The XFINITY Series is back on the track, this time at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The 1.54-mile quad-oval features 28 degrees of banking in the turns and 5 degrees on the straightaways. The XFINITY Series has been racing here since 1992 and this race for years was the week after the initial Daytona race weekend. The drivers will turn 163 laps accumulating 250 miles on this reconfigured speedway, about 30 more laps than the Truck Series race giving us some more dominator points. In 2021 NASCAR announced that the track would be reprofiled for the 2022 season, which has been completed to have the aforementioned 28 degrees of banking and would be narrowed from 55 to 40 feet which the track claims will turn racing at the track similar to restrictor-plate superspeedways. This will be the first race weekend since the makeover and if those characteristics are accurate, we could see more drafting than we are accustomed to seeing at Atlanta.
If the characteristics remain true to the description with the new track configuration, we should see a lot of drafting/pack racing which we are accustomed to seeing at Daytona and Talladega. We heard that when some of the Cup drivers were testing here that there was a significant benefit to drafting. Of course, we won’t really know if that’s the case until these drivers start turning laps in a race setting but my sense is that it will be beneficial to follow the superspeedway strategy and look for drivers being scored from the back, even with there being 163 laps. Tire wear shouldn’t be an issue as it has been here in the past as the track has been repaved.
Most comparable tracks: *Keep in mind that these tracks had similar characteristics prior to the reconfiguration: Charlotte Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway
*Note: all pricing is DraftKings focused
Noah Gragson ($10,700), Starting on the Pole
Gragson should find his way out front early starting from the pole and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him dominate this race damn near wire to wire. Regardless of where the XFINITY Series has been this season, Gragson has been dominant. Last week he led 114 laps and posted 42 fast laps, two weeks ago he led 52 and posted 35 fast laps, and the week prior he led 25 laps. Despite not leading a ton of laps over his four appearances here at Atlanta, Gragson has three top-five finishes and this new configuration could work into Gragson’s favor from the jump as he’s one of the better drivers in the series on starts/restarts.
Ty Gibbs ($10,100), Starting 4th
It’s no secret at this point how good Gibbs is and how good his equipment is. Starting 4th he could challenge for the lead early simply based on the talent-equipment combination alone. It’s still worth noting, however, that the youngster is so aggressive that he tends to make the occasional mistake. Considering how fast he’s been and despite some early-season hiccups he still has an average finish of eighth with a win, he’ll be in contention to win once again.
Anthony Alfredo ($8,100), Starting 27th
It’s been all or nothing for “Fast Pasta” early on as he has two top 10 finished but also has a 17th place finish and last week, after having car issues, was out in the blink of an eye with a DNF. Early on things looked great for Alfredo with a seventh-place finish at Daytona and a fifth-place run at Fontana. There’s still some promise here and a tremendous amount of place differential upside starting 27th.
Riley Hersbt ($8,300), Starting 24th
Like last week, Herbst should be popular because of the place differential upside despite junking the car last week. Herbst has two top 10’s to this point and had a 14th-place finish at California. The Las Vegas native has been hot and cold at Atlanta throughout his career but the P.D. upside isn’t something to ignore here.
Tommy Joe Martins ($6,500), Starting 37th
This should be a prime chalk P.D. play for Tommy Joe who starts 37th. There isn’t much to dive into here other than saying that Martins has been around for a while and knows how to take care of the car. Last season he ran a full schedule and had an average finish of 22nd including a top 20 at Atlanta. This isn’t a “free square” because at the end of the day the car could shit the bed but it’s pretty close to a “play and move on” in your cash game builds.
Justin Allgaier ($10,500), Starting 6th
Sam Mayer ($8,700), Starting 15th
Jade Buford ($6,300), Starting 30th
Jess Iwuji ($4,600), Starting 38th