NASCAR FANTASY LIVE PICKS, 2015 CHARLOTTE, BANK OF AMERICA 500

With the first cuts of the playoffs past us, the pressure is on once again for the 12 survivors to claim one of the eight available spots for the next cut.

As the first leg of the race, Charlotte should favor the drivers who have a good record on intermediate tracks. With over four months since the Memorial Day race, my only conscious memories of it were that the race was very long and Carl Edwards won. Though slightly shorter than the 600 miles in May, you should still front-load your lineup in an effort to capture the all-important laps led and fast lap numbers.

The top suggested driver for your weekly lineup continues to be Kevin Harvick. Harvick has the combination of track success, track type success, and 2015 success that provides a high probability for success in Charlotte. With a top-10 finish in every Charlotte race since 2013, Harvick is likely to run near the front of the field. He has two wins and the most laps led and fast laps over the last five races. In the May race at Charlotte, Harvick ended up finishing in 9th. This would be considered a success most most drivers, but is actually worse than his 4th place average. Harvick has a 7th place average finish position in large oval tracks in 2015. I cannot ignore his history at the track and will keep having the #4 team in my lineup.

After Harvick, the next two roster spots were difficult to decide. There were many good options, but not any great options for your roster. The choice for spots #2 and #3 were between Joey Logano, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, and Kurt Busch. With the drivers appearing equal, I leaned more toward the May race as a barometer of who to add to my roster. Carl Edwards won the May race, although he only stayed out front for 25 laps. Edwards has enjoyed four top-10 finishes in his last five races at the track. He is averaging a top-10 finish for all large oval tracks. He started out slowly in 2015, but has improved as the season progressed.

I chose the driver who led the most laps in the May race for the 3rd roster spot. Kurt Busch led 118 laps in the 600-mile race on his way to a 10th place finish. With only two top-10 finishes at Charlotte in his last five races, he has not enjoyed the success at Charlotte as some of the other drivers. Kurt Busch is 3rd in the series in laps led and fast laps through 26 races. Kurt Busch will be a member of my roster with a hope that he matches his May effort. Keep a close eye on Logano and Kenseth in practice and qualifying to see if they deserve the top spot.

With a front-loaded lineup, there is not much salary cap flexibility for the bottom two spots on my roster. I get frustrated with the caution-causing Alex Bowman during many races, but I think he could outperform his salary value this week. Bowman finished in 26th during the May race and has a 29th place career average finish at the track. If Bowman can stay off the wall and finish inside the top-30, he will provide value for your team. Michael Annett has an underwhelming average finish position of 31st in three races at Charlotte. I will check qualifying and consider a bottom driver for this roster spot, but Annett should be okay this week. As with most weeks, qualifying may have an impact on who rounds out the bottom spots of my roster.

FANTASY NASCAR LIVE SALARY CAP

Fantasy Live on nascar.com uses a scoring system that combines fast laps, laps led, finish position, and start-to-finish differential. In order to prevent us from starting the five best drivers every week, Fantasy Live uses a salary cap format. Our formula calculates the total number of Fantasy Live points earned by each driver over the past five Charlotte races. Next, we divide that number by the Fantasy Live salary cap figure to determine how much value to expect from each driver. Kasey Kahne has a history of success at Charlotte, but is too erratic in 2015 to consider for my roster. As a consolation prize, we will use his 2015 numbers to further illustrate our formula.

KASEY KAHNE AT CHARLOTTE

  • Average finish position last five Charlotte races: 8th place equals 36 Fantasy Live points
  • Start-to-finish differential: Plus 5.2 equals 5.2 Fantasy Live points
  • Laps led: 299 equals 29.9 Fantasy Live points
  • Fast laps: 202 equals 20.2 Fantasy Live points
  • Total Fantasy Live points per race: 91.3
  • Fantasy Live Salary Cap figure: $20.75
  • Fantasy Live points per dollar: 91.3 divided by $20.75 equals 4.40 points per dollar

Below you will find the value numbers for the last five races at Charlotte. There are only a handful of races remaining in the 2015 season, so be sure to make your picks count.

GROUP A ($25.00 or higher)

  • Kevin Harvick 3.44
  • Jimmie Johnson 2.49
  • Matt Kenseth 2.38
  • Kurt Busch 1.83
  • Denny Hamlin 1.69
  • Brad Keselowski 1.68
  • Kyle Busch 1.56
  • Joey Logano 1.41
  • Dale Earnhardt 0.93

GROUP B ($20.00 – $24.99)

  • Kasey Kahne 4.40
  • Martin Truex Jr. 2.18
  • Jeff Gordon 2.09
  • Carl Edwards 2.00
  • Ryan Newman 1.91
  • Jamie McMurray 1.91
  • Kyle Larson 1.18
  • Clint Bowyer 1.06
  • Paul Menard 1.03
  • Aric Almirola 0.87

GROUP C ($15.00 – $19.99)

  • Austin Dillon 2.46
  • Sam Hornish Jr. 1.73
  • Greg Biffle 1.00

GROUP D ($10.00 – $14.99)

  • AJ Allmendinger 2.26
  • Ricky Stenhouse 2.10
  • Tony Stewart 2.08
  • Trevor Bayne 2.07
  • Cole Whitt 1.68
  • Casey Mears 1.60
  • Danica Patrick 0.79

GROUP E ($9.99 or lower)

  • Timmy Hill 3.60
  • Michael Annett 3.52
  • Alex Kennedy 2.73
  • Matt DiBenedetto 2.62
  • Alex Bowman 2.32
  • Reed Sorenson 2.15
  • David Gilliland 1.84
  • Brett Moffitt 1.72
  • Landon Cassill 1.61
  • Josh Wise 1.49
  • JJ Yeley 1.40
  • David Ragan 0.80
  • Justin Allgaier 0.46

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