The NASCAR Cup Series will join the Truck and Xfinity Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend. The Trucks and Xfinity Series will have a double-header Saturday and the Cup Series will race Sunday. All three series will qualify and race. There will be no practice this weekend. Simply line up the cars or trucks and race to the checkered flag. It should be another wild weekend of racing for all three NASCAR Series.
FANTASY PICKS SCHEDULE
I will try to get the DFS picks for the Cup Series posted Saturday night, but I have plans and I am not sure what time I will be able to work on them after qualifying. They will be posted early Sunday morning at the latest.
It is not often I agree with decisions that NASCAR makes, but I am happy NASCAR decided to change the race Sunday to 400 miles from the 500-mile length they had last year. The race last March was over four hours long. The July race at Atlanta was 400 miles and it lasted 3:20 hours. The shorter length made for more urgency from the teams and better racing on the track.
Atlanta Motor Speedway is considered a Superspeedway. The Cup Series will use the Superspeedway aero package, but this track is not exactly like Daytona or Talladega. Atlanta races more like a combination of the Superspeedways and the intermediate tracks. The cars are not locked onto the bumpers as much as they are at Daytona and Talladega. The laps led are spread throughout the race at Daytona and Talladega. We had one dominator in both races at Atlanta last year. William Byron led 111 laps in the first race and Chase Elliott led 96 laps in the second race (both Hendrick Motorsports cars). I expect one driver to lead 40% of the laps Sunday and it will likely be a driver from Hendricks Motorsports again.
The one thing that is the same with Atlanta compared to Daytona and Talladega are the wrecks. The cars are racing at a high speed, in a close pack. When one driver spins out, he takes out a lot of cars. This means there is a lot of risk with the drivers in our fantasy lineups Sunday. We need a lot of luck to score well (just like at Daytona and Talladega).
You can watch the extended highlights of last year’s 400-mile race at Atlanta Motor Speedway: NASCAR Race Rewind
FANTASY STATS FOR ATLANTA
The best way to predict the race Sunday is to use the data from the two races at Atlanta last year and combine it with some of the data from the 2023 season. I used the Driver Rankings from the two races at Atlanta last year and the Driver Rankings for the races at Daytona and Las Vegas this year. I did not include the race at Auto Club because it was a mess with all of the sand on the track and the weather. Here are how the stats came out for the race at Atlanta…
EARLY WEEK PICKS FOR ATLANTA
The Cup Series will not have practice this week, so I doubt these picks will change much. Something could happen in qualifying, so make sure you check back Saturday for my final picks.
ONE & DONE PICK: Justin Haley
DRIVER GROUP GAME PICKS: William Byron, Ross Chastain, Daniel Suarez, Alex Bowman, Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski, Corey LaJoie, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
FANTASY LIVE PICKS: William Byron, Ross Chastain, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch, Daniel Suarez, (Garage) Christopher Bell
Good luck this week!
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