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Kevin Harvick’s roll of victories continued in last week’s All-Star race. The series tried a new aerodynamic package and added restrictor plates to the cars in an effort to create more on-track battles, but in the end, the same name came out on top. While this week’s return to the low-downforce package we’ve seen all season will make Sunday night’s marathon race look different than last week’s, fantasy players should expect Harvick and Stewart-Haas Racing to be up front again. The 1.5-mile oval at Charlotte is one of the fastest circuits on the schedule, and favors drivers that can find the right balance in their cars early in the weekend. The domination of Martin Truex Jr. two seasons ago when he led 392 of the 400 laps is evidence of that trend. He won again at the track last fall, and Austin Dillon is the defending race winner of the 600-mile race. While each of the last three victors started outside of the top 10 the track usually favors those starting higher in the order. More than half of the races have been won by someone starting inside the top five and fully three-quarters of the track’s winners have started in the top 10. Lap speed and endurance will be two of the most critical factors to success this weekend.

Charlotte is a fast circuit that separates the quick from the pretenders. Teams that hit the right setup early will still have to keep up with the adjustments as the track transitions from day to night, and some who start the 600-mile journey well can fall off as the distance progresses. Drivers will want a relatively neutral machine that can be adjusted as conditions change, but sheer pace will be important throughout the race. Passing can be done at the circuit, and drivers have the ability to move up and down the racetrack to find the optimal line for how their car is behaving. It’s also not unusual to see drivers using different lines at either end of the track in an effort to extract the quickest lap time possible. Fantasy players should look to drivers that top the timesheets early in practice, and translate that pace into starting position. Early indicators of lap speed have a tendency to carry through to the race, but the order can still be jumbled depending on when caution periods fall. Track position will become more important as the night wears on, and pit calls for two- or four-tire stops could have significant impact in the final miles. Harvick has a significant premium on his price, and starting from the rear will gain plenty of finish differential points, but laps led are going to be a big factor. There are 400 circuits to be completed Sunday night, and choosing a driver who can run out front early and often will be just as valuable, if not mores o.

Truex led more than 300 combined laps at Charlotte last season. His pace at the track coupled with his knack for getting the setup correct makes him a top fantasy prospect this week, along with the points he’ll add for finish differential after qualifying 15th. Backing him up with Logano also seems like a good decision given his dominating win at the track in 2015 and his three top-fives from the four most recent races leading up to Sunday. Another option if you aren’t sold on Logano would be his teammate Blaney. Hamlin has also been excellent at this circuit and doesn’t carry the same price tag as teammate Kyle Busch. Hamlin has never won a points race at the track but did lead 55 laps in the two races last season en route to two top-five finishes. While much of 2018 has been rough for McMurray, his third-place finish at Texas should be a good indicator of what he can deliver this week. He has two Charlotte regular-season wins. Suarez would be another excellent choice given his results last year. He finished 11th and sixth in the two races here last season. Rounding out this lower-risk lineup is Ty Dillon. The rules package for the Monster Energy Open helped his ability to compete last week, but he also finished 13th at Texas earlier this season and should carry that confidence into Charlotte.

Choosing Kyle Busch or Harvick for fantasy rosters this week requires some creativity given their high prices. With top-qualifier Busch you get a little more flexibility, and he is equally as capable of winning as Harvick. Busch has never won a points race at the track but was runner up in last year’s race. He also led 85 total laps in the two races at the track last season. Things are still questionable with Johnson, which is why I’ve selected Almirola in this lineup. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver has been more consistent than Johnson and should offer more upside potential. Players looking at track history could conceivably go for Johnson in this spot, though. Almirola’s teammate Kurt Busch had four finishes of 11th or better heading into the All-Star weekend, and with an eighth in Atlanta and a seventh in Texas fantasy players should expect another top 10 on Sunday. The race’s defending winner, Austin Dillon, also makes the cut. He isn’t expected to repeat, but consistent top-20s at the track with this price tag make him an attractive selection. The same goes for Kenseth. With another week of seat time under his belt, Kenseth could be more of a factor than he was two weeks ago at Kansas. Rounding out the roster is four-time Charlotte winner Kasey Kahne. Winning Sunday would be a long shot, but his experience and success at this track should give him an above-average finish this week.