The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series travels north to Georgia this Sunday afternoon, March 5, for the Folds of Honor QuickTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Atlanta is the second stop on the schedule for the NASCAR Daily Fantasy Sports season, and Frontstretch will be your go-to source when building your 2017 DraftKings lineups.
Friday night’s qualifying event was action packed to say the least. With fifteen minutes until the first session, nearly half the field had yet to pass through inspection. Five drivers, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Michael McDowell, Cole Whitt, Derrike Cope, and Cody Ware failed to turn laps as a result. They will start in that order from 35th-40th for the race.
Many other drivers, including the two hot-starts below, fought a loose racetrack and qualified slower than expected.
Here are two hot-start picks for this weekend.
Even though the NASCAR season is already underway, there’s still plenty of time to get in on the action at DraftKings. Each week of the NASCAR season, courtesy of Frontstretch, you can enter to win BIG cash prizes just by picking a team of 6 drivers. You pick, you play, you win, it’s that simple.
Jimmie Johnson ($10,600)
Atlanta: 25 Starts, 5 Wins, 14 Top-5s (56%), 16 Top-10s (64%)
Average finish at Atlanta: 10.7
Qualifying Position: 18th
A few slips out of turn-four during the second round of qualifying Friday night resulted in managing only the 18th starting spot for Jimmie Johnson on Sunday.
Johnson has found great success at Atlanta throughout his career. He has five wins in 25 starts, the most of any active driver. Johnson has swept the last two races in the Peach State, including last year where he started from nearly the same spot, 19th.
So let’s play the numbers. In last season’s win, Johnson picked up 86 DraftKings points, which included a positive place differential rating of +18, 52 laps led at .25pts per, and 18 fastest laps at .5. Tack that onto the 46 points points awarded for a first place finish and you have the second highest point total of the race.
Johnson averages a 10.7th place finish over his career at Atlanta. He has an outstanding top-5 percentage of 56%, and an even higher top-10 percentage of 64%. When playing the odds, Johnson will be worth the pricey tag for the upcoming contests.
Kasey Kahne ($8,000)
Atlanta: 20 Starts, 3 Wins, 7 Top-5s (35%), 9 Top-10s (45%)
Average finish at Atlanta: 18.6
Qualifying Position: 29th
While it is inarguable that Kasey Kahne has not been spectacular over the past two seasons, Atlanta will always remain a bright spot for the 36 year old veteran. He has three wins at the track, most recently in 2014.
Kahne was wheeling another Hendrick Motorsports car that was hard to handle during qualifying, and fell short of moving past the first round. Kahne will roll off the starting grid from 29th on Sunday, his worst start since 2004.
If Kahne is able to at least make it to his average finishing spot of 19th, he will bring home +10 place differential points. Kahne has finished in the top-10 in nearly half of the races he has started at Atlanta. That is quietly impressive. If he can accomplish that feat, then there are nine more points that can be added to his total.
Kahne is middle of the road when it comes to salary price at $8,000, but has high reward potential.