Early Week Driver Rankings for Atlanta


The NASCAR Cup Series has completed the “West Coast Swing” and now we have enough data to figure out which teams have the speed early in the 2023 season. The Cup Series has competed on a Superspeedway, a two-mile oval, a 1.5-mile over and a 1-mile short, flat track. The only types of tracks that are missing are the road courses, the high-banked ovals and the Bristol Dirt track race. The Cup Series will check those tracks off the list this spring, but first they will make the trip to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Ambetter Health 400.

Just in case you forgot, the track at Atlanta was repaved and reconfigured before the races last year. The track no races like a Superspeedway and the Cup Series cars will use their Superspeedway aero package.

The racing at Atlanta is similar to the way the cars draft at Daytona and Talladega, but that is about all that is the same with Atlanta compared to the other Superspeedways. The laps led at Daytona and Talladega is spread throughout the field. There were not as many lead changes at Atlanta last year. William Byron led 111 laps in the first race and Chase Elliott led 96 laps in the second race. We typically build our lineups around place differential points at the Superspeedways, but we cannot ignore the dominators. There will likely be one driver who leads 40% of the laps Sunday.

I focused on the data from the races at Atlanta last year for the driver rankings this week. I also added in the driver’s average finishing position in the last 10 Superspeedway races (last two years). This gives us some data for the drivers who are best in the draft. Momentum is important in NASCAR and I wanted some data from the 2023 season in the rankings. I added in the Driver Rankings from the four races this season as well.

Here are my early week driver rankings for the Ambetter Health 400. …

1. William Byron
2. Ross Chastain
3. Ryan Blaney
4. Daniel Suarez
5. Martin Truex Jr.
6. Christopher Bell
7. Alex Bowman
8. Joey Logano
9. Brad Keselowski
10. Justin Haley
11. Erik Jones
12.  Kyle Busch
13. Denny Hamlin
14. Tyler Reddick
15. Bubba Wallace
16. Aric Almirola
17. Kevin Harvick
18. Austin Cindric
19. Kyle Larson
20. Corey LaJoie
21. Ryan Preece
22. Chase Briscoe
23. Chris Buescher
24. Michael McDowell
25. Josh Berry
26. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
27. Harrison Burton
28. AJ Allmendinger
29. Austin Dillon
30. Ty Gibbs
31. Noah Gragson
32. Todd Gilliland
33.Ty Dillon
34. Cody Ware
35. B.J. McLoed
36. J.J. Yeley


The updated rankings will be posted Saturday after qualifying.


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