Bank of America 500 Driver Picks
When was the last time weather didn’t have an impact on race weekend? Seriously, I don’t remember. This seems like it’s just becoming the norm week in and week out. This week we get to say hello to Hurricane Matthew and the possible impacts on the race weekend. On track activities for today have been cancelled and the race tomorrow night is still in question. The Xfinity race has already been moved to Sunday morning and there is still a chance the Sprint Cup race will see the same fate.
Martin Truex JR: $10,900
Remember the last race here where MTJ absolutely DOMINATED the field? Yeah so do I. It was one of the most impressive performances put in by a driver in recent memory. Truex has been insanely good over the last six races; three wins, four Top 5’s, average finish of 5.5, and 588 laps led.
This week the Furniture Row team will be running the same car they won here with back in May, and most recently Chicagoland. Truex’s stats in his career don’t jump right off the page, but he has been much better here recently. After a 10 race stretch where he recorded only two Top 10’s at Charlotte, MTJ has finished no worse than fifth in his last three races here. In that three race stretch, he had led a combined 523 laps.
If the race shapes up anything like they have over the last few weeks, this is shaping up to be another MTJ or Kevin Harvick domination week. Both of these drivers are incredibly locked in and poised for a strong championship run. Even as the most expensive driver, there is little reason to fade him this weekend.
Kevin Harvick: $10,700
What’s that sound? Oh yea, it’s the Kevin Harvick drum banging again. Harvick burned A TON of people last week, myself included. The track bar mount breaking was an absolutely fluke incident, but goes to show the amount of load these cars are constantly under. It’s hard to deny that Harvick and Truex are the class of the field right now and will be battling to the bitter end of the season.
In the last six races alone; Kevin has a win, four Top 5’s, and has only finished outside of the Top 20 once. Had it not been for the early race parts failure, I think Harvick was well on his way to the win. He quickly moved up through the field before the incident shortly before lap 40. Outside of MTJ dominating win here back in May, Harvick has been arguably the best driver at Charlotte. In the last five races here he has a win, four Top 5’s, and has not finished outside the Top 10. Outside of this race in 2012, Kevin has finsihed no worse than eighth in his last 12 races here.
If you are worried about fading Harvick or MTJ, it is surprisingly easy to fit them both in your line-up. Their recent performances are too hard to overlook, they’ve been flat out stellar. No doubt that I will have exposure in some way to both of them, and there is no doubt that you should as well.
Joey Logano: $9,100
Is Joey Logano too cheap this weekend? The answer to that is yes. In the last six races alone, Joey has two Top 5’s, five Top 10’s, and an average finish of 7.3. He’s seemingly flown under the radar, and that may not change again this weekend. Many will be looking at drivers such as Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch, or Kyle Larson in that range and skip right over Logano
Joey has been somewhat up and down here at Charlotte, but has put together very strong finishes in recent races. In three of the last four races, he has finished inside of the Top 10. In that stretch one of those finishes was a win and the other two were fourth and ninth place finishes. In his win in this race last year, Joey was able to dominate by leading 227 laps after starting third. Logano will roll off 10th in the race, whenever that may be. He has shown the ability to go out and dominate races or steal a win at the end in his career. He will be looking for a win to lock him into the next round of The Chase with Talladega looming, and this is easily a track where he could make that happen.
Kasey Kahne: $8,500
Kasey has turned it on and been incredibly consistent over the last few weeks after missing out on The Chase. In the last six races he has four Top 10’s, six Top 20’s, and an average finish of 9.17. Kasey has had a rough go of things at Charlotte in the last five races, finishing no better than 10th. That is all after a five race stretch where he won a race, had three Top 2 finishes, and finished no worse than 8th.
We all know Kahne had struggled a bit this year, but I think missing out on The Chase lit a fire under Kasey. There is no doubt that he can get around Charlotte, and he’s looking poised for a great finish this weekend. While he was only 18th overall in the only session that has been ran this weekend, he was the fastest out of all drivers in terms of 10 Lap Averages. This is a key to finding drivers with long run speed who can make up some ground and I think Kahne can be that guy. He’s hungry for a win, he’s had great success here, and has not been getting better. He did see a price jump this week, but that’s fine by me. I’m all over this pick again and you should be too.
Austin Dillon: $8,200
In his short career at Charlotte, Austin Dillon has posted some very respectable finishes. While he only does have the one Top 10, it’s his finishes when starting outside of the Top 20 that are impressive. Three times has Dillon started outside of the Top 20 and has finished no worse than 16th in either race. Twice Austin has started outside of the Top 25 with starts of 28th and 32nd and finishes of 12th and 16th respectively.
This week he will roll off 19th, which I absolutely love. Austin has Top 10 upside and I feel like he will easily achieve at least a Top 10. While he does only have one Top 10 in his last six races this year, he has not finished outside of the Top 20. Dillon is not burried in the back of the field this week, and is coming off of a strong run last week. I fully expect some of that momentum to translate into a strong finish this week and a great start to the next round of The Chase.
Regan Smith: $5,500
If you’re looking for a salary saver with a lot of upside, look no further than Regan Smith. In 10 starts here at Charlotte he has finished no worse than 28th, excluding his lone DNF. In six of those races he was able to finish inside the Top 20 with one Top 10 sprinkled in there. Four times has smith recorded 13 or more place differential points. If he can sniff the Top 25 or Top 20 he will pay huge dividends.
Starting 35th leaves Regan in a great position to earn a nice chunk of PD points for your line ups. When starting outside of the Top 30, Smith has an average finish of 19.2 and on average records 14.4 place differential points. Using Regan in your line-up provides a great amount of salary relief with a ton of upside. If you’re not scared off by practice times or his recent performance, plug him in.
Brad Keslowski $9,800, Denny Hamlin $9,300, Chase Elliott $8,900, Ryan Newman $7,400, Aric Almirola $6,400