1) Jimmie Johnson (Starting – 7th) (Odds To Win – 6/1)
Charlotte Fantasy Spin – If Jimmie Johnson can avoid bad luck at Charlotte he should have a very strong showing. In the last three Charlotte races he’s had top five potential but has walked away with poor results as you’ll read about below. One of the main attributes I like about Johnson is how strong he’s been at 1.5 mile tracks. This year at those venues he’s been to victory lane once, has scored the 2nd most points, has a 6.3 average finish and a 7.0 average running position. In practice this weekend Johnson has had great speed. In both practice #2 and Happy Hour his ten lap average ranked as the second best. In Happy Hour he was actually better than Truex Jr. over a long run.
Charlotte Track History – Jimmie Johnson has been very strong at Charlotte but he currently has three straight asterisk mark results. Last fall he had top five potential but while he was running in 3rd with 76 laps to go he slowed on the track because he lost his oil pump. That marked the end of his race and led to his 39th place finish. In spring 2015 he also had top five potential but he spun twice in the race. His second spin happened on lap 274 after he rallied back from his first spin and was running in 5th. That led to him colliding with the inside wall and led to his 40th place finish. In fall 2014 he finished 17th but that is another misleading result. Late in that race while he was running in 4th he made a pit stop under caution which was absolutely the wrong decision. That was then followed up with a poor restart which dropped him further back in the running order. His most recent incident free race was the 2014 Coca Cola 600. In that race he visited victory lane, earned the best driver rating, had a 2nd place average running position and led 164 laps. In fall 2013 Johnson led 130 laps and finished 4th.
Yahoo A Driver / DraftKings $10,200
2) Martin Truex Jr. (Starting – 1st) (Odds To Win – 8/1)
Charlotte Fantasy Spin – Martin Truex Jr. will be a factor at Charlotte. He’s been knocking on the door to victory lane recently and in time it will open. Last year at Charlotte he ran extremely well in both races and swept the top five. You can’t say that about any other driver. One attribute I really like about Truex Jr. is how well he’s run at 1.5 mile tracks this year. In the last two races at tracks of this length he was the driver to beat but didn’t close the deal. Over the four races held at tracks of this length in 2016 Truex Jr. has the best driver rating, led the most laps, has ran the most fastest laps and has a 9.5 average finish. This weekend Truex Jr. has a fast car. He’s starting on the pole and he had great speed in both practice sessions on Saturday. In both practice #2 and Happy Hour he had the best ten lap average.
Charlotte Track History – Truex Jr. had a great 2015 at Charlotte. Between the combined events he had a 4.0 average finish, 5.5 average running position, earned the 2nd best driver rating and led 131 laps. Last fall he had a strong performance finishing 3rd and earning the 5th best driver rating. In spring 2015 he had a fast car and I would argue it was the best. If fuel didn’t enter the equation late he had a great chance to win. In the race he earned the best driver rating, led the most laps, had the best average running position and finished 5th. In fall 2014 he finished 14th. In spring 2014 he finished a misleading 25th. With 8 laps to go while he was running in 8th his axle broke. His average running position that race was 9th.
Yahoo B Driver / DraftKings $9,800
3) Kevin Harvick (Starting – 8th) (Odds To Win – 6/1)
Charlotte Fantasy Spin – Kevin Harvick will be a good fantasy NASCAR pick to win at Charlotte. Since he’s driven the #4 car he’s been an absolute fantasy ace here as you’ll read below. One top of how well he’s run here you have to like his body of work at high-speed intermediate tracks in 2016. This year on this track type I would argue he’s been the best driver. Between the combined races he has the best average running position (5.4), scored the 2nd most points, has led the 2nd most laps, has ran the 2nd most fastest laps and is the only driver who’s finished in the top ten every race. In practice #2 which is widely viewed as the most important practice this weekend Harvick had the 5th best ten lap average.
Charlotte Track History – Charlotte has been a great track for Kevin Harvick. He’s won here three times and has finished in the top ten in 10 of the last 11 races. In the #4 car at Charlotte (last 4 races) he has the best driver rating, best average finish (3.5), best average running position (4.5) and has led the most laps (288). Last fall at Charlotte, Harvick had a strong car and finished runner-up. Additionally in that race he earned the 2nd best driver rating and had a 5th place average running position. In spring 2015 he was a lock for a top 4 finish but late in the race he had to pit for fuel under green. When the checkered flag waved he finished 9th, earned the 3rd best driver rating, had a 5th place average running position and led 26 laps. In fall 2014 he dominated and raced his way to victory lane leading 162 laps. In spring 2014 he might’ve had the best car but finished runner-up. In 2013 he had results of 1st and 6th.
Yahoo A Driver / DraftKings $10,500