Coca-Cola 600 DFS Gems

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Welcome to NASCAR’s version of an endurance race. In contrast to the trend to make races shorter so they fit into a more convenient television package, the Coke 600 retains is length as drivers and cars are pushed to their limits – oftentimes, beyond their limits. Perhaps it’s because NASCAR figures we are spending so much time in front of the TV this weekend, with the Indy 500 and Monaco GPs also being run this day that what’s one extra hour?

The extra laps are not insignificant. There are 67 more opportunities to get into trouble and there are more opportunities to make up or lose laps. Dark horses run well, so there are some great values in the lower levels this week, but the cream also rises to the top and we are likely to see the winner come from Group A.

Attrition is just as likely to thin this group because drivers and teams are pushing the envelope. Kyle Larson’s spin and blown engine a couple of weeks ago and Chase Elliott’s tire problem at Kansas Speedway, likely brought on by low air-pressure, underscores how much everyone is on the ragged edge.

Group A: Most Expensive (>=$10,000)

Chase Elliott ($10,700)
Elliott has not yet won a Coke 600, but he was victorious on this track in 2020 in a race that was only slightly more than half as long. That sprint win is part of a current four-race streak of top-fives and five such finishes in his last six attempts. Elliott has not been a particularly good points earner in either of the unrestricted 1.5-mile races this year, but Charlotte has been better to him than Las Vegas Motor Speedway or Kansas Speedway in the past.

Kyle Larson ($11,300)
In 15 races on this track type since the start of the 2020 season, Larson has earned the most points six times. Most of those saw the more than 100 points put in the kitty. On another three occasions, he earned top-five points and the only times he struggled was when something bad happened on track. He is expensive though and putting him on the roster means you have nearly $600 less to spend on each other driver. If you don’t feel he’ll earn more than 100 on Sunday, concentrate on your Group B picks.

Group B: (Between $9,900 and $8,000)

Christopher Bell ($8,400)
Bell does not have Charlotte numbers that immediately make him a favorite and that may be part of the reason he is near the bottom of this list regarding cost. His recent attempts on unrestricted similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks makes up for that deficit, however; Bell has five top-10s on them in his last six races. In three of those events, he earned top-10 points with his best coming at Texas Motor Speedway last fall.

Ross Chastain ($9,800)
We said this last week and it’s still true: So long as Chastain stays below $10k, he is worth starting on a weekly basis. Along with William Byron, they are the only drivers officially locked into the playoffs – and while one of Chastain’s wins was in the Talladega Superspeedway lottery, it nonetheless gives this team options others don’t have. Chastain could gamble and win. If not, he is likely to challenge for a top-five.

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Group C: (Between $7,900 and $6,500)

Brad Keselowski ($6,600)
Experience counts at Charlotte, and you are not going to find a driver at this level with more than Keselowski. The RFK Racing Fords have been missing a key component for success for several years, but they are slowly learning how to contend again. A 600-mile race allows them to strategize and should land them in the teens at the very least. A slight gamble at the end might even produce a top-five.

Bubba Wallace ($6,900)
Wins galvanize teams of this size and have a ripple effect. Wallace is just as likely to benefit from Kurt Busch’s AdventHealth 400 victory as the driver of the No. 45 and he is a heck of a lot cheaper. As Busch was winning last week, Wallace also scored a top-10 and earned the seventh-most points of 48.9. That was the third time in the past six races on this track type that he finished that well.

Group D: (Less than or equal to $6,500)

Corey LaJoie ($4,900)
With Lajoie’s laughably low salary cap, players more than make up what they lose by putting Larson on the roster. It’s worth the trade off because LaJoie almost never loses points in a race and when things go right, he’s capable of banking top-10 points on unrestricted 1.5-milers. In the last three seasons, he’s done that three times – most recently at Vegas this spring. Even when he misses, Lajoie outperforms his salary cap with remarkable consistency. In 22 races on this track type since the start of 2020, his earnings’ rank has been better than his cap value in all but four races.

Harrison Burton ($6,100)
When in doubt, we often go with the best team in Group C. Their alliance with Team Penske puts the Wood Brothers in a different league than other single-car operations. Burton has performed up to standards on the 1.5-mile tracks, and in his two previous starts, he earned points that rank him dead-center in 18th. By himself, he won’t win your contest this week, but he may open the door to pick a second Group A driver. If you chose Burton and LaJoie, you have an extra $1,400 to spend on the remaining four drivers and can easily take a second marquee team.

The top-10 points’ earners from the 2021 Coke 600 were: 1. Kyle Larson (157.8), 2. Kyle Busch (74.45), 3. William Byron (67.7), 4. Chase Elliott (66.05), 5. Chris Buescher (58.15), 6. Tyler Reddick (50.6), 7. Austin Dillon (49.05), 8. Denny Hamlin (45.65), 9. Alex Bowman (45.4), 10. Kevin Harvick (39.8).

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Last 45 Days

Driver

Avg.
Rank

Total
Points
Earned

Avg.
Points

This
Week's
Cap

Points
Per K

Group A

Chase Elliott

9.60

252.25

50.45

$10,700

23.57

Kyle Busch

9.20

254.50

50.90

$11,100

22.93

Martin Truex Jr./span>

14.00

185.80

37.16

$10,200

18.22

Kyle Larson

12.40

202.60

40.52

$11,300

17.93

William Byron

16.60

166.85

33.37

$10,000

16.69

Denny Hamlin

18.80

153.95

30.79

$10,500

14.66

Group B

Kevin Harvick

14.00

203.10

40.62

$8,000

25.39

Christopher Bell

13.20

191.85

38.37

$8,400

22.84

Ross Chastain

13.40

209.10

41.82

$9,800

21.34

Joey Logano

16.80

175.65

35.13

$8,900

19.74

Alex Bowman

13.60

181.80

36.36

$9,300

19.55

Austin Dillon

17.00

146.60

29.32

$8,200

17.88

Ryan Blaney

17.40

155.40

31.08

$9,100

17.08

Kurt Busch

25.60

115.90

23.18

$8,600

13.48

Tyler Reddick

21.00

121.85

24.37

$9,600

12.69

Group C

Ricky Stenhouse Jr./span>

15.40

191.20

38.24

$7,400

25.84

Brad Keselowski

20.00

119.40

23.88

$6,600

18.09

Chris Buescher

21.20

114.80

22.96

$6,700

17.13

Bubba Wallace

21.60

110.85

22.17

$6,900

16.07

Erik Jones

20.80

117.10

23.42

$7,600

15.41

Daniel Suarez

20.80

115.10

23.02

$7,800

14.76

Austin Cindric

21.80

90.90

18.18

$7,100

12.80

Chase Briscoe

23.20

79.85

15.97

$7,200

11.09

Group D

Michael McDowell

11.80

202.40

40.48

$5,800

34.90

Corey LaJoie

18.60

138.20

27.64

$4,900

28.20

Todd Gilliland

18.40

136.80

27.36

$5,000

27.36

Justin Haley

18.80

148.70

29.74

$6,300

23.60

Aric Almirola

20.20

130.80

26.16

$6,500

20.12

Ty Dillon

21.60

108.60

21.72

$5,400

20.11

Harrison Burton

20.00

120.90

24.18

$6,100

19.82

Cody Ware

24.60

84.70

16.94

$4,500

18.82

Cole Custer

22.00

109.40

21.88

$6,200

17.65

Noah Gragson

18.67

88.15

29.38

$6,000

14.69

BJ McLeod

26.50

44.50

11.13

$4,600

9.67

Josh Bilicki

26.00

32.00

16.00

$4,800

6.67

Ryan Preece

29.00

6.80

6.80

$5,200

1.31

Kaz Grala

$5,600

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2022 AdventHealth 400 [Kansas 1]
Pennzoil 400 [Las Vegas 1]
2021 Coke 600 [Charlotte]