Fantasy NASCAR Race Preview: Bank of America 500

by Eric McClung on October 9, 2013 @ 17:52:01 PDT

 


Charlotte Motor Speedway is one of three 1.5-mile quad-oval tracks that feature 24 degrees of corner banking. Fantasy owners can review results from the other two cookie-cutter venues: Atlanta Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway, the former coming just six races ago. This trio is the most similar set of tracks on the circuit, hosting a total of five races, with the final one coming at Texas in early November.

Practice sessions: Thursday, Oct. 10 at 3:30 p.m. EDT; Friday, Oct. 11 at 3:00 p.m. EDT, 5:50 p.m. EDT
Qualifying: Thursday, Oct. 10 at 7:10 p.m. EDT
Race: Saturday, Oct. 12 at 7:30 p.m. EDT
Location: Concord, N.C.
Shape: Quad-oval
Length: 1.5 miles
Laps: 400
Turns: 24 degrees
Straights: 5 degrees

Drivers to keep an eye on

Jimmie Johnson | No. 48 Lowe's Dover White Chevrolet | Hendrick Motorsports

NASCAR driver Joey Logano
Go Go Logano

It's hard to imagine, but Johnson owns just one top-10 at Charlotte since 2010. He suffered DNFs after strong runs early in each of the 2011 races prior to placing 11th and third the following year. Back in late May, Johnson held an average running position of 10th but finished back in 22nd. While the team was able to replace a failing battery quickly in the pits, Johnson was too fast in exiting and later got caught up in an incident that caused rear-end damage. On the bright side, Johnson has started the Chase with four straight finishes of sixth or better and has claimed victory at CMS six times over his career.

Kevin Harvick | No. 29 Jimmy John's Chevrolet | Richard Childress Racing

Harvick has finished 11th or better in all but one Charlotte start since 2010. During that span he's collected two wins, including the race earlier this season in May, and has held an average running position of at least 15th in all seven of those starts. Harvick is coming off a victory from the pole last week at Kansas Speedway where he led 138 of the 267 laps, giving him five finishes of 11th or better over the last six races.

Kyle Busch | No. 18 M&M's Toyota | Joe Gibbs Racing

Over the last dozen Charlotte races there has only been two occasions in which Busch failed to place eighth or better. Both were DNFs, including an engine failure in May after Busch led 65 laps. "Rowdy" crashed last week at Kansas, putting a large dent in his championship hopes and left him with nothing good to say about the track or the new tire. Busch had finished second, second and fifth in the three previous Chase races and is very much looking forward to a change of scenery.

Kurt Busch | No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet | Furniture Row Racing

Busch has never been the most consistent driver at Charlotte but won at the site back in 2010 and scored another top-five in the following year. Back in May, the elder Busch brother qualified on the outside pole and placed third. He's also coming off a runner-up performance at Kansas to give Busch six top-five finishes in the last 10.

Clint Bowyer | No. 15 Raspberry 5-Hour Energy benefitting Living Beyond Breast Cancer Toyota | Michael Waltrip Racing

Bowyer won this race a year ago and returned to Charlotte earlier this season to finish eighth while spending all but five laps running in the top 15. He has also qualified fifth or better in three straight CMS events. He has finished inside the top 20 in all four Chase events thus far with a pair of top-10s.

Joey Logano | No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil/Hertz Ford | Penske Championship Racing

Logano has caught fire once again by finishing third and fourth the last two races, his first top-fives since recording three in a row during a run of six consecutive top-10s from late July through the start of September. In his last two trips to CMS, Logano has finished ninth and fifth, respectively. When it comes to middle-tier drivers this week, Logano is among the top choices.

Carl Edwards | No. 99 Fastenal Ford | Roush Fenway Racing

Last week's top-five gives Edwards four finishes of 11th or better over the last five races. It also marks his best run since winning at Richmond International Raceway to conclude the regular season. At Charlotte, Edwards hasn't finished outside of the top 20 since 2009 and has run inside the top 10 in four of the last five.

Kasey Kahne | No. 5 Quaker State Chevrolet | Hendrick Motorsports

Kahne owns a personal best four wins at Charlotte while finishing inside the top 10 in four straight, highlighted by a victory from the spring of 2012 with 96 laps led and a runner-up performance this season with another 161 circuits paced. Even though Kahne has gone six races without a top-10 finish this season, he's always worth a look when it comes to Charlotte.

Temper your expectations

Jeff Gordon | No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet | Hendrick Motorsports

Gordon has made the most of his opportunity after being granted an unprecedented 13th spot in the Chase due to others teams manipulating the race at Richmond. Gordon has finished sixth or better in three of the four Chase races and hasn't finished outside of the top 15 in eight straight starts. However, Gordon has only managed a single top-15 in his last six CMS races and could be setting suddenly optimistic owners up for disappointment.

Denny Hamlin | No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota | Joe Gibbs Racing

Hamlin owns six straight top-10s at Charlotte. He was the runner-up in each 2012 race and finished fourth earlier this season after starting from the pole. However, over the last eight races of 2013, Hamlin has only finished better than 20th once. The season can't be over soon enough for the No. 11 team. Don't talk yourself into thinking Hamlin is a sleeper pick.

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About Eric McClung

Eric McClung has been profiled by the FSWA for covering the fantasy sports spectrum and is a two-time award finalist. He's also made several appearances in print and on radio. McClung began contributing to KFFL in 2008 and currently serves as one of KFFL's featured fantasy NASCAR experts.

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