We’re back at Charlotte Motor Speedway this Wednesday night for another race under the lights–albeit a much shorter one than Sunday night. A late caution really wreaked havoc for many Fantasy NASCAR players for the second time this season, as Chase Elliott was cruising to a Coca-Cola 600 victory when, ironically, his teammate, William Byron, cut down a tire and spun out, bringing out a caution. For some reason, I have no idea why, Alan Gustafson decided to pit Elliott and threw away the race, giving the win to Brad Keselowski.
Like last week at Charlotte, the starting lineup for Wednesday night was set by the finishing order of Sunday night. The top 20 finishers are inverted (so Keselowski, who won on Sunday, will start 20th on Wednesday), while 21st through 40th will start where they finished. Click here for the starting lineup for the Alsco 500(k) at Charlotte on Wednesday night. DraftKings priced the chalk drivers super high for this race so it should be very fun making lineups, but more on that later.
Please note: Josh Bilicki, JJ Yeley, and Reed Sorenson will have have to drop to the rear on the pace laps Wednesday night for switching drivers, but they will still be scored from their original positions.
The Fastest Cars
If you’ve been following my DraftKings projections posts since NASCAR returned, you know that I’ve been talking a lot about green flag speed as of late. The reason being, with an absence of practice sessions for races, it’s the next best statistic we have to determine which cars are going to be the fastest.
And good news! I put together a special Green Flag Speed Cheat Sheet page for you to track the green flag speed of each driver as the season goes on. Click here to check out that Cheat Sheet.
And just to include the top 10 drivers in average rank of green flag speed this season, they’re listed below:
- Chase Elliott (3.5)
- Alex Bowman (5.8)
- Martin Truex, Jr. (6.0)
- Kevin Harvick (7.7)
- Brad Keselowski (7.8)
- Joey Logano (8.0)
- Kyle Busch (9.8)
- Aric Almirola (10.0)
- Ryan Blaney (11.0)
- Kurt Busch (11.2)
As far as Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 here at Charlotte, the top five drivers in green flag speed were: Truex, Bowman, Elliott, Byron, and Johnson. You can click here for the full chart from the Coke 600. Another statistic I like to look at is the fastest drivers “late in the run” and in Sunday’s race here, the top drivers in that category were: Truex, Elliott, Bowman, Byron, and Jones. Click here for the full “Fastest Late In A Run” chart from Sunday.
The final statistic I like to consider for a race like Charlotte is how drivers perform on 1.5-mile tracks in general. The current 1.5-mile tracks are: Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicagoland, Homestead, Kansas, Kentucky, Las Vegas, and Texas. Looking at the average finishes on that track type in 2019 plus the first Las Vegas race this year, the top finishers are:
- Kevin Harvick (8.0 average finish)
- Martin Truex, Jr. (8.5 average finish)
- Joey Logano (9.0 average finish)
- Kyle Busch (9.6 average finish)
- Alex Bowman (10.3 average finish)
- Chase Elliott (12.0 average finish)
- Erik Jones (12.8 average finish)
- Tyler Reddick (13.0 average finish) **only two races**
- Kurt Busch (13.1 average finish)
- Aric Almirola (13.2 average finish)
DraftKings Strategy for Charlotte on Wednesday Night
Get Sunday’s race out of your head, because even though we’re at the same track on Wednesday night, you have to approach this race differently. The Cup Series was scheduled to run 400 laps here on Sunday night, and on Wednesday they’re only scheduled for 208 laps–effectively cutting the dominator points in half. This puts place differential points at more of a premium, as well as finish points. That’s why DraftKings did the driver salaries like they did.
While the strategy for Sunday was to take a two or three dominator approach with your lineups, I think it’s perfectly fine to just go with a one dominator lineup on Wednesday. Other things we learned in the Coca-Cola 600 was that clean air is absolutely king, and it’s very hard to pass. Therefore I think a nice statistic to look at from that race is the drivers that were fastest on the restarts. That is going to be the best place for drivers to make passes at Charlotte. The top 5 best in that category on Sunday were:
- Martin Truex, Jr.
- Alex Bowman
- Jimmie Johnson
- Chase Elliott
- Brad Keselowski
Drivers Most Likely to Dominate
We have two Hendrick Chevrolets starting on the front row for Wednesday night’s race: William Byron ($8,500) on the pole, and then Alex Bowman ($8,700) alongside him. We saw where clean air was a major advantage on Sunday night (except in the mind of Alan Gustafson), which gives Byron a little advantage to lead early. But don’t forget that Bowman led 164 laps and had 52 fastest laps in the Coca-Cola 600. And I’m not convinced that Bowman didn’t just give up on that final restart to get a good starting spot for this race.
It’ll take a bit for any other contender to get to the front to dominate, and that’s if they can actually get past the leader. The obvious choice is Martin Truex Jr, ($9,400), with Chase Elliott ($9,700) deserving some love as well. Truex and Hendrick were the strongest cars on Sunday night and there’s no reason why that speed shouldn’t carry on into Wednesday.
GPP / Tournament Plays I Love for the Charlotte Alsco 500(k)
Erik Jones ($7,800) – If you paid attention during the Coca-Cola 600, you know Erik Jones probably had his strongest car of the season. He did put up the most fastest laps (15) he’s had all year. Unfortunately, due to the late caution, Jones finished 11th, but he was 6th in green flag speed and I thought the #20 Toyota definitely had a top 5 car. Anyway, Jones is trending up on the speed charts, and I think many DraftKings players will be focusing on place differential this week and overlook Erik Jones. For what it’s worth, the #20 Toyota ranks 4th in average green flag speed ranking since we got back to racing (click here for the cheat sheet). Obviously Tyler Reddick ($7,600) is in play here as well as a GPP option.
Ryan Preece ($6,000) – The cheap drivers are pretty slim pickings this race unless you’re going to go with the strategy of taking a clunker so you can afford the studs up top–a strategy I’m not totally opposed to. But one guy I don’t mind mixing in for GPP plays is Ryan Preece. He’s had some horrible finishes this season, but looking at green flag speed since we got back racing, Preece has an average ranking of 16.3 (click here to see the green flag speed cheat sheet), and he’s finished between 18th and 23rd in three of the last four races. Preece should go relatively low owned since he starts up in 22nd but if he can stay on the lead lap all night he could sneak in a teens finish.
Charlotte Wednesday Night DraftKings Projections
The following chart takes into account the very basics: the starting position and the projected finish of each driver. The projected finishes are averaged from five different ranking systems. Also included are projected laps led for each driver. This doesn’t take into account fastest laps. You can click the headers below to sort the chart by that attribute. By default it is sorted by average projected FPTS.
|Driver||Starting Position||DraftKings Salary||Avg Proj FPTS||Avg. Projected Finish||Proj Laps Led||Dollar Per FPT|
|Martin Truex Jr||15||$9,400||65.7||02.4||41||$143|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||24||$7,300||26.4||20.8||0||$277|
|John H. Nemechek||5||$5,700||04.2||22.4||0||$1,357|