NASCAR XFINITY Atlanta Preview

Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

NASCAR XFINITY DFS: Rinnai 250 DraftKings Preview


The XFINITY Series heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend for the Rinnai 250, and it still feels good to be talking about NASCAR DFS and the XFINITY Series in the same sentence. It also feels good to get to some real racing at one of the best 1.5-mile ovals on the schedule after a wreck-filled opener at Daytona.


Saturday’s race is also a companion even with the Cup Series, so that means there is going to be a few Cup regulars in the field. When setting your lineup at DraftKings, these Cup stars are the overwhelming favorites to win the dominator categories, and even though there are only 163 laps on tap, you still need to anchor your lineup with a couple of studs.


Filling out the rest of your lineup will be the tricky part. There is usually a huge gap between the drivers from the top teams and everyone else, so quality sleepers are few and far between. Depending on how qualifying plays out, I may be tempted to punt a roster spot, especially if a quality driver ends up with a bunch of upside through place differential.


Qualifying will be Saturday morning before the race, so make sure to check back for updated picks after the starting lineup is set. In the meantime, here is a closer look at the drivers I’ll be targeting ahead of Saturday’s Rinnai 250 at Atlanta.


Must-Own Drivers


Kevin Harvick


Harvick led the most laps in this race last year and finished fourth, and he was a force whenever he raced in the XFINITY Series. He finished sixth or better in all six of his starts, and he led 50-plus laps in three of his four starts at intermediate ovals. Harvick has top-scorer potential written all over him.


Joey Logano


He is a threat to win whenever he races in the XFINITY Series, and in three starts at 1.5-mile tracks last year, he led 126 laps and picked up a win. Overall, he logged nine Top 10s and led 276 laps in 10 XFINITY starts, and Logano is in prime position to pile up dominator points in this one.


Contrarian Dominators


Christopher Bell


Bell might be a rookie, but he is also one of the favorites for the championship. He made a few spot starts in the XFINITY Series last year, and in four starts at 1.5-mile tracks, he logged three Top 10s and picked up a win at Kansas. Bell has the talent and equipment to lead laps and contend for wins, even with a couple of Cup stars in the field.


Cole Custer


As a rookie last season, no driver scored more points at the 1.5-mile tracks last year than Custer. He finished in the Top 10 in eight of the 11 races while compiling a 7.9 average finish. More importantly, he had a dominating victory in the season finale at Homestead, leading 182 of the 200 laps. Even in a stacked field, Custer could provide some dominator points.


Difference Makers


Elliott Sadler


He doesn’t have a lot of dominator upside, but Sadler can be a strong No. 3 driver in a DFS lineup because of his consistency. He has back-to-back Top 10s at Atlanta, and last year, he led all drivers with nine Top 10s in the 11 races at 1.5-mile ovals. With a short list of drivers who could realistically lead laps this weekend, the 30-plus points Sadler is likely to provide from his finishing position become a lot more valuable.


Tyler Reddick


Reddick is coming off a win at Daytona, but he is more than just a guy who got lucky at a plate track. In part-time duty last year, he cracked the Top 10 in five of his six starts at 1.5-mile tracks, closing the year with a win at Kentucky, a second-place finish at Kansas and a fourth-place finish at Homestead. Reddick is a dark horse to be the top series regular in Saturday’s race.


Matt Tifft


Although his 2017 season with Joe Gibbs Racing didn’t quite live up to expectations, Tifft found a bit of rhythm at the 1.5-mile tracks late in the year, reeling off six straight Top 10s. Tifft is no longer with JGR, but he still has quality equipment after joining Richard Childress Racing in the offseason. If he starts outside the Top 10, he could make a nice addition to the bottom of my lineup.


Chase Briscoe


He will be making his XFINITY Series debut this weekend, but Briscoe had an impressive season in the Truck Series last year, looking like the best driver in the series for stretches. He’ll drive for Roush Fenway Racing this weekend, so he has strong equipment, and I think he has Top 10 potential. If he has a little upside through place differential, I won’t hesitate to roster him.


Kyle Benjamin


While he doesn’t have a lot of experience, Benjamin has shown elite speed in the opportunities he has had, and he is driving for Joe Gibbs Racing. He made five XFINITY starts last year, finishing as high as second and leading 28 laps at Pocono and 52 at Kentucky. Benjamin is likely a boom-or-bust option, but he has the upside that could help you take down a big GPP.


Sleeper Special


Spencer Gallagher


He won’t be fighting for wins or the series title this year, but Gallagher was sneaky effective at the 1.5-mile tracks last year. He compiled a 20.5 average, and he cracked the Top 15 five times. He could deliver 20-plus points on finishing position alone, and his value will only rise if he has some place differential potential after qualifying.


Big Name to Fade


Ty Dillon


Dillon might be a Cup regular, but he doesn’t dominate when he dabbles in the XFINITY Series. In fact, he managed just three Top 5s in 27 XFINITY starts last year, and he finished 17th at Atlanta. If you are expecting Dillon to perform on the same level as the other Cup drivers in the field, you will be very disappointed.