Aric Almirola – Aric Almirola should be on your fantasy NASCAR radar at Charlotte. He’s been solid at 1.5 mile tracks this year and I think he’s poised to be a top ten contender. Last fall in his old #43 there was nothing special about his performance. He finished 24th and had a 20th place average running position. Last spring he missed the race due to injury. In fall 2016 he finished 15th. In spring 2016 he didn’t run well. In the race he finished 26th, had a 25th place average running position and earned the 23rd best driver rating. In fall 2015 Amirola had his strongest showing at Charlotte. He finished 10th, earned the 10th best driver rating and had a 12th place average running position. This year at 1.5 mile tracks minus Texas, Almirola has finished between 9th to 13th and has a 10.6 average finish.
Daniel Suarez – Daniel Suarez should be a solid competitor at Charlotte. His team is starting to run better (8.5 avg. finish in the four races prior to Kansas) and I like how well he performed last year at this 1.5 mile track. In 2017 between the combined Charlotte races Suarez had an 8.5 average finish. Last fall Suarez had his better of the two performances. In the race he finished 6th, earned the 12th best driver rating and had a 14th place average running position. I will note he wasn’t quite as good as his result. Before a late caution with 10 laps to go he was running in 12th. Last spring he had a solid debut. He finished 11th, had a 14th place average running position and earned the 14th best driver rating. This year at 1.5 mile tracks Suarez has had problems in 3 of the 4 races. In his one incident free race he finished 15th at Atlanta. On Sunday I’ll play it safe and call him a low-double digits to mid-teens driver.
Jimmie Johnson – Charlotte has been a great track for Jimmie Johnson. He’s an 8-time winner who’s finished in the top five 45% percent of the time and in the top ten 61% percent of the time. At Charlotte in recent races he’s run well and has finished in the top ten in 3 of the last 4 races. Last fall, Johnson had a solid showing. He started in 25th and raced his way to a 7th place finish. Additionally he earned the 7th best driver rating and had a 9th place average running position. Last spring, he had a fast car and was likely top five good but finished 17th after using poor fuel mileage strategy at the end. Additionally it should be noted he earned the 5th best driver rating, had a 5th place average running position and led 35 laps. In fall 2016 the #48 car was very strong and Johnson raced his way to victory lane. In addition to winning he earned the best driver rating, led a race high 155 laps and had a 3rd place average running position. In spring 2016 Truex dominated the race, but Jimmie Johnson was “The best of the rest.” When the race reached its conclusion he earned the 2nd best driver rating, finished 3rd and had a 3rd place average running position. On Sunday I would look for Jimmie Johnson as a low-double digit to mid-teens performer.