Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet | 2017 Charlotte Motor Speedway, Coca-Cola 600
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2017 Charlotte Motor Speedway, Coca-Cola 600

After taking a week off from the regular season’s racing to run the All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway the series will be back for the longest race of the season. If Saturday night’s race is any indication of what the fans can expect to see this weekend, it won’t be pretty.

Passing was difficult to say the least and whoever got out front stayed there and extended their lead on the field. That means that this weekend you will see teams trying to win on pit strategy to get themselves out at the front of the field and take advantage of the track position they can make up on pit road. Watching a 600-mile race like this will be like watching paint dry so be prepared for a long night if you plan on watching this race.

COCA-COLA 600

Hopefully I am wrong about what will happen this weekend, but I don’t know what NASCAR can do in the next week to change the way the the track races. So, I believe qualifying will be very important along with flawless pit stops all through the race. You will probably see teams trying to win on gas mileage and two-tire stops just to try and get their cars to the front of the pack. I can only hope I am wrong because I plan on watching the race and hope I can come away entertained at the end of the night.

Martin Truex Jr.: After the dominating performance he put on in this race last year and having just won the race in Kansas two-weeks ago, I am going to go with Martin to win this race once again this year. The team has really fast cars on the intermediate tracks and once they are in front they are going to be tough to pass. I think the pit crew on this team is good enough to consistently get the job done and keep Martin out front once he is there.

Kyle Larson: Kyle was by far the class of the field in the All-Star race this past weekend and will be the favorite in many peoples minds heading into this weekend’s race. I’m just not sure his pit crew is consistent enough to make it through an entire 600-mile race without making any mistakes right now. I think he will qualify well and run in the top ten most of the race, but he might have a slow pit stop somewhere along the line which will cost him too much track position to get the win.

Jimmie Johnson: Jimmie picked up his eighth win at this track last fall which leads all active drivers at this track. He got his car into position late in the All-Star race last week where he had a shot at getting that win and Chad Knaus is no slouch when it comes to making the right call on top of the pit box to give Jimmie a chance at the end of races. He could be the difference maker this weekend.

Denny Hamlin: Denny probably has the most consistent pit crew of all of the teams. If he can stay away from speeding penalties they might be able to pass enough cars in the pits this weekend to put him in position to win this race. He is on a roll at this track finishing in the top ten in eleven of his last thirteen starts here. I look for him to be a contender late in this race.

Brad Keselowski: Brad is another driver with a great crew-chief who always seems to make the right call at the right time for Brad. Paul Wolfe really works well with Brad and understands what abilities his driver has, so he knows exactly what he needs to do with a car to give Brad a chance late in the race. With the speed the Ford’s have shown this year a little pit strategy and some speed might be all it takes to get this car out fast on a late race restart and claim the victory.

Kyle Busch: When we talk about restarts, Kyle is the master. He always passes a handful of cars on each and every restart in a race and this is how he claimed his first All-Star race win this past weekend. If he can stay close to the front of the pack throughout this long race and gets the cautions to fall at the right time he can steal away his first points win at this track.

Kevin Harvick: Talking about being consistent and on a roll at this track lately we need to talk about Kevin Harvick. Kevin has finished in the top two in five of his last eight starts at this track and also has Ford power under his hood this year. He is patient which really helps in this long race that starts when the sun is shining and ends under the lights, which means big changes in the track from the start of the race to the end. Kevin will be a contender at the end of this race once again.

Kurt Busch: A teammate of Kevin’s with more Ford power under his hood, Kurt is looking for his second career win at this track. He has finished in the top ten in his last four start here so we know he can get the job done here. He came away with a top five finish in the All-Star race which will give them some confidence heading into this weekend’s race. Could be a small surprise winner if he can maintain his composure early in the race when his car isn’t at it’s best yet.

Matt Kenseth: Matt has always run consistently well at this track himself and is one of the most patient drivers on the circuit today. Patience is at a premium in a race this long and Matt just needs to keep relaying information to his crew so they can make the correct adjustments for him as the race progresses and the track conditions change. If they can stay away from bad luck on the track they will have a shot at the end of this race.

Joey Logano: I think Joey is on the other end of the spectrum when it comes to patience on the track. He has run well here and won the fall race in 2015 here. He has some very good finishes in this race, but I think he takes too many chances early in this long race which puts him in peril or doesn’t sit well with other drivers on the track who might do something about it later in this race. Yet, with the speed the Ford’s have shown this year and how hard it could be to pass other cars this weekend, Joey has a great shot at getting out front and staying there.

YAHOO! FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Yahoo Driver Group A

  • Martin Truex Jr.
  • Kevin Harvick

Yahoo Driver Group B

  • Kyle Larson
  • Kurt Busch
  • Ryan Newman
  • Jamie McMurray

Yahoo Driver Group C

  • Erik Jones
  • Regan Smith or whoever is entered in the #43 car this week in place of Aric Almirola

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY

  1. Martin Truex Jr.
  2. Kyle Larson
  3. Kevin Harvick
  4. Kyle Busch
  5. Jimmie Johnson

Dark Horse: Kurt Busch

Stay Away From: Ryan Blaney

Big 18: Martin Truex Jr.

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  • Doug

    Any word who will be in the 43 car?

    Reply
    • Jeff Gutowski

      Nothing yet on any of the entry lists I have seen or on the Richard Petty Motorsports web site.

      Reply
      • Jeff Gutowski

        Yes, like David has pointed out, Regan Smith is now entered in this weekend’s race to drive the #43 for Richard Petty Motorsports.

        Reply
  • David

    pretty sure TMD said Reagan Smith .

    Reply
  • David

    CONCORD, N.C. (May 19, 2017) – Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) driver Aric Almirola, who suffered an acute compression fracture to his T5 Vertebra after a multi-car accident at Kansas Speedway last Saturday night, will be forced to miss races in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series during his recovery. The standard healing time for the injury is eight to 12 weeks. Regan Smith will drive the No. 43 Ford this weekend in the Monster Energy Open.

    Reply
  • Jason

    Why stay away from Blaney?

    Reply
    • Jeff Gutowski

      Blaney has been fast all season, but he has also shown he doesn’t have the patience needed to run well in a 600-mile race. He has really ticked off a lot of drivers during races this year and no one is going to cut him any slack. I just don’t see him running well for the whole race without making mistakes in the pits and on the track. He will get better with more experience, but right now I don’t think he has it and that is why I am saying to stay away from him this week.

      Reply
  • Joey

    I picked the exact same A-group drivers and my only difference in the B-group is I have Blaney in instead of Newman. Not so sure if I agree with your assessment of Blaney, he’s been stronger than Newman on the 1.5 mile tracks all season thus far. Wood Brothers basically being a third Penske car is really showing through in the race results. I’m hesisant to put Smith in my lineup without knowing for certain yet if he’s going to be in the car but I’m actually considering rolling the dice on somebody like McDowell or I’m trying not to use too many of my Jones/Suarez/Dillon starts too early in the season even though they are all pretty safe top-20 bets.

    Reply
  • Bryan Rooker

    Why not have Blaney on the bench for at least qualifying points to possibly get pole. And really begin the third Penske car and showing really good speed and his finishes this year at the 1.5 mile oval’s are pretty good to make a strong comment as such. Everyone go with your gut, let’s go racing

    Reply
    • Jeff Gutowski

      I don’t think he will qualify in the top four which is where you need to be to get points in the Yahoo league. Frankly, I don’t think he is going to have the consistency to do well this weekend.

      Reply
  • Joe

    Smith or Jones? I was going with Smith all week but now I am having second thoughts because of how fast Jones as been. What do you think?

    Reply
  • Jeff Gutowski

    This is kind of a tough call. Jones was fast in all of the practices, but his fast lap was always his first lap and he never ran 10 consecutive laps, so he might not be very fast on the longer runs. Smith wasn’t really fast in any of the practices, but he did some 10 lap runs. I think I would go with Jones because of how good he has been on this type of track most of the season and because of his starting position (5th) on a track that is going to be tough to pass on.

    Reply
  • Chris

    Jones or mcmurry ? For most accumulated points

    Reply
    • Jeff Gutowski

      I like McMurray. He had the fastest 10 lap average in the final practice and has won this race before. Jones was fast in all of the practice sessions and qualified well, but he never had a 10 lap run in any of the practice sessions which is a little disconcerting, especially in a 600-mile race where you know there will probably be a lot of long green flag runs.

      Reply
  • Doug

    I need two out of 1,41,5?

    Reply
    • Jeff Gutowski

      1 and 41

      Reply

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