1) Kevin Harvick (Starting – 3rd)
Charlotte Fantasy Spin – Kevin Harvick has run extremely well at Charlotte. He’s a three-time winner who’s finished in the top ten in 8 of the last 9 races. Over that stretch minus the race last fall he has a 3.9 average finish and a 6.6 average running position. This year at 1.5 mile tracks the #4 team has been one of the best in the series. At these venues minus Las Vegas he’s finished in the top ten every race and has a 6.0 average finish. Chicagoland is the last 1.5 mile track visited and he ran really well there. He finished 3rd and led 59 laps. I think this race is really setup for Harvick to have a strong showing. He thrives at running the low-line (sticky substance is making the top line treacherous) and I think this will be a race where drivers will need to be smart and take care of their equipment. On Sunday look for Harvick to finish in the top five and compete for the win.
Charlotte Track History – As you read above Harvick has been extremely consistent at Charlotte. This spring he had a strong showing even though his race wasn’t incident free. He finished 8th, earned the 4th best driver rating and led 45 laps. On lap 124 while he was running in the top five he made an unexpected pit stop. Last fall he was top five good but finished a misleading 38th after having engine/electrical issues around lap 156 while running in 4th. In spring 2016 Harvick finished 2nd, earned the 4th best driver rating and had a 6th place average running position. In the six Charlotte races prior to that he had 2 wins and a 3.5 average finish.
Yahoo A Driver / DraftKings $10,200
2) Kyle Busch (Starting – 4th)
Charlotte Fantasy Spin – Kyle Busch is entering the weekend with back to back wins and on Sunday he’ll be going for his 3rd straight victory. He’s never won here in NASCAR’s top series, but in the Xfinity Series and Truck Series combined he’s been to victory lane 15 times. In NASCAR’s top series he’s been extremely strong and it’s actually shocking he’s never won here. In recent races at 1.5 mile tracks the #18 team has been great. Over the last four races at tracks of this length he has a misleading 6.8 average finish, a 5.8 average running position and has averaged leading about 80 laps per race. On Sunday look for Busch to finish in the top five, and compete for the win.
Charlotte Track History – Kyle Busch runs extremely well at Charlotte. Since 2008 he’s finished in the top five 53% percent of the time and in the top eleven 78.9% percent of the time. All of his results outside the top 11 over this stretch were misleading finishes. This spring Busch had a great car. He finished 2nd, earned the 2nd best driver rating, had a 4th place average running position and led 63 laps. Additionally he won Stage #1, finished 4th in Stage #2 and finished 2nd in Stage 3. In fall 2016 he was strong. He finished 6th and earned the 3rd best driver rating. In that race he even had to make an unexpected pit stop on lap 90 under green while running in the top five. In the three Charlotte races prior to that he had misleading results. In spring 2016 he got into the wall hard with 7 laps to go while running in 10th. In fall 2015 he was a lock for a top five but late in the race coming to pit road he collided with Kyle Larson. In spring 2015 he was top 6 good but it became a fuel mileage race at the end which led to him finishing 11th. In 6 of the 7 Charlotte races prior to that he finished in the top ten.
Yahoo A Driver / DraftKings $10,600
Further Recommended Reading – Charlotte Post Practice Predictions (another fantasy take), Charlotte Starting Lineup, DraftKings Playability Value Chart, Likely Finish Ranges, DraftKings Start Page, Yahoo Start Page
3) Denny Hamlin (Starting – 1st)
Charlotte Fantasy Spin – Denny Hamlin will be a strong competitor at Charlotte from the pole. It’s a great track for him and he’s been very consistent. In 12 of the last 14 races he’s finished in the top ten. The two races he finished outside of that mark his races weren’t incident free. At 1.5 mile tracks Hamlin has been a strong performer and currently he has three straight top 5 finishes. On Sunday look for Hamlin to compete for a top five finish.
Charlotte Track History – Denny Hamlin has been very consistent at Charlotte as you read above. If he didn’t have problems last fall he would likely have four straight top five finishes. This spring he finished 5th and earned the 8th best driver rating. In that race he was caught speeding on pit road during green flag pit stops so that makes it slightly more impressive. Last fall Hamlin had a great car but while he was running in 2nd with 26 laps to go his engine blew up. In spring 2016 he was a consistent front runner. When the checkered flag waved he finished 4th, had a 5th place average running position and earned the 5th best driver rating. In the three races prior to that he had results of 4th, 8th and 9th.
Yahoo A Driver / DraftKings $9,200