Daniel Suarez wins Atlanta in photo finish, Busch takes P1 in Points and GFT Driver Ranking

Bob Francis - Go Full Throttle
4 min readFeb 26, 2024

25 February 2024
By Bob Francis, Managing Editor
Go Full Throttle Racing News

HAMPTON, GA — Daniel Suarez drove his №99 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet to a photo finish win Sunday in the Ambetter Health 400, edging out Cup Series Champion Ryan Blaney by 0.003 and RCR’s Kyle Busch by 0.007 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

HAMPTON, GEORGIA — FEBRUARY 25: Daniel Suarez, driver of the #99 Freeway Insurance Chevrolet, crosses the finish line ahead of Kyle Busch, driver of the #8 Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen Chevrolet, and Ryan Blaney, driver of the #12 BodyArmor Zero Sugar Ford, to win the NASCAR Cup Series Ambetter Health 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 25, 2024 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Alex Slitz/Getty Images)

In an absolutely thrilling race that featured 3 and even 4 wide racing on the reconfigured Atlanta “mini-Daytona” high bank superspeedway configuration, it was only fitting that the finish was a 3-wide drag race at 188 mph which required NASCAR officials to go to photo, video and their timing system to confirm the №99 car had won the race. Even more remarkable was the comeback by Suarez and his Trackhouse team from a lap 2 crash that inflicted some damage to the hood of his Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. It was Suarez’s second win in the NASCAR Cup Series with his previous victory earned on the road course at Sonoma Raceway in June of 2022.

NASCAR Driver Profile for Daniel Suarez (Image Credit: NASCAR Digital)

CHANGES! Big Moves in the GFT AI Driver Rankings after Atlanta!

Go Full Throttle NASCAR AI Driver Rankings following the Ambetter Health 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (Image Credit: GFT Digital)

Kyle “Rowdy” Busch takes his 3rd place in Atlanta and his 12th place finish at last week's Daytona 500 to become both the NASCAR Driver Points leader and P1 in our GFT AI Driver Rankings. Demonstrating the importance of Stage Points, Kyle Larson is now P2 after racking up a pile of them as he kept his Hendrick Motorsports №5 Chevrolet up front all day. Unfortunately, for the 5 team, a late wreck in front of Larson resulted in a 32nd place finish. Race winner Daniel Suarez jumps 23 spots, from 26th to 3rd. Other big movers were Austin Cindric, who's 4th place finish moves the Team Penski driver up 11 spots to P5. Also moving up was Pole sitter Michael McDowell, who finished 8th in the end, but jumps 19 spots to P11 after an early exit last week at Daytona.

Kyle Larson, driver of the №5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the №8 Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen Chevrolet, and Chris Buescher, driver of the №17 BuildSubmarines.com Ford, race during the NASCAR Cup Series Ambetter Health 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Image Credit: Alex Slitz | Getty Images)

The big losers coming out of Atlanta are all from the Toyota camp with Tyler Reddick falling 8 positions to P14, Denny Hamlin down 11 spots to P15, and Christopher Bell who’s 34th place finish results in a 20-point fall from P2 down to P22.

NASCAR Fantasy Live Results for Week 2 — Atlanta

NASCAR FANTASY LIVE scorecard / TMDNASCAR League / Go Full Throttle AI 1 bot

Another decent points week for the GFT NASCAR algorithm, scoring 178 points with our 5 driver picks and winning 3 of 4 head-to-head selections. Results dropped us 1 spot to 65th in the TMDNASCAR league out of 4465 players. That result keeps our AI algorithm in the top 2% in the league (1.94% is the actual calculation).

NASCAR FANTASY LIVE picks for Atlanta / TMDNASCAR League / Go Full Throttle AI 1 bot

Qualifying Data —

Does starting position matter on Superspeedways?

Saturday’s Cup Series qualifying saw both Ryan Blaney and Kyle Busch establish they had fast cars for Atlanta. Busch qualified his Chevrolet 3rd at 178.235 mph with Ryan Blaney in his Ford Mustang 6th at 177.658 mph. However, Daniel Suarez, was well back at 23rd fastest driving his Chevrolet to 176.134 mph in qualifying. Starting that far back in the field resulted in his damage when the “Big One” happened as cars well ahead of him started wrecking on lap 2- yet the 99 was able to work his way into position over the course of the race… and win.

UP NEXT:

PENNZOIL 400 PRESENTED BY JIFFY LUBE

*Go Full Throttle will be in the Media Center at LVMS to cover this race live

LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
SUNDAY, MAR. 3–3:30 PM ET

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Bob Francis - Go Full Throttle

Go Full Throttle editors and reporters bring you news & commentary on NASCAR, F1, IndyCar, and World of Outlaws. Member: National Motorsports Press Association