will go ahead and use LaJoie. He finished fifth at Atlanta last March from the 33rd starting position. He came back to the track in July and qualified 30th. LaJoie led 19 laps and was two laps away from winning the race. LaJoie knows the race Sunday is his best chance to get to Victory Lane so his team will be very aggressive to get LaJoie track position. He proved last year that he can finish up front once he gets there.
* I would use Josh Berry if he is available for you in Group C.
Good Luck Sunday!
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