NASCAR

Daily Fantasy NASCAR: Current Form, Track History, and Betting Odds for the Quaker State 400

Kyle Larson's dominance on slick tracks in the 550-horsepower package makes him an obvious play in NASCAR DFS this week. Who else has run well on tracks similar to Atlanta?

We're finally at the point in the NASCAR Cup Series season where we've got enough data to be picky. We can be selective in emphasizing some races while de-prioritizing others.

It's a beautiful spot to be.

Sunday's Quaker State 400 in Atlanta will be the eighth race at a non-drafting track to use the 550-horsepower package. We can look at those previous seven races together to get a broad idea of who will be fast this weekend.

We can also be more specific and narrow it down to the five races at 1.5-mile tracks. This lops off Pocono, which is a different beast and likely makes our comprehension a smidge better.

But we can do even better than that. Atlanta will be the fourth time this year the Cup Series has raced at a 1.5-mile track with heavy tire falloff. That includes a previous stop at this very same track back in March.

Once we start broad and then narrow our scope down to this level, we're going to have a good idea of who will be fast on Sunday, even without practice or qualifying times to lean on. That's a good thing because we're going to need that knowledge.

As discussed in this week's track preview, we need to identify studs who can lead laps and value plays who can finish well regardless of where they're starting. This may force us to roster lower-salaried drivers starting near the front, a nerve-racking endeavor given the value of place-differential points but a necessary one for this week. Both of those things can be determined by digging into what has happened so far in 2021.

The data sheet below should give you a good start in this trek.

Listed are all of the races discussed above, zeroing in exclusively on the non-drafting 550-horsepower races during the year. All seven of those are listed with the first Atlanta race falling under the "track history" section. The three races at 1.5-mile tracks with heavy tire wear are Atlanta, Kansas, and Homestead, and those three races will be our biggest tells for who will be fast on Sunday.

As always, the numbers listed are each driver's average running position rather than their finish. A good illustrator for why comes from Ryan Blaney ($10,500 on FanDuel) at Kansas.

There, Blaney was restarting on the front row with two laps to go. Kyle Larson ($14,500) attempted to push Blaney in front of Kyle Busch ($13,000), but the bump sent both drivers to the back.

Blaney's 21st-place finish doesn't show how fast he was there; his eighth-place average running position does.

The other data listed is each driver's FanDuel salary, win odds at FanDuel Sportsbook, and starting position. The win odds are in fractional form, so Larson being listed at 2.6 means he's +260 to win.

Current
Form
Track
History
DriverFD
Salary
Win
Odds
StartingPocono
2
Pocono
1
CharlotteKansasVegasHomestead202120202019
Chase Elliott$13,500101151939121320614
Kyle Busch$13,0008.52965412157411
Denny Hamlin$12,200123108108413669
Christopher Bell$8,500354132320119192118--
Martin Truex Jr.$12,50012591414975934
Kyle Larson$14,5002.6617513351--6
Tyler Reddick$7,200857111381020183015--
Kurt Busch$9,000358128321314727146
Ross Chastain$7,50085918203516221819--33
Joey Logano$10,00018101481317111413129
Chase Briscoe$5,0002001119202425242625----
Matt DiBenedetto$7,0001301220212012112091325
Austin Dillon$8,00055132023813161191824
Brad Keselowski$12,00013148151444820109
Ryan Blaney$10,50013151610178618398
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.$6,00015016192012191516141417
Alex Bowman$11,00019171211721111051217
Chris Buescher$7,3008518202014171810102217
William Byron$11,5001419973106473618
Aric Almirola$6,80013020101925252721191711
Kevin Harvick$11,70012211213771891934
Erik Jones$4,50020022272016261726251713
Cole Custer$6,300200232337242425141722--
Bubba Wallace$5,50017024121313223221172128
Michael McDowell$5,00020025141422211813202529
Corey LaJoie$3,50020026253022262831282730
Daniel Suarez$6,50017027151420202221153112
Justin Haley$2,50020028--272932292931----
Ryan Newman$5,80020029213120282012142014
Josh Bilicki$3,000200303633353936343834--
Cody Ware$3,0002003127243135333333--35
Anthony Alfredo$3,5002003237242224232828----
Bayley Currey$2,00020033------------------
Ryan Preece$4,00020034172424271925252520
Quin Houff$3,000200353531323634343233--
B.J. McLeod$2,50020036302932333036354033
Garrett Smithley$2,00020037332934343231--3337


The average running positions make it abundantly obvious why Larson's win odds are so short.

Larson has two first-place average running positions in the 550-horsepower races this year. Nobody else even has even a second-place mark. He led 269 of 325 laps in the first Atlanta race only to lose the lead to Blaney late and finish second. My simulations have Larson winning 20.3% of the time, so while I can't bet him at +260, I can absolutely load up on him as a lap-leader on FanDuel.

Other drivers who deserve a bump up thanks to performance on the heavy tire falloff tracks are Alex Bowman ($11,000), Chris Buescher ($7,300), and Tyler Reddick ($7,200). Bowman finished third in the first Atlanta race, a run legitimized by a fifth-place average running position. He also has recent wins in Richmond and Fontana, and he nearly won in Kansas back in 2019, and all of those tracks feature heavy tire falloff. He's a solid outlet if you're looking for a combination of place-differential and race-winning upside.

Buescher's best runs this year have come on tracks like this. He had a 10th-place average running position in Homestead -- and actually won a stage -- and finished seventh in the first Atlanta race. He also had top-13 average running positions in Darlington and Bristol, both of which were slick tracks, whether due to tire falloff or dirt.

Reddick is well-known for mopping up in Homestead, and he rallied late to finish second there back in the spring. He turned a 10th-place average running position in Kansas into a seventh-place finish, as well. Reddick carries risk because he'll start seventh, but with minimal obvious place-differential options among the values, Reddick's finishing upside makes him someone we should still roster in tournaments.