The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head back to Charlotte this week for the Bank of America 500.
The last race at Charlotte in May was dominated by Kasey Kahne, but won by Kevin Harvick. Kahne started sixth, led 161 of the 400 laps and finished in second place. Matt Kenseth started third and led 112 laps, but finished in 15th place.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is making back-to-back races on 1.5-mile tri-oval race tracks. Although the Charlotte race track has different grooves than the race last week at Kansas, the two race tracks are similar enough that the drivers who dominated last week should be good again this week.
Here are my top 25 picks and stats from the NASCAR Media Center based upon the driver’s career statistics at the Charlotte. If your fantasy team no longer has any allocations with my selections for Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing, simply select the next driver on the list for your team this week.
Racing for the Win
1. Jimmie Johnson is starting to make his run for his sixth championship. Johnson has six wins, 11 top-five finishes and 15 top-10 finishes in his 24 career starts at Charlotte. He is my pick to visit Victory Lane this week.
2. Matt Kenseth has dominated on the tri-oval race tracks this season, but his worst finish on the tri-ovals came in his last race at Charlotte when he finished 15th. Kenseth will compete for the win Saturday night.
3. Kevin Harvick won the last race at Charlotte and he will be in the mix for the win again this week. Harvick usually does not qualify well, but the long races at Charlotte allow Harvick to use his talent to move to the front at the end of the races. Harvick is worth using regardless of where he qualifies.
Which driver will win the race at Charlotte Saturday night?
4. Kyle Busch has never won at Charlotte, but he consistently finishes up front. Busch has finished 10 of the last 12 races at the race track in the top 10. He will finish in the top five Saturday night.
5. Kasey Kahne has not won on a tri-oval race track this season, but he has come close three times. Kahne finished second at Las Vegas, Kansas and the last race at Charlotte. This is one of Kahne’s best race tracks, so this is the week to have him in your lineup.
6. Martin Truex Jr. is good on the tri-oval race tracks. In the May race he started 17th and finished ninth. Truex will just miss out on a top-five finish this week.
7. Clint Bowyer has run well this season on the tri-oval race tracks, but he is still looking for his first win. Bowyer consistently finishes inside the top 10. He will do it again Saturday night.
8. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was a victim of engine failure in the May race at Charlotte. He was running up front when his car blew up. Hendrick Motorsports seems to be over their engine problems, so expect Earnhardt to finish in the top 10 this week.
9. Joey Logano has had a lot of success on the tri-oval race tracks this season. Logano has four top-five finishes on the race tracks similar to Charlotte. He will not finish as high as his fifth place finish in May, but a top-10 finish can be expected.
10. Carl Edwards started 13th and finished 11th in the May race at Charlotte. He has finished most of the races on the tri-ovals near the top 10. Expect Edwards to add another top-10 finish to his 2013 resume this week.
11. Jeff Gordon used to be the man at Charlotte. This is 2013 and not 2003, so expect Gordon to run well on Saturday night, but not to finish inside the top 10.
12. Kurt Busch always has a fast car and a slow pit crew. The two allow Busch to run near the front and finish outside the top 10. This is not the combination you want for your fantasy team. If Busch ever found a pit crew, he would be dangerous.
13. Ryan Newman has finished every race this season on the tri-oval race tracks inside the top 15, except the race at Las Vegas. He was running inside the top 15 when his engine blew up. Newman will add another top-15 finish this week.
14. Greg Biffle started 7th and finished 31th in the May race at Charlotte. He had problems with his car and only completed 335 of the 400 laps. It is impossible to predict engine problems, so expect Biffle will run much better and finish inside the top 15.
15. Brad Keselowski has been feast or famine on the tri-oval race tracks this season. He has four finishes inside the top 10 and five finishes outside the top 20. Keselowski will just finish in the top 15 Saturday night.
16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is starting to improve with each race in his rookie season. Stenhouse started 30th and finished 14th in the May race at Charlotte. Look for the same type of results this week.
17. Marcos Ambrose started the May race 17th and finished the race 17th. The statistics suggest he will do it again Saturday night.
18. Jamie McMurray could be a sleeper pick this week. In May he started ninth and finished 19th. He actually ran better than the results showed. Expect McMurray to finish inside the top 20 Saturday night.
19. Aric Almirola had a horrible race in May at Charlotte. He qualified 18th and finished 33rd. Almirola has been run well lately, so expect him to have better results this week.
20. Paul Menard has finished most of the races this season on the tri-oval race tracks inside the top 20. He is not the best pick for fantasy teams this week, but he should finish in the top 20.
Trying to Stay on Lead Lap
21. Brian Vickers is better on the short race tracks than he is on the tri-oval race tracks. Save Vickers for the races at Martinsville and Phoenix.
22. Mark Martin has not had the results in the No. 14 car that Stewart-Haas Racing imagined. Martin only has one top-10 finish while substituting for Tony Stewart. Expect a top-25 finish from Martin this week, but not much more.
23. Jeff Burton actually had a good race in May at Charlotte. He started 27th and finished 12th. Do not expect the same results Saturday night.
24. Denny Hamlin is still dealing with his back problems and it is affecting the way he drives the car. Wait until next season to put Hamlin back on your fantasy team.
25. Juan Pablo Montoya is trying to score a win on an oval race track before he leaves the series. It will not happen this week.
Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing Picks
Group A: Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson
Group B: Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Carl Edwards, Joey Logano
Group C: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., David Ragan
Fantasy Live Picks
Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Martin Truex Jr., Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Josh Wise
If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR
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