Is it the Bank of America 500 or the Bank of America $5.00?
I've been a Bank of America customer for a few years because it's easy to find a BoA ATM most anywhere life takes me, but in the event I don't find one, I can bank on seeing the charges roll on my statement.
This weekend, it will be the drivers of the Sprint Cup Series that will roll onto the banking of Charlotte Motor Speedway in a quest to cash in on the ultimate prize and win the Bank of America 500.
The title of the race is ironic in that the bank recently determined it would start charging users $5.00/month if they made purchases using their debit cards. The announcement hasn't been made public yet to common patrons like myself, but that's an average lap speed for this customer service clunker.
I can attest that my loyalty to the company is about as paper thin as Tony Stewart's patience for irritating media questions. Like Tony fielding questions, I'm with BoA because I have to be.
I went to college in California and lived there for a year after. I'm now back in New Hampshire and used to come back home for the summers during college. I also travel in many different areas from time-to-time, so being a part of a national bank that I can find anywhere makes sense to my lifestyle.
Someday, when I settle down in a community with a long-term expectation, the first thing I'll do is find a reliable and customer friendly bank that cares about me more than just an account number to charge erroneous fees. Until then, I'll just have to settle for a company that cuts corners and name its race after a new set of charges.
Ironically, despite the name, there will be no cutting corners in this Saturday night's race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. CMS boasts banking of up to 24 degrees in the turns, so drivers best just hang on and cruise through those corners. Here are the ones I expect to adhere to that theory the best and would buy into for a start on the fantasy roster.
*In case you're new to this segment, check out my first fantasy post on how the system works.
Strategy: Like Kansas, this is a 1.5-mile cookie cutter track, which might feature some cookie cutter finishes. However, most drivers don't have the best driver ratings nor average finishes here. My suggestion is to be smart, but safe. Don't take any wild chances, but don't go all in on one guy or another with the expectation he'll win. Basically, do your best to hedge your bet and take a safe choice as opposed to a boom-or-bust choice.
#17 Matt Kenseth - Kenseth is the perfect conservative bet. He might not excite anyone, but he's reliable. He has 12 top-10s in 24 starts and a 50% top-10 finish rate is surprisingly rare at Charlotte.
#24 Jeff Gordon - Gordon's average finish of 15.8 and driver rating of 88.3 defies what I just said about a boom-or-bust. However, he has five wins, eight poles and 20 top-10s in 37 starts. The downside is that he has nine DNFs, but since he's one of few drivers with a top-10 in more than 50% of Charlotte starts, he's worth considering.
#48 Jimmie Johnson - Jimmie won last week and is right were he wants to be in the Chase hunt. He's won here a whopping six times in 20 starts and leads the field with a 112.8 driver rating at Charlotte. It's stretches like these that make you realize why you saved allocations on "Five-Time."
#18 Kyle Busch - This is a tough call this week as Busch's 106.5 driver rating at Charlotte trails only Johnson. However, driver rating accounts for how you run throughout an entire race and, in both fantasy and real-life, it's all about how you finish. Busch has an average finish of 17.7 and four DNFs in 15 starts at Charlotte. That's risky!
#2 Brad Keselowski - Brad's going to be on here most every week until he cools down, so let's not waste our time debating.
#4 Kasey Kahne - Kahne has the fourth-best driver rating at Charlotte and, while he's not in the Chase, he hasn't finished worse than 15th in the four Chase races (including a fourth and second, respectively, in the past two races).
#5 Mark Martin - I foolishly removed Martin from my lineup for Allmendinger at the last second last week. Martin went on to finish 10th (Dinger was 25th). With the sixth-best driver rating at Charlotte, he's worth considering if you need him.
#20 Joey Logano - Logano has four top-10s in five starts and the fifth was a 13th. It's a small sample size, but his 7.4 average finish is hard to ignore.
#39 Ryan Newman - Newman turned in another clunker last week with an 18th-place finish and he struggles at Charlotte. In 21 career starts at CMS, he has just seven top-10s in comparison to five DNFs.
#43 AJ Allmendinger - Call it a personal grudge because he let me down last week, if you want, but AJ has just one top-10 here in nine starts. Although, it wouldn't be fair reporting if I didn't point out that it was the race earlier this year.
#6 David Ragan - Ragan finished second here on Memorial Day weekend this year, one of three top-10s in nine starts.
#78 Regan Smith - Smith came home eighth earlier this year and has only finished outside the top-20 once in five starts at Charlotte. That's a safe choice for the C-List.
#27 Paul Menard - Menard has just one top-10 in nine Charlotte starts, compared to seven finishes of 22nd or worse.
My Preliminary Roster
A - JOHNSON (2), Kenseth (8)
B - KAHNE (2), LOGANO (2), Keselowski (5), Martin (3)
C - SMITH (2), Ragan (2)
*Number in parenthesis are allocations remaining.