Rain is the main concern this weekend, as NASCAR has already moved up the start of the QuikTrip Folds of Honor 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway by an hour on Sunday in hopes of getting the race in. Unfortunately, it’s looking more likely than not that we’re going to have a Monday race, but even then there’s some rain in the forecast.
Looking at the Atlanta event, though, we’re all set to go for the first “real” race of the 2018 NASCAR season. This is an old, worn-out race track, and being able to manage your tires is going to be huge in the QuikTrip Folds of Honor 500. Kyle Busch won the pole for this weekend’s race, and the full starting lineup can be found here. Additionally, there was one long post-qualifying practice on Saturday, and those results can be found by clicking here. Don’t forget to check out our in-depth practice notes, too, by clicking here.
Final Top 25 Rankings for the Atlanta
1. Kyle Busch – Starts 1st – DraftKings Price: $9,700
**Risk Factor: Medium Risk**
Atlanta Motor Speedway is a track that gives a bit of an edge to the drivers that have great car control, and they plays right into the hands of Kyle Busch. Add in the fact that he’s on the pole for Sunday’s QuikTrip Folds of Honor 500, and the driver of the #18 Toyota has a definite advantage. This will be the first real race where we see the effect of NASCAR’s new pit road rules, and I think having the #1 pit stall will be a huge advantage for Kyle Busch on Sunday. Additionally, Rowdy looked solid during the extra-long practice session on Saturday, ranking just 15th on the overall speed chart but 2nd behind his teammate Denny Hamlin in ten-lap average. Busch has been feast or famine here at Atlanta over the course of his Cup Series career but he does have two trips to victory lane in the Cup Series and has finished 6th or better in three of the last five races here (and four of the last seven). Rowdy is a solid Fantasy NASCAR option in all formats this weekend.
2. Kevin Harvick – Starts 3rd – DraftKings Price: $10,100
**Risk Factor: Low Risk**
Of course Kevin Harvick is going to be a threat here this weekend…do you remember the Atlanta race last year? The #4 Ford had the entire field covered–and then some–in this race last year, which was actually even more impressive once we found out how Stewart-Haas Racing was off a little bit on the intermediate tracks in their first season with Ford. Anyway, surprisingly enough, Atlanta is Harvick’s worst track on the circuit, but you wouldn’t think that by looking at the numbers; “Happy” has led over 100 laps in five of the last six Cup Series races at this track and has wound up 9th or better in nine of the last eleven events here. Harvick doesn’t have a car that can dominate this weekend like he did last year, but he has one that can contend for the win and lead some laps on Sunday. Also, for what it’s worth, Harvick is running the Xfinity Series race this year, giving him some additional track times to possibly learn some things.
3. Kyle Larson – Starts 8th – DraftKings Price: $10,000
**Risk Factor: Medium Risk**
This will be the first “real” race that we’ll see these new Chevrolet Camaros race, so keep that mind if you’re going to pick Kyle Larson in Fantasy NASCAR this weekend. There’s no doubt that Larson has the talent to quickly get around a track like Atlanta, but you have to remember that tire conservation is going to play a role in the race this weekend–and that’s not necessarily Larson’s biggest strength. Additionally, we all know that Larson loves to run that high lane, but how quickly is that going to come in on Sunday? In other words, there’s quite a few unknowns surrounding Kyle going into the QuikTrip Folds of Honor 500. The good news is that this #42 Chevrolet came home 2nd here last season, and Larson also posted an 8th-place finish here back in 2014. He wasn’t super fast in the final practice session on Saturday (in terms of one fast lap), but Kyle had a pretty impressive ten-lap average considering he made that run so much later than others. Larson also had the 6th-best 20-lap average in that session.