Weather has been the main concern to start the second round of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. That’s not overly surprising, though, considering rain has affected the Bank of America 500 for three years in a row now. Still, any kind of disturbance in the weekend schedule isn’t ideal for Fantasy NASCAR players, and with there there only being one practice session held this weekend, that makes it even tougher. What’s worse is that the one practice that the Cup Series got in this weekend was the one before qualifying, so most teams were in qualifying trim. The good news is that you have Ryan and I here at ifantasyrace to help you set your lineups for Charlotte 2 despite the limited data.
The Joe Gibbs Racing teammates of Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth will be leading the field to the green on Sunday, and the full starting lineup can be found by clicking here.
Final Top 25 Ranking For The 2017 Bank of America 500
1. Kyle Busch – Starts 4th – DraftKings Price: $10,600 – Yahoo! A Group
**Risk Factor: Low Risk**
Of the three best drivers this season, Kyle Busch got off to the best start this weekend in qualifying, as the #18 Toyota wound up 4th when it was all said and done. And really that shouldn’t be all that surprising considering this team has started inside of the top 5 in four of the last six Charlotte races. Finishes haven’t been as easy to come by for this #18 crew, but at the same time, Kyle Busch has wound up 2nd and 6th in the last two Charlotte events, and you can’t overlook the fact that he has posted a single-digit finish in 15 of his last 20 starts at this track. Believe it or not, Rowdy has never won a points-paying race here at Charlotte, but that’s going to change sooner rather than later. Busch hasn’t been great on the 1.5-mile tracks this year, but he still has an average finish of 11.4 on this track length in 2017, and that’s good enough for 6th-best in the series. I’m expecting at least a top 5 finish out of the #18 Toyota on Sunday. Kyle Busch was #1 in my Pre-Practice Top 20 Projections this week and I see no reason to sway from that.
2. Kevin Harvick – Starts 3rd – DraftKings Price: $10,200 – Yahoo! A Group
**Risk Factor: Low Risk**
The #4 Ford is one of the best cars in the field this weekend, but at the same time we haven’t really seen Harvick be a legitimate threat to win since Atlanta earlier this year–and Sonoma, obviously. The good news there is that Atlanta is another 1.5-mile track somewhat similar to Charlotte. Additionally, Harvick still has the 5th-best average finish on the 1.5-mile tracks this year (10.6), and if you take out his 38th-place finish at Las Vegas, that jumps up to 6th. Here at Charlotte, Harvick is a three-time winner and always a top 10 threat (at the very least). Over the last 14 races here, “Happy” has posted a top 10 finish in 12 of them, and half of those were finishes of either 1st or 2nd. I don’t think the #4 Ford quite has the speed of the Toyotas this weekend, but Harvick still has a good shot at a top 5 finish here on Sunday.
3. Kyle Larson – Starts 10th – DraftKings Price: $10,400 – Yahoo! B Group
**Risk Factor: Medium Risk**
Keep an eye on Kyle Larson this weekend. His record here at Charlotte isn’t great–just eight laps led in eight total starts with an average finish of 15.9–but Larson wound up 5th in this race one year ago and also ran 6th in this event back in 2014. This weekend, the #42 Chevrolet was the fastest car in the opening practice session but wound up 10th when qualifying was all said and done. That tells me that Larson has a car that can compete on Sunday, though. As far as the 1.5-mile tracks go, Kyle has an average finish of 7.4 on them this season (2nd-best in the series), and in terms of momentum, this team is coming into the Bank of America with four straight top 5 finishes in Cup Series action. I’m fully expecting Larson to make it five in a row here on Sunday.