Fantasy NASCAR Top Tier Elite Picks – Atlanta
Atlanta Fantasy Spin – There’s a lot of things to like about William Byron for Atlanta. He’s the defending spring winner, he has back-to-back wins heading into the weekend and the #24 was stout in both races last year. What’s not to like? Byron’s level of confidence has to be off the charts right now, and sticking with a hot hand is always smart. Last year between the combined Atlanta races, Byron was hands down one of the best. If Byron can avoid trouble on Sunday, there’s no question he’ll be a factor.
Atlanta Track History – William Byron, the defending spring Atlanta winner was a standout performer on the new surface last year. In 2022 over the combined events, Byron had the 2nd best driver rating, the 3rd best average running position (10.0) and averaged leading the most laps per race (76.0). Last summer, Byron returned to the track with a similar setup he had in the spring and was a top five contender, but finished a misleading 30th. In the race, Byron finished 5th in Stage #1, 8th in Stage #2, led 41 laps but early in the last Stage on lap 170 he was caught up in a multi-car wreck that marked the end of his race. In spring 2022, Byron had the field covered and easily raced his way to victory lane. In the race, Byron won Stage #1, finished 9th in Stage #2, led 111 laps, had a 4.7 average running position and then of course finished 1st. Of his laps led, Byron led 61 of the final 64 laps, so you could say he had the race well in hand when it was closing time.
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Atlanta Fantasy Spin – Ross Chastain is 2 for 2 at finishing runner-up at NEW Atlanta, and if he can finally have an incident free race here, watch out because he’ll be a factor! Chastain was phenomenal on the new surface last year and wasn’t afraid to get aggressive, let’s just hope the competition doesn’t remember! When it comes to superspeedway racing, Chastain is one of the better drivers in the series.
Atlanta Track History – Ross Chastain should prominently be on your fantasy NASCAR radar at Atlanta. Chastain is 2 for 2 at crashing/being involved in an accident while running near the front, but he’s also 2 for 2 at finishing 2nd, so you can’t argue with his method of madness. “Performance Wise”, Chastain was a standout performer in both 2022 events. Last summer, Chastain caused not one, but two accidents near the front of the pack. In the race, Chastain finished 3rd in Stage #1, 9th in Stage #2, had a 7.9 average running position, led 32 laps, earned the 2nd best driver rating, was tied for having the 4th best Total Speed Ranking and of course finished 2nd when the checkered flag waved. In the race, Chastain caused his first accident on lap 91 when he gave Truex who was leading a bad bump. Then later in the race while battling Hamlin for 4th, they had contact which sent the #11 spinning. Last spring, Chastain was impressive. In the race, Chastain crashed while leading on lap 94 (led 42 laps before that) and got a two-lap penalty for improper refueling, but he battled back and finished 10th in Stage #2 and then 2nd when the checkered flag waved.
Atlanta Fantasy Spin – Look for Christopher Bell to be a contender at Atlanta. Bell was one of the best in 2022 on the new surface, and “Performance Wise”, Bell was a top five contender in both races. If you’re looking for “Out of sync” potential, Bell will also provide that thanks to two asterisk mark finishes. Bell’s average finish was 21st last year but take note his driver rating was the 6th best. Bell’s certainly due for an incident free Atlanta race and if he can avoid trouble, I think he’s poised to be a top five contender who might just be a factor to win.
Atlanta Track History – Christopher Bell was a top five contender at Atlanta in both 2022 races, but you would never know it by looking at the results column (21st place avg. finish). Last summer, Bell looked great but finished an asterisk mark 19th. In the race, Bell finished 10th in Stage #1, 6th in Stage #2 but then in the final Stage his afternoon went south. On lap 236 while running in 6th, Bell spun into the grass. Then during that pit stop under caution, Bell lost his tire on pit road and was stuck sideways to add insult to injury. In the race, Bell had the best Total Speed Ranking, ranked 6th for speed late in a run and had the 4th best average running position (8.8). Last spring, Bell had a hot rod and crossed the finish line in 2nd, but when you look at the results column, you’ll see an asterisk mark 23rd. On the last lap, Bell was penalized for going below the yellow line which drop kicked him back in the running order. “Performance Wise”, there’s no question Bell was one of the best. In the race, Bell finished 10th in Stage #1, led 16 laps, had an 11.4 average running position and consistently ran near the front in the final Stage. With 7 laps to go, Bell was running in 7th.
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