Kyle Larson ($11,300 DK, $14,000 FD)
I honestly don’t care too much about his previous numbers at Charlotte. Larson has been in a league of his own at the mile-and-a-half tracks this year. He has led 100+ laps in three of the four races, and his 509 total laps led in those starts are 300+ more than any other driver. Starting from the pole with a car that posted the best long-run speed in practice, Larson looks poised for another dominant performance.
Martin Truex Jr. ($11,100 DK, $14,500 FD)
He has been arguably the best in the business at Charlotte the last several years, and over the last 10 races, he leads all drivers with three wins, seven top-5s, nine top-10s and a 4.4 average finish. His three victories have all come in the Coca-Cola 600, and Truex has led at least 87 laps in five of his last six starts in the event.
Chase Elliott ($10,500 DK, $13,000 FD)
Elliott has locked in at Charlotte, cracking the top-5 and leading double-digit laps and recording double-digit fastest laps in four of the last five races. He has led at least 28 laps in three straight starts, finishing second and first in the two races here last season. Starting third, Elliott should be able to pile up some dominator points.
Kyle Busch ($10,200 DK, $13,500 FD)
Among the big names, no driver is starting deeper in the field this weekend than Busch. He will roll off 20th, but he has nine straight top-10s at mile-and-a-half ovals dating back to last season, and he owns a series-leading 4.8 average finish in the four races this year. Busch also has four straight finishes of fourth or better in the Coca-Cola 600. He is a no-brainer addition for cash lineups.
Aric Almirola ($7,900 DK, $7,500 FD)
It has been an ugly year for Almirola at the 1.5-mile ovals, but bad luck has played a role in his 29.3 average finish. Plus, he is starting so deep in the field (31st) this weekend that he can have a lackluster finish and still earn differential points. At this price, you can easily fit him in a balanced lineup.
Matt DiBenedetto ($7,500 DK, $9,500 FD)
Since a rough outing at Homestead, DiBenedetto has finished 16th, 11th and fourth in the last three races at 1.5-mile tracks, gaining an average of 8.0 spots per race. A mediocre run has him starting 22nd, but he should be able to deliver a top-15 while chipping in a useful chunk of differential points. He projects as a solid play for midrange price.
Chris Buescher ($6,700 DK, $6,500 FD)
Buescher has been delivering solid results at the mile-and-a-half tracks all year. He currently ranks ninth in points scored in the four races, compiling a 12.0 average finish. Buescher has finished inside the top 20 in all of those starts, logging a pair of top-10s. He has also finished inside the top 10 in two of the last three Charlotte races. Starting way back in 27th, he is a no-brainer source of cap relief for cash contests.
Ryan Newman ($6,400 DK, $5,500 FD)
He has quietly enjoyed a rebound season at the 1.5-mile tracks in 2021, posting a 13.5 average finish in the four races. Newman has finished 18th or better in all of those starts, gaining an average of 6.0 spots per race. Set to start 25th, he should be safe, low-priced for cash lineups.
Alex Bowman ($9,400 DK, $10,000 FD)
Although he had a couple of lackluster finishes at Charlotte last season, Bowman flexed plenty of muscle in both events. He led 164 laps and logged 52 fastest laps in the Coca-Cola 600, and he led 51 laps and logged 28 fastest laps in the second race. Starting in the top 10, he could be an X-factor as a contrarian dominator to any of the top plays.
William Byron ($9,200 DK, $10,500 FD)
He has had a coming out party at the mile-and-a-half tracks this year, cracking the top 10 in all four races and leading 100+ laps in a win at Homestead. Armed with legitimate dominator upside and a top-5 starting spot, I think you need to consider Byron if you plan on fading Kyle Larson or any of the other popular studs.
Tyler Reddick ($8,200 DK, $8,700 FD)
Reddick cracked the top 15 in both of his Charlotte starts as a rookie, notching a top-10 in his Coca-Cola 600 debut. He qualified 15th, but he had a strong showing in practice, especially on long runs. He could be a sneaky source for some dominator points, and I love him as an alternative to Aric Almirola and Matt DiBenedetto or even Kyle Busch.
Michael McDowell ($5,800 DK, $6,500 FD)
Front Row Motorsports isn’t exactly a powerhouse organization, but McDowell has managed to crack the top 20 in all four races at 1.5-mile ovals this year, posting a 13.8 average finish in those starts. Set to roll off just inside the top 25, he is worth a look as a cheaper pivot to Chris Buescher and Ryan Newman.
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