The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series marches on to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the 12th race of the 2014 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.
When: Sunday, May 25; 6:16 p.m./et.
Weather: Sunny with a high around 81; wind out of the NE at 6 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 13 of the last 28 races (including All-Star Challenges) at the track. He won last year’s All-Star Challenge and is tough to pick against. Kasey Kahne finished second in both races at CMS last season and he freely admits he loves the track. He is another terrific choice.
45 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has dominated at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He is close to a must use as there is this week.
No. 4 Kevin Harvick: Harvick won the 600 last year and finished second in the Sprint All-Star. He will be tough-to-beat again on Sunday.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne won the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte in 2012 and finished second both races last year. He will be fast again.
No. 20 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has brought one of the top cars to CMS the past nine full-length races. He is a great pick.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski has been great the past two years at Charlotte and he is always a threat on 1.5 mile ovals. We look for him to be fast on Sunday.
6 to 10
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has five career wins at CMS. His past success at the track makes him a very good option.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has finished in the top 11 in eight of his last 18 starts at CMS. He should drive his car into the top 10 without much of an issue.
No. 15 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer won at CMS in 2012. He is worth using in most leagues.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy has great at CMS the past two years. He will be fast again this weekend.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards has finished in the top 16 in all but two of his career starts at CMS. We like his chances on Sunday.
11 to 20
No. 41 Kurt Busch: Busch finished third at CMS during last year’s 600. He is worth using in most leagues.
No. 22 Joey Logano: Logano has been awesome in all, but two race at CMS during his career. He will just miss cracking the top 10 on Sunday.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin usually runs fast in Charlotte. He should crack the top 15 this weekend.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: McMurray looked great last weekend while winning the Sprint All Star Challenge. Look for him to be fast again on Saturday.
No. 14 Tony Stewart: “Smoke” has had past luck at CMS, but we don’t see him doing enough this trip to anchor your fantasy team. Use him as a third driver this weekend only.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle seems to have lost the momentum he created at CMS during strong runs prior to 2012. He will be doing well to crack the top 15.
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.: Ricky has finished 13th, 14th and 15th at CMS the past three races. He will take the checkers right around the same location this weekend.
No. 31 Ryan Newman: Newman has averaged an 18th place finish at CMS the past nine years. He will finish right around that average.
No. 42 Kyle Larson: Larson makes his second Cup start at CMS. He has learned a lot from his visit last fall.
No. 47 A.J. Allmendinger: Allmendinger has put together a terrific campaign this season. He could impress with how he finishes this weekend.
21 to 30
No. 55 Brian Vickers: Vickers has three top 10 finishes at CMS during his career, but we don’t think he will have quite enough horses this trip. He should just miss the top 20.
No. 43 Aric Almirola: Almirola was great at CMS last May.
No 3 Austin Dillon: Dillon has just one top 10 finish this season. We don’t see him making it two at Charlotte.
No. 78 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex has four top 10 finishes in 17 career starts at CMS. He is a fine choice.
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 at CMS during the 2011 fall race.
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. 34 David Ragan: Ragan was fast at CMS last weekend. There are far worse options.
No. 21 Trevor Bayne: Bayne has driven well at CMS during his career. He isn’t a terrible option.
No. 13 Casey Mears: Mears has had past success at Charlotte.
No. 10 Danica Patrick: Danica shouldn’t be on your roster this weekend.
No. 51 Justin Allgaier
No. 7 Michael Annett
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 26 Cole Whitt
No. 36 Reed Sorenson
No. 23 Alex Bowman
No. 98 Josh Wise
No. 83 Ryan Truex
No. 95 Michael McDowell
No. 40 Landon Cassill
No. 66 Joe Nemechek
No. 77 Dave Blaney
No. 32 Blake Koch
No. 33 Brian Scott
No. 44 J.J. Yeley
My Yahoo! Fantasy NASCAR Team for this Week:
A. Jimmie Johnson
B. Brad Keselowski
B. Joey Logano
C. Kyle Larson