FOX fantasy picks: Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway
MAY 24, 2014 2:15p ET
Coming off the Sprint All-Star break, it's time to get back into the fantasy state of mind ahead of Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The Coca-Cola 600 is a true test of endurance for both man and machine. There is a lot that can happen over the course of 400 laps at 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway, so even the best fantasy picks have the chance of going south real quick.
Just like each week, these are simply suggestions, so pick your team wisely and best of luck. If you haven't done so yet, be sure to sign up for FOX Fantasy Auto Racing, create your team and start playing today!
Captain: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Charlotte stats: 0 wins; 5 top 5s; 11 top 10s; Average finish: 19.4
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has never been to Victory Lane in a points-paying event at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and the hometown favorite is ready to change that.
This weekend, Earnhardt is carrying a special Superman paint scheme and hopes to show his super strength during Sunday night's 600-mile event. Starting from the 10th spot, Earnhardt Jr. is loose, confident and hungry for that first Charlotte win.
If he can keep a handle on the car, keep up with the changing track conditions, and crew chief Steve Letarte can make the right calls on the pit box, Earnhardt Jr. should be a threat for that first Sprint Cup Series win in Charlotte.
Driver #2: Jimmie Johnson
Charlotte stats: 6 wins; 12 top 5s; 16 top 10s; Average finish: 11.6
For years, Jimmie Johnson was one of the most dominant forces at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The driver of the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet won five of the six races from 2003 to 2005. Perhaps more impressive, Johnson finished third or better in eight straight races over three seasons.
However, since the repave Johnson has not had the same success. After his last win in the 500-mile event in Oct. 2009, Johnson has only recorded three top-five finishes in the last eight Charlotte races.
Facing questions about going winless through the first 11 races of the season, Johnson and his Chad Knaus-led team are focused on getting done the job at hand.
That approach has worked so far this weekend, as Johnson captured the pole for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 and has been fast in practice. This weekend could be the one that silences the critics and puts the No. 48 team back in the thick of the title contention.
Driver #3: Joey Logano
Charlotte stats: 0 wins; 3 top 5s; 6 top 10s; Average finish: 10.4
One of only two drivers with two victories so far this season, Joey Logano should be a threat once again Sunday night in Charlotte. Among the toughest to beat on the 1.5-mile tracks, the Team Penske driver was fourth in Las Vegas, won at Texas and fourth on the mile-and-a-half track in Kansas.
"The way our season is going right now and the speed we've had a short tracks, mile-and-a-half, two miles, pretty much every type of race track we've gone to so far we've had a lot of speed at and we've led laps," Logano said. "We've led laps in every single race so far, except California where we had a gear break on us before we were able to get there, so we've had fast cars at every track so it's not really a track I look at and dread going to right now."
That might be bad news for the competition, but good news for your fantasy roster.
Driver #4: Brad Keselowski
Charlotte stats: 1 win; 2 top 5s; 2 top 10s; Average finish: 16.3
Much like his Team Penske teammate, Brad Keselowski should also have one of the cars to beat in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600.
The driver of the No. 2 Ford will start Sunday's race from the second spot, and has been near the top of the speed charts throughout the entire weekend. Keselowski won the Oct. race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but was 36th in last year's Coca-Cola 600 race after a wreck.
The 2012 Sprint Cup Series champion shows up big for NASCAR's big races, and there are few bigger than the Coca-Cola 600.
Driver #5: Kasey Kahne
Charlotte stats: 4 wins; 9 top 5s; 12 top 10s; Average finish: 11.4
For much of Saturday night's Sprint All-Star Race, Kasey Kahne had the car to beat. Among the strongest and better-handling cars in the field, Kahne was able to drive anywhere and pass anyone with ease.
Yet the Hendrick Motorsports driver ended the night in the wall and disappointed with the finish. Now focused on the longer, more demanding Coca-Cola 600, Kahne is confident his car for Sunday's race is much better than the one he ran last week.
Kahne proved that by putting his No. 5 Chevrolet third on the speed charts in qualifying. A three-time Coca-Cola 600 winner, Kahne has a solid shot at his fourth Coke 600 trophy, and first win of the season come Sunday night.
As always, these are simply suggestions, so do your research, pick wisely, and best of luck. If you put more faith in the Las Vegas odds, check out this week's "Let it Ride" segment from NASCAR Race Hub.