As NASCAR heads back east, it makes a stop at a familiar track with a new look. Let’s dive into what has changed at Atlanta Motor Speedway since it last saw racing action and how these changes should affect NASCAR DFS expectations going into this Sunday for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500.
NASCAR DFS Preview & Predictions: Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
Atlanta Motor Speedway Track Information
- Track: Atlanta Motor Speedway
- Location: Hampton, GA
- Length: 1.5-mile (asphalt)
- Banking: 2 degrees on the apron, 18 degrees on the transition apron, 28 degrees in the turns
- Race Distance: 325 laps stages (105/210/325 laps)
- Dominator Points:
- DraftKings: 81.25 – laps led, 146.25 – fastest laps
- FanDuel: 32.5 – laps led
- Past winners: Kurt Busch (2021-2), Ryan Blaney (2021-1)
- Betting favorite: Kyle Larson/ Ryan Blaney, +900 (BetMGM)
- Entry List: All 36 Chartered Teams plus Greg Biffle
- Weather: High of 70, mostly sunny
- Watch: FOX
- Listen: PRN (GoPRN.com, NASCAR.com, NASCAR Sirius/ XM Channel 90)
On Track Schedule (All Times Eastern)
- Friday, March 18
- 5:05 PM: combined practice session
- Saturday, March 19
- 12:30 PM: qualifying
- Sunday, March 20
- 3:00 PM: green flag
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NASCAR DFS Preview for Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
In the past, thoughts of Atlanta would conjure up some of NASCAR’s most competitive racing as drivers not only had to battle themselves but the track. For years, Atlanta had pushed to repave its old, weathered, and quite frankly crumbling surface but continually got push back from the drivers because the drivers loved Atlanta and the way it raced. The last time Atlanta had been repaved, Bill Clinton was in hot water for activities involving an intern. After 20-plus years of weathering, the track was notorious for eating tires up and making drivers adjust on the fly depending on the weather conditions.
After years of getting rebuffed, Atlanta made the executive decision to repave its old surface. However, the new pavement will end up being the least of driver’s worries as Atlanta decided to make other changes that will surely affect racing this weekend. The front stretch was widened to just over 61′ to allow extra racing at the start-finish line; an increase of six feet. Most notably, the banking in the corners was adjusted giving Atlanta an almost Daytona-esque feel to it now. Last Summer, the transition apron was four degrees, now it’s 18 degrees. Furthermore, the banking in the turns is now 28 degrees after being 24 degrees beforehand. Finally, the turns themselves have been shortened from 55′ to 40′ while the backstretch saw the same reduction. Needless to say, this version of Atlanta will look and race unlike anything else fans or drivers have witnessed there.
The only question left is what will racing look like on this version of Atlanta? Practice on Friday will be the biggest clue, however, there are rain showers in the forecast for Friday which could really leave expectations up in the air. That said, NASCAR did conduct a test session at Atlanta for Goodyear back in January that should point DFS players in the right direction.
During interviews following the test session, Kurt Busch remarked, “Once we got out there in a group, the pace picked up by over a second with having the cars draft together. So there’s a lot of speed that you have by yourself, and things were amplified, way more than what we expected when we had just three cars drafting with each other… You’re gonna have that Daytona style feel at a mile and a half.”
Everything seems to be lining up for Sunday’s race to be a sized-down version of Daytona or Talladega but with an additional 125 laps meaning more chances for wrecks, chaos, and attrition. Especially as the cars will be running the same 510-horsepower setup they just ran at Daytona instead of their new 670-horsepower setups. However, whether this will be just another full-blown superspeedway style event is to be seen. Should the practice be canceled on Friday, DFS players should be watching both the Trucks and Xfinity races on Saturday to get a gauge of how those vehicles, in their superspeedway horsepower packages, drive on this revamped version of Atlanta Motor Speedway.
If this is miniature-Daytona, then DFS rosters should reflect that with no regard to the salary cap and ample attention paid to drivers with place differential potential and finishing position upside. The only deviation from this could be potentially looking towards a lap leader on DraftKings, especially if there’s no practice on Friday. Drivers could be entering Sunday with their only lap time coming from Saturday’s qualifying session. If that’s the case, it’s very easy to see a scenario where they all ride around single or double file until they get a good grip on how the track races and someone sits on the lead as they all play it safe for the bulk of the race.
On the flip side, if this is more intermediate track than superspeedway, everyone playing the “stack the back” strategy is going to be severely disappointed when they witness single-file racing, a driver from upfront leading over half of the race, and drivers in the back not advancing forward. A lot of DFS strategy for Sunday is going to be dictated by what happens on the track on Friday in practice and Sunday in the Trucks-Xfinity double-header.
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