The longest race of the NASCAR season is upon us, as we have a scheduled 600 miles to run on Sunday night with the 60th annual Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. We’re bound to see a lot of comers and goers during the night, as not only is this a very long race, but the track is also going to be experiencing changes throughout the night as we go from early evening at the green flag to full night at the checkered flag. In other words, those who are good at the beginning might not be as good by the end, and vice versa, so from a Fantasy NASCAR perspective, you have a chance to pick some drivers that don’t particularly look like the best options heading into Sunday.
William Byron continued his great qualifying efforts on Friday is on the pole for this year’s Coca-Cola 600. The full starting lineup for Charlotte can be found by clicking here. You can find the practice speeds for Saturday’s practice sessions here: Practice #2 — Practice #3. You should also read our in-depth notes for those sessions: Practice #2 — Practice #3.
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Final Top 25 Fantasy NASCAR Rankings for Charlotte
1. Kyle Busch – Starts 3rd – DraftKings Price: $11,200 – FanDuel Price: $15,000 – Slingshot Price: $12,800
You shouldn’t put a major emphasis on All Star Race performance, but at the same time, Kyle Busch’s #18 Toyota was so good last weekend that it’s hard to ignore. Pair that with the fact that Rowdy had the best long-run car in practice this weekend, and he’s got to be the favorite to lead the most laps again this weekend. Busch absolutely dominated last year’s Coca-Cola 600, starting from the pole and leading 377 fo the 400 laps while also winning both Stages in between. This weekend, Kyle will start from the 3rd starting place, but honestly it wouldn’t be surprising if he led the first lap. Last season was Busch’s first points-paying race at Charlotte Motor Speedway but he has 12 top 5s in his 29 career starts (41.4%) and should easily make it 13 of 30 after Sunday.
2. Kevin Harvick – Starts 5th – DraftKings Price: $10,800 – FanDuel Price: $14,500 – Slingshot Price: $11,800
Statistically, Kevin Harvick has been the best on 1.5-mile tracks this year, he just hasn’t gotten the finishes he deserves. Looking at these averages on 1.5-mile venues in 2019 (click here), Harvick has grabbed 17.6% of the DraftKings dominator points at this track type, while Kyle Busch is a distant 2nd at 10.9%. Both of these drivers will be starting inside the top 5 on Sunday night and both will be hard to beat. Speed-wise, Busch gets the nod over Harvick for Saturday, but the #4 Ford wasn’t too far behind the #18 Toyota in terms of overall speed. When it came to ten-lap average in Happy Hour, Harvick ranked 13th while Kyle ranked 1st, but the former made his longer run much later in the session. Without taking strategy or race miscues into account, the 2019 Coca-Cola 600 should come down to one of these two. Harvick has finished 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in five of the last nine Charlotte races and recently led a race-high 104 laps at Kansas a couple of weeks ago.
3. Chase Elliott – Starts 12th – DraftKings Price: $10,300 – FanDuel Price: $13,000 – Slingshot Price: $11,500
Chase Elliott didn’t blow anyone away in terms of practice speeds this weekend, but then again, when does he? All you need to know about the #9 Chevrolet this weekend is that his Hendrick teammate is on the pole (so there’s speed in the organization) and Chase has three straight top 5 finishes in points-paying Cup Series races. He’s also led 35 or more laps in six of the last seven races. As far as Charlotte Motor Speedway goes, Elliott finished a career-best 2nd here in the fall race of 2017, but his other starts haven’t been as great. Still, he started 22nd and finished 11th in last year’s Coca-Cola 600, and I think he could end up contending in this year’s running of it. Looking at the average running position of drivers on 1.5-mile tracks this year, Chase is 2nd-best behind Kevin Harvick, as the #9 Chevrolet is at 8.0 and the #4 Ford is at 7.7. Kyle Busch is the only other driver in single digits, coming in at 8.3. This is a long race we have to run on Sunday night and that fits into Elliott’s normal race progression well. He’ll be a contender by the end.