Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte
Race fans will have something to cheer about come Sunday night when the drivers of the Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series stay in Charlotte North Carolina for the Coca-Cola 600. The all-star race was run last weekend on the 1.5 mile track that is located in Concord North Carolina. This race will be a lot different than last weekend or any other race weekend for that matter. Because the race is 600 miles in length, which is the longest of the year, fans will see four stages this weekend instead of three. It will still take 400 laps to complete the race but each stage will be broken up into four 100 lap segments. The extra bonus points bode well for the driver’s chase for the Cup but isn’t relevant where we are concerned. The only thing we are concerned about is who we roster and where they finish.
It looks like we have a free square this weekend as Kyle Larson ($10,100) and his fifth highest price tag will start from the 39th position. This is all thanks to what I consider ridiculous inspection rules before the race where we have seen in the past that some cars do not make it through in time to qualify. Yes, I know the teams are trying everything to get the most speed out of the car which sometimes means the car is not up to snuff inspection wise but there has got to be a better way to get all of the cars inspected and ready to go in a timely manner. So anyway, the deal with Larson is that he not only leads in the standings by 44 points, he has also racked up seven top 10 finishes of the 11 races run so far this season. The driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet has finished on the lead lap in the last three tries here at Charlotte and has also run the fastest lap in the final practice on Saturday. That should be more than enough to use him in your tournament games let alone your cash games.
With that out of the way our eyes move to the pole sitter in Kevin Harvick ($10,300). Besides Jimmie Johnson, he is the only driver to have won here twice in the last ten starts as he has chalked up eight top 10 finishes in the process. Factor in that the driver of the # 4 Mobil 1 Ford has finished in the top six in five of the last six races this season and we have ourselves a proven driver that has the ability to lead a lot of laps once the flag drops late Sunday afternoon.
If we throw out the last race that Denny Hamlin ($9,200) started here last fall we find that the driver of the #11 FedEx Office Toyota had racked up four straight top 10 finishes here in Charlotte. Engine trouble was the cause of the bad finish last year so look for Hamlin to be up among the leaders at the end of the race. He matches Harvick’s eight top 10 finishes in his last ten starts here and should be one of the favorites as he starts from the third row on Sunday.
We cannot discount the Team Penske duo of Brad Keselowki ($10,400) and Joey Logano ($9,600) as they have been two of the most consistent drivers this season while leading the pack with nine and eight top 10 finishes respectively. Keselowski starts in the 10th position while Logano provides more value as he will start from the 12th row when the green flag drops on Sunday.
Jamie McMurray ($8,400) could be a sleeper here as he has chalked up seven top 10 finishes so far this season. The driver of the # 1 GearWrench Chevrolet has also finished higher than he has started in the last seven starts here at Charlotte Motor Speedway. McMurray starts from the 11th position Sunday afternoon.
Now that we have some of the favorites out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the average priced drivers. If you like rookies then Erik Jones ($7,800) is your guy. It’s true he has yet to crack the top five in any race this season which is the exact reason why he makes a decent tournament play here. Apparently he has a fast car as evidence by turning the fastest lap in the first practice and then sustaining a top five speed in the ensuing two practices. The driver of the #77 5-Hour Energy Extra Strength Toyota will start from the 5th position and could reap big dividends. Of course he could easily falter which is why you may want to keep him away from your cash game play.
Ryan Newman ($7,300) seems a bit low in price in this spot. He has managed three top 10 finishes this year which may explain why his price is a bit deflated. The things we do know is that he does have a better team this season and he hasn’t finished out of the top 15 in any of his last Coca-Cola 600 starts. His best effort came in 2015 where he finished 6th from the 19th position. The driver of the # 31 Grainger Chevrolet will start from the 17th position and should be able to get you positive points throughout the race as his speed was 6th fastest in the final practice.
OK, it’s time to spin the wheel to see who makes a decent punt play for this weekend’s race. We already know what we get from a lot of the regulars at the bottom of the barrel. Derrike Cope, Jeffrey Earnhardt and Gray Gaulding are just a few of the usual suspects. Let’s go off the board here and take a look at Regan Smith ($5,600). Yeah, he’s cheap enough alright but the problem may be that he starts from the 25th position. He has shown that he can run the # 43 United States Air Force Ford at times as he not only qualified ok but he ran the 16th fastest lap in the second practice. His last three starts here in Charlotte have all yielded a higher finishing position than where he started so if you want to throw a dart, Smith may be your guy.
That will do it for this week. Be sure to check back here at Fanvice.com for all of your fantasy needs. As always, follow me on twitter @elctrceye, good luck in your contests and have a sarfe and prosperous holiday weekend!