1) Martin Truex Jr. (Starting – 8th)
Charlotte Fantasy Spin – Martin Truex Jr. is the defending champion of the Coca Cola 600 and he’ll once again be a favorite. Performance wise in the last four Charlotte races he’s been top five good. This year at 1.5 mile tracks he’s been impressive. He’s won 2 of the 4 races, has the best driver rating, a 4.5 average finish, 4.5 average running position, has run the most fastest laps and has led the second most laps. In practice the #78 car was strong and many teams viewed them as a benchmark. In practice #2 when the track was cooler (close to night conditions) Truex Jr. had the best ten lap average. On Sunday I expect him to finish in the top five and compete for the win.
Charlotte Track History – Martin Truex Jr. has performed at a very high level at Charlotte. Over the last four races he has the best driver rating, led the most laps (523), has the best average finish (5.5) and best average running position. (5.5). In all of these races he’s been top five good performance wise. Last fall he ran well but finished a misleading 13th. During the final round of pit stops he had a slow stop that dropped him from 3rd to 16th. In last year‘s Coca Cola 600 he put on a display of historic domination. In that race he earned a perfect driver rating and led 392 laps! Nobody had anything for him. In fall 2015 he ran very well. He finished 3rd and earned the 5th best driver rating. In spring 2015 he had a fast car and I would argue it was the best. If fuel mileage 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.
Yahoo A Driver / DraftKings $10,700
2) Kevin Harvick (Starting – 1st)
Charlotte Fantasy Spin – Three-time Charlotte winner Kevin Harvick will be one of the drivers to beat. On a weekly basis this team is really starting to click. In 4 of the last 5 races he’s finished in the top five. When you combine his strong recent performances with his elite track record he should definitely be on your short list to win. On Sunday Harvick will be starting on the pole.
Charlotte Track History – Since driving the #4 car at Charlotte Kevin Harvick has been a super elite performer. Since 2013 minus last fall (electrical problems) he has a 3.3 average finish and a 6.3 average running position. Last fall Harvick had a fast car but electrical problems while running in 4th on lap 156 marked the end of his race. In four of the six Charlotte races prior to that he finished runner-up. Last spring Harvick had one of the best cars. When the checkered flag waved he finished 2nd, earned the 4th best driver rating and had a 6th place average running position. In fall 2015 he also 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 4th place good but fuel strategy at the end hurt him and led to his 9th place finish. In 2014 Harvick had results of 1st and 2nd.
Yahoo A Driver / DraftKings $10,300
3) Kyle Busch (Starting – 2nd)
Charlotte Fantasy Spin – Fresh off his All-Star win Kyle Busch is primed for a strong showing in the Coca Cola 600. On Sunday I expect Busch to run very well. In 50% percent of his Charlotte races he’s finished in the top six. In 3 of the last 4 Charlotte races Busch has had a misleading result so he might provide some out of sync potential. On Sunday look for Busch to finish in the top five and be a factor to win.
Charlotte Track History – Kyle Busch has 15 wins at Charlotte in NASCAR’s lower divisions. In NASCAR’s premiere series he’s never won a points paying race but he’s been close. In recent Charlotte races he’s run very well even though he’s had misleading results in 3 of the last 4. Last fall the #18 was strong. He overcame an unexpected pit stop around lap 90 while he was running in the top five but rallied to finish 6th. In spring 2016 he was solid but finished an asterisk mark 33rd. In that race with 7 laps to go while he was running in 10th he got into the wall hard. In fall 2015 he was a lock for a top five result but with about a third of the race remaining while he was running in 2nd he was involved in an accident coming to pit road under caution with Kyle Larson. His car was never the same after that and it led to his 20th place finish. In spring 2015 he made his season debut after his injury and finished 11th. Performance wise I think he was top six good but the fuel mileage aspect at the end cost him a handful of positions. From that race it should be noted he had a 7th place average running position and earned the 9th best driver rating. In 6 of the 7 Charlotte races prior to that he finished in the top ten.
Yahoo A Driver / DraftKings $9,800