NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte

When Kurt Busch took the checkered flag at Kansas two weeks ago he reminded us all that the veteran racers still have a lot of gas in the tank. The victory was the 34th of Kurt's Cup career, and his first at Kansas Speedway. He has now won Cup races with five different teams and four different manufacturers.

As we turn to the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, two thoughts come to mind.  Will Kyle Larson defend his race win and start a multiple-race win streak like he did last year and become the seventh different driver to score victories in back-to-back Coke 600s? Or will we see a driver visit victory lane for the first time in their career? After all, when it comes to 1.5-mile tracks, none have produced more first-time winners than Charlotte Motor Speedway with 10. Could it be finally be Tyler Reddick's turn to score the first checkered flag of his Cup career? In his three starts here, Tyler has earned two Top 10s and has an average finish of 10.3, the best in the Cup Series.

Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years):
By Race
Kyle Busch - 5
Both with 4 - Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick
All with 3 - Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Chris Buescher, and Kurt Busch 

By Track (Last 7 Points Races)
Both with 6 - Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick
All with 5 -  Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, and Kyle Busch
Kurt Busch - 4

Recent Pole Winners: 
2021 Kyle Larson
2020 Kurt Busch
2019 William Byron

Last Year's Race Winner: Kyle Larson

The Likely Suspects: My Coca Cola 600 elite drivers are Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, William Byron, and Tyler Reddick.

My 2 Cents: My no-brainer pick this week is Kyle Larson. My next picks are Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch, Tyler Reddick, Chris Buescher, and Austin Dillon. I will complete my team with Daniel Suarez and Cole Custer.

Second-Look Driver: This week's sleeper pick is Chris Buescher. Chris has three Top 10s at Charlotte with a best finish of sixth in the 2019 Coca-Cola 600. Although his performance has been inconsistent from week to week this year we've seen him run up front this season, earning three Top 10s and nine Top 20s, and his first Cup career pole at Dover. This weekend could be Chris' chance to secure his first Cup Series career win.

My Final Four: Kyle Larson, Tyler Reddick, Kurt Busch, and Daniel Suarez.

Points to Ponder:
  • The first starting position is the most prolific starting positions in the field, producing more winners (18) than any other starting position at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
  • 18 of the 123 NASCAR Cup Series races at Charlotte 14.6%) have been won from the pole (first starting position); the most recent was Kyle Larson in the 2021 Coca-Cola 600.
  • Eight different manufacturers have won in the NASCAR Cup Series at Charlotte, led by Chevrolet with 47 victories. 
  • Seven of the 35 NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 winners are active this weekend: Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick, both with two each; and all with one win each are Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, and Kurt Busch.
  • Kevin Harvick leads all active drivers in runner-up finishes at Charlotte with four (2001, 2014, 2015, 2016).
  • Kyle Busch leads all active series drivers with 15 Top 5 finishes at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
  • Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch lead all active NASCAR Cup Series drivers in top-10 finishes at Charlotte with 19 each. 
  • Tyler Reddick (three starts) leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series in average finishing position at Charlotte with a 10.3.
Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game, make your final pick by 6 p.m. ET on race day, Sunday, May 29th.

Enjoy the race!
Carol D'Agostino has been playing Fantasy NASCAR for 16 years. She launched  NASCAR Fantasy Fusion for Skirts & Scuffs in October 2011. Each week, Carol pores through statistics and combs through her personal notebooks to arm fans with analysis and picking strategies that will leave their friends wondering how they got so smart. Carol also does race coverage for Skirts & Scuffs at Richmond Raceway and occasionally at her home track, Dover International Speedway. She is also part of the distinguished NASCAR Expert Picks panel at formerly called Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet.
When she isn’t wielding her fantasy-racing superpowers, you’ll find Carol hammering out a news release or creating a marketing strategy at a small niche public relations firm she founded called Purple Cat or executing downtown revitalization projects for a small town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Reviewed by Carol D'Agostino on Saturday, May 28, 2022 Rating: 5