Fantasy NASCAR: Bank of America 500 Driver Picks

BY foxsports • October 4, 2016

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series travels to Concord, North Carolina this week for the Bank of America 500. The first round of the Chase is in the books and 12 drivers will now be competing for the Sprint Cup trophy. Be sure to test your knowledge of NASCAR by competing in the Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing game.

The opening round of the Chase did not lack excitement and the round of 12 should be no different. This round begins with two races at the 1.5-mile tracks (Charlotte and Kansas) and ends with the most unpredictable race of the Chase (Talladega). Drivers will want to pile up as many points as possible at the intermediate tracks to give them room for a mistake at the Superspeedway.

The best way to select your fantasy team this week is to look at the data from the races on the tracks larger than 1-mile and less than 2-miles in length. There have been eight races on these intermediate tracks (Atlanta, Las Vegas, Texas, Kansas, Charlotte, Kentucky, Darlington and Chicago). Here are the drivers with the best stats on these tracks in 2016...

 Average Finishing Position in 8 Intermediate Races 
Driver Wins Top 5s Top 10s Laps Led Avg. Finish
Martin Truex Jr. 3 3 6 845 6.3
Kevin Harvick 0 3 7 475 7.2
Brad Keselowski 2 4 7 156 7.2
Kyle Busch 2 4 5 165 9.1
Kurt Busch 0 3 6 103 10.2
Carl Edwards 0 2 3 125 11.8
Austin Dillon 0 1 2 3 11.8
Matt Kenseth 0 1 5 92 12.6
Kasey Kahne 0 0 5 0 12.6
Ryan Newman 0 1 4 9 13.1

Track position is important at Charlotte, but fantasy teams cannot select all of the drivers who start the race upfront and expect to score well Saturday night. The scoring system for Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing game rewards drivers who improve their position in the race more than the drivers who lead the most laps. Fantasy teams must capitalize on the bonus points for position differential in order to finish at the top of their league standings.

The Sprint Cup Series has had a problem with qualifying getting rained out the last month. If the series is unable to qualify the cars, Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing will not award bonus points for position differential. In this case fantasy teams should select the drivers who they think will have the best chance to finish up front regardless of the driver's starting position. Usually this means selecting the drivers who start the race in the top 10.

Pick to Win

Martin Truex Jr. ($10,700) had one of the most dominating performances in the history of NASCAR in the last race at Charlotte. He won the pole and led 393 of the 400 laps. Truex had a perfect driver rating of 150 in the race. The No. 78 team announced last weekend that they will be bringing back the same car this week. This car also won the race at Chicago three weeks ago. Truex is the class of the field this week and my pick to go to Victory Lane.

Contenders

Kevin Harvick ($13,300) has not won on a 1.5-mile track this season, but he has been the most consistent performer. The No. 4 team has finished runner-up in three of the seven races (Kansas, Charlotte and Darlington). Harvick has a series-best driver rating and a series-best average finishing position in the last five races at Charlotte. He has finished four of the last five races at the track in the top two. This is a great track for Harvick and he should easily finish in the top five Saturday night.

Brad Keselowski ($12,900) has been one of the best drivers on the 1.5-mile tracks this season. The Blue Deuce has two wins (Las Vegas and Kentucky) and has finished seven of the eight races in the top 10. Keselowski has three consecutive finishes in the top seven at Charlotte. In May he qualified fifth and finished fifth. I expect similar results from the team this week.

Joey Logano ($11,100) is always one of the drivers to beat when the series travels to Charlotte. Logano won the Sprint All-Star race and finished ninth in the Coca-Cola 600 this season. He has the third-best driver rating and the third-best finishing position in the last five races at the track. Logano won this race last year and should be considered a threat to get back to Victory Lane Saturday night.

Jimmie Johnson ($9,800) has a series-best seven wins at Charlotte. He finished third in the Coca-Cola 600 and the No. 48 team is running much better now than they were in the spring. Johnson had the car to beat in the last race on a 1.5-mile track (Chicago). He qualified eighth and led a series-high 118 laps. Johnson has had one of the fastest cars in all of the Chase races this season. The No. 48 team should have a good chance to get to Victory Lane this week.

Value Picks (Drivers under $9,500)

Ryan Newman ($9,100) is a great value pick this week. The chances of him winning the race are slim, but Newman should find his way to the top 10 at the end of the race Saturday night. The No. 31 team has finished four of the last five races on the 1.5-mile tracks in the top 10. Newman qualified 14th and finished 10th in the Coca-Cola 600. I expect the same type of race from him this week.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($7,500) is not the first driver that comes to mind when the series travels to Charlotte, but he has run well at the track recently. Stenhouse has back-to-back finishes in the top 15 at Charlotte. The No. 17 has finished six of the eight races on the 1.5-mile tracks in the top 18. Stenhouse may have a hard time finishing inside the top 10, but a top 15 finish seems to be within reason Saturday night.

Greg Biffle ($7,500) has not been a very good pick in most races this season but there are some reasons to consider the No. 16 team this week. Biffle is coming of a top 20 finish at Dover and he ran pretty well when the series competed at Charlotte in May. He won segment two of the Sprint Showdown race and he finished 11th in the Coca-Cola 600. Biffle usually qualifies poorly and improves his position in the race. That makes Biffle a great value pick for your fantasy team this week.

Alex Bowman ($5,000) will once again be driving the No. 88 car for Dale Earnhardt Jr. Bowman has performed well this season when given a chance. He has four starts in the car and finished two of them inside the top 15. His best performance came in the last race on a 1.5-mile track at Chicago. He qualified 17th and finished 10th. Bowman should finish in the top 15 again Saturday night.

Here are my picks for the Bank of America 500 for Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing:

Driver 1: Kevin Harvick $13,300

Driver 2: Joey Logano $11,100

Driver 3: Martin Truex Jr. $10,700

Driver 4: Jimmie Johnson $9,800

Driver 5: Alex Bowman $5,000

 FOX Fantasy Auto Resources

Driver Owner Percentage

Driver Salaries

And don't forget - prizes are on the line each race of the fantasy season!  First, second and third place each win a prize.  Plus, each race builds your point total for larger segment and season prizes.

*Stats from Driveraverages.com and career stats from Racing-Reference.Info...

If you need any further advice with your team or want to see my updated picks after Happy Hour practice, look for me on Twitter (@MrFantasyNASCAR) or LIKE my Fantasy NASCAR Tips Page on Facebook.



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