Congratulations to Jamie McMurray on winning the Sprint All-Star race this past weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
This is the track the drivers will take to over the Memorial Day weekend, but first and foremost I would like to take this time to remember all of the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to keep our nation free and let us live the lives we live each and every day. Thank you to everyone that has ever served in the armed forces!
NOW COMES THE TRUE TEST
The race this week is going to test man and machine alike.
A 600-mile race will take its toll on engines, tires, and the mental focus of the drivers and crews. The All-Star race was run in segments. The Coca-Cola 600 will be run without any delays if mother nature allows it to, so everyone needs to be ready for a long afternoon and evening. Those who are fast early in the race will need to make adjustments later as the track conditions change, and those not so fast early will need to be patient as they will have plenty of time to get their cars running the way they would like them at the end of the race.
Kasey Kahne: I am picking Kasey to win the race this weekend. He had an awesomely fast car during the All-Star race, as did all of the Hendrick drivers, which is the first reason I am picking him. He has also finished first or second in each of the last three points races he has run at this track. Kasey needs to be patient early in the race and make sure he is around at the end to claim the victory.
Kevin Harvick: I am not forgetting about Kevin who has had a fast car every week this season. The only question I have is whether the machine will hold up for the 600-mile race. The Stewart-Haas teams have had a multitude of mechanical failures during the season and this will be the longest race they run all year. Kevin will be fast, but will the mechanical side hold up?
Jeff Gordon: Jeff sits on the top of the standings and has been competitive all year. Like I said, all of the Hendrick cars were fast on Saturday night and the engines in these cars seem to be able to handle the grueling task of a 600-mile race. Jeff knows that no matter how his car is handling at the beginning of the race, he will have to get the right adjustments to be able to contend at the end of the race.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Another of the Hendrick drivers who has been fast and competitive all season. I think the big thing for Dale in this race is to be patient. He can’t get too upset when his car doesn’t handle the best after making adjustments early in the race. Just do the best you can until the next time you stop and make further adjustments. You will all see comers and goers as the race progresses and the track changes from the start to the finish. The key is to have your best handling car at the end of the race.
Jimmie Johnson: Finally the last of the Hendrick drivers in the field this weekend. Jimmie is still looking for his first win of the season and this is the place that he would love to get that win. Charlotte Motor Speedway aka Lowe’s Motor Speedway is his self-proclaimed home track as it has the same sponsor as is on his car. Jimmie has won more points races here than any other active driver, so he knows how to get the job done in this race.
Matt Kenseth: Matt is always a patient driver and that really helps the longer the races are. He also knows how the track will change and gives excellent feed back to his crew chief during the race. This helps Jason Ratcliff determine what adjustments he wants to make to the car when they pit. I think these two work as well together as Jimmie and Chad do when it comes to communications and making the correct decisions.
Denny Hamlin: Denny has finished in the top ten in seven straight points races at Charlotte and had a fast car during both practice and the race last weekend. This team is still confident after getting the win at Talladega a few weeks ago and this is one of the tracks they always run well at. Denny knows not to get upset early in this race and has the patience to keep his car in good shape for a run late in the race.
Carl Edwards: Carl has yet to win a points race at this track, but he has five straight top ten finished here. He was another driver with a very fast car on Saturday night and the Roush/Fenway engines seem to hold up well over the longer races. This season Carl seems to be one of the drivers you don’t hear much about until late in the race when he gets his car dialed in and starts to make himself known at the front of the pack.
Greg Biffle: Greg had a very fast car last weekend also. He has the mentality to keep his focus over the long haul and can drive with the best of them. He is one of the drivers that can stay on the lead lap with an ill handling car until he can get in the pits and make adjustments to get the handling better. I can’t stress enough how much the track will change this weekend as we go from afternoon to evening. The track temperature will cool down considerably from the start of the race to the end and that really affects the handling.
Kyle Busch: Kyle has finished in the top five in three of his last four starts here. I think the biggest issue with Kyle is his patience in this long race. He always wants to be up front and race everyone hard. You need to take this race like a restrictor plate race. Keep yourself out of trouble, don’t take unnecessary chances early in the race and maintain your equipment so you can make the run late in the race. He just needs to remind himself of this early next week and he will be fine once again.
Check back later this week for possible changes to the Yahoo C group once the entry list is made available.
YAHOO! FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Yahoo Driver Group A
- Kasey Kahne
- Kevin Harvick
Yahoo Driver Group B
- Denny Hamlin
- Carl Edwards
- Greg Biffle
- Joey Logano
Yahoo Driver Group C
- Trevor Bayne
- Austin Dillon
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
- Kasey Kahne
- Kevin Harvick
- Dale Earnhardt Jr.
- Jimmie Johnson
- Jeff Gordon
Dark Horse: Aric Almirola
Stay Away From: Tony Stewart