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Daily Fantasy NASCAR Race Preview & Picks for DraftKings - Coca-Cola 600
Chris Durell will be bringing you his weekly race breakdown, top trends, and pre-qualifying targets to help you cash on DraftKings and FanDuel. You can also grab a copy of his free DFS NASCAR Cheatsheet that includes a ton of stats and a customizable model.
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Charlotte Motor Speedway - Concord, NC
Track - 1.5 Mile Quad-Oval Intermediate
24° of Banking
It was another exciting All-Star race last week that will probably be remembered more for the feud between Bowyer and Newman(mostly Bowyer punching Newman in the face while in his car) than the Kyle Larson win. The good news is that they made up and in classic Clint Bowyer fashion.
This week the teams get back to the business at hand with one of the biggest and definitely the longest race of the year, the Coca-Cola 600. The track is a mile and a half intermediate and up until last year hosted two races per season(playoff race uses the new road course). Teams will also be using the same 2019 rules package that was used at Kansas, Texas, and Las Vegas so I added that data(avg fin/avg DK/avg FD) to my sheet and will weigh it in my model this week.
From a fantasy perspective, it has been mostly a one dominator race with just one driver leading 100+ laps in five of the last six races here. Adding to that, there has only been one race in the last six where more than two drivers led 50+ laps. We could see more of the same this week as, despite the new rules package, we have only seen only two drivers in each of the three races mentioned above(Kan, Tex, Veg) lead 50+ laps. With that said, there have also been at least seven drivers to lead 10+ in each of those races. Place differential has been all over the place with as low as one driver and as high as 16 drivers picking up double-digit PD points in those six races.
Let's jump in and take a look at some track history, form, and get into the picks.
Last Six Winners at Charlotte
- '18 Coca Cola 600 - Kyle Busch(started 1st, led 377 laps)
- '17 Playoffs - Martin Truex Jr.(started 17th, led 91 laps)
- '17 Coca Cola 600 - Austin Dillon(started 22nd, led 2 laps)
- '16 Playoffs - Jimmie Johnson(started 11th, led 155 laps)
- '16 Coca Cola 600 - Martin Truex Jr.(started 1st, led 392 laps)
- '15 Playoffs - Joey Logano(started 3rd, led 227 laps)
Track History at Charlotte
From a team standpoint, no one has been better here lately than Joe Gibbs Racing. Kyle Busch absolutely dominated this race last year leading 377 laps and finished runner-up in the 2017 Coca-Cola 600. Martin Truex Jr. returns to Charlotte as one of just two drivers with a Top 5 in each of the last three races here including a playoff win here in his Championship 2017 season. He also led 233 laps in the 2017 Coca-Cola 600 before finishing third to Kyle and absolutely dominated the 2016 Coca-Cola 600 leading 392 laps en route to the win. Denny Hamlin has yet to win a race here at Charlotte but joins MTJ as the only other driver with three straight Top 5's and he also has tallied a Top 10 in 14 of his last 16 races here.
Team Hendrick also stands out as Jimmie Johnson returns to Charlotte with a series-leading eight career wins at the track, the latest in the 2016 playoff race. He finished 5th here in the Coca-Cola 600 last year which says a lot as the entire season was a struggle for the #48 team. Alex Bowman qualified on the front row here in 2016 filling in for Dale Jr. but unfortunately got caught up in a crash. He put that behind him in last year's Coca-Cola 600 and his first full season with HMS as he started 27th and finished 9th.
Two other drivers who stand out as mid-tier values based on their track history are Kurt Busch and Daniel Suarez. Busch returns to Charlotte with a Top 10 finish in five of his last six races and Suarez has finished Top 15 in all three of his career races.
Track Type History(Intermediate Tracks)
Let's start by looking at performance on intermediate tracks since the start of the 2017 season. Four drivers have dominated this category as Martin Truex Jr.(8), Kyle Busch(3), Kevin Harvick(5), and Brad Keselowski(5) have combined to win 21 of those 28 races. Joey Logano(2) and Denny Hamlin(2) are the only other drivers with multiple wins in that time with Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson, and Austin Dillon the other race winners.
With the new 2019 rules package, I wanted to go further and look at performance on the intermediate tracks using the full package. So far we have seen the full be used on Kansas, Texas, and Las Vegas and while the sample size is small it helps us to analyze what drivers and teams have adjusted best in 2019, especially on this track type.
Right at the top of the list is a bit of a surprise in Kurt Busch who is the only driver with a Top 10 finish each of those three tracks(7.0 average finish). Another surprise on this list is Erik Jones who finished 13th at Vegas, 4th at Texas, and 3rd at Kansas and leads all driver with a 6.7 average finish. In total, nine drivers have at least two top teams. From a team perspective, the Stewart-Haas cars have been very strong as Clint Bowyer(7.0), Kevin Harvick(8.3), and Aric Almirola(8.7) own three of the Top 5 best average finishes in those three races.
Kyle Busch/Denny Hamlin
The Joe Gibbs Racing teammates sit #2 & #3 in my model after practice and qualifying and will be in my main core in all formats. Busch returns to Charlotte as the defending race winner after he dominated the Coca-Cola 600 last year leading 377 laps. Kyle qualified 3rd and was Top 5 in both final practices and was also fastest in 10-lap averages during final practice.
Hamlin has yet to win here at Charlotte but returns with three straight Top 5's overall and has also finished Top 5 in three straight Coca-Cola 600's. Hamlin starts 20th this week giving us place differential upside, especially considering he was 6th and 3rd in the final two practice and 2nd and 4th in 10-lap averages in those practices.
The #42 car had issues with speed early on in the weekend and it led to a 25th starting position this week. The good news is that they found some speed in final practice ranking 12th in both one-lap and 10-lap averages. He is coming off a win at the All-Star race and as for points-paying races here, he has Top 10 finishes in two straight and three of his last four.
Jones picked up a Top 10 here in his first trip in a cup car back in 2017 but has since finished outside the Top 15 into straight races. I am not concerned about that this week, however, as he will start 16th and showed us Top 10 speed in both final practices including 10-lap averages. He also leads all drivers with a 6.7 average finish on Kansas, Texas, and Las Vegas where this same race package was used.
I have a feeling Austin Dillon and Daniel Suarez will be higher owned this week and while I will have exposure to both, I love the pivot to Alex Bowman. His practice speeds don't stand out and he is starting 13th this week adding some place differential risk but he has been impressive with this intermediate rules package finishing 11th at Vegas, 18th at Texas, and 2nd at Kansas.
Chris Durell has been playing Daily Fantasy Sports for five years and fantasy in general for more than a decade. He is an active player in NFL, MLB, NHL, PGA, and of course NASCAR. He lives in Saskatchewan, Canada with his wife and two daughters. You can follow him on Twitter at @Jager_Bombs9 for advice, strategy, answers to any NASCAR questions or how he copes with the winters up north.
- NASCAR Homestead Auto Racing: (AP Photo/Terry Renna)