The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series marches on to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the 12th race of the 2011 season, the Coca Cola 600. NASCAR expert Brian Brown took a look at past performances, season trends, and spoke with NASCAR contacts to predict how the field should finish on Sunday night. When:
Sunday October 16, 2010; 7:30 p.m./et.Weather:
Sunny with a high around 85; wind out of the SSW at 5 mph There is a 10 percent chance of precipitation.The Track:
Charlotte Motor Speedway
CMS is a 1.5 mile quad-oval. It has 24 degree banking in the turns and five degree banking on the straight-aways. Key to Race:
THE TRACK THAT JOHNSON OWNS
Not only is Lowe's on the front of Jimmie Johnson
's car, but it is also the former name of the track that he dominates. Johnson has finished in the top two in 11 of the last 21 races (including All-Star Challenges) at the track. It is tough to pick against J.J. this weekend.Qualifying Procedures:
48 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Cars not in the top 35 in the 2011 owner point standings will have to qualify based on speed. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by qualifying on Thursday, May 26 at 7:00 pm/et.Fantasy Cheat Sheet:Top 5
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson
: Johnson has dominated Charlotte Motor Speedway in his career. He is a MUST use this week.
No. 18 Kyle Busch
: Rowdy has been great at CMS the past two years. He will be fast again this weekend.
No. 99 Carl Edwards
: Edwards won the All Star race on Saturday and has finished in the top 16 in all but two of his career starts at CMS. We like his chances on Sunday.
No. 20 Joey Logano
: Logano has been awesome at CMS during his career. He will crack the top 10 again on Sunday.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth
: Kenseth had one of the top cars at CMS the past three full-length races. He is a good pick.6 to 10
No. 24 Jeff Gordon
: Gordon won the October race at CMS in 2007 for his fifth career win at the track. His past success at the track makes him a great option.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin
: Hamlin usually runs fast in Charlotte. If he can avoid an accident he is a lock to crack the top 10.
No. 22 Kurt Busch
: Busch was awesome at CMS last spring. He is a candidate for a top five finish.
No. 16 Greg Biffle
: Biffle finished fifth last October and during Saturday's All Star race at CMS. He should be back with another top 10 finish this visit.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray
: McMurray was one of the fastest cars on the track at Charlotte last year. He is worth using in all leagues.11 to 20
No. 29 Kevin Harvick
: Harvick hasn't finished better than ninth in any full-length race at CMS since 2001. This could be the weekend that streak ends.
No. 00 David Reutimann
: Reutimann has driven excellent in three of the past four full-length races at CMS. His win in 2008 was a complete fluke, but he should be strong enough for another top 15 finish this weekend.
No. 4 Kasey Kahne
: Kahne won the All Star Challenge and the Coca-Cola 600 at CMS in 2008. He will be fast again.
No. 5 Mark Martin
: Martin has 18 top five finishes during his career at CMS. He crashed during the All Star race last weekend, but is still worth sneaking onto your roster.
No. 31 Jeff Burton
: Burton has won three races at CMS so he knows his way around the oval. He should finish inside the top 15.
No. 33 Clint Bowyer
: Bowyer has brought just three great cars to CMS in 10 career starts. He is more of a top 15 driver this weekend than a top 10 driver.
No. 39 Ryan Newman
: Newman has nine poles in 20 career starts at CMS. He should qualify strong and a top 20 finish is expected.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
: Junior has finished in the top 11 in seven of his last 13 starts at CMS. He should drive his car into the top 20 without much of an issue.
No. 14 Tony Stewart
: CMS isn't one of Stewart's favorite tracks. He has averaged just a 17th place finish at the track during his career.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya
: Montoya hasn't had a ton of success at Charlotte during his career. He isn't a great choice this weekend.21 to 30
No. 2 Brad Keselowski
: Keselowski has cracked the top 20 in two of his three trips to CMS. He is a decent option this weekend.
No. 6 David Ragan
: Ragan impressed us with his strong showing during Saturday's All Star race. He is a fine sleeper pick.
No. 43 A.J. Allmendinger: A.J. has finished in the top 20 in three of his eight career starts at CMS. He will miss the top 20 again this weekend.
No. 56 Martin Truex Jr.
: Truex has two top 10 finishes in 11 career starts at CMS. He will be doing well to crack the top 20 on Saturday.
No. 27 Paul Menard
: Menard has had just one strong finish at Charlotte. He normally has some sleeper potential, but there are better choices this weekend.
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose
: Ambrose is just a fair-to-middlin' pick this weekend. He should finish right around his 25th place career average at Charlotte.
No. 83 Brian Vickers
: Vickers has struggled this season, but Charlotte is one of his better tracks. He is a buy-low option right now.
No. 78 Regan Smith
: Smith has averaged a 19th place finish at CMS. A Denver Mattress has never looked better.
No. 47 Bobby Labonte
: Labonte has been terrific at CMS during his career. If you are ever going to have the No. 47 car on your team this is the weekend.
No. 07 Robby Gordon
: Gordon somehow stumbled and bumbled into a third place finish at CMS in the 2008 May race. He will finish about 25 spots worse this visit to CMS.Field Fillers
No. 13 Casey Mears
No. 34 David Gilliland
No. 21 Trevor Bayne
No. 30 David Stremme
No. 46 J.J. Yeley
No. 87 Joe Nemechek
No. 36 Dave Blaney
No. 32 Mike Bliss
No. 38 Travis Kvapil
No. 77 Scott Wimmer
No. 81 Scott Riggs
No. 37 Tony Raines
No. 60 Mike Skinner
No. 95 David Starr
No. 09 Landon Cassill
No. 50 T.J. Bell
No. 71 Andy Lally
No. 66 Michael McDowellBrownie's PicksTop Four:
1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Kyle Busch
3. Carl Edwards
4. Joey LoganoSleepers:
1. Joey Logano
2. Jamie McMurrayBust of the Week:Tony Stewart