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Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500: NASCAR preview

The Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500 takes place in Atlanta this weekend as NASCAR begins its tour of the southeast following yet another close race in Phoenix. Which drivers should you focus on for your fantasy lineups? We’re here to take a look at some good (and not so good) options as well as give Chase Briscoe a couple of well-earned paragraphs about what he’s been doing lately.

Course Information

Location: Atlanta Motor Speedway

Track Length: 1.54 miles

Track Type: Intermediate, quad-oval

Last 10 Track Winners:

  • Fall 2021: Kurt Busch
  • Spring 2021: Ryan Blaney
  • Fall 2020: Kevin Harvick
  • Spring 2020: Brad Keselowski
  • Fall 2019: Kevin Harvick
  • Spring 2019: Brad Keselowski
  • Fall 2018: Jimmie Johnson
  • Spring 2018: Jimmie Johnson
  • Fall 2017: Kasey Kahne
  • Spring 2017: Kyle Busch

Last 10 Track Winners by Model

  • Ford: 5
  • Chevrolet: 4
  • Toyota: 1

Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500 Preview

It’s time we had a little talk about Chase Briscoe.

Watching last week’s race in Phoenix, I was reminded of last year when Kyle Larson looked like he simply just had a better car than everyone else, almost like his team had figured out a cheat code on the machine that created an unfair advantage no one could top. On the final restart last Sunday, if Briscoe’s car had shot flames with a turbo button a la “Fast and Furious,” I wouldn’t have been surprised. (NASCAR officials may have been, but still.)

Ross Chastain’s car had been fast all day and still it looked like Briscoe was in a gear no one else had. Just watch how the No. 14 car almost has a full car length lead over Chastain by the completion of the first turn and then puts huge length between them immediately following.

Briscoe won Rookie of the Year last year and last Sunday’s victory made him the 200th different driver to win a NASCAR race. His team continues to give him the best position on the track they can give. If you take all of this into consideration and then add in the fact that a Ford has won five of the last six races, I don’t know how you look past Briscoe at this weekend in the Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500.

Here is an overview of drivers I will be looking to roster in DFS and season-long formats this weekend as well as a short list I plan to either avoid or roster minimally. I’ll be back Sunday morning with a look at value based on positional movement following Saturday’s qualifying races. Thoughts? Opinions? Wondering how and why you should play NASCAR fantasy? Hit me up on Twitter @thewonkypenguin.

Fantasy Drivers: The Contenders

Kyle Bush

The No. 18 car has an average finish of 3.75 over the previous six races at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He also qualifies well with an average starting position of 7th. Over the 24 races he’s taken part in, he has finished in the Top 10 eleven times and won it twice. On top of that, his driver rating in Atlanta is tied with teammate Martin Truex, Jr., for second highest among the field at 112.9. He had a solid run again last week in Phoenix, finishing seventh overall. I get the feeling he is due for a few of the weird oddities to go his way and, even though Toyotas haven’t shown well in recent years at this racetrack, he has a good chance to finish in front on Sunday.

Martin Truex, Jr.

Truex, Jr., had a bad break last weekend that knocked him out of the race and put him in a finishing position of 35th. The No. 19 Toyota averages a finish of 4.25 in Atlanta and has run well there in recent races, finishing in second place at the highest and ninth at the lowest. The other primary factor to note is that intermediate race tracks have been good for Truex, Jr., throughout his career. As with Kyle Busch, the Toyotas will come to play on Sunday.

Alex Bowman

The lone Chevrolet in the Contenders, Bowman’s average finish in the last four races at Atlanta is 8.50 with his highest finish being third place. He finished 14th last week in an uneven performance after edging out the win the week before. His driver rating at this track is 96.7 and he has looked competitive at every turn so far this season. The No. 48 car currently sits in 11th place in the overall standings with a secured playoff spot thanks to his win in Las Vegas. I like the odds of him being in the Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500 right up until the finish line.

Ryan Blaney

Blaney had a great run last week, starting in pole position, leading 144 of 312 laps, and winning Stage 2. He ended up in fourth place but looked like he was doing some of his best racing throughout. Now he turns toward Atlanta, a race he has won once and where his average finish is eighth. Coupled with his average start of 14.5 and the No. 12 car has plenty to make fantasy managers happy on Sunday.

Chase Briscoe

As we discussed above, Briscoe is the hot hand at this point. And while the “hot hand fallacy” is a thing, I’ve been impressed enough by him and his crew that I will have a fair number of shares of him no matter what his qualifying position is.

Fantasy Drivers: The Accelerators

Kurt Busch

Busch has raced at Atlanta Motor Speedway 31 times and finished in the Top 10 in 16 of them, the Top 5 in eight, and won it four times. Those are winning numbers, though he did all of them in his Chevrolet. In the last six races there, his driver rating is 104.3 and he’s led 147 laps. Last week at a similar-sized track, he moved up to fifth from his qualifying position of 15 and currently sits in 12th in the overall Cup standings. He also continues to have a reasonable salary for fantasy managers to capitalize on by adding his high floor, good ceiling potential to their lineups for the Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500.

Kevin Harvick

Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch have such similar numbers at this track throughout their careers, it’s almost eerie. Harvick has the slight edge in driver rating at 105.8 to 104.3 and his average finish of 6.50 is better than Busch’s 12.25. (Side note: My race-day friends and I like to joke that every time we ask what place the No. 4 car is in the race, the answer is “sixth.” Where did he finish last week? Sixth.) The important thing, though, is that on intermediate tracks like this one, his ceiling is always first place.

Denny Hamlin

Continuing on with our list of drivers with an average finish in the Top 10 at Atlanta, we get to No. 11 and another Toyota to keep an eye on. I expected a better showing from Hamlin last week, but his race was sporadic and ended in 13th. The veteran driver’s history in the Peach State includes 23 races with nine Top 10 finishes, six Top 5, and one win. His driver rating is a sparkling 102.6 and like the other drivers in this category, he has a high floor. The amount I will roster him depends on how his qualifier comes out.

Kyle Larson

Next up in this category is the driver that Vegas currently has at the best odds of winning. An engine issue ended his day early in Phoenix, but his stats in Atlanta put him right back on the list for the Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500. In eight races there, he has finished in the Top 10 four times and the Top 5 twice. In addition, his driver rating of 118.9 absolutely smashes the rest of the field and he currently sits in fourth in the Cup standings. Fade him at your own risk.

Brad Keselowski

When the checkered flag at Atlanta Motor Speedway has waved in the past, Keselowski has gotten to carry it twice and finished in the Top 10 over 64 percent of the time. He is a riskier option given that he has looked out of sync in his last couple of races, but hopefully his salary will reflect this and he could sneak under the radar of other fantasy managers afraid to take the risk.

Fantasy Drivers: The Brakes

The following is not a “Do Not Draft” list as much as drivers I plan to have low exposure to due to past track performance or other concerns.

  • William Byron
  • Austin Dillon
  • Michael McDowell
  • Christopher Bell

Make sure you check back on Sunday morning for some DFS picks so you can maybe bring home some cash at the Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500.

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