We’re heading into the Bank of America 500 blind, as both practice sessions on Saturday were cancelled due to rain. Because of that, we basically have no speed data to analyze, as the first practice session on Friday was more for teams to dial in their cars for qualifying. It’s not uncommon for Charlotte races to come down to strategy calls, and because of that we can see quite a bit of movers. That doesn’t even take into account that there are quite a few good drivers starting outside of the top 10 on Sunday.
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DraftKings Plays for the Bank of America 500
Martin Truex, Jr. ($10,900) – Chalk, chalk city. Martin Truex, Jr. qualified 17th for Sunday’s Bank of America 500, and that in and of itself is enough of a reason to have a bunch of #78 Toyota exposure on Sunday. In case you haven’t been paying attention this year, Truex is really, really good on the 1.5-mile race tracks, and he’s actually going to be close to setting the record for the best average finish at this track length in a single season. Just to throw out some numbers here, Truex has an average finish of 3.3 on 1.5-mile tracks in 2017 and has averaged 56.6 fastest laps and 109.3 laps led per race on them as well. That’s really all you need to know. If the #78 Toyota is even close to as good as it has been earlier this year on Sunday, Truex is going to put up a monster score in DraftKings.
Kyle Busch ($10,600) – Rowdy Busch has been on a tear for the last two or three months and that’s not going to suddenly change this weekend. Charlotte Motor Speedway is one of the few tracks that Kyle has never won at, but that’s going to change soon. Busch has led 971 total laps at this track throughout his career, and the only other drivers to lead more have been Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne (surprisingly). Still, Busch is as solid as they come here, and has posted a single-digit finish in 15 of his last 20 starts at Charlotte. As far as the 1.5-mile tracks go this season, Rowdy has posted an average finish of 11.4 on them while posting 30.4 fastest laps and 45.6 laps led per race. He has a couple of teammates in Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth to pass here on Sunday, as well as Kevin Harvick, but that honestly shouldn’t take very long at all. I have Kyle Busch projected as the biggest dominator here this weekend, and also the highest-scoring DraftKings driver.
Erik Jones ($7,900) – DraftKings decided to give Erik Jones a price cut this weekend, so of course he was one of the drivers who wasn’t able to make it through qualifying inspection on Friday. Because of that, the #77 Toyota will start from back in 38th, and Jones will be one of the highest-owned DraftKings drivers on Sunday. It’s a chalk pick and that’s just what happens. Erik came home 7th the last time we raced here at Charlotte, and although it’s definitely possible that he repeats that performance, I wouldn’t count on it; in the five races that Erik Jones has started 24th or worse this season, he has yet to finish better than 22nd. Still, a 22nd-place finish from Erik on Sunday will net 38 FPTS in DraftKings, which still makes him a great value in this game.
Aric Almirola ($5,800) – With Danica Patrick, Michael McDowell, A.J. Allmendinger, and Paul Menard all having great qualifying efforts this weekend, it’s slim pickings down in this $5,500 to $6,500 price range. And this probably isn’t the week that you want to take a punt with someone like Corey LaJoie, either. Enter Aric Almirola. The #43 Ford qualified back in 24th, so Almirola is right there on the edge of possibly moving up a few spots depending on the how the race plays out, while also having a good opportunity to lose a few spots, too. With that being said, let’s take a look at Almirola’s history here at Charlotte: in ten career starts at this track, Aric has averaged a finish of 14.8, and that includes four finishes of 17th or better in his last six starts here. I have him projected to finish a couple spots better than he starts on Sunday, and with his price, that actually makes Almirola the best per-dollar value in this price range. I won’t be super heavy on the #43 Ford on Sunday but I’ll definitely have a good amount of exposure.
DraftKings Fades for the Bank of America 500
Ryan Blaney ($9,000) – When it comes to Ryan Blaney, he definitely has some upside in terms of place differential this weekend, as the #21 Ford qualified 15th for Sunday’s Bank of America 500. But as far as a legitimate strong car during the race, we’ve only really seen that happen when Blaney qualifies up front this year. Additionally, his record here at Charlotte is absolutely atrocious, with just one finish better than 20th in five career starts. He also has just one finish on the lead lap here in his five career starts. So when you pair all of that with the fact that Blaney costs $9,000 in DraftKings this weekend, it’s extremely difficult to justify putting him in any of your lineups. Overall on the 1.5-mile tracks this season, Blaney has an average finish of 12.3, and the only time he really put up any noteworthy amount of dominator points was at Kansas and Texas–and he started on the front row in each of those races.
Matt Kenseth ($8,600) – When the DraftKings prices were posted this week, Matt Kenseth was one driver that really jumped off the page. For some reason, he took nearly a $1,000 salary cap cut this week, making Kenseth the lowest-priced he’s been in over two months. And before qualifying happened, it looked like Matt was going to be a viable option this weekend. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Kenseth qualified 2nd for Sunday’s Bank of America 500, and while that’s great for the #20 team, that doesn’t make him a good option in DraftKings. Unfortunately, Kenseth has rarely put up any dominator points this season, and when you’re starting on the outside pole, that’s almost a necessity to make you an option in DraftKings. Even worse, Matt is averaging just 5.3 fastest laps per race on 1.5-mile tracks this year, and has led a grand total of zero laps on them in 2017. Kenseth is probably going to have a solid finish here on Sunday afternoon, but it’s almost a certainty that he’ll have negative place differential.
Clint Bowyer ($8,100) – All of the Stewart-Haas Racing Fords were strong here on Friday, and I’m expecting a good race out of all of them on Sunday as well. With that being said, Clint Bowyer qualified far too high to take a chance on him in DraftKings, especially when you look at his 1.5-mile track statistics this year: 11.6 average finish, and just 0.9 fastest lap and 0.4 laps led per race. Finally, Bowyer is a previous winner here at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but he has just two top 5s and five top 10s in 23 career starts at this track. It’s hard to imagine Clint scoring over 30 FPTS in DraftKings this week.
Michael McDowell ($5,900) – Michael McDowell’s qualifying effort on Friday should have surprised you quite a bit, especially considering the #95 team hasn’t started better than 26th in the last seven races. McDowell will roll off the grid from 16th when the Bank of America 500 goes green on Sunday, and while that is great news for the #95 team, that’s not good news for people hoping to take him in DraftKings. Charlotte Motor Speedway is known for long, green flag runs, and that doesn’t really bode well for a guy like Michael McDowell, who does very well at logging laps and trying to stay on the lead lap (or just one lap down). Unfortunately, it’s hard to imagine the #95 Chevrolet staying anywhere close to its starting spot this weekend, and even if McDowell could pull off a 22nd-place finish on Sunday, DraftKings owners are still looking at only 18 FPTS. McDowell has an average finish of 22.1 on the 1.5-mile tracks this season, and hasn’t looked like a legitimate top 20 car on race day in over a month.