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Fantasy NASCAR Rankings: Coca-Cola 600

By Brian Polking
Edited by Tim Heaney

For fantasy owners, it is always a bonus when the drivers that are supposed to do well at a particular track perform up to expectations, and it appears that could happen this weekend at Charlotte. In fact, the top five drivers in the initial rankings remained unchanged heading into race day, and why not? Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin all have excellent numbers at Charlotte, and all five qualified in the top 12 Thursday and ranked in the top 10 during practice Saturday. It is probably going to be tough to find space for all five on fantasy rosters this weekend, but owners will definitely want to make room for at least a couple.

Kasey Kahne

Of course, not every driver remained stagnant in the rankings, and Greg Biffle and Kevin Harvick are two drivers that moved up into the top 10. Biffle is coming off a year when he finished fourth in both races at Charlotte and led more than 200 laps in the Coca-Cola 600. He also qualified in the top 10 and ranked in the top 10 during practice. Meanwhile, Harvick's 15th-place effort in qualifying is very solid by his standards, and he was consistently practicing in the top 15, as well. More importantly, he has been productive at Charlotte lately, finishing eighth or better in four of his last five starts and winning the Coca-Cola 600 in 2011 with a little help from fuel mileage.

Two other drivers that have worked their way into the top 15 of the rankings and into fantasy consideration are Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray. Busch dominated the first four segments of the All-Star Race at Charlotte last weekend, qualified second for Sunday night's race and ranked in the top five in practice Saturday. Not to mention the fact that he won the Coca-Cola 600 in 2010 and finished fourth in 2011. For his part, McMurray qualified eighth and posted top-10 speeds in race trim during practice. He is also a two-time winner at Charlotte during the regular season, and just last weekend, he won the Sprint Showdown en route to a top-10 finish in the All-Star Race. Both drivers could make solid additions to fantasy rosters, and Busch seems to have top-five upside.

As far as sleeper options are concerned, Paul Menard was one driver that stood out. His 22nd-place effort in qualifying was lackluster, but he climbed into the top 20 in the final rankings thanks to top-10 speeds in practice once teams switched over to race trim. Menard has also finished in the top 15 in the Coca-Cola 600 in two of the last three years. A top-15 finish isn't out of the question for Menard, and a solid showing seems very reasonable for a driver that has only finished outside the top 20 at the two plate races in 2013.

Last but not least, the slumping Tony Stewart should remain in the doghouse. It is bad enough that he has underperformed all year, but now he must deal with a track where he has managed just one top-10 in his last 10 starts and hasn't finished in the top five since 2003. More concerning is the fact that Stewart qualified outside the top 20 and couldn't crack the top 20 in either practice Saturday. His team recently admitted to being behind with the new car in part because of the organization expanding to three cars in 2013 so while Stewart and company work out the kinks, fantasy owners should probably leave him out of their lineups.

Rk
Driver
Car No.
Make
Sponsor
Team
Starting Pos
1
Matt Kenseth
20
Toyota
Dollar General
3
2
Kasey Kahne
5
Chevrolet
Farmers Insurance
6
3
Jimmie Johnson
48
Chevrolet
Lowe's Home Improvement
12
4
Kyle Busch
18
Toyota
M&M's
8
5
Denny Hamlin
11
Toyota
FedEx
1
6
Greg Biffle
16
Ford
3M
7
7
Brad Keselowski
2
Ford
Miller Lite
20
8
Kevin Harvick
29
Chevrolet
Budweiser
15
9
Martin Truex Jr.
56
Toyota
NAPA Auto Parts
17
10
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
88
Chevrolet
Diet Mountain Dew
11
11
Carl Edwards
99
Ford
Fastenal
13
12
Kurt Busch
78
Chevrolet
Furniture Row
2
13
Jeff Gordon
24
Chevrolet
Drive to End Hunger
14
14
Jamie McMurray
1
Chevrolet
McDonald's
9
15
Clint Bowyer
15
Toyota
5 Hour Energy
5
16
Mark Martin
55
Toyota
Aaron's Dream Machine
4
17
Joey Logano
22
Ford
Shell/Pennzoil
31
18
Paul Menard
27
Chevrolet
Menard's
22
19
Tony Stewart
14
Chevrolet
Bass Pro Shops
25
20
Juan Pablo Montoya
42
Chevrolet
Target
16
21
Ryan Newman
39
Chevrolet
Quicken Loans
10
22
Aric Almirola
43
Ford
Smithfield
18
23
Jeff Burton
31
Chevrolet
Caterpillar
27
24
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
17
Ford
Best Buy
30
25
Casey Mears
13
Ford
GEICO
21
26
Marcos Ambrose
9
Ford
Stanley Black & Decker
19
27
Regan Smith
51
Chevrolet
Guy Roofing
36
28
Trevor Bayne
21
Ford
Motorcraft
29
29
David Ragan
34
Ford
Detail Doctor
35
30
Bobby Labonte
47
Toyota
Kroger
34
31
Landon Cassill
33
Chevrolet
Honey Nut Cheerios
41
32
Danica Patrick
10
Chevrolet
GoDaddy.com
24
33
David Reutimann
83
Toyota
Burger King
37
34
David Gilliland
38
Ford
Love's Travel Stops
26
35
Travis Kvapil
93
Toyota
Burger King
28
36
Dave Blaney
7
Chevrolet
Florida Lottery
33
37
David Stremme
30
Toyota
38
38
Timmy Hill
32
Ford
C & J Energy Services
39
39
J.J. Yeley
36
Chevrolet
Golden Corral
23
40
Scott Speed
95
Ford
43
41
Josh Wise
35
Ford
Blockbuster.com
42
42
Joe Nemechek
87
Toyota
AM FM Energy
40
43
Michael McDowell
98
Ford
Ambient Edge HVAC
32


 


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