Nascar

Fantasy NASCAR: Coca-Cola 600 Driver Picks

DOVER, DE - MAY 15: Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, leads Martin Truex Jr, driver of the #78 Furniture Row Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway on May 15, 2016 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/NASCAR via Getty Images)

DOVER, DE - MAY 15: Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, leads Martin Truex Jr, driver of the #78 Furniture Row Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway on May 15, 2016 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/NASCAR via Getty Images)

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series travels to Concord, North Carolina this week for the Coca-Cola 600. The race can be seen Sunday at 6 p.m. ET on Fox. Be sure to test your knowledge of NASCAR by competing in Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing.

Charlotte Motor Speedway is unlike the other intermediate tracks. The teams who show up with a fast car Friday will probably be fast the entire weekend. It is hard to make adjustments and pick up speed at Charlotte. The best way around the track is the high side. Cars that can run at the top of the track will be the cars racing their way to the front this week.

The teams that have run well on the 1.5-mile and 2-mile tracks this season will be the teams to beat Sunday night. There have been five races on the larger-intermediate tracks and Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch have won four of them. The best way to select your fantasy team this week is to look at which drivers had the best finishing position in these races.

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Here are the six drivers with a top-10 average finishing position on the intermediate tracks in 2016:

Average Finish Position at Intermediate Tracks in 2016
Driver Atlanta Las Vegas Auto Club Texas Kansas Average
Jimmie Johnson 1 3 1 4 17 5.2
Kevin Harvick 6 7 2 10 2 5.4
Kyle Busch 3 4 25 1 1 6.8
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2 8 11 2 15 7.6
Brad Keselowski 9 1 9 18 10 9.4
Carl Edwards 5 18 7 7 11 9.6

The Coca-Cola 600 is much different from the Sprint Cup All-Star race. Last week the drivers were limited on practice time because of the weather. The race also included reduced downforce and reduced side force rules for the race. The setup for the cars and the conditions of the track should be different this week from what fans were able to see in the Sprint All-Star race. That does not mean you should totally ignore the results from the race last Saturday night.

2016 Sprint All-Star Race Results

  1. Joey Logano
  2. Brad Keselowski
  3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  4. Carl Edwards
  5. Kurt Busch

Qualifying position will not be important this week. This is the longest race of the season and the 400 laps give drivers plenty of time to work their way from the back of the field. The scoring system for Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing rewards drivers who improve their position in the race more than the drivers who lead the most laps. Fantasy teams should select the top drivers who qualify outside the top 10 in the Coca-Cola 600. Be sure to check out the speeds from Happy Hour practice on Saturday to see which teams have the fast cars for Sunday night.

Pick to Win

Kyle Busch ($12,800) has been the best driver on the intermediate tracks this season. He won the last two races (Texas and Kansas) and finished in the top five in two of the other races (Busch finished third at Atlanta and fourth at Auto Club).

Busch entered the 2016 season with three tracks he had not been to Victory Lane at in the Sprint Cup Series (Kansas, Charlotte and Pocono). He crossed Kansas off the list two weeks ago and Busch will have a great chance to take Charlotte off the list this week. Fans should be treated to another Busch bow following the Coca-Cola 600 this week.

Contenders

Jimmie Johnson ($11,700) has been to Victory Lane seven times at Charlotte. Recently he has not had much success at the track but that does not mean the No. 48 car will not finish up front Sunday night. Johnson has a series-best average finishing position on the intermediate tracks this season. He always performs well in the biggest races and the No. 48 car should finish in the top five this week.

Kevin Harvick ($13,100) has run well on the intermediate tracks this season, but he does not have the results that Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson have. Harvick has a series-best finishing position and a series-best driver rating in the last four races at Charlotte. The No. 4 car started the season slower than they did in 2015, but they are starting to pick up steam. Harvick should easily finish in the top five in the Coca-Cola 600.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($11,300) is the perfect pick for Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing. He usually qualifies poorly but finishes up front. Earnhardt is a good pick to score multiple bonus points for position differential this week. He has the fourth-best finishing position on the 1.5-mile tracks this season and Charlotte is one of his better intermediate tracks. The No. 88 cars should slowly make his way to the front Sunday night.

Martin Truex Jr. ($10,300) dominated the race at Kansas and he should have a good chance to run up front Sunday. Truex has the third-best average finishing position and the third-best driver rating in the last four races at Charlotte. Last year the No. 78 car finished both races at the track in the top five. Fantasy teams can expect another finish in the top five in the Coca-Cola 600.

Value Picks

Matt Kenseth ($8,800) has led laps in every race this season and the No. 20 team is finally putting their bad luck behind them. After a fourth-place finish at Kansas and the win at Dover, Kenseth is starting to look like the driver who won five races last year. His price is too cheap this week to be left off of fantasy teams. Expect Kenseth to keep his momentum going in the Coca-Cola 600.

Kasey Kahne ($8,000) has run well at Charlotte in his career. He has more wins (four) at Charlotte then he has at any other track. Kahne loves to run the top of the track and that is the fast way to the front. He finished 12th in this race last year and fantasy teams can expect similar results from the No. 5 team this week.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($7,200) has been the surprise driver this season on the intermediate tracks. He has finished all of the races in the top 16, including a top-five finish at Auto Club. Last October he started 25th and finished 13th. Stenhouse is running well this year and should finish in the top 15.

Tony Stewart ($6,400) ran well at Kansas (Finished 12th). This is a long race and I am concerned how his back will take the pressure of the 600 miles, but at $6,400 he is almost too cheap to keep off your team Sunday. Stewart will have a hard time finishing in the top five, but he should run well in the race Sunday night. Smoke will be a good fifth driver for your Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing team this week.

Here are my picks for the Coca-Cola 600 for Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing:

Driver 1: Kyle Busch $12,800

Driver 2: Jimmie Johnson $11,700

Driver 3: Martin Truex Jr. $10,300

Driver 4: Matt Kenseth $8,800

Driver 5: Tony Stewart $6,400

FOX Fantasy Auto Resources

- Driver Owner Percentage

- Driver Salaries

And don't forget - prizes are on the line each race of the fantasy season! First, second and third place each win a prize. Plus, each race builds your point total for larger segment and season prizes.

*Stats from Driveraverages.com and career stats from Racing-Reference.Info...

If you need any further advice with your team or want to see my updated picks after Happy Hour practice, look for me on Twitter (@MrFantasyNASCAR) or LIKE my Fantasy NASCAR Tips Page on Facebook.