The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series marches on to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the 12th race of the 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 24; 6:16 p.m./et.
Weather: Partly cloudy with a high around 87; wind out of the SW at 9 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 14 of the last 30 races (including All-Star Challenges) at the track. He won the 600 last year and is tough to pick against. As usual Kevin Harvick is another top choice. He won the fall race at Charlotte last year and was very fast during Saturday’s All Star race.
48 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 two years ago and the fall race last year. He will be tough-to-beat on Sunday.
No. 41 Kurt Busch: Busch turned some impressive lap times during practice for last week’s All Star race. 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 Sunday.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has five career wins at CMS and he ran fantastic during the All Star race on Saturday.
6 to 10
No. 22 Joey Logano: Logano has been awesome in all but two races at CMS during his career. He will crack the top 10 on Sunday.
No. 20 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has brought one of the top cars to CMS the past 11 full-length races. He is a great pick.
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. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has finished in the top 11 in eight of his last 20 starts at CMS. He should drive his car into the top 10 without much of an issue.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: McMurray was awesome at CMS in 2014. Look for him to be fast again on Sunday.
11 to 20
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin showed that Joe Gibbs Racing can run on 1.5 mile ovals last weekend. He should just miss the top 10 this weekend.
No. 78 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex has continued his surprising run this season. Continue to use him in all leagues.
No. 19 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.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy has great at CMS the past two years, but running a 600 mile race in his first full-length Cup start of the season might be too much for his injured legs.
No. 31 Ryan Newman: Newman has five top 10 finishes in his last 10 starts at Charlotte. He is worth using in all leagues.
No. 42 Kyle Larson: Larson looked solid at CMS last season, but he hasn’t had any luck so far this season.
No. 15 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer won at CMS in 2012. He is an okay choice.
No 3 Austin Dillon: Dillon finished inside the top 15 at CMS last year. He will be just a touch slower this visit.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle seems to have lost the momentum he created at CMS a few years ago. He will be doing well to crack the top 15.
No. 43 Aric Almirola: Almirola was great at CMS in two of the last four races.
21 to 30
No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard is silently having a terrific season. He is a great sleeper choice in all leagues.
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 weak third driver this weekend.
No. 47 A.J. Allmendinger: Allmendinger has averaged a 22nd place finish at Charlotte during his career.
No. 10 Danica Patrick: Danica has averaged just a 29th place finish at CMS during her career. She will improve on that this weekend.
No. 25 Chase Elliott: Chase looked like he belonged at the Cup level in his start at Richmond. He is a nice fourth option in all leagues.
No. 13 Casey Mears: Mears’ best finish at CMS in the past nine races is just 22nd.
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.: Ricky has finished 24th, 26th, 13th, 14th and 15th at CMS the past four races. He isn’t an option this weekend.
No. 6 Trevor Bayne: Bayne has been pretty bad so far this year. He isn’t an option.
No. 55 David Ragan: Ragan has been pretty bad since sliding into the No. 55 car. Avoid him this weekend.
No. 9 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. would be better off starting an open-wheel race on Sunday than a Cup race.
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 51 Justin Allgaier
No. 21 Ryan Blaney
No. 34 Brett Moffitt
No. 35 Cole Whitt
No. 95 Michael McDowell
No. 83 Matt DiBendetto
No. 7 Alex Bowman
No. 46 Michael Annett
No. 40 Landon Cassill
No. 98 Josh Wise
No. 23 J.J. Yeley
No. 32 Mike Bliss
No. 62 Brendan Gaughan
No. 33 Alex Kennedy
No. 26 Jeb Burton
No. 30 Jeff Green
No. 39 Travis Kvapil
My Yahoo! Fantasy NASCAR Team for this Week:
B. Kasey Kahne