The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competes at Charlotte Motor Sunday. The best drivers usually perform well at the 1.5-mile tracks. This is a good week to use your studs if you have been saving your allocations with them.
Here are my picks for Charlotte…
Martin Truex Jr. (3): My plan was to use Kyle Busch for qualifying points and Truex Jr. for the race. Busch was able to qualify 4th and earn my team one point (I was hoping for the pole). The No. 78 team missed their setup in qualifying so he will start 17th. Truex is not worry about his starting position and neither am I. Qualifying was at night and the race is during the day. The track conditions will be different. I expect the No. 78 car to be up front Sunday.
Group A Rankings: 1) Kyle Busch, 2) Martin Truex Jr., 3) Kevin Harvick, 4) Denny Hamlin, 5) Matt Kenseth, 6) Brad Keselowski, 7) Jimmie Johnson, 8) Joey Logano, 9) Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Kurt Busch (1): I saved my last allocation with Busch for Charlotte because this is his best track. He did not disappoint this weekend. Busch qualified 8th and had a fast car in Friday’s practice sessions. Busch has not finished outside the top 8 at Charlotte since 2015. He should finish in the top 10 this week.
Ryan Newman (6): My plan calls for me to start Newman at Charlotte. I did not see anything in qualifying or in Friday’s practice that makes me go away from my plan. I thought about using Clint Bowyer in this spot but this is the best track for Newman while it ranks 8th for Bowyer. I will save Bowyer for the short tracks and use Newman Sunday. He has finished 5 of the last 6 races at Charlotte in the top 10.
Group B Rankings: 1) Kyle Larson, 2) Chase Elliott, 3) Kurt Busch, 4) Clint Bowyer, 5) Jamie McMurray, 6) Ryan Newman, 7) Ryan Blaney, 8) Austin Dillon, 9) Kasey Kahne, 10) Paul Menard, 11) Danica Patrick 12) Aric Almirola, 13) AJ Allmendinger, 14) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 15) Trevor Bayne, 16) Chris Buescher
Michael McDowell (5): I have had McDowell penciled in for a start at Charlotte and so far he looks like a great pick. The No. 95 car has been surprisingly fast in Friday’s practice and he qualified 16th. If McDowell can finish in the top 20 I will be happy. I think he can do it.
Group C Rankings: 1) Daniel Suarez, 2) Erik Jones, 3) Michael McDowell, 4) Ty Dillon, 5) Landon Cassill, 6) David Ragan
Good luck this week!
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