Kyle Busch – Kyle Busch will be the driver to beat at Charlotte. He’s performed at an extremely high-level at intermediate tracks this year and Charlotte has been a phenomenal track for him. At Charlotte, he’s finished in the top five 41% percent of the time and in the top ten 59% percent of the time. Last spring at Charlotte, Kyle Busch put on a display of domination and won his first race here in NASCAR’s top series. In addition to winning he won Stage #1, #2, #3, earned a perfect driver rating, had a first place average running position and led 377 laps. In fall 2017, Busch had a strong car but finished 29th after spinning three times. His first spin happened on lap 137 and at that time he was running in 2nd. Busch never really seemed to like his car, but he certainly wasn’t lacking speed. In Stage #1 prior to his problem he finished 5th. In spring 2017, Busch had a great car. He started 2nd, 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. On Sunday, look for Busch to finish in the top five and be a serious threat to win.
Martin Truex Jr. – Martin Truex Jr. will be a favorite at Charlotte. He’s a recent winner who’s finished in the top five in 6 of the last 7 races. Over the last three he has the best driver rating, the best average finish (2.0) and the best average running position (5.0). Last spring at Charlotte, Truex Jr. had a great car. He finished 2nd, earned the 3rd best driver rating and had a 7th place average running position. That’s even more impressive when you take into account during the Stage #2 caution (finished 2nd) he was caught speeding on pit road. In fall 2017, Truex Jr. was impressive. He finished 1st, earned the 2nd best driver rating and led 91 laps. Once he was out front, nobody was going to beat him. In spring 2017, Truex Jr. was the class of the field but he lost the race on fuel mileage. When the checkered flag waved he finished 3rd, earned the best driver rating, had a 2nd place average running position and led 233 laps. In fall 2016 Truex Jr. finished 13th, but he was better than his result. During the final round of pit stops he had a slow stop that dropped him from 3rd to 16th. In spring 2016 there’s no debate Truex Jr. had the best car and he easily raced his way to victory lane. He started on the pole, earned a perfect driver rating and led a record 392 laps.
Kevin Harvick – Kevin Harvick is a super-elite performer at Charlotte who’ll be a contender. He’s a three-time winner who’s performed at an extremely high-level. Since 2013 he’s finished in the top ten in 9 of the 11 races. Over his last three Charlotte incident free races he has a 4.3 average finish and a 5.7 average running position. Last spring at Charlotte, Harvick had one of the best cars but finished an asterisk mark 40th. In the race he started in the rear of the field but had no trouble advancing in the running order. On lap 34 he was up to 13th, but unfortunately on lap 82 while he was in 4th he blew a right front tire and crashed into the wall hard which marked the end of his race. If his evening would’ve been incident free he might’ve been a contender to win. In fall 2017, Harvick had a great car. He won Stage #1, won Stage #2, earned the best driver rating, had a 2nd place average running position, led a race high 149 laps and finished 3rd when the checkered flag waved. I will note he was better than his result. With 10 laps to go he had a slow pit stop that dropped him from 2nd to 6th. In spring 2017, Harvick had a strong showing. He started on the pole, finished 8th, earned the 4th best driver rating and led 45 laps. In the race on lap 124 while he was running in the top five he made an unexpected pit stop which was a setback.