Driver Group Game Picks Charlotte

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The Cup Series will race at Charlotte Motor Speedway Sunday. This will be the 14th race on the NASCAR schedule. That means the regular season has reached the halfway point. Hopefully your Driver Group Game teams are scoring well. We still have plenty of time to climb to the top of our league standings, but the 2023 season is going by fast. There are a lot of points available in the Coca-Cola 600 so this is a great week to post the highest score of the season.

 

STRATEGY FOR CHARLOTTE

The Coca-Cola 600 is a unique race. There are four Stages in the race Sunday. That means we have a chance to score Stage Points in three Stages. Add this to the bonus points for qualifying, the points for leading a lap and the points for leading the most laps and we have the most important race of the season. There are more points available in this race, than any other race on the schedule. You need to use your top drivers this week and try to capture as many of these points as possible. The schedule has some “funky tracks” coming up (Sonoma, Chicago Street Course, Atlanta and Pocono). We can save allocations in those races.

Here are the picks for the Coca-Cola 600

 

GROUP A DRIVERS

KYLE LARSON (7): The No. 5 car has been fast in almost every race this year. Larson could easily have 5+ wins, but he keeps finding problems at the end of the race. I want a driver who can finish up front in the first three Stages, score points for leading laps and possibly lead the most laps. That driver is Larson. He led 63 laps and finished second at Las Vegas and he led 85 laps and finished second at Kansas. Larson finished 1st, 2nd, 2nd and 20th in his last four races at Charlotte. He should be one of the best picks Sunday evening.

WILLIAM BYRON (5): I thought about pairing Denny Hamlin with Kyle Larson in my lineup so I would have one driver from Hendrick Motorsports and one driver from Joe Gibbs Racing. That is probably the safe way to pick your drivers this week, but I want the maximum points. Byron won the pole at Kansas and he qualified second at Las Vegas. He has the best average starting position in the last four races at Charlotte. Byron should have the best chance to score qualifying points. The No. 24 car should be fast in the race two. Byron won the race at Las Vegas and he finished third at Kansas.

(CONTRARIAN PICK) ROSS CHASTAIN (8): What side are you on? Are you “Team Ross” or are you against Ross? You either love him or hate him, but you cannot ignore the No. 1 car. Chastain is going to be running up front. Will he have a chance to finish the race? It all depends on who he pisses off this week. Chastain is another driver who will qualify up front, score a lot of Stage Points and have a good chance to finish in the top-five. This is one of his better tracks too.

GROUP A DRIVER RANKINGS: 1) Kyle Larson 2) William Byron 3) Denny Hamlin 4) Ross Chastain 5) Chase Elliott 6) Christopher Bell 7) Ryan Blaney 8) Joey Logano

 

GROUP B DRIVERS

MARTIN TRUEX JR. (4): I am quickly running out of allocations with Truex, but I cannot get the No. 19 car out of my head when I think of Charlotte Motor Speedway. I went to the Coca-Cola 600 in 2016. I got to see Truex lead 392 of the 400 laps. It is tough to fade a driver when you watched him lead laps at a track for over five hours. Truex is on a hot streak right now. He won at Dover, led 79 laps and finished eighth at Kansas and he led 145 laps and was “Chastained” at Darlington. I will use Truex while he is dominating races.

KYLE BUSCH (6): Charlotte Motor Speedway ranks as the fifth-best track for Busch. He has finished six of the last seven races at Charlotte in the top-four. Busch had one of his worst seasons last year and he still finished second in the Coca-Cola 600. Rowdy had some bad luck in the two 1.5-mile track races this year (Las Vegas and Kansas), but he won at Auto Club and he finished seventh last week at Darlington. I just cannot fade Busch at one of his best tracks.

TYLER REDDICK (5): Reddick was really good at Charlotte last year. He qualified eighth, scored 19 Stage Points, led 19 laps and finished sixth. He was also good at Kansas earlier this month. Reddick qualified fifth, led 23 laps, scored seven Sage Points and finished ninth in the race. Charlotte ranks as his fourth-best track, so I will take a chance with the No. 45 car Sunday.

BUBBA WALLACE (8): Wallace is one of the biggest surprises this year (at least for me he is). I expected Wallace to be good on the Superspeedways, but I did not expect him to run up front at the intermediate tracks too. Wallace finished fourth at Las Vegas and fourth at Kansas. 23XI Racing has their 1.5-mile aero package figured out. I hope I can use Wallace in the race Sunday and save an allocation with one of my top-drivers.

(CONTRARIAN PICK) AUSTIN DILLON (8): The fastest cars do not always win the Coca-Cola 600. Dillon proves that theory to be true. He won the Coca-Cola 600 in 2017, finished seventh in 2019, eighth in 2020 and sixth in 2021. Charlotte Motor Speedway is his best track. If you want to take a gamble this week, Dillon is your driver.

** ALEX BOWMAN (8)will be back behind the wheel of the No. 48 car this week. He finished third earlier this season at Las Vegas and he finished 10th last year in the Coca-Cola 600. If you do not trust Bubba Wallace; I have no problem rolling out Bowman this week.

GROUP B DRIVER RANKINGS: 1) Martin Truex Jr. 2) Kyle Busch 3) Tyler Reddick 4) Bubba Wallace 5) Alex Bowman 6) Kevin Harvick 7) Austin Dillon 8) Brad Keselowski 9) Daniel Suarez 10) Chris Buescher

 

GROUP C DRIVERS

TY GIBBS (8): We are 13 races into the 2023 season and I have only used one allocation with Gibbs. I am done with “The Josh Berry Experiment.” I am going to start using my allocations with the No. 54 car. Charlotte Motor Speedway was one of the best tracks for Gibbs in the Xfinity Series. He won the race in 2021 and he finished second last year. He will be back in the Xfinity Series race this weekend and that extra track time should help him Sunday. His car has too much speed to fade right now.

RICKY STENHOUSE JR. (8): I thought Stenhouse was only a good pick on the Superspeedways this year. Stenhouse has proved that he can run in the top-15 at most tracks. The No. 47 car finished 12th earlier this month at Kansas. Stenhouse also finished seventh last year in the Coca-Cola 600. It was not a fluke. He finished fourth at Charlotte in 2020 and fifth in both races in 2019. This is his best intermediate track so I will have Stenhouse in my lineup.

(OTHER CHOICE) JIMMIE JOHNSON (9): Johnson will be back behind the wheel of the No. 84 car for Legacy Motor Club. The cars from this team have not been very fast this year, but they never had a seven-time champion behind the wheel on a 1.5-mile track either. Johnson has eight wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He is not going to win this week, but he should be good enough for a top-20 finish. I am not expecting much out of Johnson, but he is worth a spot if you are a big Jimmie Johnson fan.

GROUP C DRIVER RANKINGS: 1) Ty Gibbs 2) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 3) AJ Allmendinger 4) Jimmie Johnson 5) Michael McDowell

* Be sure to check back Sunday morning for my starting lineup.

 

 

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Good Luck This Weekend!

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