1)Brad Keselowski (Starting – 5th)
Atlanta Fantasy Spin – Brad Keselowski was the best driver in 2016 in races where the “lowest down force package” was used. He won at the lone 1.5 mile track visited (Kentucky) and finished in the top 4 every race. I’m hoping his success from those events will carry over. At Atlanta Keselowski has run well, but hasn’t had the highest level of success. On Sunday I think that could change. He likes his car and has shown good speed. Towards the end of practice his crew chief said, “From what I can tell, it looks like we’re right there.” On Sunday I think he’s going to finish in the top five and compete for the win.
Atlanta Track History – Brad Keselowski has run well at Atlanta. “Performance wise” he’s been good enough to have six straight top tens if it wasn’t for problems while running well. Currently he has back to back 9th’s. In last year’s 9th place finish he was a solid competitor having a 10th place average running position and earning the 11th best driver rating. In 2015 he had a similar performance earning the 9th best driver rating and having a 10th place average running position. In 2014 he had one of the best cars and was top five good but pit road problems and a blown tire with 29 laps to go while running in 4th ruined his evening (finished 39th). In 2013 he might’ve been the driver to beat but his engine blew up while leading after pacing the field for 31 laps (finished 35th). In the two Atlanta races prior to that he had results of 3rd and 6th.
Yahoo A Driver / DraftKings $10,000
2) Kevin Harvick (Starting – 1st)
Atlanta Fantasy Spin – Perhaps all the off-season changes aren’t proving to be such a big deal for Kevin Harvick after all. On Sunday he’s starting on the pole, 12.8% percent of Atlanta races have been won from that starting position. With him starting out front the competition might be in real trouble. As you’ll read below in recent Atlanta races he’s been the driver to beat. In practice he focused on being good over long runs and said his car is doing everything he wants it to do. On Sunday look for him to finish in the top five and compete for the win.
Atlanta Track History – Nobody has been more competitive than Kevin Harvick in recent races at Atlanta. In four of the last five races he’s led +101 laps or more. Over the last three in our extended PROS Rankings he’s ranked first twice, and hasn’t been below second. Last year at Atlanta he was the class of the field and was the driver to beat. He was beaten though by superior pit strategy by the #48, and then a bad final restart that dropped him from 2nd to 6th. From the race it should be noted he earned the best driver rating, had a 3rd place average running position and led a race high 131 laps. In 2015 he started near the back but that wasn’t a problem. He finished 2nd, had a 4th place average running position and led 116 laps. In 2014 he was the driver to beat but his race wasn’t incident free (finished 19th). He started on the pole, earned the best driver rating, had a 2nd place average running position and led 195 laps. In the three Atlanta races prior to that he had results of 5th, 7th and 9th.
Yahoo A Driver / DraftKings $10,200
3) Chase Elliott (Starting – 11th)
Atlanta Fantasy Spin – Atlanta is Chase Elliott’s home track and I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins. He’s been knocking on the door to victory lane and it’s going to open up sooner than later. Chase Elliott is a smart driver who knows how to pace his car over long runs. He displayed that in practice by having the second best 20 lap average speed. Also it should be noted his team was pleased with his car in final practice. Last year when the lowest down force package was used minus Kentucky where he crashed he had results of 2nd and 2nd. On Sunday I expect him to compete for a top five and perhaps be a factor to win.
Atlanta Track History – Chase Elliott has only raced at Atlanta once, and he had an impressive performance. Last year he had a strong showing. He started mid-pack (24th), finished 8th, earned the 8th best PROS Ranking, earned the 9th best driver rating and had a 10th place average running position.
Yahoo B Driver / DraftKings $9,300