The good news this week is that there’s quite a few good race cars starting outside of the top 10 for this year’s Coca-Cola 600, which means we have plenty of options in the FOX Fantasy Auto game this weekend. Additionally, this is the longest race of the season at 600 miles, so there’s plenty of time for drivers starting further back to tweak on the car and make their way toward the front. In the two points-paying races here at Charlotte last season, we mostly saw the drivers that started up front also finish there, but we don’t think that’s going to be the case this weekend (at least we hope not).
Looking at our Fantasy Racing Online FOX Fantasy Auto team, we had an incredible performance at Dover a couple of weeks ago, scoring 183 points despite place differential not being counted. We now sit in 639th place overall in this game and 2nd in our private group.
FOX Fantasy Auto Picks for the Charlotte Coke 600
Kyle Larson ($6,700) – This price for Kyle Larson makes no sense to us, so we’re going to take advantage of it while we can. The only logical explanation we can think of why Larson is priced this low is because of his less-than-stellar record here at Charlotte Motor Speedway; in five career starts at this track, Kyle has one top 10 finish (6th in the 2014 fall race) but no other result better than 18th. With that being said, you can never really count this kid out, and don’t forget that he won the Sprint Showdown last weekend. He also was in position to win the All-Star Race, but bad luck bit this #42 team again. Yeah, those races are based on strategy more than anything, but the fact still remains that the #42 Chevrolet was good enough to run up front. In Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, Larson will start from the 24th spot, and he ranked 10th-fastest on the Saturday morning practice speed chart, which was the session that many teams thought was more important. We don’t think you can pass Kyle Larson up at this price point.
Kyle Busch ($12,800) – This #18 Toyota has been struggling a bit on the speed charts all weekend long, but if there’s any team (and driver) in the garage area that can turn it around on race day, it’s this one. Kyle Busch had a rough race at Dover a couple of weeks ago but he has still finished 1st or 2nd in five of the last seven Sprint Cup races. He’s been nothing short of a top 5 machine this season and has a rock solid history here Charlotte Motor Speedway, with ten top 5s in twenty-four career starts (41.7%) and finishes of 9th or better in thirteen of the last seventeen. The #18 Toyota will roll off the grid from 16th in this year’s Coca-Cola 600, and even a mediocre (for him) finish of 10th out of Kyle Busch will give us 37 points in this FOX Fantasy Auto game. With the likelihood of a top 5 finish being as high as it is with Rowdy, though, you can’t pass up this opportunity for place differential points at a track he runs very well at. Also, not that it matters, but the paint scheme for the #18 Toyota is pretty badass this weekend–although anything beats that ugly yellow and brown car that Rowdy has been running for the majority of 2016.
Austin Dillon ($9,700) – We think that this price point is way too high for Austin Dillon, but we’re willing to go ahead and take that salary cap hit this weekend because of his starting spot: 28th. The #3 Chevrolet ranked 11th on the Practice #2 speed chart on Saturday morning and ended up 12th-fastest in Happy Hour, so obviously Austin Dillon has the car to make up a bunch of spots when the green flag drops on Sunday evening. Charlotte has actually been a nice track for Austin thus far during his short Sprint Cup career; in four career starts at this track, Dillon has never finished worse than 16th and he posted a career-best 7th-place finish in the fall race here last season. A mediocre 15th-place finish out of Austin Dillon here on Saturday is still going to net us 39 points in the FOX Fantasy Auto game, so this pick seems like a no-brainer to us. Still, as of this writing, only 14% of FOX players had Austin Dillon on their roster.
Matt Kenseth ($8,800) – The third no-brainer FOX Fantasy Auto pick for the Coca-Cola 600 is Matt Kenseth. Here’s a guy that has finished 15th or better in thirteen of the last fifteen Sprint Cup races at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and top 5 in three of the last five. He’s also coming off of a huge win at Dover a couple of weeks ago, which was Kenseth’s second straight top 5 finish of the 2016 season and third result of 7th or better in the last four events. This team is, once again, one of the strongest in the garage, just now they’re getting the finishes they deserve. The reason Kenseth is a no-brainer pick on Sunday–in addition to his stellar consistency record at this track–is the fact that he starts 27th. From a fantasy points perspective, Matt’s in the exact same boat here as Austin Dillon except the #20 team trumps the #3 team in pretty much every category. Kenseth struggled in Practice #2 on Saturday morning and wasn’t overly impressive during Happy Hour, but we’re not worried about that. Don’t forget that the #78 Toyota is in a league of its own this weekend and Joe Gibbs Racing has an alliance with Furniture Row. Kenseth and this #20 Toyota is capable of a solid top 10 finish on Sunday night, and you can’t pass up those kind of fantasy points in this game–especially at the moderate price point of $8,800.
Kurt Busch ($11,400) – With the four drivers above picked, that leaves you with $12,000 to fill out your roster–so there’s plenty of options here. If you’re looking for maximum place differential points, then Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is probably your best pick here, as he starts 25th. You could also grab Jimmie Johnson, who looks like he has a car capable of contending here on Sunday night, but he’s going to roll off the grid in 7th. Carl Edwards is always a threat, but he starts 9th so that limits the place differential points as well. Chase Elliott would also be a nice option down at $9,100. With our team, though, we’re going with a driver who isn’t on a whole lot of rosters: Kurt Busch. As of this writing, just over 15% of FOX teams had the #41 Chevrolet picked. However, we believe that Kurt is probably one of the most reliable Fantasy NASCAR picks in the garage area, and he’s going to start Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 from the 13th-place starting spot. So there’s room for some place differential points there. The #41 Chevrolet was the fastest in Practice #2 on Saturday morning and had decent speed on the long run. In Happy Hour, he was 2nd-fastest with the 12th-best ten-lap average. Kurt Busch has an average finish of 9.2 thus far during the 2016 season and had one of the best cars here at Charlotte in the 2015 Coke 600. This is one pick that isn’t rock solid heading into Sunday, but as of now we’re going with Kurt to fill out our Charlotte FOX roster. We just might have to switch to Jimmie Johnson, though.