Kurt Busch
Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images

NASCAR Finish Line: Analyzing best Group 2 plays for Atlanta race

NASCAR Finish Line, a free-to-play gaming app from Penn National Gaming, is back with the resumption of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season. Each week, there will be six groups of five drivers for the upcoming race. Users will predict which driver will finish first among each of the six groups and then the overall race winner and second-place finisher for a chance to win $25,000 if all eight scenarios are correctly selected.

RELATED: Download NASCAR Finish Line

The second of six groups for Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (3 p.m. ET on FOX/FOX Sports App, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) consists of a strong mix of 2020 winners — Joey Logano, Alex Bowman and Denny Hamlin — as well as two drivers who have been in the mix at several races — Kurt Busch and Clint Bowyer.

For a stats look, NASCAR.com has compiled the average finish of the last two races at Atlanta, the drivers’ career average finish at Atlanta, the average finish from the five races since the 2020 season resumed and the average finish from 2020 races on tracks that are considered to have a rougher surface (Auto Club Speedway and both Darlington Raceway races). Atlanta is known to have the roughest surface on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit.

PHOTOS: Tracks ranked from smoothest to roughest

A points system has been assigned, starting with one point for the best finisher and counting up to six points for the worst finisher. Those numbers were then added up. The lowest total signifies the strongest driver (green), and the highest total represents the weakest driver (red) — in recent years.

Driver Last 2 Atlanta races‘1 Career Atlanta
avg. finish
Last five 2020 races (races since season restarted)
Three 2020 races on rough surfaces
Alex Bowman Avg. finish: 17.5 (5) Avg. finish: 23.2 (5) Avg. finish: 21.4 (5) Avg. finish: 7.0 (2.5) 17.5
Clint Bowyer Avg. finish: 4.0 (1) Avg. finish: 19.6 (4) Avg. finish: 19.2 (4) Avg. finish: 20.7 (5) 14
Kurt Busch Avg. finish: 5.5 (2) Avg. finish: 14.9 (1) Avg. finish: 7.4 (1) Avg. finish: 7.0 (2.5) 6.5
Denny Hamlin Avg. finish: 7.5 (3) Avg. finish: 17.9 (3) Avg. finish: 10.8 (2) Avg. finish: 4.0 (1) 9
Joey Logano Avg. finish: 14.5 (4) Avg. finish: 17.2 (2) Avg. finish: 12.8 (3) Avg. finish: 12.0 (4) 13

The numbers say Busch is the overwhelming pick for Group 2. That said, if you are prioritizing the numbers since NASCAR’s return to racing then a compelling case could be made for Hamlin, who has two victories on the season — including one at Darlington last month. Bowyer’s recent Atlanta numbers make him a sneaky pick who is likely to be less popular among NASCAR Finish Line players, but as the numbers show, he carries a bit more risk with that selection. Surprisingly, the driver that sits second in points — Logano — is a middle-of-the-pack choice based on the numbers we are evaluating.

Make sure to get your picks for all the groups as well as the first- and second-place finishes in the NASCAR Finish Line App before Sunday’s race at Atlanta.