In what was a miserable Sunday afternoon last week at the Circuit of the Americas as Chase Elliott again found himself on top at a road course. While he didn’t have the fastest car all day, Elliott was able to hover among the top-four drivers capitalizing on his opportunities. After a late pit road gamble shuffled Elliott to the front, he would be two laps short without a caution. Fortunately for him, those prayers would be answered. Not long after the caution, the rain would begin to fall, leaving NASCAR with no choice but to call the race.
Elliott now secures himself a place in the round of 16. Although he would have most likely done enough to qualify on points getting the win will add that extra bit of comfort. However, the win came at the expense of teammate Kyle Larson who again falls just short of a victory. What has become a weekly trend of sorts, Larson finishes runner-up for a third-straight race.
We also had some dark horse performers, none more noteworthy than Chip Ganassi driver Ross Chastain. On top of securing a season-best finish of fourth, Chastain led four laps. His only other top 10 finish came at the Daytona 500. So it’s certainly been a while, to be sure. We now leave behind Austin and head 18 hours east to Concord, North Carolina.
Looking at the track specs for Charlotte Motor Speedway, it is a 1.5 mile, quad-oval track. Home to the inaugural memorial day race back in 1961, it has become an annual event. While last Sunday was one of the weakest in terms of dominators, it’s going to be the complete opposite this weekend. The longest race on the schedule, this event will take 400 laps in which to complete. Keeping this in mind, I believe the best strategy for this week is to load up on multiple potential lap leaders. Try and grab a pair of guys you like, maybe even roll the dice on a dark horse selection.
Like the EchoPark Grand Prix event last weekend, we will have qualifying and practice. Qualifying will run early on Saturday, allowing plenty of time to work out the running order before making selections. This week, the Money Train delves into the DFS options for Sunday’s Cup Series event in Charlotte. I’ve broken down the selections between high salary, mid-range, and value play. Included are player salaries from both FanDuel and DraftKings. Best of luck to everyone with their lineups this weekend.
Martin Truex Jr. (14,500 FD | 11,100 DK)
Last week was indeed a complete shambles, Truex more so receiving the brunt of it. He had just come off that 19th place result and was looking to respond. Expect Truex to come out swinging this Sunday, this being one of the better tracks over his career. Consider, Truex’s three wins at Charlotte sit tied for most among all tracks. Not only that but he’s always managed to keep his cars clean, having never recorded a DNF in 29 attempts.
To be fair, Truex has not been a good qualifier over the last five Charlotte races. However, don’t let that history discourage you, as he led 87 or more laps in three of those races. If he qualifies around the top 15, I would argue that would be more beneficial. Even if you don’t go heavy on the Gibbs wheelman as a dominator, at least consider securing him for some of your lineups. It’s always prudent to cover all your bases.
Brad Keselowski (12,000 FD | 9,700 DK)
Having raced 100 times on Intermediates in his cup career, Keselowski knows these tracks cold. He won the first race in last May’s Charlotte doubleheader, following it up a with a seventh-place run after starting from as deep as 20th. So does have some pretty solid recent success on the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
While he’s not been one of the upper echelon dominators at Charlotte over his career, that’s not to say there is no value. Consider over these last three attempts in which he’s combined for 97 laps led, which isn’t too shabby in my book. Don’t be surprised to see him use a little bit more pit box magic. It was a good pit strategy that won him the race last May, beating Elliott to the punch. He has had a lot thrown at him recently and just needs a good performance to get his head focused. Keselowski sits at 8/1 to win the Coca-Cola 600, so not too shabby.
Kurt Busch (9,000 FD | 8,400 DK)
Busch was another driver that didn’t have a whole lot of fun last weekend. Although he was able to avoid the collision with his brother, Busch would still finish 27th. However, he has avoided that pesky back-to-back bad week throughout this season. Which given his most recent letdown, should be notable. Charlotte is another track like Dover in which Busch has put together some noteworthy performances over the last five years.
Consider that in those previous nine Charlotte races, he’s fallen outside that top eight just twice And while he may not have that lap leading power anymore, Busch can still get it done on occasion. It was at the Coca-Cola 600 last season that he led 54 laps. The third most among any driver that night. As long as Busch can offer enough meat on the bone, he should be a good selection in the mid-range. A qualifying position among those top 18 drivers makes him a good value, in my opinion.
Cole Custer (7,000 FD | 8,000 DK)
You can’t put last week’s wreck on Custer’s doorstep. However, it was still a pretty big letdown nonetheless. He’d just came off a much needed 10th place finish the week prior. Moving on to this weekend, Charlotte was a track that Custer did relatively well at last season. Custer scored a pair of top 18 or better runs during that two-race event. Which included that respectable 12th place finish in the first of two races. Custer’s shown he has good place passing potential here also, in particular his cup debut. During that race he started from deep as 28th, before carving up 15 other cars. Barring he doesn’t do what Austin Cindric did last week and qualify to well, there should be good fantasy value here with Custer.
Chris Buescher (6,500 FD | 6,700 DK)
In only his second year as a cup regular with Roush Fenway, Buescher has improved his performance tenfold. As of the last month, he has cashed in on a pair of top nine runs. To be honest, he was solid enough last weekend. If it hadn’t have been for the unfortunate rain out, I have no doubt he would have remained in contention to finish with a top 10 there as well. Roush Yates engines have been among the very best in the industry. So it’s about time we started seeing a Roush driver reaping the benefits.
His career average at Charlotte is 18.17 over eight races. However, in two of those last three meets, Buescher has run top 10 or better. And considering how much he’s improved over the last season, expect the Roush-Fenway wheelman to again keep his car in contention. Buescher continues to come at a bargain on FanDuel and DraftKing.
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