Race Weekend Central

Daily Fantasy NASCAR DraftKings Fantasy Forecast: 2023 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte

North Wilkesboro Speedway made its NASCAR return in last week’s All-Star Race, and the Cup Series now sets its sights on one of the most prestigious races of the season: the Coca-Cola 600. Get your NASCAR fantasy DraftKings roster set to tackle one of the sport’s crown jewel events.

This race will be carried by FOX and it is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 28.

Last year’s 600 had 31 lead changes and 18 cautions, while the most recent 1.5-mile race at Kansas in May featured a record 37 lead changes. So, expect a lot of passing throughout a race that had become a snoozer until the advent of NASCAR’s Next Gen chassis. Although Denny Hamlin came away with the trophy in 2022, Chevrolet dominated the 600, leading 346 of the 413 laps run. Kansas earlier this month featured a more even mix between Chevrolet and Toyota out front.

Weather will be a concern throughout the weekend. Given the success of Chevrolet and Toyota on 1.5-mile tracks this season (excluding Atlanta Motor Speedway), expect the two manufacturers to likely go to battle once again. Ford has won just one of the 13 races so far (Joey Logano at Atlanta) and they have shown no signs of finding winning speed in recent weeks.

Before I share my picks for Charlotte, let’s review my co-worker Joy Tomlinson’s results from the NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro:

DraftKings SalaryDriverDraftKings Score
$9,100.00William Byron22.05
$8,800.00Denny Hamlin28.7
$7,700.00Tyler Reddick63.4
$7,400.00Ryan Blaney43.9
$8,000.00Ty Gibbs49
$7,500.00Aric AlmirolaN/A

Tyler Reddick was the pick that paid off the most, as he ended the day in third place. Hamlin and William Byron both finished off the lead lap and struggled while Ryan Blaney had a solid finish in sixth.

Ty Gibbs – who was not guaranteed a spot in the ASR – was a pick that paid off, as he passed several cars to finish the day in ninth. Aric Almirola was a swing and a miss, unfortunately, as he finished third in the Open, one spot short of transferring.

Here’s a closer look at the DraftKings scoring rules …

The winner on the racetrack tallies 45 points, while second place gets 42, third 41 and so on. 10th place scores 34, while 11th gets 32 and decreases by one from there through 20th. This pattern repeats for 21st through 30th and again from 31st through 40th.

Additionally, drivers can earn or lose a point depending on where they began the race. For example, if a driver started second and won, they would gain one point. If a driver started first and finished second, they would lose one point.

Drivers also can earn .45 points for each fastest lap and .25 for each lap they lead.

NASCAR DraftKings Scoring

Joy will be hosting a free NASCAR DraftKings league that will run each week for the Cup Series only. It’s free to join, but as of now it’s just for bragging rights. You’ll get to compete against some of our colleagues here at Frontstretch.

Here is the link to the league:

2023 Frontstretch NASCAR DraftKings League

As part of the Fantasy NASCAR DraftKings lineup, players have to choose six drivers with a combined salary under $50,000. This chart lists the salaries for the drivers entered in the 600.

There are several options to choose from throughout the money ladder, but I focused on selecting six drivers within 50k.

Fantasy NASCAR: Top Tier

Kyle Larson ($11,000)

Kyle Larson is the most expensive option heading into Charlotte, and for good reason: The 600 was one of Larson’s 10 wins in his 2021 championship season, and he left everyone in the dust with 327 laps led and a 10-second margin of victory.

Last year’s race proved to be more of a challenge, as just about everything went wrong for the No. 5 team: pit penalties, speeding penalties, the car catching on fire, you name it. It was such a disastrous start to the race it resulted in this famous soundbite from crew chief Cliff Daniels at halfway.

Against all odds, Larson roared back to take the lead in the final 50 laps. And if it wasn’t for Chase Briscoe’s spin (and the resulting caution) with two laps to go while trying to catch the No. 5, Larson might’ve been the reigning back-to-back winner heading into Memorial Day Weekend.

Larson finished second in the first two 1.5-mile races of the season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway, leading a combined 149 laps between the two. He’s well worth the investment for this weekend.

Chase Elliott ($9,700)

Chase Elliott has been oh-so-close to a 600 victory in his last three tries. He had the 2020 race in the bag until a late caution cost him the lead on pit road, he finished second behind Larson in 2021, and he led 86 laps in 2022 until a crash took him out of the race before the halfway mark.

Chevrolet and Hendrick Motorsports have showed up at the 1.5-mile tracks this season, and Elliott’s performance at Kansas earlier this month gives ample reason to believe he’ll be one of the contenders. In that race, the driver of the No. 9 spent stage one outside the top 20 before cracking the back half of the top 10 in stage two. Elliott then passed his way up to the lead for five laps in the final stage before fading back to finish seventh.

With Elliott’s past record at Charlotte and his flashes of speed at Kansas a few weeks ago, he’ll be a contender throughout the night.

Middle Tier

Bubba Wallace ($8,300)

Despite a few missteps here and there, Bubba Wallace is having the best start to a Cup season in his career. And for $8.3k, he is a relative bargain considering he scored a pair of fourth-place finishes earlier in the year at Kansas and Las Vegas.

Wallace was a top-10 car for the entirety of both races, and he has a 1.5-mile track win to his name after taking the checkered flag at Kansas last September. He also had a promising start to last year’s 600 before he was swept up in a crash just before halfway.

Wallace was the highest-finishing car that wasn’t from HMS at Las Vegas, and he was one of the drivers that led the Toyota charge at Kansas in May. Toyota was neck-and-neck with Chevrolet at Kansas, so there’s reason to believe the trend will continue this weekend.

Ty Gibbs ($8,100)

Darlington Raceway was a bit of a struggle for Ty Gibbs, but in the two prior races at Dover Motor Speedway and Kansas, Gibbs had shown top-five speed. He had worked his way up to fourth with less than 100 laps to go at Dover, ending up 13th only after the No. 54 team had to make an extra stop for fuel. Gibbs then finished third in stage one at Kansas and was a contender throughout the first half until a mid-race crash relegated him to a 34th-place finish.

Gibbs won at Charlotte in the Xfinity Series two years ago and, as previously mentioned, Toyota has been bringing the heat in May. Expect him to run within the top-15 or top-10 positions throughout the event.

Bottom Tier

AJ Allmendinger ($6,300)

A.J. Allmendinger only has two top-10 finishes on the Charlotte oval in his career, both of which were in 2011. But when considering the drivers available for less than $7k, he’s one of the most established picks (Jimmie Johnson is worth $6.9k, but he also hasn’t competed at Charlotte in more than three years).

The No. 16 team and Allmendinger have also strung solid results together in the last four 1.5-mile races, as they finished ninth at Las Vegas last fall, third at Homestead-Miami Speedway last fall, 18th at Las Vegas this spring and 14th at Kansas this month. It’s been a struggle for Allmendinger so far in 2023, but some of his best performances outside of road courses have come at this style of track.

Corey LaJoie ($5,500)

After 13 races this season, Corey LaJoie sits 23rd in points with an average finish of 19.3. Consider he had an average finish of 24.3 last season and sat 30th in points at this point one year ago. As the seventh-cheapest driver this week, LaJoie should be a relatively safe pick for the price.

About the author

Stephen Stumpf is the NASCAR Content Director for Frontstretch, and his weekly columns include “Stat Sheet” and “4 Burning Questions.” Stephen also writes commentary, contributes weekly to the “Bringing the Heat” podcast and is frequently at the track for on-site coverage. A native of Texas, Stephen began following NASCAR at age 9 after attending his first race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Follow on Twitter @stephen_stumpf.

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I’m picking bubba to win the 600.


Oh oh. Failed inspection twice, crew chief gone, starts at the rear. Between bubba and Reddick, that’s 3 weeks in a row they have been caught.


Hey, they’re willing to try anything. Start last in 600 miles? Not really a penalty for a Reverend Joe car! Then there is Carl Long! Now, if the penalty was a drive through within 2 laps of the start and can’t get the free pass?

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