After taking a week off from points-paying races, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is back, as drivers are set to compete in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
At 600 miles, the race is the ultimate endurance test for drivers, as well as fans. The 1 1/2-mile oval failed to produce entertaining racing during Saturday’s All-Star Race, and although changes have been made to avoid a repeat, fans could be in for a long, drawn-out affair.
Still, fantasy owners only care about results, which can be difficult to predict. That, however, is where we come in.
Whether you need help picking an A-List driver who has a shot at winning, or an up-and-coming C-List racer who could help steal you some points, we’ve got you covered. Here are the drivers you should give seats to, and the ones you shouldn’t, for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600:
Must pick: Martin Truex Jr.
Coming off his win at Kansas Speedway, Truex will run in a race that he absolutely dominated a year ago. He led an astounding 392 laps and, although we’re not banking on him to repeat that performance, he is our top pick in the field for Sunday’s race.
It’s not just his performance in 2016 that has Truex so high on our list, though. The Furniture Row Racing driver has won five of his last 11 races at Charlotte’s 1 1/2-mile oval, has led 532 laps at the track in his career and set the record for the most laps led in a race at CMS last year. Make sure this A-List driver is in your lineups Sunday.
Stay away: Danica Patrick
Patrick’s struggles on the Cup level make it difficult to recommend her any week, but she’s looking especially rough for Sunday’s race.
After being involved in a violent wreck at Kansas, Patrick gave an interview that made it look like she’s reaching a breaking point. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver should be avoided by all fantasy players this weekend.
Sleeper pick: Trevor Bayne
Bayne is having the best season of his career, as he’s currently 14th in the Cup standings. More than worthy of his B-List ranking, Bayne has been a solid performer at other intermediate tracks this season. It wouldn’t shock us one bit if the Roush Fenway Racing driver sneaks into the top 10, or even higher.
Value pick: Daniel Suarez
Erik Jones’ stellar rookie campaign has somewhat cooled lately, which makes Suarez an intriguing C-List play in the Coca-Cola 600. Jones likely will be the superior value option towards the end of the season, but right now, Suarez is a great pick for owners who want to save Jones’ starts for the fall.
Furthermore, Suarez has looked like a different driver recently. In holding off Chase Elliott in the Monster Energy Open, he showed he deserves to be mentioned among NASCAR’s premiere young drivers. Start him with confidence this weekend.
Thumbnail photo via Jeffrey Becker/USA TODAY Sports Images