The NASCAR Cup Series had practice Friday evening and now it is time to select our final lineup for the Coca-Cola 600. Once again we will be selecting two drivers from Group A, four drivers from Group B and two drivers from Group C. All eight drivers will earn points for qualifying but only the four drivers we use in our lineup will have an allocation subtracted Sunday
Practice Speeds for Charlotte
10 Lap Average Speeds for Charlotte
Here are my picks for the Coca-Cola 600…
Driver Group Game A Drivers
Chase Elliott (6): Chase Elliott got off to a slow start on the 1.5-mile tracks this year, but he had a good race earlier this month at Kansas. Elliott started 17th and finished 5th. He also has a history of running well in the Coca-Cola 600. Elliott finished 1st, 2nd, 4th, 11th and 2nd in his last 5 races at Charlotte. Hendrick Motorsports is on fire so I want as many of their drivers as possible Sunday night.
Kevin Harvick (8): Kevin Harvick hasn’t been Kevin Harvick this year, but maybe practice is what they needed to get back to Victory Lane. The No. 4 car started off practice way too loose. Crew Chief Rodney Childers tightened up the car and Harvick posted the 8th fastest speed on the long runs (the second-fastest speed in Group A behind Chase Elliott). I want two cars that are fast over the long runs so I will take the No. 9 and No. 4 cars for Sunday night.
Driver Group Game B Drivers
I would not be surprised if the Coca-Cola 600 turned into the Kyle and Kyle Show. The two best cars in practice were the No. 5 (Kyle Larson) and the No. 18 (Kyle Busch). I would love to use both of them in the race but I am quickly running out of allocations with the Kyle’s. 400 miles is a lot of laps for something to happen to these two drivers so I will save them for the 400 mile races. *If you have 4 or more starts with Larson or Busch I would use them over Alex Bowman or Tyler Reddick.
Kyle Larson (3): I would love to save my allocation with Kyle Larson because I only have three of them left, but the No. 5 car is too fast to fade this week. Larson won at Las Vegas and he finished 2nd at Atlanta. He is averaging 128 laps led on the 1.5-mile tracks this season. Larson posted the 3rd fastest speed in practice and the No. 5 car was the fastest on the long runs. He should have a good chance to win the pole, score bonus points for our team, led laps in the race, score Stage points and have a good chance to go to Victory Lane.
William Byron (3): William Byron has been the most consistent driver in the Cup Series since the series left Daytona. Byron had his streak of 11 consecutive top-10 finishes broke at COTA. He finished 11th so it was not like he had a bad race. Byron posted the 9th fastest speed in practice (3rd fastest in race-trim) and had the 2nd fastest car on the long runs. I am not worried about running out of allocations with Byron because I doubt he will stay this hot all season.
Alex Bowman (8): Alex Bowman leads Hendrick Motorsports with 2 trips to Victory Lane in 2021 (Dover and Richmond). He smoked the field last year in the Coca-Cola 600. Bowman led a race high 164 laps, won both Stages, but a flat tire caused him to finish 19th. He came back to the track three days later and led the second-most laps and finished 2nd in the race. Bowman was fighting a loose racecar in practice but they got the No. 48 car tightened up. Bowman posted the 2nd fastest speed in practice. He has a lot of notes from his teammates to use to get the car dialed in for the race Sunday.
Tyler Reddick (8): Tyler Reddick will be a driver I may use to save allocations with my top drivers this week. Reddick has been running well this season and I think he will continue to have success Sunday night. Reddick started 5th, score 8 Stage points and finished 8th in the Coca-Cola 600 last year. Reddick posted the 7th fastest time in practice, with the 3rd best long-run speed. I will give him a spot in my lineup.
Driver Group Game C Drivers
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (5): Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has been my go-to-driver in Group C while I waited for Ross Chastain and Chase Briscoe to get more experience in the Cup Series. I may have to go back to Stenhouse one more time. He finished 4th at Charlotte last year and 5th in 2019. Charlotte Motor Speedway ranks as his best track. Stenhouse posted the 8th fastest speed in practice, with the 4th fastest long-run speed. I will give him a spot on my team at Charlotte.
Daniel Suarez (8): Daniel Suarez was decent at Charlotte Motor Speedway when he drover for Stewart-Haas Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing. The No. 99 car was fast in practice. Suarez posted the 6th fastest speed in practice, with the 5th best long-run speed. He has a brand new car built by Richard Childress Racing. I will take a chance with “My Amigo” Sunday.
Driver Group Game Team
If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR
If you like Fantasy NASCAR, LIKE my Fantasy NASCAR Tips Page on Facebook