The Home of Fantasy Sports Analysis

NASCAR DFS: Quaker State 400 Preview

The Fourth of July weekend proved to be a historic one for NASCAR as they ran their first ever street course through the Grant Park neighborhood of Chicago. Shane van Gisbergen, a three-time Supercars Championship winner, won the inaugural event in his NASCAR Cup Series debut for the Project 91 team for Trackhouse Racing. Justin Haley was one of my favorite plays last week and came so close to scoring a win. The weather wasn’t very cooperative as they had to trim 25 laps off the Cup Series race, but when the track did dry the racing was actually very good and it greatly exceeded the expectations of most, myself included. But this week, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Atlanta for 260 laps around the new configuration of Atlanta Motor Speedway. It’s also going to be a night race in cooler conditions so let’s check out the drivers in this week’s Quaker State 400 Preview for our NASCAR DFS contests!

Never played Fantasy NASCAR? Head on over to Fantrax and give one of our public leagues a go. Leagues are still filling up! There’s no better time than now to give it a try!

Atlanta Motor Speedway used to be one of my favorite races each year. I loved the old configuration and how much tire wear played into the strategy for these teams. But following the 2021 season, they tore up this track and re-paved it with a new configuration. It’s still a 1.5-mile tri-oval but the new layout means it’s more of a “drafting” track like we see at Talladega and Daytona with the more narrow layout and higher banking. Is it the greatest style of racing? No, and even the TV product can be boring if they run single file for the first couple of stages. But we still have some Cash and GPP contests to dominate so let’s take a look at the drivers for this week’s Quaker State 400 preview.

NASCAR DFS: Quaker State 400 Preview: The Top Plays

Joey Logano (#22 Ford)

It’s hard to trust Joey Logano most weeks, but he does have three top-10 finishes in his last four races heading into Atlanta. Logano flat-out dominated this race in the Spring after he started on the pole and led 140 laps on his way to a win. He was even contending for a win at the 2023 Daytona 500 but finished second to Ricky Stenhouse Jr. who was leading at the time of the caution on the final lap. But Logano still has a Daytona 500 win under his belt from 2015 and he’s won at Talladega three times as well. Ford and Penske stacks could be popular on Sunday since they’ll likely pit and work together in the draft. Logano definitely has some win equity for this race.

Chase Elliott (#9 Chevrolet)

Elliott won this race a year ago after a very tight battle with Corey LaJoie. He also went on to win Talladega in the Fall. He’s come close to winning at Daytona a couple times, but what I like most is the desperation this week. It’s his home track and he really needs a win to qualify for the playoffs. With only eight races left in the regular season, it’ll be difficult for him to point his way into the playoffs. He enters Atlanta with three straight top-five finishes.

Ross Chastain (#1 Chevrolet)

It feels like such a cop-out to put the Watermelon Man in this section of the Quaker State 400 preview, but it’s hard to deny how good he’s been at Atlanta since the re-pave and in the NextGen car. Chastain finished second in both Atlanta races in 2022 and then was 13th back in March. He also won at Talladega last Spring and then finished 4th in the Fall after leading 36 laps. Chastain is two weeks removed from scoring a win at Nashville and Trackhouse Racing is rolling with momentum in general after Shane van Gisbergen won last weekend at Chicago.

Quaker State 400 Preview: Wouldn’t Bet Against Them

Ryan Blaney (#12 Ford)

Blaney’s hit a bit of a rough stretch since his impressive win at Charlotte over Memorial Day Weekend. He’s finished outside the top 30 in three straight races, but this is a tremendous bounce back opportunity for him. The Fords are known for having some of the best cars for this style of racing. Moreover, Team Penske is well known for their drafting success as well. Austin Cindric won the Daytona 500 in 2022. And we’ve already touched on Joey Logano. Blaney himself has two career wins at Talladega and he’s finished runner-up the last two races there. He won the summer race at Daytona two years ago, and in the last two races at Atlanta, he’s finished 5th and 7th.

William Byron (#24 Chevrolet)

Overlooking Byron could be a big mistake for Sunday night’s race. Has he wrecked in the last two Atlanta races? Yes, and that’s always part of the risk in these tracks. But he did win the first race at Atlanta’s new configuration in the Spring of 2022. He also seems to have a bad habit of wrecking at Daytona, but he did score a win there in 2020. But he’s still having a career year in the Cup Series with three wins to his name. There is win equity with Byron and he’ll have plenty of other Chevy drivers to work with for strategy.

Brad Keselowski (#6 Ford)

Keselowski hasn’t received the accolades that he may have been used to prior to moving over to RFK Racing. However, the organization has looked better of late and the car has had more speed. Even with the aerodynamic deficiencies, he’s had a good season. And this is the kind of race the Fords should actually thrive. Keselowski got into a wreck in the Daytona 500 but he did lead 42 laps. He followed that up leading 44 laps at the first Atlanta race back in March where he finished second. And then in April, he grabbed a top-five at Talladega. He has seven total career wins at Daytona and Talladega so he can certainly do well in this race and get the win that avoided him in the Spring.

Aric Almirola (#10 Ford)

Aric Almirola is in the same hole as his Stewart-Haas Racing teammates (except maybe Kevin Harvick) and plenty of other Ford drivers. He basically needs a win to get into the playoffs. Almirola hasn’t been elite at “new” Atlanta, but he finished top ten in this race a year ago and he led 17 laps here in March. He also has a win at both Daytona and Talladega in his career. In general, he is one of the better draft racers in NASCAR. You could make the argument he’s more of a sleeper this week. However, I do think he can run up front and he’s a dark horse to win.

Quaker State 400 Preview: The Sleepers

Daniel Suarez (#99 Chevrolet)

I thought about putting Suarez in the “Wouldn’t Bet Against Them” section, but ultimately settled on listing him as a sleeper. His average finishes on superspeedways aren’t great. He’s at 26.8 for Daytona and 20.0 for Talladega. But since the move to the NextGen car, he’s surprisingly pulled off better results. In 2022 he finished 18th in the Daytona 500, 4th and 6th in the two Atlanta races. So far in 2023 he was 7th at the Daytona 500 and 9th at the Talladega Spring race. He did wreck earlier this year at Atlanta, but that is the downside to this new “drafting” layout. Nothing is a guarantee, but he definitely seems more confident in this type of race.

Corey LaJoie (#7 Chevrolet)

LaJoie isn’t really a true sleeper in the sense that he’s under the radar. Plenty of people know he has Daytona, Talladega, and Atlanta circled on his calendar. These tracks are his best chance to score a win. Since Atlanta’s re-configuration he has a pair of top five finishes. Even in this race a year ago, he only finished 21st but he was contending for the win with less than ten laps to go. He managed to lead 19 laps before late trouble dropped him back. He’s having a really good season this year and getting the most out of the 7-car for Spire Motorsports. He’s a long shot, but he’s shown he can compete in this type of track.

Erik Jones (#43 Chevrolet)

Unlike LaJoie, Jones does have a win on a superspeedway. Even in the three Atlanta races since the repave, Jones has finished 14th, 4th, and 8th at this track in the NextGen car. Jones has a win at Daytona from his time with Joe Gibbs Racing and he won the Clash when it was formerly held there as well. He’s also finished top ten in six of his last seven races at Talladega. He can pay off if he avoids the wrecks and carnage.

Austin Hill (#62 Chevrolet)

Austin Hill is definitely not a sleeper at this style of track in the Xfinity Series. Hill failed to qualify for the Daytona 500, but did race at Talladega in April and finished 24th. In 2022, in the Xfinity Series, Hill scored wins at the first Daytona race and the second race at Atlanta. But he also finished 2nd in the first Atlanta race and he led 67 laps in the first Talladega race before being caught in a wreck. Fast forward to 2023 and he won the first Daytona and Atlanta races while finishing 18th at Talladega where he led 14 laps. Now, these are stats from the Xfinity Series and he’s far from a slam dunk to win.

Fantrax was one of the fastest-growing fantasy sites over the last few years, and we’re not stopping now. We are the most customizable, easy-to-use, and feature-rich platform in the industry, offering the greatest fantasy experience for your dynasty, keeper, redraft, and best ball leagues. Fantasy sports doesn’t sleep, and neither does Fantrax, with seasons running 365 days a year. Take your fantasy leagues to the next level now at!
Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.