RaceDayScore NASCAR: Folds of Honor 500 Picks

RaceDayScore NASCAR: Folds of Honor 500 Picks

This article is part of our RaceDayScore NASCAR series.

FOLDS OF HONOR 500

Location: Hampton, Ga.
Course: Atlanta Motor Speedway
Format: 1.5-mile quad-oval
Laps: 325

Race Preview

This week the NASCAR Sprint Cup teams will get a better gauge of their prospects for the remainder of the season. The logic behind that assumption is that the pack-style racing we saw last week doesn't necessarily translate to success on the rest of the calendar. This week we have a somewhat typical 1.5-mile oval in Atlanta Motor Speedway. The 1.5-mile ovals similar to Atlanta make up the majority of the Sprint Cup schedule, and the speeds we see this weekend will allow us to get a better sense of who has made progress with their programs and where they stand against the rest of the field. This weekend's results are likely to be more indicative of who should be considered a contender in the build up to the 2016 Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Key Stats at Atlanta Motor Speedway

Races: 108
Winners from pole: 14
Winners from top-5 starters: 60
Winners from top-10 starters: 85
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 8
Fastest race: 166.633 mph

Last 10 Atlanta Winners:

2015 spring - Jimmie Johnson
2014 fall - Kasey Kahne
2013 fall - Kyle Busch
2012 fall - Denny Hamlin
2011 fall - Jeff Gordon
2010 fall - Tony Stewart
2010 spring - Kurt Busch
2009 fall - Kasey Kahne
2009 spring - Kurt Busch
2008 fall - Carl Edwards

Due to the nature of Atlanta's fast 1.5-mile configuration, qualifying in this weekend will be much more important than it was last week. Teams that set high lap speeds early in the weekend tend to have a better chance at performing well in the race on Sunday. This fast Georgia oval often enables quick cars to jump out into the lead and drive away from the rest of the field on long green-flag runs. The track requires significant horsepower and trusty handling. It also gives drivers multiple grooves in the turns to help their chassis find the best line. Teams will try to set up chassis neutral at first, and then dial in varying characteristics to help the cars turn to the driver's preference. Corner speed is imperative and maintaining momentum on turn exit will set up passes at the end of each straight. It will be important that teams maintain track position and be mistake free on pit road to set up a chance to fight for the win at the finish.

RACE DAY SCORE VALUE PICKS
(Based on Standard $60K Salary Cap)

Tier 1 Values

Matt Kenseth - $12,200
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - $12,100
Jimmie Johnson - $12,000
Brad Keselowski - $12,000

Tier 2 Values

Carl Edwards - $11,900
Denny Hamlin - $11,700
Ryan Newman - $11,500
Jamie McMurray - $10,800
Kasey Kahne - $10,600

Tier 3 Values

Austin Dillon - $9,600
Danica Patrick - $9,100
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $8,900
Casey Mears - $8,900

Long-Shot Values

Ty Dillon - $8,900
David Ragan - $8,500
Michael Annett - $7,200

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Cash Game Lineup ($60K Salary Cap)

Matt Kenseth - $12,200
Kurt Busch - $12,200
Jimmie Johnson - $12,000
Trevor Bayne - $8,900
Michael Annett - $7,200
Landon Cassill - $7,200

Compared to Kevin Harvick's $13,200 price tag this week, Kenseth looks like a huge bargain. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver nearly won last week's Daytona 500 and has the third-highest driver rating this week at 97.9. Kurt Busch is a three-time winner at this track and hasn't finished worse than 13th here since 2009. Last year's winner, Jimmie Johnson, also presents a bargain price to players this week, and he also boasts the highest driver rating at this track (106.2). While Bayne only has two Atlanta starts, they both resulted in top-20 finishes with neither being worse than his qualifying position. Annett hasn't moved forward at this track like Bayne, but he is also capable of a top-20 this week. Finally, in Cassill players get a driver with five Atlanta starts, in which three times he finished more than 10 positions ahead of his qualifying spot. Those can valuable points for rosters in the Race Day Score format.

Higher-Risk Tournament Lineup
($60K Salary Cap)

Kevin Harvick - $13,200
Joey Logano - $12,600
Denny Hamlin - $11,700
Ty Dillon - $8,900
Cole Whitt - $6,900
Michael McDowell - $6,700

The higher-risk lineup for Atlanta involves some sacrifice in order to afford a spot for Kevin Harvick. The Stewart Haas Racing driver has typically been the fastest on 1.5- mile ovals, hence his price tag this week. Harvick won his first race at this track in 2001, and finished second here last season. Logano has never won in Atlanta, but he started from pole last season and picked up two top-5s in his last three starts. Winning in –back-to-back weeks is extremely difficult, but Hamlin has the opportunity this week. He won the 2012 Atlanta race, and has two top-5s in the last four races here. Dillon will have another chance to prove he is ready for Sprint Cup by filling in for Tony Stewart this week, while Cole Whitt offers players two starts at the track with both finishes higher than his starting spot despite one being a DNF. McDowell has four DNFs from five Atlanta starts, but led a lap in 2013 and should have the speed to deliver a top-20 finish this week if he can remain trouble free.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
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