Matt Kenseth – Matt Kenseth was a bust at Kansas, but I think Charlotte will be different. He now has a race under his belt and I think the #6 team will be much better prepared this time around. On Sunday I’ll play it safe and call him a mid-teen to high-teens driver. Charlotte has been a great track for Matt Kenseth. He won his first race here in the 2000 Coca Cola 600 and over his career he’s finished in the top ten 54% percent of the time, and in the top fifteen 76% percent of the time. In recent Charlotte races in the #20 Matt Kenseth has been a great performer. Over the last four races he has the 2nd best average finish (6.0), the 4th best average running position (9.0) and has finished in the top 11 every race. Last fall Kenseth had a solid race. He had an 8th place average running position and finished 11th. Last spring Kenseth had a great car. He started 4th, finished 4th and earned the 3rd best driver rating. In 2016 he had results of 2nd and 7th.
Paul Menard – Paul Menard will likely be a teens driver at Charlotte. In his last four incident free races at this venue he’s finished in the teens. Last year he swept the teens. Last fall when the checkered flag waved he finished 19th, had a 19th place average running position and earned the 20th best driver rating. Last spring Menard had a good race and finished 13th. I will note fuel mileage strategy helped him. Performance wise he was really high-teens good. His average running position was 19th and he earned the 20th best driver rating. In fall 2016 he was likely low to mid-twenties good but he was collected in a wreck that led to his 34th place finish. In spring 2016 there was nothing special about Menard’s performance. He finished 17th, had a 17th place average running position and earned the 18th best driver rating. Kansas is the last 1.5 mile track visited and Menard finished 6th there. This year at 1.5 mile tracks minus Texas, Menard has a 12.7 average finish and a 12.3 average running position.
Kasey Kahne – At Charlotte, Kasey Kahne will be a high-teens to low-twenties driver. That’s essentially how he stacks up against the competition in the #95. This year at 1.5 mile tracks Kasey Kahne has finished between 17th to 21st every race. I wouldn’t view his prior track record in the #5 as all that relevant since he’s in vastly different competitive situation. Charlotte has historically been one of Kahne’s best tracks. He’s won here four-times and has finished in the top ten 54% percent of the time. In recent Charlotte races Kahne has typically been around mid-teens good. In 4 of the last 6 races he’s finished between 15th to 17th. Last year Kahne finished 15th in both races. In 2016 he had results of 10th and 16th.