We return to a bit of normalcy this weekend after the Circuit of the Americas embarrassment last weekend, as the annual Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway is on Sunday evening. The NASCAR Cup Series is scheduled to run 600 miles around this 1.5-mile track, which means there are 400 laps to complete. It’s the one race where NASCAR equally distributes laps to all Stages, as there will be four total in this one (as opposed to the normal three). For Fantasy NASCAR players, especially those playing the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest here at Fantasy Racing Online, make sure you take note of that, as there are additional points up for grabs.
Kyle Larson won the pole for this weekend’s race with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. qualifying 2nd. You can click here to see the starting lineup for Sunday’s Coke 600, and you can click here to see the practice speeds from Friday’s session. Now let’s get to the picks!
*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 race day.*
The Algorithm Predicted Finishing Order for Sunday’s race at Charlotte can be found by clicking here! Also, if you enjoy the FREE NASCAR content on this site and everything it has to offer, consider supporting by donating here.
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Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest Picks for Charlotte
Kyle Larson ($12,300) – Yeah, it’s always a little risky to take the pole sitter when it comes to the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest due to the potential for scoring a massive amount of negative points, but this is Kyle Larson. This #5 Chevrolet has been stupid fast all season long, especially on the low-wear 1.5-mile tracks. Even more impressive is that in the 550hp intermediate package, Larson has an average running position of 3.1 over four races this season–nearly four full spots than 2nd-best William Byron (at 6.9, nice). Larson could win all three Stages this weekend and lead the most laps. He has to be the favorite on Sunday.
Kyle Busch ($11,300) – Kyle Busch is one of my favorite Slingshot plays this weekend, and it’s hard to imagine building a lineup without him. At only $11,300 in salary, Rowdy has tremendous value potential on Sunday since he starts back in 20th and could easily be a top 5 car. Here at Charlotte, Kyle has three top 5s in his last four starts, and in the 550hp intermediate package this season, he has the best average finish (4.8) and the 6th-best average running position (9.0) over those four races.
Chris Buescher ($7,800) – I’m not sure why Roush-Fenway was so lackluster in qualifying on Saturday, but it should equal a very good Slingshot score out of Buescher on Sunday. Maybe they had their race cars set up for what they’re expecting in the race since this is an impound event, I don’t know. But anyway, Buescher should be a solid teens finisher this weekend with top 10 ceiling potential. Over the last three Charlotte races, he has two top 10s and a 22nd-place finish on his resumé, and in the 550hp package this season, the #17 Ford has an average running position of 13.5 and an average finish of 12.0.
William Byron ($10,300) – As mentioned in the video (above), William Byron is the 2nd-highest scoring driver in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest this season…and I don’t think I’ve picked him at all. The reason being? He always starts too high up for me to be comfortable taking him. But you can’t argue with the results that this #24 team is putting up this year. This weekend, Byron once again starts inside the top 5, but he could very well end up there, too; in the 550hp intermediate package this season, Willy B has the 2nd-best average running position (6.9, nice) and is tied for the 3rd-best average finish (6.5). So what makes him risky besides the high starting spot? Byron has never finished better than 9th at Charlotte, but you can expect that to change on Sunday.
Aric Almirola ($8,600) – Are you willing to roll the dice? Aric Almirola’s awful 2021 season somehow got even worse at Circuit of the Americas last weekend and now he has an average finish of 25.4 on the year. This weekend, he starts back in 31st, though, which once again creates potential for a very big Slingshot score if he can just pull off a halfway decent finish. Look at it this way: if Almirola ends up 15th on Sunday, you’re looking at 94 Slingshot points out of him. And with so much value in the $10,000 to $12,000 Slingshot driver range this weekend, it makes it that much easier to fit in Almirola at his attractive price of $8,600. As you should know by now, though, it’s risky…
Michael McDowell ($6,600) – Typically I don’t mess with McDowell in this Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest unless he can pick up 5-10 place differential spots, but for some reason he just keeps sticking in my head. Maybe it’s because the Algorithm really likes him and projects the #34 Ford to finish 21st on Sunday. Looking at Charlotte specifically, McDowell has finished between 14th and 19th in four of the last seven races at this track, and in the 550hp intermediate package this season he has an average finish of 13.8 and an average running position of 17.9.
“Race Winner” Pick = Kyle Larson – See notes above. Remember when Martin Truex, Jr. led all but 8 laps here at Charlotte back in 2016? We could easily see Larson do that here on Sunday.