Race Weekend Central

Daily Fantasy NASCAR DraftKings Forecast: 2022 Quaker State 400

NASCAR Cup Series drivers are taking a midnight train (or another mode of transportation) to Georgia this weekend and revisiting revamped Atlanta Motor Speedway. Let’s prep your daily fantasy NASCAR DraftKings lineups for the Quaker State 400, airing on Sunday, July 10 at 3 p.m. ET on USA Network.

This past March saw the debut of the newly reconfigured 1.5-mile racetrack, and as expected, cars ran in a pack. The racing was similar to Daytona International Speedway or Talladega Superspeedway, albeit on a much smaller scale. There were six multi-car incidents that brought out cautions; in fact, 20% of the race was run under yellow flag conditions.

In the end, William Byron stood on top after leading over 100 laps. Will a similar feat occur this weekend, or will there be a surprise winner? Tune in to the race and find out.

Predicting the race has gotten more complicated with qualifying cancelled by rain. If they are in a good car (like Joe Gibbs Racing or Team Penske), I might consider them in my lineup. Additionally, anyone at the front of the field still carries a risky play on DraftKings, as it’s not known how they’ll do out front in the draft.

Before I share some drivers for Atlanta, here’s how last week’s DraftKings picks did at Road America:

Salary Driver DraftKings Score
$11,100.00 Chase Elliott 63.05
$9,200.00 Ryan Blaney 41
$8,500.00 Austin Cindric 35.9
$7,700.00 Daniel Suarez 51
$6,800.00 Michael McDowell 34.45
$6,200.00 Austin Dillon -1
$49,500.00 Total 224.4

This lineup wasn’t necessarily bad, but Austin Dillon endured a broken brake rotor that sent him behind the wall late in the race. That left me just outside the cash line in the DraftKings contest I entered.

The top score in the $5,000 Quarter Jukebox tournament was 292.45 and had Chase Elliott, Ross Chastain, race winner Tyler Reddick, Kevin Harvick, Chris Buescher and Ty Dillon.

As far as DraftKings scoring, the rules are the same as last season: 0.45 points for each fastest lap and 0.25 for each lap led. Additionally, drivers can earn a point for each position they gain on the track (relative to where they start). They can also lose a point for each position lost, so keep this fact in mind if you decide to play the polesitter.

Here are the DraftKings rules for the road this season.

NASCAR DraftKings Scoring Rules

Now, on to my DraftKings picks.

Note: The following drivers are part of a sample NASCAR DraftKings lineup; you can use this info to make your own.

DraftKings Picks for 2022 Quaker State 400 at Atlanta

Chase Elliott ($10,500)
Career at Atlanta (spring 2022): 1 start, 0 wins, 1 top five, 1 top 10
Average finish at Atlanta (spring 2022): 6.0

Most people will automatically flock to Ryan Blaney this weekend, as he has three wins on superspeedways and led some laps in the Daytona 500. However, I’m choosing Chase Elliott because of his consistent runs on pack racing tracks this season. At Atlanta, he led 29 laps before coming home sixth, while at Daytona he finished 10th. Then, at Talladega, he gained 21 positions to finish seventh, scoring 59.4 fantasy points on DraftKings as a result.

It seems to be a trend on this track type as of late for the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports driver. In the past 13 superspeedway races (excluding this year’s Atlanta), Elliott has earned four top fives and eight top 10s. This includes a plate win at Talladega in spring 2019 after leading 45 laps. Starting this Atlanta race from the pole will only lead to additional opportunities to continue this trend, leading laps and scoring fastest-lap bonuses to boost his score.

Plus, Elliott’s pretty good at the old Atlanta surface, too; he’s only finished outside the top 10 twice in eight starts. Even if he doesn’t earn his first Atlanta win this weekend, a good finish would lead to a solid score on DraftKings.

Ross Chastain ($10,300)
Career at Atlanta (spring 2022): 1 start, 0 wins, 1 top five, 1 top 10
Average finish at Atlanta (spring 2022): 2.0

Ross Chastain should be on your fantasy radar pretty much every week since he’s shown strength and good results at multiple different tracks. One of those this year was a runner-up at Atlanta; he began seventh and got out front for 42 laps. Plus, he won at Talladega thanks to his patience; Chastain was behind Erik Jones and Kyle Larson, who decided to block other lanes, leaving the bottom open for the No. 1 Chevrolet.

Although he only has two other top 10s on superspeedways (including last year’s Daytona 500), most of Chastain’s starts came with Premium Motorsports, which didn’t have as much funding. So instead of looking at those results, look at how Chastain has performed with Trackhouse Racing Team so far this year. He earned his first Cup victory at Circuit of the Americas, and in each of the last four races, he finished inside the top 10.

You should also note his good runs in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with Kaulig Racing. He won the 2019 Daytona event and was sixth in August 2020. Why is this important? Well, at Talladega, who was behind him on the final lap? None other than his former Kaulig teammate, Justin Haley. If Chastain has the right friends around him, he might just snag another victory.

See also
NASCAR 101: How Have Recent First-Time Winners Fared After Maiden Victory?

Bubba Wallace ($8,700)
Career at Atlanta (spring 2022): 1 start, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s
Average finish at Atlanta (spring 2022): 13.0

Bubba Wallace’s salary is a bit much considering his recent struggles, but his superspeedway talent should not be ignored. At Atlanta, he was running in the top 10 before getting caught up in a hard crash. He still came home 13th, though.

And while Wallace finished 17th in the spring Talladega race, he was out front for 15 laps, so you know he can earn those bonus DraftKings points. Those bonus fantasy points help especially when the driver finishes well, as Wallace did in some recent superspeedway races. He finished second in the past two Daytona events and earned his first career victory at Talladega last fall.

Wallace knows he needs a victory to help ensure a spot in the playoffs, so he may be more aggressive this weekend. A 32nd-place starting spot only enhances his value with position differential bonus.

Alex Bowman ($7,800)
Career at Atlanta (spring 2022): 1 start, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 1 top 10
Average finish at Atlanta (spring 2022): 10.0

If you like stacking teams or manufacturers, Alex Bowman could be a good one to pair with his Hendrick teammate Elliott. He placed 10th in the spring at the Georgia track and notched 11 fastest laps in the process. Also, at ‘Dega Bowman drove from 27th to ninth, scoring 56.6 fantasy points on DraftKings.

Now I know the No. 48 pilot hasn’t eclipsed the top 10 in the last four races, but he does have a victory early in the year at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Bowman also has three top fives and nine top-10 finishes this season.

And though he retired early from three of the last six superspeedway events, he earned a seventh-place at Talladega in June 2020, Daytona in August 2020 and last August’s Daytona race. Plus, in spring 2019 Bowman was second, showing that if he can avoid the crashes, he can finish well.

Dark Horse Performers

Erik Jones ($6,700)
Career at Atlanta (spring 2022): 1 start, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s
Average finish at Atlanta (spring 2022): 14.0

Oftentimes at this track type, my dark horses are under $7,000 and Erik Jones is definitely one who can produce a good value on DraftKings. He advanced from 23rd to 14th at the 1.5-mile course in March, then he came close to winning at ‘Dega in April. Unfortunately, he blocked the wrong lanes and allowed several cars to sneak by him on the final lap. Still, Jones was sixth after starting 16th, posting a DraftKings score of 54.3.

Additionally, Jones found success at other superspeedway races, most notably his win at Daytona in the summer of 2018. More recently, he placed ninth last fall at Talladega after starting 26th. And in the 2021 regular-season finale at Daytona, he gained 10 positions to finish 11th.

It would be huge for Jones to score a win with Petty GMS Motorsports, but even a top 15 would do the trick for you on DraftKings with his 25th-place starting spot.

Corey LaJoie ($5,400)
Career at Atlanta (spring 2022): 1 start, 0 wins, 1 top five, 1 top 10
Average finish at Atlanta (spring 2022): 5.0

Speaking of drivers who can produce a good value, look no further than Corey LaJoie. The No. 7 Spire Motorsports pilot began 33rd at Atlanta this spring and recovered from a brief slide in the infield to a fifth-place finish.

LaJoie is really good at avoiding trouble on the racetrack at plate tracks, as he was 14th at both larger ovals earlier this year. Last August, he went from 33rd to 16th at Daytona, while in the season opener he started 16th and came home ninth. Lastly, in three consecutive superspeedway races, LaJoie placed sixth, seventh and eighth in July 2019 Daytona, fall ‘Dega and the 2020 Daytona 500, respectively.

But LaJoie may be more aggressive this weekend to try to snag a win, as reported by NASCAR, so if you think he’ll crash out because of it, then you might want to play someone like Justin Haley ($6,300) or Ty Dillon ($6,000).

About the author

Joy joined Frontstretch in 2019 as a NASCAR DraftKings writer, expanding to news and iRacing coverage in 2020. She's currently an assistant editor and involved with photos, social media and news editing. A California native, Joy was raised as a motorsports fan and started watching NASCAR extensively in 2001. She earned her B.A. degree in Liberal Studies at California State University Bakersfield in 2010.

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Watch Hamlin try to get behind bubba. He will hang out around him I’m betting.

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