The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series marches on to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the 30th race of the season and fourth of the Chase for the Championship, 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 10; 7:21 p.m./et.
Weather: Thunderstorms with a high around 70; wind out of the NW at 10 mph. There is a 90 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: CAN ANYONE BEAT JOE GIBBS RACING?
This is the eighth race on a 1.5 mile speedway this season and Joe Gibbs Racing has won the last four. They will be tough to beat this weekend too. If anyone can do it Kevin Harvick is the obvious pick. He won this race last year and proved last weekend he is the most clutch driver in the sport. Jimmie Johnson is another nice pick. He has finished in the top two in 14 of the last 31 races (including All-Star Challenges) at the track. He won the Coca-Cola 600 at the track last year and is tough to pick against.
45 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 4 Kevin Harvick: Harvick won the fall race last year. He will be tough-to-beat on Saturday.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy won on Kentucky’s 1.5 mile circuit. He has been great at CMS the past two years and should contend for the checkers this weekend.
No. 22 Joey Logano: Logano has been awesome in all but two races at CMS during his career. He could notch his first career win at Charlotte this weekend.
No. 20 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has brought one of the top cars to CMS the past 12 full-length races. He is a great pick.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin was very fast at Chicagoland’s 1.5 mile oval in the first race of the championship. He is a great option this weekend.
6 to 10
No. 19 Carl Edwards: Edwards won the Coca-Cola 600 earlier this year at Charlotte. We like his chances on Saturday.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has dominated at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Even though he has been eliminated from the Chase he is still a great choice.
No. 41 Kurt Busch: Busch turned some impressive lap times at Charlotte earlier this year. He will be in contention to win.
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 Saturday.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has finished in the top 11 in nine of his last 21 starts at CMS. He should drive his car into the top 10 without much of an issue.
11 to 20
No. 78 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex had a nice run at Charlotte earlier this year. He is a decent pick in most leagues.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has five career wins at CMS and he ran fantastic during the All Star race earlier this year. Charlotte has always been a special place for Gordon. He is the sentimental favorite this weekend.
No. 31 Ryan Newman: Newman has six top 10 finishes in his last 11 starts at Charlotte. He is worth using in all leagues.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne won the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte in 2012 and finished second both races in 2013. He will be fast again.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: McMurray was awesome at CMS in 2014. Look for him to be fast again on Saturday.
No. 42 Kyle Larson: Larson looked solid at CMS last season, but he was just mediocre earlier this season. He is just a third option this weekend.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle didn’t lead a single lap at CMS earlier this year, but he snuck a second place finish. He won’t be as fortunate this weekend.
No. 15 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer won at CMS in 2012. He is an okay choice.
No 3 Austin Dillon: Dillon finished inside the top 16 the last three races at CMS. He should finish right around 16th this weekend.
No. 43 Aric Almirola: Almirola has been very good at CMS in three of the last five races.
21 to 30
No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard was great at Charlotte earlier this year. He is a good choice in all leagues.
No. 6 Trevor Bayne: Bayne’s best career finish at CMS was 16th. He will be slower this trip to the Queen City.
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 just a very risky third driver this weekend.
No. 10 Danica Patrick: Danica has averaged just a 28th place finish at CMS during her career. She will improve on that this weekend.
No. 47 A.J. Allmendinger: Allmendinger has averaged a 19th place finish at Charlotte the past nine races at Charlotte.
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.: Ricky’s average finish at Charlotte is 23rd. He isn’t much of a choice this weekend.
No. 55 David Ragan: Ragan has been driving pretty well the past month. He is a decent sleeper choice.
No. 13 Casey Mears: Mears’ best finish at CMS in the past 10 races is just 22nd.
No. 21 Ryan Blaney: Blaney blew an engine at CMS earlier this year and finished at the back of the field. He will be better this visit.
No. 9 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. has averaged a 24th place finish the past four races at CMS.
No. 51 Justin Allgaier
No. 35 Cole Whitt
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 40 Landon Cassill
No. 46 Michael Annett
No. 32 Josh Wise
No. 83 Matt DiBenedetto
No. 7 Alex Bowman
No. 23 J.J. Yeley
No. 33 Alex Kennedy
No. 34 Brett Moffitt
No. 98 Reed Sorenson
No. 26 Jeb Burton
No. 62 Timmy Hill
No. 95 Michael McDowell
My Yahoo! Fantasy NASCAR Team for this Week:
A. Kyle Busch
B. Kasey Kahne
B. Greg Biffle