The Chase for the Sprint Cup Series championship heads to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Bank of America 500. In the first stop at the track for the Coca-Cola 600, it was Furniture Row Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. ($10,900) picking up a victory. He is not only the defending champion at Charlotte, but he grabbed the checkered flag at Dover last weekend and has vaulted to the top of the DraftKings salary list with his red-hot run of late. Not only has he posted five straight Top 10 finishes, but three of those finishes resulted in wins at Darlington, Chicagoland and, as mentioned, Dover.
The No. 78 Toyota will be a machine to be reckoned with again this Saturday under the lights despite some rather ordinary overall career numbers at Charlotte. Past history can mostly be thrown out the window given how much confidence this team has, and how he is running better than everyone else. In 22 career starts at Charlotte he has just three Top 5s, seven Top 10s and 13 Top 20s with a 16.4 Average-Finish Position (AFP) and 532 laps led. He’ll exceed all of those numbers with another Top 10 finish this weekend.
(DraftKings.com salaries in parentheses)
Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick ($10,700) was right on the heels of Truex in the May Charlotte race with a runner-up finish, and will be looking to rebound after a disappointing showing in Dover. Harvick has won two of the past seven Charlotte races, including the fall race in Oct. 2014. He has won three times in 31 career starts, posting 14 Top 10s and 22 Top 20s with a 14.7 AFP while leading 322 laps. Happy’s strategy at Charlotte seems to be hang back just behind the leaders, not out front, and then make a move in the end. That tends to result in fewer laps led. That strategy translates into fewer Fantasy points at DraftKings, although his usual high finishing position still earns him plenty of points. According to NASCAR’s Loop Data, he leads all drivers with a 124.4 Driver Rating, and he has run a circuit-leading 98.5 percent of his laps inside the Top 15 over his past five starts.
Penske Racing’s Joey Logano ($9,100) is a value play at DraftKings, as his soft pricing and outstanding recent production at the track make him a must-have. He won this race last season, and checks in third in Driver Rating over the past five starts at the track. Logano has a 109.0 Driver Rating during the span, posting a 7.8 AFP that is third-best. He also has led 245 laps while running 93.6 percent of his laps inside the Top 15. Overall during his career, he is tops with a 9.5 AFP in 15 starts, posting five Top 5s, nine Top 10s and 14 Top 20s, with his lowest finish 23rd. He is the only driver with an AFP better than 10.8.
Logano’s teammate Brad Keselowski ($9,800) ranks sixth in Driver Rating over the past five Charlotte stops, posting a solid 9.4 AFP while running 86.5 percent of his laps inside the Top 15. He has a win, six Top 10s and 12 Top 20s in 14 career starts with a rock-solid 13.9 AFP. He hasn’t led a ton of laps at Charlotte, but he is a safe Fantasy play this weekend.
Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson ($10,000) has posted seven victories in 30 career starts at Charlotte, and nearly half (14) of his starts have resulted in a Top 10 finish. He leads all drivers with 1,740 laps led. He was third in the Memorial Day race at Charlotte earlier this season. Teammate Kasey Kahne ($8,500) has enjoyed plenty of success at Charlotte over the years, too. He has four victories in 25 career starts at the track, posting nine Top 5s, 13 Top 10s and 17 Top 20s with 1,106 laps led, second only to Johnson. His 13.2 AFP is attractive, and he’ll be a popular mid-tier DFS option, especially since he has been hot lately with seven straight finishes of 14th or better.
Charlotte fans will be disappointed to see Alex Bowman ($8,000), not Jeff Gordon, will be behind the wheel subbing for the injured Dale Earnhardt Jr. (concussion). However, Fantasy owners might find Bowman to be quite the sleeper. After looking a bit lost with a 26th-place showing in New Hampshire, and 30th in Michigan, Bowman has posted solid back-to-back finishes of 10th at Chicagoland and 14th in his second try at New Hampshire. He looks like he is getting more comfortable behind the wheel of the No. 88 machine, and another Top 15 showing would more than help him live up to his DFS salary expectations. As a C-list driver at Yahoo! Sports he’ll be a popular pick, too.
Joe Gibbs Racing has been to Victory Lane at Charlotte just once ever, although that first victory came just last May with Carl Edwards ($9,400) bringing home the trophy. He is ninth in Driver Rating at 94.9 over the past five starts, but his 7.4 AFP is second only to Harvick during the span. Denny Hamlin ($9,300) leads all JGR drivers in Driver Rating over the past five starts at Charlotte, and he has six Top 5s, 14 Top 10s and 18 Top 20s with a stellar 12.4 AFP in 22 career starts. The lack of wins for JGR doesn’t mean Fantasy owners should forget about their drivers. The JGR stable is right there at Charlotte when it comes to contention.
Another JGR driver, Matt Kenseth ($9,700) has two wins at the track, although they each came when he was a member of Roush Fenway Racing. After a slow start to the season he has three straight Top 10 finishes, including a runner-up in New Hampshire, and he was seventh in the first Charlotte race this season. Kyle Busch ($10,200) is the JGR car you likely most want to avoid due to a high salary and erratic Charlotte results over the years. He was collected in a wreck in May, finishing 33rd, and that’s about the way it was been for the 18 at the track. Busch has never won in 25 career starts at Charlotte, posting 10 Top 10s but also six DNFs with a mediocre 15.8 AFP. You definitely will not get what you pay for in DraftKings if you use Rowdy this weekend.
Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon ($8,200) remains alive in the Chase, but just barely. Over the past six races he has been marginal, but he did show signs of life with an eighth-place run at Dover to help him advance. DraftKings owners loved his 21 fastest laps on the concrete track, and they’ll like him in Charlotte, too, especially at a mid-tier price. In five career starts he has yet to break through for a Top 5 at Charlotte, but he has finished inside the Top 20 in each try, never lower than 16th. As a No. 4 or 5 Fantasy driver Dillon is steady and a good value.
Hendrick’s Chase Elliott ($8,900) brought it home eighth in the May race, and he has averaged a 13.0 AFP in two career tries at the track. Tony Stewart ($7,800) makes his last career start at Charlotte, and searches for his second win at the track. Smoke is out of the Chase after three mediocre showings on the track, but he has a 14.8 AFP in 34 career tries with 24 Top 20s and 701 laps led, so he should not be discounted.
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Jamie McMurray ($7,600) is a solid sleeper for Saturday’s race. While he hit a bump in the road at Dover, he had been 11th or better in five of his previous seven. And Jamie Mac has two career wins at Charlotte, one of just seven active drivers with two or more wins at the track. His 16.6 AFP is impressive, and he has 17 Top 20s with just three DNFs during the span. Teammate Kyle Larson ($9,600) is more expensive, and he has a lot more risk. He has yet to solve Charlotte, posting just one Top 10 and three Top 20s in six career starts with a poor 20.0 AFP. Avoid.
For salary savers, look to Richard Petty Motorsports driver Aric Almirola ($6,400). He has been 17th or better in three of his past four outings. While he was 26th in the first Charlotte stop this season, he has five Top 20s in nine career tries with a solid 18.9 AFP. With that type of average finish and a low salary, he is a slam-dunk Fantasy option for your final roster spot.
RFR’s Greg Biffle ($7,200) was a solid 11th in the May race, and he has had some success over the years in Charlotte. Biffle has six Top 5s, nine Top 10s and two-thirds of his 27 career starts have resulted in Top 20 finishes. He has also led 437 career laps at the track, making him an attractive low-end play. HScott Motorsports driver Clint Bowyer ($7,100) has one win in Charlotte in 21 tries, posting 14 Top 20s with a 17.2 AFP. He is also a nice low-priced roster addition.
On the very low end of the salary scale, Tommy Baldwin Racing’s Regan Smith ($5,500) is a driver to watch. He has one Top 10 and six Top 20s in 10 career starts at the track, and will save you plenty of valuable DFS salary if you want to load up elsewhere.
NASCAR FANTASY LINEUPS FOR CHARLOTTE
|No.||Driver||DraftKings Salary||No.||Driver||Fantasy Live Salary||No.||Yahoo! Sports Driver|
|1||Martin Truex Jr.||$10,900||1||Martin Truex Jr.||$27.75||1||Jimmie Johnson|
|2||Jimmie Johnson||$10,000||2||Joey Logano||$27.00||2||Kasey Kahne|
|3||Kasey Kahne||$8,500||3||Kasey Kahne||$23.50||3||Martin Truex Jr.|
|4||Austin Dillon||$8,200||4||Aric Almirola||$13.00||4||Ryan Blaney|
|5||Aric Almirola||$6,400||5||Regan Smith||$8.00|