NASCAR will travel back to Atlanta Motor Speedway Sunday. The Cup Series last competed on this old worn out track in March. The Race was completely dominated by Kyle Larson, but most of the races this season have been dominated by the No. 5 car. The race this week will be hotter, slicker and have 65 less laps from what was run at Atlanta in March. Can any team dethrone the Hendrick Motorsports drivers? It will be fun to see if any teams have made any gains in HMS. The Quaker State 400 can be seen Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
Here is my starting lineup for the Quaker State 400…
Driver Group Game A Drivers
Denny Hamlin (5): Denny Hamlin got off to a red-hot start in 2021. He finished 8 of the first 9 races in the top-10. One of those top-10 finishes was his 4th-place finish at Atlanta. Hamlin started on the pole, led 27 laps and scored 8 Stage points. His average finishing position at Atlanta in the current aero package is 6th. Hamlin starts 3rd and should have a good chance for a top-five finish Sunday.
Allocation Saver is Ryan Blaney (8): This should be a good race to use an allocation with Ryan Blaney if you want to save your starts with your top drivers. Blaney is always fast at the 1.5-mile tracks and he won the race at Atlanta in March. His win had a lot to do with pit strategy, but the race Sunday should come down to pit strategy again. Blaney should be a lock for a top-10 finish with the upside to go to Victory Lane.
Group A Driver Rankings: 1) Denny Hamlin 2) Chase Elliott 3) Kevin Harvick 4) Ryan Blaney 5) Martin Truex Jr. 6) Joey Logano 7) Brad Keselowski
Driver Group Game B Drivers
Kyle Larson (1) is by far the best pick in Group B. He completely dominated the field at Atlanta in March and there is a good chance the No. 5 car will do the same Sunday. Larson led 269 of the 325 laps and finished 2nd. I only have one allocation left with Larson and I want to hold onto it. I would use Larson if you have three or more allocations left with the No. 5 car.
Kyle Busch (3): Kyle Busch is on a heater right now. Rowdy has finished 5 of the last 6 races in the top 5 with a 4.1 average finishing position. Busch is at his best when he gets a practice race Saturday. Rowdy will compete in his last Xfinity Series of his season (and possibly of his career) this week. The extra seat time should help him to win the race Sunday. Busch has finished 5th, 2nd, 6th and 7th in the current aero package at Atlanta. He starts from the front row and should be a lock for a top-5 finish Sunday.
Kurt Busch (4): “A bird in the hand is better than two in the Bush,” the saying goes… Well, I will have “two in the Busch” Sunday. Kurt Busch is on a heater too. He finished 4 of his last 5 races in the top-eight. Atlanta ranks as his best track. He was wrecked by Denny Hamlin while running 4th at Atlanta in March. Busch finished 6th, 3rd, 8th, 7th and 4th in his previous five races at this track. Busch is point racing right now so he should score a lot of Stage points and finish in the top-10 Sunday.
Allocation Saver Austin Dillon (7): Atlanta is a good race to take a chance with Austin Dillon. He starts 13th Sunday. Dillon started 13th at Atlanta in March. He scored 4 Stage points and finished 6th. His average finishing position at Atlanta in the current aero package is 13th. Dillon is points racing right now so the No. 3 team will likely use the pit strategy to score as many Stage points as possible. That is good news for your fantasy team.
Group B Driver Rankings: 1) Kyle Larson 2) Kyle Busch 3) Kurt Busch 4) William Byron 5) Alex Bowman 6) Austin Dillon 7) Tyler Reddick 8) Chris Buescher 9) Christopher Bell 10) Matt DiBenedetto
Driver Group Game C Drivers
Ross Chastain (5): Ross Chastain is a dangerous driver right now. He found out last week that he is now a free agent for the 2022 season since Chip Ganassi Racing was sold to Trackhouse Racing. Chastain always runs well when he is extra motivated. Chastain started 21st and finished 14th at Atlanta in March. He will start 9th Sunday and should have a good chance to score a lot of Stage points and finish in the top-10.
Allocation Saver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (4): Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is the driver I had penciled in for Atlanta before the season started. Atlanta ranks as one of Stenhouse’s best tracks. He finished 12th and 13th in his two races with JTG Daugherty Racing at Atlanta. Stenhouse should have a good chance to finish in the to-15 again Sunday.
Group C Driver Rankings: 1) Ross Chastain 2) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 3) Daniel Suarez 4) Chase Briscoe 5) Bubba Wallace
Driver Group Game Team
*Stats from Driveraverages.com and career stats from Racing-Reference.Info…
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