The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series marches on to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the 31st race of the 2012 season, the Bank of America 500. 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 Saturday.
When: Saturday, October 13; 7:46 p.m./et.
Weather: Sunny with a high around 69; wind out of the E at 4 mph. There is a zero 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 12 of the last 23 races (including All-Star Challenges) at the track. It is tough to pick against J.J. this weekend.
47 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. If the first practice is run, but qualifying is unable to take place, the starting lineup will be based on speeds from the car's fastest lap from the first practice, with top-35 cars in owner points no longer segregated from the non-top 35 cars. Previously, the top 35 cars lined up in front of all other eligible car owners.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has dominated Charlotte Motor Speedway in his career (including this year’s All Star Race). He is a MUST use this week.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth had one of the top cars at CMS the past six full-length races. He is a great pick.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick won the 600 at Charlotte last year and finished sixth in the fall race. He will be tough-to-beat again on Saturday.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin usually runs fast in Charlotte. He is a lock to crack the top 10 this weekend.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski brought a rocket to the All Star race at Charlotte this year and was fast in the 600. We look for him to be fast on Saturday as well.
6 to 10
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne won the May race at Charlotte this year. He will be fast again.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle was great at CMS this May and should bring a similar car to the track this visit.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy has great at CMS the past two years. He will be fast again this weekend.
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. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has finished in the top 11 in eight of his last 16 starts at CMS. He should drive his car into the top 10 without much of an issue.
11 to 20
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards won the All Star race at CMS last year and has finished in the top 16 in all but two of his career starts at CMS. We like his chances on Saturday.
No. 20 Joey Logano: Logano has been awesome in all, but one race at CMS during his career. He will just miss cracking the top 10 on Saturday.
No. 15 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has brought just four great cars to CMS in 12 career starts. He is worth using in most leagues.
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. 39 Ryan Newman: Newman has nine poles in 22 career starts at CMS. He should qualify strong and a top 20 finish is expected.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: McMurray was one of the fastest cars on the track at Charlotte in three of the past five races. He is worth using in deep leagues.
No. 55 Mark Martin: Martin has 18 top five finishes during his career at CMS. He crashed or blown engines the past three races at the track, 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 20.
No. 22 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish has averaged a 25th place finish at CMS during his career. He will finish just a little better than his average this weekend.
No. 43 Aric Almirola: Almirola was great at CMS this May. He should be a great choice in deep leagues this weekend.
21 to 30
No. 6 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.: Ricky is a terrific sleeper pick. Go with him.
No. 56 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex has two top 10 finishes in 14 career starts at CMS. He will be doing well to crack the top 20 on Saturday.
No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard has had just two strong finishes at Charlotte during his career. He normally has some sleeper potential, but there are better choices this weekend.
No. 51 Regan Smith: Smith has averaged an 18th place finish at CMS. Phoenix Construction has rarely looked better.
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose is just a fair-to-middlin’ pick this weekend. He won’t come close to matching the fifth place finish he had last fall at the track.
No. 10 David Reutimann: Reutimann has been decent at CMS during his career, but we don’t like his chances in the No. 10 car.
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.
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. 21 Trevor Bayne: Bayne has driven better at Charlotte than his results indicate. He is a decent sleeper.
No. 13 Casey Mears: Mears has averaged a 22nd place finish at CMS in his career. But he had significantly better cars than he is riding around in now.
No. 78 Kurt Busch
No. 93 Travis Kvapil
No. 83 Landon Cassill
No. 34 David Ragan
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 32 T.J. Bell
No. 87 Joe Nemechek
No. 36 Dave Blaney
No. 30 David Stremme
No. 91 Reed Sorenson
No. 37 J.J. Yeley
No. 19 Mike Bliss
No. 95 Scott Speed
No. 33 Cole Whitt
No. 98 Michael McDowell
No. 23 Scott Riggs
No. 26 Josh Wise
1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Matt Kenseth
3. Kevin Harvick
4. Denny Hamlin
1. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
2. Aric Almirola