Coca Cola 600
Yahoo: Top 30 Drivers
Yahoo / Fox / NASCAR: Quick Picks
On the heels of a relatively tame All-Star Race, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series stays at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend for the Coca-Cola 600. The race is the longest on the schedule, and the marathon nature of the event will test every aspect of a race team.
The race will also mark the fifth trip to a 1.5-mile track this season, so in addition to utilizing data from the All-Star Race last weekend, I'll be looking back at the results from the other mile-and-a-half ovals when building my fantasy lineups this weekend.
While there is always a chance that such a long race could become a war of attrition, history says the big names from the big teams should perform well. Throw in the fact that there are some unique tracks like Dover, Pocono, Daytona and the road courses coming up over the summer where I can roll out some sleeper plays, and I won't hesitate to use some of the top drivers in all three tiers in the Yahoo game this weekend.
Before diving into the rankings, you may notice that only 29 drivers are currently listed. Since Richard Petty Motorsports has yet to name a substitute for the injured Aric Almirola, I am reserving one spot. Depending on who is chose to pilot the No. 43, I don't think Top 20 results are unreasonable. Once a replacement has been named, I will slot that driver in the rankings.
In the meantime, here are the driver rankings for the Coca-Cola 600.
1. MARTIN TRUEX, JR., #78 FURNITURE ROW, FURNITURE ROW RACING [YAHOO CLASS A]
Truex has three Top 5s in his last four starts at Charlotte, including his dominating win in last year's Coca-Cola 600 when he led 392 of the 400 laps. He has continued to dominate the 1.5-mile ovals in 2017, winning two of the four events and compiling a 4.5 average finish.
2. KEVIN HARVICK, #4 JIMMY JOHNS, STEWART-HAAS RACING [YAHOO CLASS A]
He is a three-time winner at Charlotte, and over the last 10 races, Harvick's 8.5 average finish at the track is the best in the series. He has been even better since joining Stewart-Haas Racing, logging five Top 10s in six starts and finishing either first or second four times.
3. JIMMIE JOHNSON, #48 LOWE'S/KOBALT TOOLS, HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS [YAHOO CLASS A]
Johnson leads all active drivers with eight wins at Charlotte, and last season, he finished third in the Coca-Cola 600 and won the fall race at the track. Johnson appeared to have one of the strongest cars in the All-Star Race last weekend, and I expect him to add to his impressive resume at CMS.
4. BRAD KESELOWSKI, #2 MILLER LITE, TEAM PENSKE [YAHOO CLASS A]
Since the start of the 2014 season, Keselowski five Top 10s at Charlotte are tied for the most in the series. This year, he has finished sixth or better in all four races at 1.5-mile tracks. Keselowski should be one of the safest A-List plays.
5. KYLE LARSON, #42 TARGET, CHIP GANASSI RACING [YAHOO CLASS B]
Larson probably had the best car at the All-Star Race last weekend, and his 3.0 average finish at 1.5-mile tracks in 2017 is tops in the series. He picked up his first Top 5 finish at Charlotte last fall, and he should challenge for another Top 5 Sunday night.
6. JOEY LOGANO, #22 SHELL-PENNZOIL, TEAM PENSKE [YAHOO CLASS A]
He is a Top 5 threat at just about any track, and Charlotte is no exception. He picked up a win here in the fall of 2015, and he has finished in the Top 15 in five of his last six starts here. Logano also has three finishes of sixth or better in four starts at 1.5-mile ovals this year.
7. KYLE BUSCH, #18 M&M'S, JOE GIBBS RACING [YAHOO CLASS A]
His win in last weekend's All-Star Race was his first Cup Series win at Charlotte, but that's not because he has been struggling at the track. In fact, Busch's 908 laps led here are the third most among active drivers. He always seems to have the speed to win but is never able to seal the deal. That being said, his upside is huge, and Busch could make a great A-List contrarian play this weekend.
8. CHASE ELLIOTT, #24 NAPA AUTO PARTS, HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS [YAHOO CLASS B]
He had an impressive showing at 1.5-mile ovals as a rookie last year, especially at Charlotte. Elliot finished eighth in his first start in the Coca-Cola 600, and he led 103 laps in the fall race. He has continued to perform well at 1.5-mile tracks this year, notching three Top 10s and two Top 5s in four attempts.
9. DENNY HAMLIN, #11 FEDEX, JOE GIBBS RACING [YAHOO CLASS A]
Hamlin has quietly been one of the steadiest drivers at Charlotte over the last few seasons. His eight Top 10s in the last 10 races at the track are tied for the most of any driver, and his 9.4 average finish ranks second. Hamlin has five finishes of fourth or better during the same stretch, including two in his last three starts. It hasn't been a banner year for Hamlin to date, but he could be a sneaky A-List sleeper Sunday.
10. MATT KENSETH, #20 DEWALT, JOE GIBBS RACING [YAHOO CLASS A]
He hasn't been running as well as some of the other A-List options this year, but Kenseth has been reliable at Charlotte. He has eight Top 15s in his last 10 starts at the track, and he has five finishes of seventh or better in his last seven starts, including a runner-up effort last fall. There are several options with more upside, but Kenseth should be good for a Top 10.