Dale Money | June 5th, 2020
It would turn out to be an action-packed run to the finish, Monday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. With four laps left to go, a two-man battle between JR Motorsports teammates, Justin Allgaier, and Noah Gragson would emerge.
As both drivers continued racing one another tight, a hard bump from Gragson would send Allgaier for a ride into the inside wall. Allgaier would not be able to control his car from spinning out and smacking into the bottom lane embankment. That would be it for Allgaier on the night, he would finish in 18th place.
There would be an overtime decider, in which Gragson would be involved in a three-wide situation with Brandon Jones and Chase Briscoe. Briscoe would have the best shot at overtaking Gragson, but it ultimately would not be enough. Gragson would manage to pull ahead of Briscoe, getting the big jump needed to surge ahead and capture the checkered. His second victory of the season, after Daytona.
We now move out of Bristol and travel to Hampton, Georgia for the Rinnai 250. Looking at Atlanta Motor Speedway, it is a one and a half-mile quad-oval track. The track was built in 1960 and seats between 71,000-125,000 depending on the layout. Christopher Bell was the victor here last February after he led 143 of 163 laps.
Bristol winner Gragson will start In the pole position opposite Daniel Hemric. So without further ado, let’s delve into the driver options for this upcoming race at Atlanta. I’ve broken down the selections between high-salary drivers and value plays.
High Salary Drivers
A.J Allmendinger ($11,600 DK)
Allmendinger returns for a second week following his 10th place result at Bristol. Having started 26th last week, he was able to earn you a nice little points day if you had the money to invest. Atlanta is historically his fifth-best track, having posted nine top 20’s in 13 races. His average finish here is 18.7 and his highest driver rating is 99.9.
If you can manage to trim the fat in other areas of your roster this weekend, Allmendinger isn’t a bad price at 11,600. Looking at this week’s race at Atlanta, Dinger is slated to start In 30th position. He should have no problem repeating his performance of last week.
Austin Cindric ($9,700 DK)
Cindric would have his Bristol race tarnished early, following an unforeseen collision with Ross Chastain. Before the problems suffered on Monday night, his consistency was on par with the top Xfinity drivers. After finishing 25th in the series opener at Daytona, Cindric would go on an incredible run of five straight top-eight finishes. And In fact, three of those races Cindric racked up a top-three finish or better.
During his small Xfinity history at Atlanta, he has produced a pair of top 10 results and a driver rating of 98.5. Currently, Cindric is sixth in the standings, 56 points out of first place. I like for Cindric to get off the snide and fight for a top 5 at Atlanta, as he tries to keep pace with Series leaders Gragson and Briscoe.
Brandon Jones ($10,000 DK)
After returning from the two-month race hiatus, Jones was looking to build upon his Phoenix win. However, instead, he would have two mediocre runs at Darlington and Charlotte. Looking for answers going into Bristol, Jones would respond with a top-three finish. He would have an opportunity in the two-lap shootout to come out with the win but was unable to make anything happen.
Last year at Atlanta, Jones would come away with a strong fourth-place finish and a driver rating of 106.4. In his four races here at this track, Jones has an average finish of 11.50. Jones is slated to start in 12th place and could still earn some valuable bonus points through place differential. An Atlanta native himself, I like for Jones to put on a strong showing for the home fans as he carries over some of that momentum from last week.
Myatt Snider ($8,100 DK)
Snider was showing great speed at the beginning of the season, putting up a pair of poles at Daytona and Las Vegas. In the two weeks leading up to the race stoppage, Snider would crack the top 15 on both occasions. Since Snider’s 35th place finish at Darlington, he has produced back to back finishes inside the top 10. Snider’s fifth-place result last week at Bristol was in fact his best performance on the season.
With this being Snider’s first season in Xfinity, he has no history in the Series when it comes to Atlanta. However, he does have some limited experience at the track through the Truck Series. In the 2018 season, Snider would pick up a quality 7th place result after having started the race from back in the 19th place position.
Snider has the makings of a nice value play here, given his 35th place starting position. Even if he finishes within the top 16, that is a gluttony of bonus points for a driver that affordable. If Snider can keep his nose clean, I like him as a quality contender when it comes to challenging for a top 15 performance at Atlanta.
Brandon Brown ($6,800 DK)
Brown isn’t a driver that will necessarily wow you with his stats, but he won’t hurt your bottom line either. Outside of the 33rd place finish at Fontana, Brown has not finished outside of the top 13 once this season. Since Brown’s return from the race stoppage, he’s had a top 13 at Darlington along with a top 8 result at both Charlotte and Bristol.
Brown’s run a couple of Xfinity races here at Atlanta, picking up both a 23rd place finish in 2018 and 13th place finish back last February. He’ll be cheap as chips this week, although his 10th place starting position is not ideal. As I mentioned previously, Brown is not an exiting driver but he is a steady performer. I like him to finish around the top 12.
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