1) Joey Logano – Joey Logano is a good fantasy NASCAR pick to win at Atlanta. With much of the competition starting in the back he’s got a huge advantage this week. On Sunday Joey Logano will start on the pole. This race has been won from that starting position 13.1% percent of the time. At Atlanta Joey Logano doesn’t have a great overall track record but since he’s been at Penske Racing he’s been an elite performer. Last year Logano had one of the best cars. He started in 14th, finished 14th, had a 6th place average running position and earned the 7th best driver rating. It’s important to note his 14th place finish is deceiving because he had top 3 potential. A key moment for him in the race which could’ve potentially won it for him was a mistake on pit road during green flag pit stops that were interrupted by a caution. He completed his stop and would’ve cycled into the lead except his crew failed to fill up his car with gas. That meant he had to come in again during the caution which dropped him to 7th. Before that round of pit stops started he was running in 2nd. Then late in the race during the first Green-White-Checker restart he was running in 6th but got caught up in Kevin Harvick’s wreck which damaged his car and led to his mediocre result. In 2013 Joey Logano had one of the best cars. In that event he earned the best driver rating, led the second most laps and finished 2nd. Last season at intermediate tracks Joey Logano was arguably the best performer in the series. Look for Joey Logano to be one of the drivers to beat on Sunday.
Starting Position – 1st
Chassis Selection – No chassis selection information has been provided
Odds To Win – 8/1
2) Denny Hamlin – Joe Gibbs Racing thrives at Atlanta and I think Denny Hamlin will be one of the drivers to beat. In Happy Hour he had the best 10 lap average. In general at intermediate tracks the more tire wear comes into play the better Hamlin performs. Over the last few Atlanta races a solid case could be made that Denny Hamlin has been the strongest performer in the series. Last year he was one of the main contenders finishing 3rd, earning the 3rd best driver rating and leading 37 laps. The year before that he had an off-race and had multiple problems which led to a very poor result. In 2012 he led 105 laps and raced his way to victory lane. At the end of the 2014 season Hamlin was one of the strongest drivers at 1.5 mile tracks. In the Chase at tracks of this length he finished in the top ten every race and had a 7.8 average finish. With him having such a strong car and his competitors starting in the back you can expect Hamlin to be in the mix all afternoon.
Starting Position – 4th
Chassis Selection – No chassis selection information has been provided.
Odds To Win – 10/1
3) Kevin Harvick – Kevin Harvick was the best default fantasy NASCAR pick to win at Atlanta until his engine blew up. That really put him in a big hole but he has a fast car and he’s confident he’ll run well. In 2001 Harvick won his first race here. Since then he hasn’t returned to victory lane but he’s performed like a fantasy ace. Last year he had the dominant car but was denied the victory due to slow pit stops, a few outside lane restart issues and then at the end while running in 4th he got collected in a wreck. If he didn’t have those problems he probably could’ve led the event from the start to the finish. In the race he earned the best driver rating, best PROS ranking, had a 2nd place average running position, led 195 laps and finished 19th. In 2013 he had a good car. He started in 30th, had an 8th place average running position and finished 9th. Also in that race he earned the 5th best driver rating. In 2012 Kevin Harvick arguably had the best car at Atlanta. He started in 24th and drove up to the lead on lap #135. In the race he led 101 laps, earned the 2nd best driver rating and had a 4th place average running position. He had a good chance to win but with about 100 laps to go he lost the lead off pit road and never appeared to be as strong. When the checkered flag waved he finished 5th. In 2011 he finished 7th. In fall 2010 he had vibration issues but prior to that event he had three straight top tens. One of the main attributes I like about Harvick is how strong he was at 1.5 mile tracks last year. In the Chase at tracks of this length he scored the most points and had a 4.2 average finish.
Starting Position – 2nd (going to the back due to an engine change)
Chassis Selection – In 2014 this chassis was stout at every venue it visited. It won at Darlington, Phoeinx, was the car to beat at Dover (problems) and was fast at Las Vegas (problems).
Odds To Win – 6/1