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NASCAR at Atlanta: Vegas odds, key stats, sleepers, fantasy drivers to watch

News 02 Mar 2017, 05:50 IST
Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin
Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin

After finishing runner-up in the Daytona 500 three times, Kurt Busch won his first Great American Race by leading only the final lap last Sunday.

Could we be in for another exciting race as the circuit heads to Atlanta? The weathered track in combination with a new downforce package will make the cars very difficult to maneuver around the 1.54-mile asphalt track. 

New this season, NASCAR has decreased downforce by 500 pounds and changed the spoiler height for non-restrictor plate tracks. 

Also new this season is drivers must start the race on the tires used in qualifying. 

For the past two Atlanta races, Jimmie Johnson has came out victorious. The reigning series champion owns five wins, 14 top fives along with the top average running position (8.7) and driver rating (107.1) at Atlanta and is deserving one of the favorites to win Sunday's Fold of Honor QuikTrip 500. 

What are the Las Vegas odds for the NASCAR race at Atlanta?

Here are the race odds according to the Westgate Sportbook: 

Jimmie Johnson, 5:1
Kyle Busch, 6:1
Kevin Harvick, 6:1
Brad Keselowski, 8:1
Martin Truex Jr., 8:1
Joey Logano, 8:1
Matt Kenseth, 10:1
Denny Hamlin, 12:1
Dale Earnhardt Jr., 12:1
Chase Elliott, 12:1
Kyle Larson, 12:1
Kurt Busch, 20:1
Kasey Kahne, 30:1
Clint Bowyer, 30:1
Austin Dillon, 40:1
Ryan Newman, 80:1
Jamie McMurray, 100:1
Field, 500:1

NOTE: Kurt Busch was a 20:1 favorite last week before winning the Daytona 500. 

Key stats to know for Atlanta's Fold of Honor QuikTrip 500

— Martin Truex Jr. led a series-high 883 laps at last year's 11 races at 1.5-mile tracks. 

— Since the start of the 2015 season, Kyle Busch (7.65), Kevin Harvick (8.33) and Truex (9.25) have the highest average finishes at 1.5-mile tracks. 

— The top five driver ratings at Atlanta belong to: Jimmie Johnson, 107.1; Matt Kenseth, 98.3; Denny Hamlin, 95.5; Chase Elliott, 95.5; Kurt Busch, 95.4.

— Kenseth leads the series among active drivers with the most Cup Series starts at Atlanta without visiting victory lane at 28. 

— The fifth starting position is the most proficient starting position in the field at Atlanta, producing more winners (15) than any other starting position. The most recent was Jeff Gordon in 2011.   

Which drivers are best for fantasy NASCAR at Atlanta?

Kurt Busch leads all active drivers in laps led at Atlanta with 749. He's also won three times at Atlanta to go along with 11 top 10s. 

Brad Keselowski owns a 9.42 average finish at 1.5-mile tracks since 2015 and owns the second-best "fastest laps run" and fourth-most "laps in the top 15" at Atlanta. 

Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson have been dominant on the intermediate tracks but Harvick's first and only win at Atlanta came all the way back in 2001. 

Who are the sleepers to win the NASCAR race at Atlanta?

Kasey Kahne has failed to win a race in his last 84 starts but on Sunday he returns to the site of his last victory. Kahne at Atlanta back on Aug. 31, 2014, leading 24 laps en route to the victory. In 20 Atlanta starts, Kahne claims three wins, seven top fives and nine top 10s. 

Denny Hamlin hasn't been the best at intermediate tracks but he did win at Atlanta in 2012 and ranks in the top five in driver rating, "fastest laps run," and average green flag speed at Atlanta. 

What a great story it would be if Chase Elliott can pull out his first Cup victory at his hometown track in the final race before the track undergoes a repave. In his only Cup start at Atlanta last season Elliott finished eighth, had 16 of the fastest laps and spent over 90 percent of the race in the top 15. 

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