RaceDayScore NASCAR: Bank of America 500

RaceDayScore NASCAR: Bank of America 500

This article is part of our RaceDayScore NASCAR series.

Bank of America 500

Location: Concord, N.C.
Course: Charlotte Motor Speedway
Format: 1.5-mile quad-oval
Laps: 334

Race Preview

The remaining 12 drivers still eligible to win the 2016 Sprint Cup title were decided last week in Dover where Martin Truex Jr. picked up his second Chase win of the season. The No. 78 team is performing at the top of their game and nearly swept all three races in the opening round of the Chase. The team will be exceptionally confident this week as they return to the track where they humiliated the competition in May. Fantasy players will remember that Truex dominated the 600-mile race at Charlotte Motor Speedway earlier this season, leading 392 of 400 laps. The Toyota-powered teams continue to demonstrate an advantage over the rest of the field, and that should be taken into account when considering drivers this week. The rest of the field must work to close the gap to those teams, but a handful of Chevrolet-powered drivers as well as Penske Racing's Fords continued to remain in position to capitalize when circumstances fall their direction. Chris Buescher, Tony Stewart, Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson all saw their Chase hopes dashed last week, and this week the 12 drivers still alive in the hunt embark on the next three-race elimination round.

Key Stats at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Number of previous races: 115
Winners from pole: 16
Winners from top-5 starters: 66
Winners from top-10 starters: 88
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 9
Fastest race: 160.655 mph

Last 10 Charlotte Winners

2016 spring - Martin Truex Jr.
2015 fall - Joey Logano
2015 spring - Carl Edwards
2014 fall - Kevin Harvick
2014 spring - Jimmie Johnson
2013 fall - Brad Keselowski
2013 spring - Kevin Harvick
2012 fall - Clint Bowyer
2012 spring - Kasey Kahne
2011 fall - Matt Kenseth

This week's race at Charlotte will be different from the one Truex dominated in May, with the entire running happening after dark. The cooler track temperatures will mean teams don't have as many adjustments to make to their chassis, as the track will transition less throughout the distance. Charlotte is a horsepower track and being able to carry corner speed throughout the circuit's long turns will enable fast runs down the straights. Passing at the track is easier than at either of the past two 1.0-mile oval circuits visited in the last two weeks, but that doesn't make a mistake-free race any less important. Long caution periods could trap much of the field laps down should problems arise. We continue to see race wins lost due to errors on pit road, and Charlotte's high lap speeds will punish such mistakes heavily this Saturday night. A well-balanced car that can move up and down the grooves throughout a fuel run will be what every driver is searching for in his or her quest to win this week.

RACE DAY SCORE VALUE PICKS
(Based on Standard $60K Salary Cap)

Tier 1 Values

Kevin Harvick - $11,800
Brad Keselowski - $11,500
Kyle Busch - $11,400
Matt Kenseth - $11,100

Tier 2 Values

Martin Truex Jr. - $10,900
Denny Hamlin - $10,900
Chase Elliott - $10,600
Kyle Larson - $10,600
Jamie McMurray - $10,200

Tier 3 Values

Trevor Bayne - $9,800
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $9,600
Casey Mears - $8,900

Long-Shot Values

Alex Bowman - $8,300
Landon Cassill - $8,300
Chris Buescher - $8,200

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($60K Salary Cap)

Kevin Harvick - $11,800
Joey Logano - $11,200
Martin Truex Jr. - $10,900
Jamie McMurray - $10,200
Michael Annett - $7,800
Cole Whitt - $7,700

Race Day Score driver salaries this week offer plenty of flexibility to get the top drivers into a combination of roster options. This particular option gives fantasy owners the two hottest drivers of the first round of the Chase in Harvick and Truex. Harvick has won at the track three times, while Truex absolutely demolished the competition there in May. Logano is also on the list, which is fantastic considering he is the defending winner of this week's race. Charlotte has also been good to McMurray. While he was knocked out of the Chase last week, his wounds could be healed with another top performance at one of his best circuits. The weakest portion of the lower-risk lineup comes in Annett and Whitt. Picks are slim at this end of the field, but Annett has finished better than where he started in all five of his Sprint Cup races at this track, and Whitt is on the cusp of a spot in the top-35 in points and is capable of scoring a top-30 finish if some factors fall in his favor Saturday evening.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($60K Salary Cap)

Kyle Busch - $11,400
Chase Elliott - $10,600
Jimmie Johnson - $10,600
Kasey Kahne - $10,400
Greg Biffle - $10,000
Jeffrey Earnhardt - $6,700

The higher-risk lineup option for Charlotte puts more emphasis on drivers who have been kept out of Victory Lane recently but have been showing signs of scoring breakthroughs. Busch is probably the best driver of the first Chase round not to visit Victory Lane, and a win on Saturday would be his first in the Sprint Cup points races at Charlotte. Teammates Elliott and Johnson both survived the first elimination round, and either could wind up in Victory Lane nearly any given week with a little luck. Johnson continues to show speed, but race mistakes prove to be the team's downfall. Elliott is one of my favorites to score a rookie win before the end of the year. Their teammate Kahne has also picked up his performance in recent weeks. Charlotte is one of Kahne's best circuits; he has four career wins there. Biffle impressed at this track during the All-Star weekend in May, and he'll have confidence from that performance to boost his results this week. Finally, Earnhardt tends to be a driver who spends the race at the back of the pack, but he ran 382 laps here in May. If he keeps his nose clean Saturday he likely would move further up the finishing order from wherever he starts.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
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