NASCAR Picks for Charlotte
Joey Logano, #22 Shell-Pennzoil, Penske Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Believe it or not, Logano's 10.1 average finish at Charlotte is the best among active drivers. He has finished in the top-10 in five of his eight starts and has finished worse than 12th only once. If you play in a league where you have to use a different driver each week, this could be a great time to use Logano.
Jeff Gordon, #24 Drive to End Hunger/Axalta, Hendrick Motorsports [Yahoo Class A]
Although he finished seventh in the Coca-Cola 600 last year, his recent record at Charlotte is less than stellar. Gordon has finished outside the top 15 in four of his last five starts and has finished 20th or worse three times during the stretch. Of course, Gordon could snap out of a funk as quickly as he goes into one, but fantasy owners will still want to temper expectations based on his recent numbers at Charlotte.
Mark Martin, #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1, Stewart-Haas Racing [Yahoo Class B]
The veteran was excellent at Charlotte in his prime, but he has had terrible luck at the track recently. Prior to a sixth-place finish last fall, Martin had finished outside the top 30 in three straight starts. Obviously, he is better than those finishes suggest, but Martin isn't a lock for the top 10 by any means either.
Tony Stewart, #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1, Stewart-Haas Racing [Yahoo Class A]
Even if he wasn't stuck in a huge slump, it would be tough to expect a lot of Stewart this weekend. After all, he has managed just a single top-10 finish in his last 10 starts at Charlotte, and his last top-five finish was a win way back in the fall of 2003. Throw in his lackluster showing at the All-Star Race last weekend, and another forgettable outing could be on tap for the three-time champ.
Jamie McMurray, #1 McDonald's/Cessna, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Despite four straight finishes outside the top 15 at Charlotte, McMurray is a two-time winner at the track. In fact, his second victory came just a few years ago when he won the fall event in 2010 after finishing second in the Coca-Cola 600 earlier in the year. Clearly, McMurray has some upside, and after winning the Sprint Showdown and looking pretty fast in the All-Star Race last Saturday, he might just end up being a nice sleeper play for fantasy owners.
Kurt Busch, #78 Furniture Row, Furniture Row Racing [Yahoo Class B]
The good news is that Busch has two top-five finishes in his last three Coca-Cola 600 starts, including a win in 2010. The bad news is that he struggled at the track last year, finishing outside the top 20 in both starts. Granted, Busch did dominate the All-Star Race last weekend prior to a poor final pit stop, but the 600-mile marathon could take a toll on the sometimes shaky equipment of his No. 78 team.
Aric Almirola, #43 Smithfield Foods, Richard Petty Motorsports [Yahoo Class B]
There is a lot to like about Almirola this weekend, and he should be on the short list of potential fantasy sleepers. After all, he made his first-ever starts at Charlotte last season, finishing 16th and 12th. He has also finished in the top 10 in four of the five races leading up to Charlotte. A top-15 finish isn't out of the question.
Juan Montoya, #42 Target, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Montoya has been decent at Charlotte lately, logging five straight top-20 finishes and picking up three top-15s during the stretch. Meanwhile, he has also finished in the 10 in two of the three races leading up to the Coca-Cola 600. Add it all up, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him continue his streak of top-20 finishes at Charlotte this weekend.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., #17 Best Buy/Valvoline/Zest, Roush Fenway Racing [Yahoo Class C]
He actually made his debut in the Coca-Cola 600 in 2011 when he was forced to make an emergency start for Trevor Bayne, and Stenhouse responded with a solid 11th-place run. He wrecked in his follow-up attempt last fall, but the solid debut makes him worth considering as a sleeper pick for fantasy owners this weekend. After all, he has already shown he can crack the top 15 at the track.
Ryan Newman, #39 Quicken Loans/Haas Automation, Stewart-Haas Racing [Yahoo Class B]
If you play in a fantasy league where qualifying is factored in, Newman may be worth a look. In 20 starts, he has a 6.9 average starting position and has won the pole nine times. Unfortunately, he has more poles than top-10s, and his 20.1 average finish leaves a lot to be desired. Newman will likely start near the front Sunday, but history says he will go in the wrong direction when the green flag waves.
Jeff Burton, #31 Caterpillar/Cheerios, Richard Childress Racing [Yahoo Class B]
He has had a lot of success throughout his career at Charlotte, including winning the fall race in 2008. However, he has been stuck in a slump at the track since the victory. Burton has eight straight finishes outside the top 10 at Charlotte and has failed to crack the top 15 seven times during the stretch. He has a 21.3 average finish in those eight starts.
Paul Menard, #27 Menards, Richard Childress Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Aside from an eighth-place finish in the 2010 Coca-Cola 600, Menard hasn't had a lot of success at Charlotte. He has a 23.3 average finish in 12 starts and has only cracked the top 15 three times. Granted, he has been a fairly reliable source of top-20 finishes in 2013, but fantasy owners aren't getting a lot of upside with Menard this weekend.
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