NASCAR DraftKings Fantasy Forecast: 2023 Coke 600

North Wilkesboro Speedway made its return to NASCAR at last week’s All-Star Race, and the Cup Series is now targeting one of the most prestigious races of the season: the Coca-Cola 600. sports crown.

This race will be carried by FOX and is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 28.

Last year, the 600m had a 31-change lead and 18 cautions, while the final 1.5-mile race at Kansas in May featured a record 37-change lead. So expect plenty of overtaking throughout a race that had become a snoozer until the advent of NASCAR’s Next Gen chassis. Although Denny Hamlin won the trophy in 2022, Chevrolet dominated the 600, leading 346 of the 413 laps run. Kansas earlier this month featured a more even mix between Chevrolet and Toyota up front.

The weather will be worrying throughout the weekend. Given Chevrolet and Toyota’s success at 1.5-mile tracks this season (excluding Atlanta Motor Speedway), expect the two manufacturers to do battle again. Ford has only won one of 13 races so far (Joey Logano at Atlanta) and they haven’t shown any signs of winning speed in recent weeks.

Before I share my picks for Charlotte, let’s review my colleague Joy Tomlinson’s results in the NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro:

DraftKings Salary Driver DraftKings Score
$9,100.00 William Byron 22.05
$8,800.00 Denny Hamlin 28.7
$7,700.00 Tyler Red Dick 63.4
$7,400.00 ryan blaney 43.9
$8,000.00 Ty Gibbs 49
$7,500.00 Aric Almirola N / A

Tyler Reddick was the pick that paid off the most, as he finished the day in third place. Hamlin and William Byron both finished the lead and struggled while Ryan Blaney finished sixth.

Ty Gibbs – who was not assured of a place in the ASR – was a choice that paid off, as he passed several cars to end the day in ninth place. Aric Almirola was a swing and a miss, unfortunately, as he finished third in the Open, one spot away from the transfer.

Here’s an overview of the DraftKings scoring rules…

The winner on the racetrack totals 45 points, while second place gets 42, third place 41 and so on. 10th place gets 34, while 11th gets 32 and drops by one from there until 20th. This pattern repeats from the 21st to the 30th and again from the 31st to the 40th.

Additionally, drivers can gain or lose a point depending on where they started the race. For example, if a driver started second and won, they would earn one point. If a driver started first and finished second, he would lose one point.

Drivers can also earn 0.45 points for each fastest lap and 0.25 for each lap they lead.

Joy will host a free NASCAR DraftKings league that will run weekly for the Cup Series only. Membership is free, but for now, that’s just for bragging rights. You will have the chance to compete with some of our colleagues here at Front stretch.

Here is the link to the league:

As part of the Fantasy NASCAR DraftKings lineup, players must choose six drivers with a combined salary below $50,000. This chart lists the salaries of drivers registered in the 600.

There are several options to choose from all along the financial ladder, but I focused on picking six drivers in the 50,000.

NASCAR Fantasy: Next Level

Kyle Larson ($11,000)

Kyle Larson is the most expensive option before Charlotte, and for good reason: the 600 was one of Larson’s 10 wins in his 2021 championship season, and he left everyone in the dust with 327 laps led and a margin of victory of 10 seconds.

Last year’s race proved to be more difficult as just about everything went wrong for the #5 team: pit penalties, speeding penalties, the car catching fire, etc. It was such a disastrous start to the race that it resulted in that famous line from team manager Cliff Daniels mid-race.

Against all odds, Larson roared to take the lead in the final 50 laps. And if it hadn’t been for Chase Briscoe’s spin (and resulting warning) with two laps to go while trying to catch No. 5, Larson might have been the back-to-back winner. title heading into Memorial Day weekend.

Larson finished second in the first two 1.5-mile races of the season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway, leading a total of 149 laps between the two. Well worth the investment for this weekend.

Chase Elliott ($9,700)

Chase Elliott has come so close to a 600 win on his last three tries. He had the 2020 race in the bag until a late warning cost him the lead on pit road, he finished second to Larson in 2021, and he led 86 laps in 2022 until an accident put him out of the race before the halfway point.

Chevrolet and Hendrick Motorsports have shown up at 1.5-mile tracks this season, and Elliott’s performance at Kansas earlier this month gives reason to believe he’ll be one of the contenders. In this race, the No. 9 driver spent the first stage outside the top 20 before breaking into the back half of the top 10 on stage two. Elliott then moved into the lead for five laps on the final stage before falling back to finish seventh.

With Elliott’s past record in Charlotte and his flash of speed in Kansas a few weeks ago, he’ll be a contender all night long.

Intermediate level

Bubba Wallace ($8,300)

Despite a few missteps here and there, Bubba Wallace is having the best start to the Cup season of his career. And for $8.3,000, he’s a bargain considering he scored two fourth-place finishes earlier in the year in Kansas and Las Vegas.

Wallace was a top-10 car for the entirety of the two races, and he has a 1.5-mile track victory to his name after taking the checkered flag in Kansas last September. He also had a promising start to the 600m last year before being swept away in a crash just before the halfway mark.

Wallace was the top-ranked car not from HMS in Las Vegas, and he was one of the drivers who led Toyota’s charge in Kansas in May. Toyota was neck and neck with Chevrolet in Kansas, so there’s reason to believe the trend will continue this weekend.

Ty Gibbs ($8,100)

Darlington Raceway was a bit tough for Ty Gibbs, but in the previous two races at Dover Motor Speedway and Kansas, Gibbs had shown top-five speed. He had worked his way up to fourth place with less than 100 laps to go at Dover, only finishing 13th after the No.54 team had to make an extra stop to refuel. Gibbs then finished third in the opening leg at Kansas and was a contender throughout the first half until a mid-race accident relegated him to a 34th-place finish.

Gibbs won in Charlotte in the Xfinity Series two years ago and, as mentioned earlier, Toyota brought the heat in May. Expect him to run in the top 15 or top 10 throughout the event.

lower level

AJ Allmendinger ($6,300)

AJ Allmendinger has only two top-10 finishes at the Charlotte Oval in his career, both in 2011. But when you consider drivers available for under $7,000, he’s one of the picks. the more established (Jimmie Johnson is worth $6,900, but he also hasn’t competed in Charlotte in over three years).

The No. 16 team and Allmendinger have also string together strong results in the past four 1.5-mile races, as they finished ninth at Las Vegas last fall, third at Homestead-Miami Speedway last fall, 18th in Las Vegas this spring and 14th in Kansas this month. It’s been a struggle for Allmendinger so far in 2023, but some of his best performances off the road course have come at this style of track.

Corey LaJoie ($5,500)

After 13 races this season, Corey LaJoie is 23rd in points with a 19.3 average. Consider he averaged a 24.3 finish last season and was 30th in points at this point a year ago. As the seventh cheapest driver this week, LaJoie should be a relatively safe choice for the price.

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