After racing at Darlington in South Carolina last Sunday and Wednesday, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to North Carolina today (Sunday 24) with one of its annual schedule signing events: The Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which will run for the 60th consecutive year on the American Memorial Day weekend.
The Coca-Cola 600 is probably the second-biggest event on the calendar after the Daytona 500 season-opening and also the longest race on the slate. With the start time at 6 p.m. ET, it’s a bit unusual because the race starts in sunshine and ends at night-it took nearly five hours last year. Throughout the track conditions change with temperature drop etc.
While there will be no fans attending again, and no practise sessions, unlike the two in Darlington, there will be qualifying for this race.
With five victories in this race, Darrell Waltrip holds the record while Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers with four last in 2014. He’s +1400 this week and still tops competitive drivers with an overall 12.2 finish on the track and four victories at Charlotte and other races (that’s eight total on the road).
The last driver to win his first-ever Cup Series win at this event was Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon in 2017. This was the first victory in Cup by a No. 3 driver since Dale Earnhardt won at Talladega on October 15, 2000. Dillon is to win again +5000 and he’s Richard Childress ‘s grandson.
Joe Gibbs Racing will claim the last two Coca-Cola 600 champions, with Martin Truex Jr. capturing the checkered flag in 2019 and Kyle Busch in the previous year. Truex Jr., who last year led 116 laps, also won this race in 2016, as did the Bank of America 500 on the circuit in 2017. Truex is a favourite +550-second Sunday and Busch, who last year finished third at this race, is the favourite +450.
Denny Hamlin’s 12.3 average finish in all Charlotte races is Johnson’s second-best among active drivers, but Hamlin has yet to win in 27 tries on the track. He has nine Top 5 finishes. Hamlin, who won the rain-shortened Toyota 500 at Darlington on Wednesday, is at +1000.
— Charlotte Motor Speedway (@CLTMotorSpdwy) May 24, 2020