Race Weekend Central

Daily Fantasy NASCAR DraftKings Forecast: 2023 Quaker State 400 at Atlanta

After street course racing in Chicago, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway for some pack racing. Read on for my daily fantasy NASCAR DraftKings picks for the Quaker State 400, airing Sunday, July 9 at 7 p.m. ET on USA Network.

Atlanta’s been quite the interesting beast since its reconfiguration into a mini-superspeedway track. Its winners have led 96 or more laps in each of the last three races, and the last two were won from the pole. In March, we saw a long green-flag run to the finish, with Ford sweeping the top two positions.

So for DraftKings, it seems like you’ll need the polesitter in your lineup if they don’t have to drop to the back for some reason (like unapproved adjustments). Just keep in mind that if they do crash out from the lead (like what happened to Kevin Harvick and Aric Almirola in the spring), they’ll lose all those fantasy points from their starting spot, likely resulting in a negative score.

See also
Through the Gears: Atlanta Betting Preview

However, like the other superspeedway races at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway, there are some drivers who are good value plays on DraftKings, as they often earn a better finish than where they qualify. They can help you fit some dominators in your lineup.

Also note that some drivers were caught speeding on the lengthy pit road earlier this year (including Ryan Blaney, who went one or two laps down). NASCAR changed the speed limit for the first two sections of pit road to 90 mph under green flag conditions, so hopefully that makes things better for drivers.

Be sure to check out the qualifying results at Atlanta, airing Saturday, July 8 at 5:35 p.m. ET on USA Network.

Before I share my picks for Atlanta, here are the DraftKings scores I calculated from last week’s race at the Chicago street course:

DraftKings SalaryDriverDraftKings Score
$10,300Chase Elliott64.9
$10,100Tyler Reddick-8.2
$9,900AJ Allmendinger19
$8,700Michael McDowell36
$8,500Chris Buescher39
$7,300Ty Gibbs38.7
$5,200Todd Gilliland30

Overall, most of these fantasy scores were alright. Tyler Reddick led eight laps but didn’t have a good finish after getting in the tires late in the race. Also, AJ Allmendinger finished 17th, seven spots worse than where he started, keeping his score low. His Kaulig Racing teammate, Justin Haley, did well, though; he finished second after starting last.

Ty Gibbs was the highest-finishing Toyota in ninth; his DraftKings score was fairly good. Michael McDowell and Chris Buescher also scored top 10s, earning right around the same fantasy points as Gibbs.

According to LineStar, the perfect lineup on DraftKings had Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch, Austin Cindric, Almirola, Ryan Preece and Haley. Note that the winner, Shane van Gisbergen, was not in the perfect lineup; this was likely because he started up front and he didn’t lead many laps. Doesn’t mean he wasn’t in a winning lineup, just that you don’t always need the winner if you have several drivers qualifying in the back and finishing in the front.

Here’s a closer look at the DraftKings scoring rules …

The winner on the racetrack tallies 45 points, while second place gets 42, third 41 and so on. Tenth scores 34, while 11th gets 32 and decreases by one from there through 20th. This pattern repeats for 21st through 30th and again from 31st through 40th.

Additionally, drivers can earn or lose a point depending on where they began the race. For example, if Denny Hamlin started third and won, he would gain two points in addition to his finishing position points, totaling 47 fantasy points overall.

Drivers also can earn .45 points for each fastest lap and .25 for each lap they lead.

NASCAR DraftKings Scoring

Now, here are my picks for Atlanta!

Note: Stats below are from the last three Atlanta races

DraftKings Picks: Top Tier

Chase Elliott ($10,400)
Career at New Atlanta: 2 starts, 1 win, 1 top five, 2 top 10s
Average finish at New Atlanta: 3.5

I know it’s the second week in a row that I’m considering Chase Elliott on DraftKings, but there’s good reason for that. Elliott won this race last July after staying out front for 96 laps. Also, in spring 2022, he led 29 laps en route to a sixth place. He did miss this spring’s race due to injury, though, so we don’t know exactly how he’ll do on Sunday.

However, we do know how he’s performed at some other superspeedways. The No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports driver won at Talladega last fall and drove from 29th to 12th place there this spring. Elliott also gained 21 spots to finish seventh at ‘Dega in spring 2022.

If Elliott can qualify near the front this weekend, he’ll likely be able to stay up front and hopefully earn another good finish.

Joey Logano ($10,100)
Career at New Atlanta: 3 starts, 1 win, 1 top five, 2 top 10s
Average finish at New Atlanta: 12.0

Joey Logano dominated at Atlanta in March, but the win didn’t come as easy. He had to get by fellow Ford driver Brad Keselowski on the last lap to take the victory. Still, he led 140 of the 260 laps run. Last spring, he came home ninth after leading 12 laps.

But Logano is a bit of a riskier play, as he likes to block and keep the lead. He hasn’t had very many good finishes at other superspeedways recently; he was second in this year’s Daytona 500 and 12th there last summer. Unfortunately, his aggressiveness often results in early exits for the No. 22 Team Penske driver. 

Still, if he and his Penske and Ford cohorts could work together at Atlanta like they did in the spring, Logano could earn a good fantasy score on DraftKings.

Brad Keselowski ($9,000)
Career at New Atlanta: 3 starts, 0 wins, 1 top five, 1 top 10
Average finish at New Atlanta: 10.7

Keselowski led most of the final 30 laps at Atlanta until Logano got around him at the end to take the win. Still, a second place was his best of the last three races there, and he led 47 total laps to boot. His other two results there were a 12th in spring 2022 and an 18th in the summer, both several spots better than where he started.

The RFK Racing driver/co-owner also did this at Talladega in April, advancing from 20th to fifth place. Also, he earned a ninth in the 2022 Daytona 500, leading 67 laps in the effort. Additionally, Keselowski led 42 laps in this year’s season opener but crashed out near the end of the race.

Keselowski should earn another top 15 this week at Atlanta, as long as he stays out of trouble.

Middle Tier

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($7,900)
Career at New Atlanta: 3 starts, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s
Average finish at New Atlanta: 26.3

Some DraftKings users might go to Bubba Wallace in this range (which isn’t a bad play), but I decided to go with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Yes, he’s one of the more aggressive drivers, but he’s still pretty good. After all, he’s the most recent Daytona 500 champion, gaining 30 spots in that race. 

Plus, at ‘Dega in the spring, Stenhouse went from 33rd to 15th. These two results were his best finishes at Daytona or Talladega since a second-place in the summer 2020 ‘Dega race.

Stenhouse also gained 10 positions at Atlanta earlier this year on the way to 17th, earning his best finish on this configuration. If he performs similarly this weekend, he should produce a higher score on DraftKings. 

See also
4 Burning Questions: Who Might Steal a Playoff Spot at Atlanta?

Austin Cindric ($7,300)
Career at New Atlanta: 3 starts, 0 wins, 1 top five, 1 top 10
Average finish at New Atlanta: 15.3

Austin Cindric won last year’s Daytona 500, thanks to some drafting help from Ryan Blaney in the final laps. That same year he placed third in the summer race after starting 14th, and was ninth at Talladega, up eight spots from his starting position. Unfortunately, the No. 2 Team Penske pilot finished in the 20s in his last two superspeedway races.

And though he dropped down to 11th place after running near the front with Logano for much of the spring Atlanta event, Cindric still showed that he can draft well with his Penske colleagues. In fact, he was third there last July.

Look for Cindric to stay with his teammates and hopefully get in the front of the pack and earn the win.

Low Tier

Erik Jones ($7,000)
Career at New Atlanta: 3 starts, 0 wins, 1 top five, 2 top 10s
Average finish at New Atlanta: 8.7

Erik Jones had quite the run at the end of March’s Atlanta race, driving through the field mostly in the middle lane to eighth place after starting the race in 28th. Last summer, he gained 21 positions to finish in fourth, while in the spring, he ended up 14th after beginning 23rd.

These results are similar to how he’s done at Talladega. This spring, the No. 43 Legacy Motor Club driver moved forward from 24th to sixth place there. Jones also earned a sixth at ‘Dega both last fall and spring. 

Though the organization hasn’t had as much speed this year, Jones should be able to gain several spots on the track once again, as long as he stays clear of incidents.

Corey LaJoie ($6,500)
Career at New Atlanta: 3 starts, 0 wins, 2 top fives, 2 top 10s
Average finish at New Atlanta: 10.0

Like Jones, Corey LaJoie is also known for getting good results and advancing his position at superspeedways. Notably, he earned two top fives at Atlanta at the last two spring races after starting in the 30s. Last summer, he tried to get around Elliott for the lead but ended up in the wall and finished 21st, the last car on the lead lap. 

At Talladega he only moved up nine positions to 25th — not the best result. But the No. 7 Spire Motorsports driver did finish in 16th in the Daytona 500. Also, LaJoie was 14th in last spring’s Talladega race and the 2022 Daytona 500 after starting 33rd and 24th, respectively.

His salary is low enough that only a few positions gained will boost your fantasy score on DraftKings.

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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