The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Charlotte after two successful races at Darlington Raceway. Today’s 600-mile race will feature the first on-track qualifying session since NASCAR’s return from the brief hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Qualifying takes place at 2 p.m. ET, and the race at 6 p.m. ET. Because qualifying is so important to driver picks and strategy, I won’t be able to offer anything more than a basic overview of the race. Make sure to follow me on Twitter as I’ll be live tweeting qualifying and answering DFS questions.
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NASCAR at Charlotte DraftKings Strategy
The most important thing about today’s race is the fact that it’s 600 miles long, which equates to 400 miles at the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway. With so many laps to run, selecting multiple dominators should be a key part of your strategy.
During the Gen-6 era (2013 to present), there have been 17 drivers over seven races to accumulate at least 30 dominator points in the Coca-Cola 600. That averages to 2.4 per race. Of those 17 drivers, 12 scored at least 80 DraftKings points. That means you’ll want to average around two dominators per lineup. Some lineups should have three dominator choices.
But how do we choose the dominators? Here are a four dominator facts:
- Of the 17 drivers scoring at least 30 dominator points, only one (Brad Keselowski in 2019) started worse than 14th.
- The lowest year-to-date Driver Rating of any driver was 90.7 by Denny Hamlin in 2015.
- All but one driver had at least 3% of the total dominator points over the previous 15 total races. The lone exception is Martin Truex Jr. in 2015, after having previously been on an underfunded team in 2014.
- Only two drivers have averaged a non-DNF Driver Rating under 95 during the last eight oval races at Charlotte. Both of those drivers drove for underfunded teams in the preceding years.
With only a six race sample size instead of the traditional 11 or 12 race sample size, we’ll need to loosen the year-to-date driver rating standards,
As qualifying takes place, we’ll be able to pinpoint with better accuracy the drivers that meet the above dominator criteria.
NASCAR at Charlotte DraftKings Pricing
Let’s take a look at a few drivers that are over- or under-priced.
Martin Truex Jr.: Truex has dominated in four of the last five Coca-Cola 600 races, scoring at least 107.75 dominator points in each of those performances. There’s no doubt there have been some early struggles in 2020, but if there’s any race for him to rebound, this is the one. He’s priced fourth highest at $10,600, but should be in the top three.
Ryan Blaney: At $8,100, Blaney is priced only 14th among all drivers and 12th in the point standings. However, don’t be results oriented with Blaney.
After starting off the year with a second place at the largely random Daytona 500, Blaney had back-to-back potential wins taken away.
He should have won the race at Las Vegas and pulled off a top-two result at Auto Club Speedway. He suffered from bad luck within in the final 10 laps of both races. If not for the poor luck, he would have had three straight top-two finishes to start the year, and we’d be singing a different tune.
Blaney then had a DNF at Phoenix while running in the top 10 after Hamlin crashed into him. We also shouldn’t hold poor Darlington results against him. It’s quite possibly his worst track. Blaney should be priced right near Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman in the $9500-$10,000 range.
Denny Hamlin: If you just look at Driver Rating, Charlotte looks like a strong track for Hamlin. His 103.7 mark in the Coca-Cola 600 in the Gen-6 era is fourth best among all drivers. However, he simply doesn’t dominate.
Aside from his 32.25 dominator point performance in 2015, Hamlin hasn’t had more than 18.5 dominator points in any other Coca-Cola 600. The only way he’s usable at his $10,800 price tag is either by dominating, which seems unlikely, or starting outside the top 12 and pulling off a strong finish.
Joey Logano: Logano has two race wins in 2020, including the season’s only 1.5-mile race at Las Vegas. But none of those races were run at Charlotte. Logano’s track record at Charlotte is terrible, especially in the Coca-Cola 600. He has an average driver rating of 87.7 on the oval since 2013, meaning he misses out on dominator criteria No. 4.
Logano has only had one Coca-Cola 600 with more than 7.75 dominator points, scoring 20 in 2016. There’s no way to justify a five-figure price tag for a driver that simply doesn’t get results at the track.
Tyler Reddick: Reddick had two strong results at Darlington, but certainly the night race was a bit flattering. He ran in the middle third of the field most of the day until some late attrition helped him move forward to a 13th place finish.
Anecdotally, Reddick seems to perform better in the heat of the day, and Darlington is one of his better tracks. At the season’s only completed 1.5-mile race at Las Vegas, Reddick had the 19th-best average running position, the 19th-best average green flag speed, and finished 18th. His 15th-highest pricing of $7900 is too much.