Fantasy NASCAR Front Runner Rankings – Atlanta
Atlanta Fantasy Spin – Corey LaJoie is a poster boy for the superspeedway racing element that now exists at Atlanta. The draft is a great equalizer, and LaJoie excels at that discipline. If it wasn’t present, there’s no way LaJoie would’ve been a contender for the win last summer. You better believe LaJoie has this race circled on his schedule and if he has an incident free race, I think he has a great chance to walk away with a good result.
Atlanta Track History – Corey LaJoie had a great 2022 at Atlanta and if the summer would’ve been incident free, LaJoie would’ve had a pair of top 5’s. Last summer, LaJoie finished 10th in Stage #2, led 19 laps was contending for the win late but then on the final lap while making a move on Chase Elliott for the win, LaJoie got into the wall from a block from the #9 which led to his asterisk mark 21st. In spring 2022, LaJoie finished 5th, but take note his average running position was 20.2, and he’s a driver who drove up to the front in the closing laps. With 13 to go he was in 15th, and then with 3 to go he was in 10th.
Atlanta Fantasy Spin – Erik Jones was one of the better performers last year at Atlanta, and on Sunday, he’ll be looking to jump start his season. In 2023, the #43 crew is off to a rough start sitting 28th in points with a best result of 19th. This is the perfect weekend though for them to turn their fortunes around. The draft is a great equalizer, and Jones is solid on this track type. In the Next Gen at superspeedways over the combined events, Jones has the 2nd best average running position (12.7) and the 3rd best driver rating. If Jones can avoid trouble, I think he has a good chance to contend for a top ten.
Atlanta Track History – In 2022 between the combined races at the NEW Atlanta, Jones had a 9.0 average finish (tied for being the 4th best) and a 12.9 average running position. Last summer, Jones started deep in the field in 25th, but maneuvered the #43 home to a 4th. In the race, Jones led 10 laps, had the 14th best Total Speed Ranking and had a 14.7 average running position. I’ll note in the final segment, the #43 was the 5th fastest car on the track. In spring 2022, Jones was solid. In the race he finished 5th in Stage #1, about mid-teens in Stage #2, had an 11th place average running position and then finished 14th when the checkered flag waved.
Atlanta Fantasy Spin – Chris Buescher is sort of a coin flip at Atlanta. Buescher is a mid-tier driver who’s solid at superspeedways but he’s equally as much a liability. I think Chris Buescher is more than capable of sneaking in a good result, but I think the odds are around 50% he’ll do so. Last year at Atlanta, Buescher finished a strong 7th in the spring and then in the summer he never showed his hand and then crashed (33rd).
Atlanta Track History – Chris Buescher seems to have a knack for finishing well in spring Atlanta races, but not being so great in race #2. Going back to “Old Atlanta” which lacks relevancy now, Buescher currently has three straight top tens in the spring so hopefully he can keep the good times going from that historical fact. Last summer, Buescher didn’t show much and I think he was “pacing” himself using a superspeedway strategy, but he still ended up wrecking which led to his 33rd. On lap 76 he was back in 31st but then on lap 78 while running around 30th he crashed in what he described as a “Decent Hit.” Then on lap 107 while running in the low 20’s, Buescher had a flat tire and careened into the wall hard which marked the end of his race. Last spring, Buescher finished around the mid-twenties in Stage #1, just outside the top ten in Stage #2, was running in 13th with three to go, but when mayhem ensued at the end, Buescher rose to the occasion and finished 7th.