This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.
Location: Concord, N.C.
Course: Charlotte Motor Speedway
Format: 1.5-mile quad-oval
NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 Race Preview
The NASCAR Cup Series sticks to the Carolinas this week after its All-Star Race return to North Wilkesboro Speedway last weekend. Kyle Larson dominated that 200-lap exhibition race and earned his third All-Star triumph. This week's Coca-Cola 600 will be an entirely different affair, though. Denny Hamlin is the defending winner of this marathon event. Larson won it in 2021. The high speeds and extra-long race distance make this one of the classic events on the schedule, and it caps off the traditional Memorial Day weekend of racing. The return to the regular season will be especially important for drivers who haven't yet won in 2023. Thirteen races remain to secure a spot in the playoffs, and the pressure will only increase on playoff hopefuls with every race that passes without a trip to Victory Lane. This year's race will be the 64th-running of the 600-mile marathon and it will be the 125th series race held at Charlotte Motor Speedway. There have been 54 different race winners in that span, and 10 of those 54 are entered in this week's race. Even better, five of those 10 are winless in 2023. As the playoff pressure mounts the action on track is sure to heat up as NASCAR races from day to night in the Coca-Cola 600.
Key Stats at Charlotte Motor Speedway
- Number of races: 124
- Winners from pole: 19
- Winners from top-5 starters: 70
- Winners from top-10 starters: 92
- Winners from 21st or lower starters: 10
- Fastest race: 160.655 mph
Previous 10 Charlotte Winners
2022 - Denny Hamlin
2021 - Kyle Larson
2020 II - Chase Elliott
2020 I - Brad Keselowski
2019 - Martin Truex Jr.
2018 - Kyle Busch
2017 fall - Martin Truex Jr.
2017 spring - Austin Dillon
2016 fall - Jimmie Johnson
2016 spring - Martin Truex Jr.
The new NASCAR Cup Series car, introduced last season, was built to spice up the racing at places like Charlotte. Last year's race featured 31 lead changes, which stands in stark contrast to some more recent races where the winner led a significant majority of the distance. The track's corners feature steep banking of 24 degrees and plenty of room for drivers to find the perfect line for their car. Track position has historically been a driver of success at this circuit, but that has changed a bit with the new car. Teams are now able to make more adjustments during the race, and improved racing enables drivers that receive those adjustments to make on-track moves toward the front. More than half of Charlotte's 123 races have been won by drivers starting in the top five, and nearly 75 percent have been won by someone starting in the top 10. While Denny Hamlin won last year's race from pole, it was not a runaway race that he dominated. Ross Chastain, who led the most laps, actually started 22nd. Hamlin led just 15. However, clean air is still important as the new cars handle differently out front than they do in traffic. Even though traffic remains a concern, Charlotte's wide turns offer different lines for drivers to make passes and help their cars adjust to find the fastest lap times. Pit strategy is also a big factor over 600 miles. The long race will feature four separate stages, many trips to pit road, and plenty of opportunity to recover from early mistakes.
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DraftKings Value Picks for the Coca-Cola 600 (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)
DraftKings Tier 1 Values
DraftKings Tier 2 Values
DraftKings Tier 3 Values
DraftKings Long-Shot Values
NASCAR DFS Picks for the Coca-Cola 600
Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
William Byron's (DK $10,500, FD $13,500) consistently competitive season thus far earns him the top spot in this week's lower-risk lineup. He crashed out of last year's race, but leads the series in wins so far in 2023 and finished seventh or better in the four races leading up to the All-Star weekend. He also led 62 laps in his six Charlotte starts. Christopher Bell (DK $9,300, FD $10,500) was the fifth-place finisher in this race last season. He has been quick on 1.5-mile ovals this season, too. A fifth-place finish at Las Vegas and three laps led at Kansas are evidence of his pace. Bell scored stage points in two segments at Charlotte last season, too. Alex Bowman (DK $8,600, FD $10,000) returns this week after missing four weeks of action after suffering a fractured vertebra. He has been granted a playoff waiver by NASCAR and sits just outside of the playoff positions in the standings. A win would get him in, and he brings finishes of fifth and 10th from his last two Charlotte races.
Rookie Ty Gibbs (DK $8,100, FD $7,200) earned his first All-Star Race appearance a week ago by finishing second in the All-Star Open. Gibbs is also in playoff contention due to his points tally thus far. He finished first and second in his two Xfinity Series starts at this track. Ryan Preece (DK $7,000, FD $5,000) is still working to find his comfort zone since rejoining this series full time. He finished fourth in last week's All-Star Open and will be aiming for his first top-20 finish in what will be his sixth series start at the track. Another driver with a good finish last week is Erik Jones (DK $6,400, FD $6,200), who finished eighth in the All-Star Race. He has one top-10 from eight Charlotte starts with an average finish of 18.8. He finished 14th in this race last season.
Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Ross Chastain (DK $10,100, FD $13,000) led 153 laps of this race last year before getting caught up in a late-race accident and dropping to the 15th position. Chastain has been similarly quick this season but still lacks that all-important victory. His aggressive driving style is the biggest drawback for fantasy players, though. Those looking for a more risky option definitely should look his direction. Kyle Busch (DK $9,500, FD $11,000) is another aggressive driver, but he knows how to win at Charlotte. He won this race from pole in 2018 and finished fourth or better at the track in four of his last five attempts. Busch hasn't had the greatest consistency in recent weeks, but his recent consistency at Charlotte is enough to be optimistic about his chances this week. Tyler Reddick (DK $8,800, FD $9,500) should also have some more potential for fantasy players this week. He has two top-10 finishes from the four races leading into last week's All-Star race. One of those finishes was a ninth-place result at Kansas, which should be indication of top-10 potential again this week.
Daniel Suarez (DK $7,800, FD $7,800) ran well in this race last year, too. He led 36 laps and won the second stage before a crash took him out of contention. Those were his first laps led at this track, but he has four top-15 finishes and one top-10 from his eight starts. Another driver that impressed in this race last season was Chase Briscoe (DK $7,600, FD $6,000). He finished an impressive fourth and was in the top five in the second and third stages. Being on the bubble in the playoff standings will give him added incentive to duplicate that performance again this season. An eighth-place finish at Las Vegas and an 18th-place finish at Kansas make Justin Haley (DK $6,100, FD $4,200) someone to consider this week as well. Haley dropped out of this race last year with an engine failure, but he has been a fairly reliable top-20 finisher this season. A top-15 this week would be a good result from him.