The NASCAR Cup Series will complete the greatest day of racing in 2022. Breakfast in Monaco for the for the Formula 1 race, followed by the Indianapolis 500 (Go Jimmie Johnson) and the day ends with the marathon race in Charlotte, also known as the Coca-Cola 600. If you like racing, this is the perfect day for you. It should be fun to see how all of the races play out. The Coca-Cola 600 can be seen Sunday at 6 p.m. ET on FOX.
COCA-COLA 600 PRACTICE SPEEEDS
I am not going to base the picks on practice speeds or qualifying position this week. The Coca-Cola 600 is a long race. The track conditions will change and the teams will have plenty of time to work on their cars during the race. We cannot completely ignore the speeds though because it should give us an idea of which cars will start the race with some speed Sunday evening.
Here are the lap times from the practice Saturday at Charlotte…
AVERAGE DFS POINTS ON 1.5-MILE TRACKS (2022)
The Gen-7 car has changed the racing in 2022. The drivers who were fast at some of the tracks in the past have not shown up with the same speed this year. Other drivers who had no speed in the past (Ross Chastain), consistently run up front in 2022. The best way to predict which drivers will be fast Sunday is to look at who has been good on the 1.-5-mile tracks this year (Las Vegas, Kansas and Texas). I am not including Atlanta because that race had a different aero package and the speeds in the ATL will not translate into speed at Charlotte.
Here are the average DraftKings and FanDule Points for the races on the 1.5-mile tracks in 2022…
DFS STRATEGY FOR CHARLOTTE
The Coca-Cola 600 is a “Crown Jewel” race for the Cup Series. The teams are at home and they bring out their best cars for this race. That should explain why the last two Cup Series Champions (Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott) won the Coca-Cola 600 the same year they won the championship. Martin Truex Jr. won this race in 2019 and he finished second in the championship standings. The cream usually rises to the top at Charlotte so it will be a good idea to pay up for the top drivers Sunday night.
The race Sunday night is scheduled for 400 laps. That means there are 100 points available for leading laps and 180 points for fastest laps (40 dominator points available in FanDuel contests). That is a lot of dominator points.
I typically treat this race like a short track race since there are so many dominator points up for grabs. The trend in the Coca-Cola 600 is for the race to be dominated by one driver (Kyle Larson led 327 of the 400 laps last year). I do not think that is how the race will play out this year.
The Gen-7 car has provided for more lead changes. Five drivers led at least 27 laps at Las Vegas and not driver led more than 83 laps. Five drivers led at least 25 laps at Kansas and the most laps led in the race were 116 by Kurt Busch. I expect one driver to lead 160 laps and score 40 fastest laps (34 dominator points). A second driver should lead 90 laps and score 30 fastest laps (22.5 dominator points). A third driver should lead roughly 60 laps and score 20 fastest laps (15 dominator points). There should be three more sub-dominators who score roughly 7 dominator points. That means there should be three drivers who score roughly his in DraftKings contests. We need to pay up for these drivers and that means we will have to build a lot of “stars and scrubs” lineups.
Here are my top dominators for the race Sunday night: Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, William Byron, Kurt Busch and Kyle Larson
DraftKings Model (Prediction Based on Stats)
Finish = Finishing Points PD = Position Differential Fastest = Fastest Laps Led = Laps Led
* The number in front of the driver is his projected finishing position based on stats.
FanDuel Model (Prediction Based on Stats)
CORE DRIVERS FOR COCA-COLA 600
KYLE LARSON (DK $11.3K FD $14.5K): Larson won this race last year and he should have a good chance to win it again Sunday night. Larson has been the best driver in 2020 on the 1.5-mile tracks. He led 27 laps and finished 2nd at Las Vegas and he led 29 laps and finished 2nd at Kansas. Larson was also running 2nd last week at Texas when a tire went down and he got into the wall. He got loose in practice and hit the wall. The team decided to work on the car during qualifying so now Larson will start 36th. He should be the highest scoring driver in DFS contests this week.
KYLE BUSCH (DK $11.1K FD $14K): Busch is going to have a good chance to be one of the top dominators Sunday. He led 49 laps and finished 3rd at Las Vegas. Rowdy led 18 laps and finished 3rd at Kansas. He led 47 laps and would have had a great chance to win at Texas if his tire wouldn’t have gone down. Busch is at his best when he has a practice race before he gets into his Cup Series car. Busch had some extra seat time since he competed in the Truck Series race Friday night and that should help him Sunday.
CHASE ELLIOTT (DK $10.7K FD $13.5K): Elliott has been the best driver at Charlotte over the three seasons and it is not even close. His 2.3 average finishing position at this track is five spots better than any other driver in the field. Elliott finished 2nd, 1st and 2nd in his last three races at the oval track at Charlotte. The No. 9 car may not be the top dominator, but Elliott should lead some laps and finish in the top-10 Sunday, with top-five upside.
DENNY HAMLIN (DK $10.5K FD $11.5K): Hamlin got off to a horrible start in 2022, but it wasn’t because the No. 11 car did not have speed. Hamlin and his team had a bad combination of bad luck and mistakes. Finally the No. 11 team is starting to turn his season around. Hamlin finished 4th at Kansas and 2nd last week at Texas. Hamlin finished 2nd and 7th in his last two Coca-Cola 600’s. He should have a good chance to lead a lot of laps from the pole position and finish in the top-10 again this week.
MARTIN TRUEX JR. (DK $10.2K FD $13K): I am not sure Truex has the speed to win the race Sunday night but he should be one of the safest picks in the field. Truex finished 8th at Las Vegas and 6th at Kansas. He has also finished 6 of the last 7 races at Charlotte in the top-10. Truex should spend a lot of time running in the top-10, lead some laps and have top-five upside for your DFS lineup.
WILLIAM BYRON (DK $10K FD $12K): This will be a home race for Byron this week. He has had a lot of success at his home track. Byron won at Charlotte in 2019 and he finished 4th last year. The No. 24 car has been fast this year, so Byron should have a good chance to finish in the top-five again.
ROSS CHASTAIN (DK $9.8K FD $10.5K): You cannot fade Chastain right now. When he is not jumping over cars (Google the video from the All Star Race with Kyle Busch), the Watermelon Man is finishing in the top five. Chastain led 83 laps and finished 3rd at Las Vegas. He led 4 laps and finished 7th at Kansas. He was also running in the top-five at Texas when he “ran over” Kyle Busch. Chastain starts 22nd and he should finish in the top-10 Sunday.
TYLER REDDICK (DK $9.6K FD $10K): Is Reddick the best driver to never win a Cup Series race? He should be at the top of the list of the next drivers to win their first race in the Cup Series. It could happen this week. Reddick has had speed all year. He finished 7th at Las Vegas and led 24 laps at Kansas. Sooner or later this team will put it all together and Reddick will find his way to Victory Lane. He is a good pick for Tournament Contests this week.
ALEX BOWMAN (DK $9.3K FD $9K): The Coca-Cola 600 seems to be a race that fits Bowman’s driving style. He is really good at saving his tires and each season Charlotte Motor Speedway loses grip. He is also good at avoiding mistakes and that has allowed Bowman to sneak into Victory Lane more frequently than he should have. Bowman won at Las Vegas earlier this year so I will bet that he can do it again Sunday night.
RYAN BLANEY ($9.1K FD $12.5K): Blaney will have some momentum and a lot more money in his wallet entering the race at Charlotte. Blaney looked horrible at Kansas but that was to be expected. He never runs well in the Heartland. Blaney looked like a completely different driver at Texas when he ran up front and won the race. Blaney should be closer to what he was last week than who he was in Kansas. Blaney has a 6.3 average finishing position in his last three races at Charlotte.
JOEY LOGANO (DK $8.9K FD $11K): I wasn’t planning on playing Logano this week. He has not looked great on the 1.5-mile tracks this year. Logano got loose in qualifying so now he will start 23rd. Even though he has not been good, Logano should still finish in the top-15 and score 8-12 place differential points.
CHRISTOPHER BELL (DK $8.4K FD $9.5K): Bell finished 4th at Dover, 6th at Darlington, 5th at Kansas and he had a fast car at Texas too. His stats at Charlotte are not great, but I like the speed the No. 20 car has right now. You cannot have too many Joe Gibbs Racing drivers in your lineup Sunday night.
KURT BUSCH (DK $8.6K FD $8.5K): Who has the best average finishing position on the 1.5-mile tracks in the Cup Series this year? Of course it is Kurt Busch. He finished 13th at Las Vegas (one of his worst tracks), 3rd at Atlanta and won the race at Kansas. The Toyota’s seem to have found some speed so I will take a chance with Busch. He is a good cheap option for some dominator points Sunday.
AUSTIN DILLON (DK $8.2K FD $6.8K): Dillon has been one of the better value picks on the 1.5-mile tracks this year. He finished 11th at Las Vegas and 13th at Kansas. Dillon has also had success at Charlotte. He won the Coca-Cola 600 in 2017 and he finished in the top-eight in the last two races at Charlotte. The No. 3 car should be a good pick for your lineups this week.
AUSTIN CINDRIC (DK $7.1K FD $6.5K): I will take a chance with Cindric this week. He looked fantastic in the All-Star Race. I am hoping that speed translates into a good run in the Coca-Cola 600. Cindric has had a lot of success at Charlotte in the Xfinity Series. He finished 2nd last year and 3rd in 2020 in the Xfinity Series race at Charlotte. Cindric should be a good value play for your DFS lineup.
PUNT PLAYS: Brad Keselowski (DK $6.K FD $5.5K), Noah Gragson (DK $6K FD $3.5K), Ty Dillon (DK $5.4K FD $4K), Corey LaJoie (DK $4.9K FD $3K)
DFS EXAMPLE LINEUPS
Each year I get told the same thing… I used your lineup and I did not win the big jackpot. That is because 25-50 other people copied and pasted my lineup too and you had to split the pot 25-50 ways. The lineups posted this year will be examples on how to create a lineup for the race. You can copy and paste, but just know a lot of other people will have the same lineup. (It is OK to copy and paste the Cash Contest lineup). There is plenty of information in this article to help you create your own unique lineup to give you a better chance of winning.
DRAFTKINGS CASH CONTEST LINEUP
DRAFTKINGS TOURNAMENT CONTEST LINEUP
FANDUEL CASH CONTEST LINEUP
FANDUEL TOURNAMENT CONTEST LINEUP
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