NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Coca-Cola 600

Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years):
By Race
All with 5 - Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin and Kurt Busch 
Both with 4 - Kevin Harvick and Ryan Newman

By Track
Kevin Harvick - 9
Denny Hamlin - 8
Ryan Newman - 7
All with 6 - Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski
Both with 5 - Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch

Recent Pole Winners:  
2018 Kyle Busch
2017 Kevin Harvick

Last Year's Race Winner: Kyle Busch

Likely Suspects: The Coca-Cola 600 is a race that tests the will of drivers and the endurance of their race cars. My go-tos this weekend are Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman.

My 2 Cents: My no-brainer pick this week is Kevin Harvick. My next picks are Kyle Busch, Daniel Suarez, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch and Alex Bowman. I will complete my team with Daniel Hemric and Chris Buescher.

My Final Four: Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Alex Bowman and Daniel Hemric.

Second-Look Driver: This week's second-look driver is Chris Buescher. Buescher has been enjoying an impressive season so far. He has three top-20 finishes in five series starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway – and was 29th in last year’s Coca-Cola 600. He has a pair of Top 10s in 2019 – both coming at 1.5-mile tracks similar to Charlotte. Buescher was a season-best ninth at Atlanta in February and 10th in the last Cup points-paying race at Kansas two weeks ago. He’s ranked 23rd in the points standings. Our last second-look second-look driver (at Kansas) Bubba Wallace finished in a disappointing 29th place after posting his career-best qualifying effort of seventh on the grid, which was his best for the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series as well as his best for Kansas Speedway.

Points to Ponder:
  • Hendrick Motorsports leads the series in wins at Charlotte in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with 19.
  • The first and second starting positions are the most proficient starting positions in the field, producing more winners (17 each) than any other starting position at Charlotte Motor Speedway. 
  • The first starting position is the most proficient starting position in Coca-Cola 600 field, producing 11 victories – most recent – Kyle Busch in 2018.
  • Ryan Newman leads all active drivers in poles at Charlotte Motor Speedway with nine poles (2001, 2003 sweep, 2004, 2005, 2007 sweep, 2009 and 2010).
  • Jimmie Johnson leads the series in wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway with eight victories including four Coca-Cola 600 wins. He also leads all active Monster Energy Series drivers in top-10 finishes at Charlotte with 21.  
  • Kevin Harvick leads all active drivers in runner-up finishes at Charlotte with four.
  • Daniel Suarez (three starts) leads all active drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in average finishing position at Charlotte with an 10.7.
  • Denny Hamlin (13 Coca-Cola 600 starts) leads all active drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in average finishing position at Charlotte in the Coca-Cola 600 with a 9.9.
  • Martin Truex Jr. holds the record for the most laps led in in a single Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway after he led 394 of the scheduled 400 laps (98%) in the 2016 Coca-Cola 600.  
    Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game, make your picks by 8 a.m. EDT on Thursday, May 23rd, and pick your starters by 6 p.m. EDT on race day, Sunday, May 26th.

    Enjoy the race!

    Carol D’Agostino wields fantasy-racing superpowers. Each week, Carol researches statistics and combs through her personal racing notes to provide fans with fantasy racing advice at NASCAR Fantasy Fusion, a column she has written for Skirts & Scuffs since October 2011. Carol also does race coverage for Skirts & Scuffs at Richmond Raceway, and occasionally at her home track, Dover International Speedway. This year she joins the NASCAR Expert Picks panel at
    Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet When she isn’t crunching numbers, you’ll find Carol in business meetings or hammering out a news release or creating a marketing strategy at a small niche public relations firm she founded called Purple Cat. 

    NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Coca-Cola 600 Reviewed by Carol D'Agostino on Thursday, May 23, 2019 Rating: 5