2018 Charlotte Motor Speedway, Coca-Cola 600

The All-Star race is in the books and now we can get back to points racing and our fantasy leagues. We didn’t learn anything from the All-Star race seeing they won’t be using the restrictor plates or the bigger spoilers this week, but we did see that Kevin Harvick is still winning. If this trend keeps up, NASCAR will try to implement some rules to even up the field and make the races a little more exciting.

COCA-COLA 600

Anyway, the series stays at the Charlotte Motor Speedway for the running of the longest race of the season, the Coca-Cola 600. Once again we are on an intermediate track that has been dominated by a few drivers this year, but none more than Kevin Harvick. The biggest challenge for all of the teams this weekend will be the changing track conditions during this long race that starts out during the afternoon and concludes well after dark. That means the track is going to go through some major changes from the start to the finish of the race and you will see a lot of comers and goers throughout the race.

Kevin Harvick: You almost have to have him on your roster once again this weekend. This team has shown that they can be fast in qualifying, at the beginning of a race, and at the end of a race all season long. They also seem to make their car faster and faster as the day goes on and Kevin has shown he can also overcome adversity and still make runs at the end of the race to take a late lead and hold on for the win. Look for him to be fast all day long.

Martin Truex Jr.: Let’s not forget what Martin has done here the last three seasons. In that time he has finished in the top five five times in six races, won two of those races, led 847 laps, and dominated the 600 in 2016 when he led all but eight laps in that race. This is the driver and team that has the best chance to break the winning streak of Kevin Harvick this weekend and gain himself some valuable playoff points.

Denny Hamlin: Denny has finished in the top five in four of his last five starts at this track. He still scares me because of all the pit road speeding penalties he gets, which puts him in a position where he is constantly fighting to get a lap back. There is absolutely no reason for him to continually make the same mistake which costs his team time and time again. So put him on your roster at your own risk.

Kurt Busch: Kurt has five top ten finishes in his last six starts at this track and has shown that he has the same speed as his teammate, Kevin Harvick, this year. Kurt should do well once again this weekend, but I am going to save his starts for the short tracks and possibly the road course races. No matter which way you go, you will use up all of Kurt’s starts by the end of the season.

Ryan Newman: Ryan is my dark horse this week. He has finished in the top ten in four of his last five starts in the Coca-Cola 600. Those are very impressive numbers for a driver you don’t hear a lot about on a weekly basis. I think this team thrives during this long race and makes the right decisions throughout the race to gain track position and make the right adjustments to their car to keep up with the changing track conditions.

Erik Jones: Erik has only run two races at this track in the Cup series and finished seventh in this race last year. This is the type of track where young Erik has thrived in his short career and I think he will do well once again this weekend. I think the main thing the younger drivers need to understand is that this is a long race and it doesn’t pay to take chances early in this race or worry too much about how fast your car is early on. I think Erik has the patience it takes to do well in this race.

Kyle Busch: Kyle finished second in this race last year and is one of the only other drivers who has shown he has anything for Harvick so far this season. Sometimes Kyle gets frustrated early on in races if his car isn’t handling as good as he wants it to and he needs to realize there will be plenty of time for his crew to make adjustments to the car and have him in a position where he can compete for the win late in the race.

Daniel Suarez: Daniel ran his only two races here last year and seems to like this track. He finished eleventh and sixth in those races last year and then followed it up by almost winning the All-Star race this past weekend. Granted that was a whole different type of race then we are going to see this weekend, but it seems like no matter what kind of setup he has, he likes to race on this track and knows how to get towards the front of the field.

Joey Logano: Joey has one win at this track and although that came in a shorter fall race, this team has shown that they have the speed that it takes to win races this season and Joey has run much better than he did last year. The Ford drivers have all shown a lot of speed for the most part this year and I think if his crew chief can keep up with the changing track conditions, Joey can stay in contention for the win once again this weekend.

Brad Keselowski: Let’s talk about Joey’s teammate and another driver who has won a fall race here. I think that Brad and his team have the patience and aren’t afraid to try different things early in this race to see what might work for them at the end of the race. They won’t be terribly concerned with an ill handling car early in the race and will be willing to take chances to go outside the box to gain track position or see if two tires might work late in the race. It is this type of strategy that could get him a win this weekend.

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Kevin Harvick
  • Martin Truex Jr.

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Daniel Suarez
  • Erik Jones
  • Austin Dillon
  • Ryan Newman

Driver Group Game Group C

  • Darrell Wallace Jr.
  • Chris Buescher

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY

  1. Kevin Harvick
  2. Martin Truex Jr.
  3. Denny Hamlin
  4. Kurt Busch
  5. Brad Keselowski

Dark Horse: Ryan Newman

Stay Away From: Ryan Blaney

Big 18: Martin Truex Jr.

61 thoughts on “2018 Charlotte Motor Speedway, Coca-Cola 600

    1. No, NASCAR can’t run a new rules package without giving the teams a few months to get everything in order because it can be quite expensive for teams to make the modifications.

  1. Waiting on my league to open up! I have already used Harvick 5 races in a 10 race limit… I know he is dominating right now… is it smart to use him up for a 3rd week in a row & for a 6th time already this season?

    1. I would have Harvick and Truex on my roster and then use Truex if he practices and qualifies well. Otherwise use the guy who is hot now for he might not be that way later in the season.

  2. also I’m thinking of using your top 5! would you use the 19 or the 31 as a garage driver if 1 of the top 5 picks happen to have a bad night?

    1. Newman has run here more often and thus has a better track record than Suarez’s two starts. The Childress cars have shown some speed this year so I would go with Newman.

  3. Eric Jones has out ran both Newman & Suarez on all the mile 1/2 tracks thus far this season… thoughts on using the 20 over both the 19 & 31?

    1. I have Jones as one of my starters this week so far. Once again youth in a long race could be a concern.

  4. Who do you like on the pole? I’m thinking either Harvick or Truex AGAIN? Race winner how do you not choose Harvick the way he has been dominating!

  5. In your description you recommended to stay away from Kurt (or to use him for other tracks) then you use him as one of your top 5.

    1. Yes, he could possibly be a top 5 finisher, but I still don’t want to take chance on him at this track. Doesn’t make much sense? You only get to start him 9 times and I think there are better places to take my chances on him.

  6. practice 1 is in the books 11 fastest 12 2nd… the 78 was 8th & the 4 was 14th! Who do you like for the pole tonight?

  7. Now that qualifying is in the books. I need to choose between Hamlin or Harvick. I would be most people are going to take Harvick. Thoughts on those two. If Harvick crashes out it could be a big gain for me. Hamlin’s patience may be an issue (along with his pit road speed). Thoughts

    1. Tough to call right now. Nobody really ran a lot of practice laps because they were saving their tires for qualifying. If you can wait until after practice tomorrow you would have a better idea. If you have to pick before that I would go with my gut.

  8. I have the 2 11 19 22 31 & 78 in the garage! How does this roster look? I’m using 3 of your top 5 & 2 of the group B drivers! I have used up the #4 five times… I have the 78 in the garage because I have used him 4 times so far & I know the 4 & 78 are going to be especially good at Sonoma in a few weeks! the others I have only used 2-3 times each thus far… Thoughts?

    1. Jeff, I only ask because practice didnt really answer all questions. Truex nor Harvick looked great in practice. Othrs on my team practiced better or worse than qualifying
      Still think Harvick over Truex?

      1. Seeing neither of them looked very good in practice, I would go with Truex and save a start for Harvick. Maybe Truex goes on a run like he did last year.

    1. I would take a chance on him this week. He ran pretty well in the final practice session, starts 7th, and has the experience to run this long race without worrying about how his car is handling early in the race because he knows there is plenty of time to make adjustments if he need to.

    1. You always have to like Harvick and Kyle Busch this year. Martin Truex could be a factor once again here. Hamlin and Logano have both looked very fast all weekend. Those are my top picks after all of the practice sessions.

  9. Which 2 would be best to start tonight……31, 3, 19, 12? Could u rank them. Thanks, and have a great weekend!

    1. I like Newman for sure. He has been fast all weekend and is experienced in this long race. Then Blaney who has been really fast all weekend. My only worry about him is if he will be patient early today. Then Dillon who won this race last year, followed by Suarez last.

      1. Thanks…….wasn’t sure between Blaney and Dillon for the second spot. I was thinking the same thing as you with Blaney so I may go Dillon.

  10. Jeff in my league we don’t have to lock anybody in till just before the race starts. If you had that option what would your team be as of now? Thanks for your time!

    1. Jones has shown so much more speed and he finished in the top ten in this race last year. Go with Jones.

    1. Going to be tough for him to stay on the lead lap in this long race. If there is a long green flag run there will be too many drivers a lap down for them to fight their way back. I would stay away from him.

    1. Wallace had the patience at Daytona, so I would go with him to have patience in this race too. Then I would go with Elliott.

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