After what seemed like “Halloween” for drivers last Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series return to the home track of NASCAR that is Charlotte Motor Speedway.
With the carnage left from Talladega Superspeedway, a few story lines developed.
First, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will not be behind the wheel of his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, due to suffering a second concussion after being involved in the Big One. Regan Smith will take his place for the next two races.
And second, point leader Brad Keselowski did what he needed to do and survived the high speeds of Dega, stretching his lead to 14 points over Jimmie Johnson.
But now, he’s coming to a track that many acclaim Johnson has built.
Owners haven’t been disappointed by inserting Keselowski in their starting lineup, as he has finished top ten in every Chase race. However, he should be bypassed this weekend.
Let’s start with the 2012 Coca-Cola 600 winner. Hendrick Motorsports have had a stranglehold on this track for quite some time. Kahne had won here three times prior to joining Hendrick. A sweep is possible as it is said he has the car to beat. He starts 10th.
Fantasy NASCAR Cost: $26.50
Charlotte is much like Dover International Speedway for Johnson, although, since his last win in 2009, Johnson only has one top ten finish there. While his results have been less-than-stellar at the track, lately, Johnson is still just as much of a threat as teammate Kahne is. Besides, he’s chasing a sixth championship, which means he’ll rise to the occasion. He starts fifth.
Fantasy NASCAR Cost: $28.00
Biffle made the drive of the race at Talladega, driving through all the final lap chaos surrounding him en route to a sixth place finish. At the Coke 600, Biffle had the dominating car for much of the race, as he led 204 of the 400 laps. With his Chase hopes pretty much dashed, he’s racing no holds barred. Biffle starts from the pole.
Fantasy NASCAR Cost: $25.75
As the fill-in for Junior, Smith must take advantage of the rare opportunity that presents itself. So he had a bad qualifying effort (26th), which is the reason he is worthy of a start. But apparently, he has the speed too. Smith was second fastest in 10 consecutive lap average.
NOTE: Would’ve slotted Jeff Burton here, as he starts 39th, but he would exceed the spending limit. If you’re able to afford him, take him.
Fantasy NASCAR Cost: $14.25
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
In his three career Cup races, Stenhouse has finished no worse than 20th, living up to his status as being one of the perfect fillers. His first ever Cup race was at Charlotte, where he placed 11th. He’s still a bargain for what he’s priced at. Stenhouse Jr. starts 29th.
Fantasy NASCAR Cost: $5.00
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