The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series comes home this Memorial Day weekend for the Coca-Cola 600. This is the longest race of the year and usually the teams who are performing well through the first 11 races perform well in this marathon.
Fantasy NASCAR players will be able to use the information from last week’s Sprint All-Star race to determine which drivers they should select for the Coca-Cola 600. The winner of the Sprint Cup All-Star race has gone on to win the Coca-Cola 600 seven times. Jimmie Johnson has a good chance of making it eight.
In addition to the Sprint All-Star Race, NASCAR teams will have 3.5 hours of practice time to prepare for the Coca-Cola 600. Do not get too caught up in the practice times this week because all of the practices occur during the day and the race is at night. The track conditions will be totally different.
The strategy for the Fantasy Live game should be to select as many drivers from Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing as possible. The two organizations have dominated the 2013 season and I see no reason why it will change this week. The list of drivers include: Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch
Fantasy NASCAR teams playing the Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing game must know that their team must be selected by early Thursday morning this week. Qualifying takes place Thursday night, so Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing locks the rosters early this week.
Here are my picks for the Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing game…
Charlotte is an easy racetrack for NASCAR drivers. The track has plenty of grip and room to make passes. Most of the drivers in Group A have a history of performing well at Charlotte.
The best driver in the field this week is Jimmie Johnson. He is off to a hot start this season and his stats are the best at Charlotte. Johnson has six wins, 11 top-five finishes, 15 top-10 finishes and three poles in his 23 career races at Charlotte.
If you have five or more starts left with Johnson, I suggest you use him this week. If you are running low on starts with Johnson, there are plenty of other drivers to choose from in Group A.
My sleeper pick for Group A is Denny Hamlin. Hamlin proved with his second-place finish at Darlington that he is back. Hamlin finished second in both races at Charlotte last season. Hamlin needs wins to make the Chase and he could go to Victory Lane this year in the Coca Cola 600.
Here are the two drivers I selected for Group A and stats from the NASCAR Media Center based upon the driver’s career stats at Charlotte….
Matt Kenseth has been the most dominating driver this season. Each week the No. 20 car shows up to the racetrack with plenty of speed. Kenseth has been very good at Charlotte in his career.
Kenseth has two wins, seven top-five finishes and 14 top-10 finishes in his 27 career races at Charlotte. In the last four races at the racetrack, Kenseth has the third-best driver rating, led the third-most laps and has the sixth-best average finishing position. Kenseth is my pick to win on Sunday.
Kasey Kahne is looking to make back-to-back Coca-Cola 600 wins. He is one of the best drivers in the field at Charlotte.
Kahne has four wins, seven top-five finishes and 10 top-10 finishes in his 18 career races at Charlotte. In the last four races at the racetrack, Kahne has the fifth-best driver rating, led the fifth-most laps and has the fourth-best average finishing position. Kahne will be one of the drivers capable of winning on Sunday.
Other good choices: Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick
For Group B this week I suggest selecting a combination of drivers who you know will perform well and some sleepers who have either performed well at Charlotte in the past or have a hot streak this season.
Aric Almirola and Paul Menard are both off to a good start in 2013. Both drivers currently are in the top 12 of the point standings. Almirola raced in only one Coca-Cola 600 in his career. He won the pole and finished No. 16 in that race. Both drivers make good sleeper picks this week.
Joey Logano has finished ninth or better in five of his eight starts at Charlotte. His past performances at Charlotte make him a good selection this week.
Here are the four drivers I selected for Group B and stats from the NASCAR Media Center based upon their career stats at Charlotte….
Kyle Busch is the best selection Group B, but fantasy NASCAR players will have to decide if they want to use another allocation with Busch this week in the Coca-Cola 600. I suggest selecting Busch even if you do not plan on starting him in the race. If Busch wins the pole, he would gain your team 10 bonus points even if you do not use him in the race.
Carl Edwards has recaptured his 2011 form. Edwards has finished five of the last seven races in the top 10. His success at Charlotte and his current hot streak make Edwards and excellent selection this week.
Edwards has five top-five finishes and 10 top-10 finishes in his 16 career starts at Charlotte. In the last four races at the racetrack, Edwards has the sixth-best driver rating, led the seventh-most laps and has the third-best average finishing position. Edwards will finish in the top five on Sunday.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been consistent this season. Last year he started the season well and went into a slump the second half of the season. I suggest using Earnhardt while he is hot.
Earnhardt has five top-five finishes, 11 top-10 finishes and one pole in his 26 career races at Charlotte. Hendrick Motorsports has figured out the Gen-6 car this season. Earnhardt will finish in the top 10 again this week.
Greg Biffle is in a mini slump, but he has had a lot of success at Charlotte. Biffle has five top-five finishes, eight top-10 finishes and one pole in his 20 career races at Charlotte. In the last four races at the racetrack, Biffle has a series-best driver rating, series-most laps led and the fifth-best average finishing position. Biffle will finish in the top 10 this week.
Other good choices: Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, Martin Truex Jr., and Kurt Busch
Fantasy NASCAR players will have some options this week in the Coca-Cola 600. Regan Smith and Trevor Bayne have entered the race and will join Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Casey Mears and Bobby Labonte as good options this week.
Here are the two drivers I selected for Group C…
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is the best selection in Group C this week. In 2011 Stenhouse raced in the Coca-Cola 600. He started No. 9 and finished No. 11. I look for a similar race from Stenhouse again this week.
Regan Smith will once drive the No. 51 Phoenix Racing Chevy this week. Smith has been performed well every time he has had the chance to drive the car this season. Smith has two top-10 finishes in his five races this season. Smith will finish inside the top 25 this week.
Other good choices: Trevor Bayne, Casey Mears and Bobby Labonte
2012 Charlotte May Pole Sitter: Aric Almirola 192.940 MPH
2012 Charlotte October Pole Sitter: Greg Biffle 193.708 MPH
2012 Charlotte May Winner: Kasey Kahne, Started No. 7
2012 Charlotte October Winner: Clint Bowyer, Started No. 4
Most Wins at Charlotte, Active Drivers: Jimmie Johnson (6)
Most Poles at Charlotte, Active Drivers: Ryan Newman (9)
Most Wins by Manufacturer: Chevy (40)
Worst Starting Spot to Win: Jimmie Johnson, 2003, started No. 37
Races Won from the Pole: 14 of 108
Races Won from Top Five: 62 of 108
Races Won from Top 10: 83 of 108
If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR
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