The NASCAR Cup Series rolls into Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend for the Quaker State 400. It’s been quite a while since NASCAR has raced at Atlanta in July, and although there is a chance of rain this weekend, it’s looking like it’s going to be a hot and slick day for these drivers. The last time we were here (in March of this year), Kyle Larson dominated the race but then Ryan Blaney won it at the end with Alex Bowman coming home 3rd. Chase Elliott is on the pole this weekend and you can check out the full starting lineup by clicking here.

Also, make sure you check out this week’s episode of Stacking Dennys, the new podcast that RotoDoc and I host. Click here for more information on that. Finally, make sure you check out my FanDuel article for this race as well (click here), as there is often quite a bit of similarities between the two DFS sites. Now let’s goooo!!!!

LIVE STREAM INFORMATION: I will be joining Brandon Cruz on his YouTube channel on Sunday to break down this slate. We plan on going live at noon Eastern on Sunday. Click here to tune in.

Enjoy the FREE content that this site offers each week? Consider donating to support by clicking here. Also, be sure to check out the Algorithm Predicted Finishing Order for this race by clicking here!

Speed Report & Loop Data Driver Averages

Kyle Busch in front of his M&Ms Toyota before winning his 100th Xfinity race
Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Atlanta Motor Speedway is a 1.54-mile, “high-wear” race track and we actually have quite a bit of recent and relevant data to look at this weekend. I’ll be focusing on three main cores: recent Atlanta performance, driver performance on “high-wear” tracks this season (Homestead, Darlington, and the first Atlanta race), and then driver performance on 1.5-mile intermediate tracks with the 550hp package this season (Homestead, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Kansas, and Charlotte). Of course you can also look back to recent season with all of this, but the charts below are for 2021 unless otherwise noted. The following information is included:

  • Starts
  • Finish
  • ARP = average running position
  • DR = driver rating
  • FL = fastest laps (total)
  • LL = laps led (total)
  • T15 = laps ran inside top 15 (total)
  • Total Laps = laps completed (total)

2019-2021 Driver Averages At Atlanta

Driver
Starts
Finish
ARP
DR
FL
LL
T15
Total Laps
Kyle Busch304.307.0106.9647913975
Martin Truex Jr304.705.1116.79669973975
Kevin Harvick305.008.6114.889196764975
Denny Hamlin306.706.8104.02327946975
Kyle Larson207.003.7131.0158411591650
Ryan Blaney309.006.5109.26668922974
Alex Bowman310.011.490.8200662974
Brad Keselowski312.713.090.75238690971
Chris Buescher312.716.475.9120452974
Austin Dillon312.716.874.880355973
Ryan Newman313.315.975.420543974
Ricky Stenhouse Jr314.314.983.0111633973
Aric Almirola315.015.676.32636332973
Joey Logano316.011.686.34732782973
Kurt Busch316.012.590.8253699763
Cole Custer218.519.564.41050648
Daniel Suarez319.319.466.3101447965
William Byron319.320.368.172365963
Christopher Bell219.519.465.92094647
Erik Jones319.718.271.9170402970
Matt DiBenedetto320.715.672.950526971
Tyler Reddick221.022.462.450133647
Bubba Wallace321.321.958.410127970
Chase Elliott321.712.783.41926729869
Ross Chastain222.526.251.95069638
Chase Briscoe123.025.250.2103323
Michael McDowell326.724.052.07025870
Anthony Alfredo127.027.944.8000322
Corey LaJoie328.328.345.837010961
Ryan Preece328.723.453.97059917
Justin Haley130.030.742.0900319
James Davison132.033.435.2000316
Cody Ware232.034.031.8000619
Quin Houff232.532.636.0001628
BJ McLeod335.334.028.4200629
Garrett Smithley235.534.928.8000566
Josh Bilicki235.536.331.1000598

2021 Driver Averages Under 550hp Intermediate Package

Driver
Starts
Finish
ARP
DR
FL
LL
T15
Total Laps
Kyle Busch504.408.1104.4822113271526
Kyle Larson505.402.6135.931583615171526
William Byron506.006.0113.413714814441526
Denny Hamlin507.608.4102.6518412921526
Austin Dillon509.211.091.035112721526
Kevin Harvick509.411.793.441010631525
Martin Truex Jr510.609.596.4434313621517
Chris Buescher511.213.785.457708241526
Brad Keselowski512.010.999.28915211111522
Alex Bowman512.410.293.139511961524
Tyler Reddick513.216.878.141137841523
Ryan Blaney513.810.795.6712811721525
Chase Elliott514.410.293.7734812401421
Michael McDowell515.019.067.3692551522
Matt DiBenedetto515.414.777.31128331522
Ryan Newman516.218.871.01706121521
Ricky Stenhouse Jr516.414.976.214238571517
Joey Logano516.613.580.3131910431523
Daniel Suarez516.819.467.717143951521
Christopher Bell520.016.473.43236801519
Erik Jones520.421.560.82802851520
Ross Chastain521.022.763.41603371484
Chase Briscoe521.024.653.820281520
Bubba Wallace521.220.065.31525041519
Cole Custer522.220.958.0002411520
Kurt Busch523.816.075.44317531052
Ryan Preece523.824.252.7701081512
Anthony Alfredo524.624.849.814791518
Aric Almirola527.822.953.6001221427
Justin Haley528.629.741.090211505
Corey LaJoie529.626.246.4290351321
BJ McLeod532.033.034.20021480
Cody Ware532.232.934.50021482
Garrett Smithley432.333.034.30021168
Quin Houff534.033.631.50011473
James Davison334.033.731.7000765
Josh Bilicki535.836.327.50001428

2021 Driver Averages At High-Wear Tracks

Driver
Starts
Finish
ARP
DR
FL
LL
T15
Total Laps
Kyle Larson302.704.3124.5133274869885
Martin Truex Jr304.305.4120.695285874885
William Byron304.306.0116.741104870885
Kyle Busch306.009.697.7329688885
Denny Hamlin306.707.5104.02532760885
Kevin Harvick307.012.195.22310641885
Alex Bowman309.709.494.6200752883
Ryan Newman310.013.782.140696884
Austin Dillon311.312.685.6100584883
Chris Buescher311.710.591.85558745885
Ryan Blaney312.709.396.43425736884
Tyler Reddick313.318.575.7162397882
Ricky Stenhouse Jr315.017.471.0140340882
Ross Chastain315.317.671.1310308883
Michael McDowell317.319.567.4170157879
Chase Briscoe317.321.960.710191882
Joey Logano317.711.088.91412735883
Christopher Bell318.317.069.5113295882
Daniel Suarez318.319.764.192209881
Matt DiBenedetto319.314.173.370473881
Chase Elliott319.714.281.8144656780
Bubba Wallace319.719.862.57298881
Brad Keselowski322.716.578.66151390878
Erik Jones323.022.555.9250107880
Ryan Preece323.724.952.2304880
Cole Custer325.717.859.760214688
Anthony Alfredo325.727.446.1005878
Kurt Busch327.317.073.3431356486
Justin Haley328.029.240.712011873
Aric Almirola329.019.946.70093593
Corey LaJoie329.026.747.22905760
Garrett Smithley131.031.336.7002263
Cody Ware332.333.133.7014765
Quin Houff332.732.533.4002858
James Davison333.333.231.8001663
BJ McLeod333.334.032.2000856
Josh Bilicki334.335.328.8000789

DraftKings Strategy & Dominators for Atlanta

This is looking like a great weekend of building DraftKings lineups. Kyle Larson should be the main projected dominator by most people, and he’s going to be a popular pick. Obviously there’s going to be strategy there in going a different route, but do you really want to bet against the fastest guy in NASCAR at one of his best tracks? With Larson’s DraftKings salary, though, it then comes down to how you build the rest of your lineup: do you go with three sub-$7,000 drivers and then two more studs, or try to even it out a bit?

  • There are 260 laps scheduled for Sunday’s Quaker State 400, which is 65 less laps than the last time we raced at Atlanta. This is significant because it lowers the potential dominator points a bit. Still, there will be 65 DraftKings FPTS up for grabs for laps led and approximately 220 green flag laps, giving us an additional 99 (estimated) DraftKings FPTS up for grabs for fastest laps.
  • With around 165 DraftKings dominator FPTS possible this weekend, lineup construction is really going to come down to how many drivers dominate the race. We typically only see one main dominator here, but two dominators are possible.
  • Keep an eye on the weather. If this race gets shortened by rain, that should put a bigger emphasis on place differential and finishing position as opposed to focusing so heavily on dominator points.

Dominators

These are the potential dominators for Sunday’s race at Atlanta, and are listed in the order of likelihood according to my projections:

  • Kyle Larson
  • Kyle Busch
  • Ryan Blaney
  • Chase Elliott
  • William Byron
  • Alex Bowman
  • Kevin Harvick

Some “surprise” dominators that could happen on Sunday include: Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Martin Truex, Jr., and Brad Keselowski.

Driver-by-Driver Breakdown Video

Now for the video breakdown! Be sure to go here and subscribe to my YouTube channel if you haven’t already.

Optimal Lineup According to Jordan’s Projections

The optimal DraftKings lineup for Atlanta according to my Projections is:

  • Kyle Larson
  • William Byron
  • Alex Bowman
  • Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
  • Ryan Newman
  • Michael McDowell

Confidence Rating = 7.8/10. It’s hard to dislike this lineup as a core build to work with on Sunday. All of the Hendrick Chevrolets should be strong, and while you have the dominating force with Larson in this lineup, you also have place differential and finishing potential with Byron and Bowman. With the lower guys, Stenhouse has top 10 potential, Newman is major chalk, and McDowell just needs to crack the top 20. Do I think this will be the optimal lineup on Sunday? No, but it’s a good base to work with.

GPP / Tournament Picks

Ryan Blaney and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. racing at Talladega 2020
Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk | Getty Images

Kyle Busch ($10,300) – In the last Atlanta race, it was a one dominator event, as Kyle Larson just blew everyone else out of the water. And although I do think that that is the most likely scenario to happen here again on Sunday, it’s not a guarantee. And if this becomes a two dominator race, I love pairing Kyle Busch with Kyle Larson, especially to get off of the place differential chalk in this price range. Rowdy is predicted to finish 2nd by my algorithm this weekend and when you look at the recent 550hp intermediate races, he’s finished 3rd (Charlotte), 1st (Kansas), 5th (Atlanta), and 3rd (Las Vegas). Busch also has the 3rd-most fastest laps on the intermediates with the 550hp package this season. Here at Atlanta, Kyle is pretty much a lock for 15-20 fastest laps each time, so if he hits that and grabs a good chunk of laps led on Sunday, he’ll be a great tournament play despite starting 2nd.

Brad Keselowski ($9,200) – If you’re looking to get off of the Alex Bowman chalk this weekend, pivoting to Brad Keselowski could be a solid option–or you could even combine the two drivers into the same lineup. This #2 team laid an egg the last time here at Atlanta, but Kez has shown potential at other 550hp intermediate tracks this season. Focusing on fastest laps, he had 28 at Homestead, 30 at Las Vegas, and 18 at Kansas, and in the two races here at Atlanta prior to this season’s first event, he had 19 fastest laps (in 2020) and 28 fastest laps (in 2019). Further, Keselowski posted 28 fastest laps at both Homestead and Darlington this season, the other two “high-wear” tracks. He’s finished 9th or better in six of his last seven starts here at Atlanta, and that includes a three-race stretch of top 2 finishes from 2017 to 2019. A top 5 out of BK on Sunday would make him a great value at just a $9,200 salary on DraftKings.

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($6,600) – I actually think Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. is going to come in at a higher ownership percentage than most of think he will, but there’s a chance he gets passed up for place differential plays by a lot of DraftKings players, so I’m writing him up a tournament pick. Over the last six Atlanta races, Stenhouse has finished 18th or better in each of them, and 13th or better in four of them. He starts 16th this weekend, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he challenges for a top 10 finish on Sunday. In the 550hp package on intermediates this year, Stenhouse has an average running position of 14.9 and an average finish of 16.4, but that’s brought down quite a bit by his 34th-place finish at Kansas. The other four races (Homestead, Las Vegas, Atlanta, and Charlotte)? His worst finish is 13th.

Cash Core Drivers

Alex Bowman / Jimmie Johnson 48 Ally car racing at Dover
Photo Credit: Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Kyle Larson ($12,000) – The last time we were at Atlanta, Kyle Larson put up 104 fastest laps and 269 laps led. In his previous start at this track (in 2019, with Chip Ganassi Racing) he put up 54 fastest laps and 142 laps led. The only way Kyle Larson doesn’t crush the competition again here on Sunday is if he has a mechanical issue or wrecks–neither of which I’m in the business of predicting. He’s the most solid play there is, even at that heightened DraftKings salary of $12,000. Don’t over-think this one.

Alex Bowman ($9,400) – Alex Bowman and this #48 team are finally finding some consistency, so the fact that DraftKings has him priced at $9,400 this weekend when he’s starting back in 17th makes him an excelling cash lineup play. It he would have finished where he should have at Road America, Bowman would be coming into Atlanta with finishes of 9th or better in seven of the last eight races, but instead that number is six of the last eight. Still solid. AB ran 3rd here at Atlanta last time we raced at this track and has the 7th-best average running position here over the last three races. He ranks 6th in that category on “high-wear” tracks this season and 6th on intermediates with the 550hp package in 2021 as well. My algorithm loves Bowman this week and actually has him predicted to finish 4th.

Ryan Newman ($6,100) – Holy chalk, Rocketman! For some reason, DraftKings priced Ryan Newman at $6,100 this weekend even though he’s starting 29th, and we have another Pocono weekend on our hands as far as the chalkiest driver in the field. Newman has an average finish of 16.2 on the intermediates with this 550hp package this season, and on the “high-wear” tracks in 2021, his average result is 10.0. Here at Atlanta, he’s finished 13th, 14th, and 13th over the last three years with the 550hp package. Even a bad day out of Newman should be a top 20 finish. He’s a must-have in cash lineups.

Atlanta Quaker State 400 DraftKings Driver Projections

The following chart takes into account the very basics: the starting position and the projected finish of each driver. The projected finishes are averaged from six different ranking systems. Also factored in are projected laps led and fastest laps for each driver. You can click the headers below to sort the chart by that attribute. By default it is sorted by average projected FPTS.

DriverDraftKings SalaryAvg Proj FPTSProj OwnershipStarting PositionCeiling Proj FPTSAvg. Projected FinishDollar Per FPT
Kyle Larson$12,00094.6745.89%6119.0002.2$127
Kevin Harvick$10,90062.2816.93%2174.3006.5$175
William Byron$10,00062.0831.55%1981.7505.2$161
Ryan Blaney$10,50061.8026.92%1574.9506.2$170
Kyle Busch$10,30059.2222.84%276.6002.5$174
Alex Bowman$9,40056.7334.04%1773.0007.0$166
Denny Hamlin$9,60051.0318.48%364.0503.0$188
Martin Truex Jr$9,00042.0018.41%561.2506.5$214
Ryan Newman$6,10038.7856.50%2951.8016.7$157
Austin Dillon$7,90036.6815.07%1346.3510.8$215
Chris Buescher$8,60036.4213.97%1846.2513.8$236
Chase Elliott$9,80035.8321.68%163.8510.3$273
Kurt Busch$8,40035.1512.04%852.0512.3$239
Brad Keselowski$9,20034.0819.36%1458.9511.7$270
Ricky Stenhouse Jr$6,60033.1817.14%1638.3514.3$199
Daniel Suarez$7,70032.0216.87%2745.3520.3$240
Joey Logano$8,80031.8519.71%1038.2511.8$276
Matt DiBenedetto$7,50028.8513.78%1237.3514.2$260
Bubba Wallace$6,30028.0719.53%2439.9020.2$224
Tyler Reddick$7,10027.659.97%740.1513.2$257
Michael McDowell$5,90027.2525.41%2534.2521.5$217
Ryan Preece$7,40023.6716.65%3428.0026.3$313
Ross Chastain$7,20022.124.41%939.9015.8$326
Aric Almirola$8,00021.0017.12%2035.0021.0$381
Cole Custer$6,70020.9520.15%2328.4523.3$320
Christopher Bell$8,20020.275.63%434.6014.8$405
Erik Jones$6,90020.1315.05%2230.8023.3$343
Corey Lajoie$5,70018.579.15%2635.9025.8$307
Anthony Alfredo$5,50018.0016.49%3222.0028.2$306
Garrett Smithley$5,30011.503.81%3716.0033.7$461
BJ McLeod$5,00010.330.98%3613.0033.3$484
Quin Houff$4,50009.671.04%3517.0033.5$466
Justin Haley$4,90009.337.38%2814.0030.2$525
Chase Briscoe$6,40008.334.43%1118.0022.8$768
Cody Ware$5,20007.830.82%3110.0032.2$664
Bayley Currey$4,70004.330.44%3308.0034.8$1,085
Josh Bilicki$4,60000.170.36%3007.0035.2$27,600
As someone who has always been obsessed with numbers, Fantasy NASCAR has been the perfect fit with me. I pride myself on the quality of my analysis for each race, and am glad that I have been able to help others along the way. I've been a serious Fantasy NASCAR player for over 10 years now, and I'm just getting started.