One of the most noteworthy races of the season this weekend, as the 60th annual Coca-Cola 600 is set to run at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday night. This is a long, grueling race that not only tests the longevity of drivers, but also the longevity of the engines in the cars; at 600 miles, this is the longest race of the 2019 NASCAR season. We’ll be starting this race around 6 pm in the early evening and then ending under the lights, which means the track will be going through plenty of changes through the night. The team that ends up in victory lane will probably be the one that keeps up with the track the best.
Charlotte Motor Speedway is a “cookie cutter” 1.5-mile race track, and you can view the statistical analysis of those races for 2019 by clicking here.
Click here for the starting lineup for this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. Also if you’d like to analyze the results from Saturday’s first session, you can do so by clicking here. For Saturday’s second session (Happy Hour), you can do so by clicking here.
*Please note: the picks and suggestions below are my opinions and strategy for the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest. These are not meant to sway your thinking in any way, but rather give you insight into the drivers I am most likely to pick on Sunday.*
Slingshot Fantasy Auto Picks for Charlotte
EDIT: I have made changes to my lineup. I will be going with Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones, Jimmie Johnson, and Ross Chastain for Charlotte.
Kurt Busch ($11,300) – There are only two drivers that are averaging over 100 fantasy points per race in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest this season, and both of them have the last name of Busch. Now, Kurt’s high scores are heavily influenced by his poor qualifying performances this year, but that doesn’t mean he’s not finishing up front, too; his average finish of 7th on the 1.5-mile tracks (excluding Atlanta) this season ranks as 3rd-best in the series. As far as Charlotte Motor Speedway goes specifically, Busch won the 2010 Coca-Cola 600 with Penske Racing, and in the last eight races here overall he’s finished 11th or better seven times. Kurt qualified 11th for Sunday’s Coke 600 and could easily be a top 5 contender by the time the checkered flag waves that evening.
Denny Hamlin ($11,100) – This guy should be on everyone’s Fantasy NASCAR radar this weekend, especially for leagues that award points based on place differential. Hamlin will roll off the grid for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 from the 20th starting spot, but even if he has just a “normal” race day, he should put up a massive score in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest. Denny has never won a points-paying race here at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but at the same time, he owns the best average finish (12.1) among drivers with four or more starts at this track. Denny is currently on a three-race streak of top 5 finishes at this track and has finished inside that range in five of the last six Charlotte races. He has an average finish of 9th on the 1.5-mile tracks this season (excluding Atlanta).
Erik Jones ($11,000) – Erik Jones is one of the most consistent finishers on 1.5-mile race tracks in the Cup Series garage, and this season he’s been the best on this track length–at least from an average finish perspective. Looking at the last three races on this “cookie cutter” format (Kansas, Texas, and Las Vegas), Jones has an average finish of 6.7. His career best finish here at Charlotte Motor Speedway is 7th (back in 2017), but with the way this #20 team is running right now, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see Erik challenge for a top 5 finish here on Sunday night. He starts 16th for this year’s Coca-Cola 600 so there’s definitely room for place differential there.
Kyle Larson ($10,800) – Fresh off of his All Star Race win, Kyle Larson is going to be a popular Fantasy NASCAR pick this weekend for the Coca-Cola 600. And while I’ll warn you that winning the All Star Race really shouldn’t make you think Larson will be stronger this weekend–last week you won with a good short run car, this week you’ll win with a good long run car–it’s really hard to pass up that 25th-place starting spot and the place differential points that will come along with it. Overall, Kyle Larson has ran into more bad luck than anything in most races this season, but he’s posted a top 10 finishes in three of the last four Charlotte races, and in addition to ended up 8th at Kansas a couple of weeks ago, the #42 Chevrolet also came home 12th at Las Vegas back in March. Larson is a chalk pick in Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest this weekend, so if you want to roll the dice, it wouldn’t hurt to go in a different direction.
Matt Tifft ($5,700) – Matt Tifft starts a little bit higher than I’d prefer this weekend (26th) but I don’t think he’s an awful Fantasy NASCAR play for a low-tier driver. This Sunday evening will be Tifft’s first career Cup Series start at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but with this being a “cookie cutter” race track, I’m not too concerned about that. With not historical track data to go off of, we can really only analyze how Tifft has performed at recent 1.5-mile tracks, and with a 21st-place finish at Charlotte and a 24th-place finish at Texas recently, that gives me a little more confidence in tolling the dice with him this weekend to fill out my Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest roster.