FOLDS OF HONOR QUIKTRIP 500 at Atlanta – 3/5/17

After a long few weeks in Daytona the NASCAR circuit has made the 412 mile trek to Atlanta Motor Speedway to settle in for this weekend’s race. The 58th Annual Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 is set to kick off at 2:30pm on Sunday afternoon. Only 39 cars registered to race this weekend which means every car will be part of the field with no one packing up and going home.

If you tuned into the Daytona 500 last week you already know that some of the new rules look to have a huge effect on strategy and what team’s may be willing to do try to get an advantage over the competition. This race just like last week and every week moving forward will be run in three stages and for the most part, this new rule was an intriguing part of an already exciting race. I think what this rule will do is make some of the ‘less-interesting’ races a little more exciting. Dover comes to mind as a lot of the cautions that happen there are for debris which could be a result of running on a concrete surface.

Anyway, let’s take a look at some of the drivers that could help you take down that GPP this weekend.

Jimmie Johnson – $10,600 is the obvious favorite here however as Vegas has inserted him as the race favorite at 5-1 odds. Johnson’s salary is the highest this week so if you want him you’re going to have to pay for him. Johnson has won twice in the last ten tries here which has also seen him collect five top five finishes in those ten starts. The defending champion will look to get back on track this weekend as a crash took him out last week which saw him finish 34th in the 40 car field.

Kevin Harvick – $10,200 – Here is another high priced driver that can pile up the points as Harvick will start from the front of the field on Sunday. Over the last ten starts here Harvick has finished in the top ten a whopping eight times while leading 609 laps in those ten races. That is 152 laps more than the next best driver who happens to be Kurt Busch, last week’s Daytona 500 winner. By starting from the pole there is plenty of opportunity to run some fast laps as well as run a lot of laps while leading the race.

Martin Truex Jr. – $9,800 – Truex is the last of the higher priced drivers that have a good track record here at Atlanta. In his last five starts here he has finished now lower than seventh in four of those races while finishing all but two laps in those ten starts. Today he will start from the ninth spot on the grid and should be able to keep the car on the track for yet another decent finish this afternoon.

Kasey Kahne – $8,000 – As we move down the list of drivers we have to start looking for those mid-tiered plays that will give us solid points while not giving up too much on the fantasy point side on things. Kahne’s price seems a bit steep here as I am sure that others may take a shot on Danny Suarez – $7,900 and his comparable price while getting a little bit more ceiling for their money.

Kahne has two wins and four top ten finishes to his credit over the last ten starts here in Atlanta. His last win was three starts ago in the summer race here in Atlanta two years ago. Kahne’s starting position of 29th is attractive here as he should be able to finish higher than some of the drivers ahead of him without even trying. Then add the fact that his team mates are Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr and Chase Elliott, one would think he could have a shot at returning to victory lane.

Jamie McMurray – $7,800 – McMurray may be one to avoid here based on his recent performance here at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He always seems to qualify well, which he has this week by starting seventh, but he seems to not be able to keep the car in the front pack of cars. Last year he had starts of third and second and finished and finished 40th and 21st respectively. There are a few other drivers that may do well in this price range. Ryan Newman- $7,600 – is a good example as he has five top ten finishes in the last ten starts here and will start in the front row next to the pole sitter Kevin Harvick.

Chase Elliott- $9,300, Danny Suarez- $7,900 and Ryan Blaney -$7,200 are just a few drivers that do not have a lot of track history but may be a factor into winning a GPP. Elliott finished eighth in his only start here while Suarez as we all know is taking over for the recently retired Carl Edwards and will make his first start.

Ty Dillon – $6,100 – Dillon has started two races here in Atlanta and in both of them he finished in a higher position than he started. His first start was back in the summer of 2014 as he started in 29th place and finished in 25th place  while his start this time last year yielded a 17th place finish from the 18th starting position. Today he will roll off from the 26th position as he will try to guide the #13 Geico Chevrolet to a top 15 finish. That’s about all we can ask for at this price.

There are a lot of driver’s that raced in yesterday’s Xfinity series race so let’s take a look at some of the driver’s that finished well and maybe that can help us make a few of our picks for today’s race. I mean after all, the track basically stays the same in terms of how they want to attack it and drivers can gain valuable information by running competitively on a track the day before the race.

It’s not a surprise that Kyle Busch won the race from starting in the same position but maybe Austin Dillon finishing eighth from the 17th position might be. Brad Keselowki and Kyle Larson both finished a position higher than where they started as Keselowski finished second while Larson finished third. Today’s pole sitter in Kevin Harvick finished fourth after starting from the 12th position.

That will do it for another look inside the world of NASCAR for this weekend. As always, follow me on twitter @elctrceye and good luck in your contests this weekend.