Thursday, May 24, 2018

Charlotte Betting Preview: 2018 Coca-Cola 600

Kyle Larson led the most at Kansas, the last race on a 1.5-mile track.
There's a bit of a different handicapping procedure this week for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Usually, the first item on the agenda to break down is reviewing what happened the week before in the All-Star Race, also held at Charlotte. It's the freshest and newest notes applicable on the exact, identical track with temperatures that figure to be similar. This season is different.

“The All-Star Race was fun, but this weekend is a different package, so that race didn’t do much to help us prepare for this weekend," said Jimmie Johnson who has eight Charlotte wins. "The 600 is a long race, it’s a test of endurance and patience, and you have to accommodate for track conditions changing from the day to the night.”

Last week we had somewhat of a preview into what the future of the NASCAR Cup Series might have in store for us with races on the 1.5-mile tracks Kevin Harvick has dominated this season. NASCAR wouldn't have used the restrictor-plate and new aero-package in last week's All-Star Race if they didn't have plans for it somewhere in the future. Because the All-Star Race offered no points, it was a perfect place to check out how the racing would be.

And before we get into Sunday's race, let's talk about Saturday race a bit. I'm not sure if I liked it or not. I liked how drivers eventually learned how to manipulate the side drafts with their cars and get huge runs off the top line into the turns. I liked how they were able to mash the pedals all the way around the track with minimal breaking. But I didn't like the speeds so slow in the 170 mph range. There was no giddy-up on the restarts, and most of all I didn't like the final results. No matter how many restrictions placed on the cars, Harvick still managed to win. The next test race to slow Harvick should be tying one hand behind his back. Yep, that should work.

This week in NASCAR's longest race of the year we go back to the regular rules-package that Harvick has been dominating with. He's won five of the 12 races this season and three of four on 1.5-mile tracks. Kyle Busch has three wins this season, including the one race on a 1.5-mile track (Texas) Harvick didn't win. Harvick finished second in that race.

Busch is still a notch below Harvick on these tracks and the next wave of top competitors are two notches below Harvick. Among those drivers are last years Cup champion Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Larson. Team Penske with Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, and Ryan Blaney are all right there. So are Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, and Erik Jones.

So just where is the huge Harvick edge coming from?

“I would just point at the experience of the race team because of the fact this is our fifth year together," Harvick said. "We’ve been through a lot of very high-pressure situations, low-pressure situations, good moments, bad moments. And everybody just gets along so well on our race team and, when you look at that as a group, it’s something that’s pretty special. I think the second thing is the fact that Ford has brought a lot to the table for our race team. It’s allowed us to expand our engineering staff over the first winter and really just brought resources to our team. So, when you add all those pieces to the puzzle up and look at the experience of the race team and you look at the partnerships we have with Ford and Mobil 1 and all the support we have from our ownership group to let us go out and explore and do the things and take the chance of switching to a different manufacturer and take the chance of bringing things into our own house and controlling more of our own parts and pieces, those things all added up.”

That's a nice answer, but I think their huge edge comes from Stewart Haas money and a set-up secret they're keeping to themselves. I wouldn't share, either. This week he's using a chassis that has won its past two starts, both which came on 1.5-mile tracks. It won last fall at Texas and in February at Atlanta. So he's got that going for him as well.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Kyle Busch is 0-for-28 in Cup Series at Charlotte

Kyle Busch is 9/2 to win Coca-Cola 600.
HUNTERSVILLE, North Carolina (May 22, 2018) – The last weekend in May always has special meaning to Americans, for whom it is a time to remember and honor the soldiers who lost their lives while serving in the United States military. 

For race fans, in particular, the weekend is uniquely special in that America’s fallen soldiers are honored in the many festivities surrounding what is widely recognized as the biggest racing weekend of the year. In the United States, the racing day starts at historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the iconic Indianapolis 500, and finishes under the lights at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway with the longest race of the Monster Energy NASCAR’s Cup Series – the Coca-Cola 600. 

Not only are they famous and historic racing events, but both host many active duty military and both have traditions that honor soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. With that, a familiar way of honoring fallen soldiers returns with the NASCAR Salutes program over the summer, beginning with this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600. 

NASCAR Salutes at Charlotte features “600 Miles of Remembrance,” during which each car in the field will carry the name of a fallen soldier on the windshield. Busch has the honor of displaying the name of SGT Eric Toth on his M&M’S Red, White, and Blue Toyota. Toth, a native of Glasgow, Kentucky lost his life in Iraq in March 2005. In addition to honoring a fallen soldier, the No. 18 M&M’S Red, White and Blue Toyota Camry features a patriotic paint scheme itself that celebrates M&M’S Red, White and Blue Mix. 

Busch will look to honor Toth and all fallen soldiers with a strong run in his patriotic scheme, and he’ll be heading into the 13th points race of the season still looking for his first points-paying win at Charlotte. 

Busch actually broke through in the Cup Series at Charlotte in the last year’s non-points All-Star Race for his first Cup Series win of any kind at the 1.5-mile oval. Ever since his childhood in Las Vegas, some of Busch’s favorite race-watching memories came during Charlotte’s iconic Coca-Cola 600 and All-Star Race during the month of May. He dreamed that one day he, too, could be the one hoisting the trophy at one of stock car racing’s most hallowed grounds, and he finally accomplished that goal with last year’s All-Star win at Charlotte. 

He now has his sights set on Charlotte’s biggest prize – a Coca-Cola 600 win. In his 28 previous Cup Series starts there over the past 12-plus seasons, Busch has managed to enjoy plenty of success on the oval nicknamed the “Beast of the Southeast” with 11 top-five finishes to go with his 16 overall top-10s. In addition to solid Cup Series finishes, Busch has captured eight NASCAR Xfinity Series wins – May 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2010, October 2008 and 2009, and both May and October 2013. He also has seven NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins at Charlotte – 2005, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2017. 

So, this Memorial Day weekend, Busch will look to accomplish a career goal – a win at the only track among the 23 on the current Cup Series schedule where he has yet to visit victory lane in a points-paying race, and at the same time honor Toth and all troops who have given the ultimate sacrifice, as well as all those who continue to serve America and the Red, White, and Blue. 

KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Red, White, and Blue Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing: 

What are the challenges of racing at Charlotte? 
“I think the biggest challenge about Charlotte is how much the track changes from practice. You practice all during the day and then you go into night racing. You’ve got to know what kind of adjustments to make to your car and how well you can race at night. Typically, you go back to your night notes. For us, we’ve run well there in the past and like going there. It’s a fun place to race and adds to the excitement of spending some time at home. I’m also really excited about our Red, White, and Blue M&M’S Camry.” 

Beyond just wanting to win the Coca-Cola 600, would simply winning at Charlotte also be a feather in your cap? 
“Winning at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which has been one of my favorite tracks, was really special in last year’s All-Star Race since I’ve tried for a long time. Now that we’ve done that in the All-Star Race, I’m hoping it carries over to the 600 and I can bring home my first Cup points race there. It’s certainly high on my list of what I want to accomplish in this sport. There’s no doubt winning the Coke 600 would be big.” 

You’ve always said that Charlotte is one of your favorite tracks. Is there any particular reason why? 
“Just growing up watching races on TV, I loved watching the All-Star Race under the lights and the 600 with all the sparks flying and all the guys going after hard-fought, hard-racing wins. The Xfinity Series has been good to me there. The Truck Series has been pretty good to me there, too. In Cup, I’ve had a lot of good finishes but just haven’t been able to break through there until last year’s All-Star Race in the Cup Series.”

Does Sunday’s 600-mile race feel different than other events?
“It depends on what kind of car you have. I’ve been in races in the 600-mile race where it’s felt really easy and short, and I’ve been in races where it’s been a long, drawn-out, knock ’em, sock ’em kind of day. Hopefully, Adam Stevens (crew chief) and the guys can bring a really good M&M’S Red, White, and Blue Camry for me this weekend and it will be a smooth race for us. I like running the 600 miles. I think it brings a different aspect to our sport – its longevity. People will say, ‘It’s too long. It’s boring. Whatever.’ Well, you know, it’s a part of the product and the history that we’ve had on Memorial Day weekend for a long time that you run that extra hundred miles. And car preparation goes into that. Will your car make it? Will your engine last? Are the drivers able to be competitive throughout the whole race? You’ll have fatigue, sometimes, even at a 500-mile race. So, if you don’t show signs of weakness, you should be pretty good.”

If you’re saving your car for the end of the race, is it a struggle for you not to pass during the earlier stages of the long, 600-mile event?
“Yeah, you want to race those guys who are around you all of the time. You think to yourself, ‘There’s a car in front of me. I want to pass that guy.’ That’s what’s in your blood to do. Sometimes, you’ve just got to back off a little bit and kind of let the race play out. You’ve got to get to the end of the final pit stop. Once you get to the final pit stop, then the race is on.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Jimmie Johnson is 60/1 to win Coca-Cola 600. his largest odds ever

Jimmie Johnson's colors for the Coca-Cola. Sweet white rims!
Jimmie Johnson on honoring SSG Frankie Phillips at Charlotte:
“Staff Sgt. Frankie Phillips, we thank you for your service to our country. And to his mother, Cherie, I couldn’t be more honored to drive the No. 48 with Frankie’s name on the car. This race is always special to us to honor the men and women who serve and have served our country.”

Johnson on the All-Star Race versus the 600-mile race at Charlotte:
“The All-Star Race was fun, but this weekend is a different package, so that race didn’t do much to help us prepare for this weekend. The 600 is a long race, it’s a test of endurance and patience, and you have to accommodate for track conditions changing from the day to the night.”

Jimmie Johnson will be available to the media on Thursday, May 24, at 1:45 p.m. local time in the media center at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

NEVER FORGOTTEN: Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 Lowe’s for Pros Chevrolet will have a special look this weekend for the 600-mile event at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The red, white and blue Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will carry the name of Staff Sgt. Francis G. “Frankie” Phillips IV, who was killed in action while serving in the United States Army in the Maiwand region of Afghanistan on May 4, 2013. Phillips’ mother, Cherie, is an employee of the Auburn, New York, Lowe’s Home Improvement store and she was able to select the paint scheme that will honor her son. Phillips was killed, along with four other soldiers, when a bomb exploded near their armored vehicle, and was laid to rest with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery on May 20, 2013. Phillips, lovingly referred to as “Frankie,” was awarded the Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. Members of Phillips’ family, including his mother, will be in attendance at the race event this weekend.

THE STORY OF FRANKIE PHILLIPS: Lowe’s Racing rolled out a series of emotional videos to adequately tell the story behind the man riding along with Johnson and the No. 48 team this weekend. Click here to view the video on Team Lowe’s Racing’s Facebook page.

PATRIOTIC CAR UNVEILED: Lowe’s unveiled the paint scheme honoring Phillips at the Lowe’s store in Auburn, New York, where Cherie Phillips works as an administrative assistant on May 17. Click here to see the video.

RANKING JOHNSON: There are eight drivers in NASCAR history who have three or more wins at the 600-mile race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip has five, Johnson has four and Bobby Allison, Buddy Baker, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne and David Pearson all have three wins apiece. Johnson’s wins were over 16 starts, which gives him the best win percentage of the group at 25 percent.

KIND OF A BIG DEAL: The 600-mile race at Charlotte is considered one of the “Crown Jewels” in NASCAR along with the Daytona 500, Southern 500 at Darlington and Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Johnson is one of four drivers who have ever won all of them in the modern era along with Gordon, Earnhardt and Kevin Harvick.

JIMMIE’S HOUSE: Johnson’s statistics at Charlotte Motor Speedway are fairly impressive. Including the four wins in the 600-mile race, the El Cajon, California, native has eight career points wins at the track in addition to four All-Star wins – both of which are the most all-time. Johnson has led in 26 of his 33 starts at the 1.5-mile track, which sits less than two miles from Hendrick Motorsports’ headquarters, for a total of 1,930 laps.

POWER OF PRIDE: Crew chief Chad Knaus narrated a video discussing how the “Power of Pride” has been a huge part of the No. 48 Lowe’s team since its inception in 2001. The video showcases paint schemes throughout the last 17 years honoring those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice fighting for freedom. Click here to see the video.

NEXT UP, 84: Johnson's next trip to Victory Lane will be his 84th points-paying NASCAR Cup Series win. He secured his 83rd in June 2017 to tie NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough for sixth on the all-time wins list. An 84th win would tie Hall of Famers Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison for fourth all-time. Johnson is currently 10 wins behind former teammate Jeff Gordon, who has 93 victories and is third on the list. Johnson has the most wins of all active drivers and No. 48 team crew chief Chad Knaus has the most wins of all active crew chiefs with 81.
 

2018 Season

  • 12th in standings
  • 12 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 0 laps led
 
 

Career

  • 591 starts
  • 83 wins
  • 35 pole positions
  • 223 top-five finishes
  • 345 top-10 finishes
  • 18,663 laps led
 
 

Track Career 

  • 33 starts
  • 8 wins
  • 4 pole positions
  • 15 top-five finishes
  • 20 top-10 finishes
  • 1,930 laps led
 

Aric Almirola is 30/1 to win Coca-Cola 600

Aric Alimirola's best finish at Charlotte was 10th.
ARIC ALMIROLA, Driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 

With the Coke 600, you’ll have a fallen service member’s name on your windshield. What does that mean to you? 
“It’s huge for me. I greatly appreciate and understand the sacrifices that the men and women of the military make. My dad was in the Air Force and I grew up on an Air Force base in the panhandle of Florida. It means a lot to me personally to represent the men and women who go out and fight for our freedom. It’s easy to take for granted that we wake up in the morning and go walk out of the doors of our houses and go about our day, but there are men and women all over the world fighting for us to make it a possibility. I’m grateful for that and for the people who have made the ultimate sacrifice and have given their life to make sure we have freedom. It’s a great way for us to pay tribute to them and their families by having their names on the racecar.” 

Based on your results so far this season, you and your team have been very consistent. How does it feel to have consistency this year? 
“I feel like we have been consistent. We’ve been a top-15, top-10 car every weekend. We had one setback at Texas, running in the top-10 before we were involved in a crash. Besides that, I’d say we’ve been a solid contender. That’s fun, that’s not been the norm for me in my Cup Series career. So, obviously, making the jump to Stewart-Haas Racing and having incredible racecars has made it a lot of fun for me and, to have great partners who put in all of the time, energy and resources that they do and doing their part to make us go faster on the racetrack, is a lot of fun to be a part of.”

Kevin Harvick using winning Atlanta chassis in Coca-Cola 600

Kevin Harvick is 9/5 to win at Charlotte Sunday.
Chassis No. 4-1038: 
Kevin Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Mobil 1/Busch Beer Ford Fusion built on Chassis No. 4-1038 in the Coca-Cola 600 Sunday at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Built new in 2017, Chassis No. 4-1038 made its NASCAR Cup Series debut in April at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Harvick won the pole with a lap of 27.217 seconds at 198.405 mph. He went on to lead 77 laps and secure a fourth-place finish. In its start at Dover (Del.) International Speedway in June, Harvick started 18th and finished ninth. At Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, Harvick won the pole with a lap of 27.669 seconds at 177.730 mph. He went on to lead 22 laps and scored a ninth-place result, finishing the race one lap down. At the fall Dover race, Harvick started ninth and finished 17th. In its final start of 2017, Harvick started third, led 38 laps en route to his first-ever Cup Series win at Texas, where he beat 2017 champion Martin Truex Jr. by 1.580 seconds. In its only start of 2018, Harvick dominated at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia, where he started third and led 181 of the 325 lap event and crossed the finish line 2.690 seconds ahead of runner-up Brad Keselowski.

Charlotte Notes of Interest:

 Dynamic Duo: While this is Harvick’s 18th year in the NASCAR Cup Series, it’s only his fifth with crew chief Rodney Childers. Since joining forces at SHR in 2014, Harvick and Childers have combined to produce 19 victories, 17 poles, 77 top-five finishes and 108 top-10s while leading 7,485 laps. They won the 2014 championship, finished runner-up in the 2015 title chase to champion Busch, finished eighth in 2016 and third in 2017. The team has qualified for the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway three of the last four seasons. 

 Back-To-Back – Harvick is coming off consecutive points-paying wins at Dover (Del.) International Speedway and Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. He first scored back-to-back wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and made it three wins in a row the following week when he reached victory lane at ISM Raceway near Phoenix. 

 Three-Peat Notes – Harvick’s three consecutive wins at Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix marked only the 24th time in NASCAR’s modern era (1972 to present) that a driver won three consecutive races. In nine of the 23 previous times a driver won three consecutive races in a season, that driver has gone on to win the championship. Prior to Harvick’s three-peat, Kyle Busch was the most recent driver to win three in a row – in 2015, when he went on to score his first and, so far, only championship. Ironically, Busch has also won three straight races this season – April 8 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, April 16 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, and April 21 at Richmond (Va.) Raceway. Dale Earnhardt Sr. is the last driver to win three consecutive points-paying races in a row twice in one season, when he accomplished the feat in 1987. 

 DYK? Seven of the last 15 NASCAR Cup Series races have been won by a driver over 40 years old. Harvick, age 42, is responsible for six of those victories.

KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1/Busch Beer Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 

The Coca-Cola 600 is the longest race on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule. How do you manage that extra 100 miles on the engine? 
“It definitely throws a kink into things because you wind up with fewer practice laps. This comes from the engine department, because this year you have to run your engines twice and you have to take care of them as much as you can. There’s also been a much bigger interest in where you shift and the temperatures during practice. So from that standpoint, that’s where you see the extra 100 miles in the race that makes a difference. It’s always an interesting weekend to be able to practice enough to still run the same tolerances with engines being pushed for 600 miles instead of 500, and you get there by taking that time out of practice.” 

Is the Coca-Cola 600 more physically or mentally challenging? 
“It just depends on how hot it is, honestly. If it’s a good weekend and the weather is nice, then it’s more mentally challenging than physically challenging. Either way, it’s still challenging both mentally and physically in some way, shape or form. The hardest part mentally is just getting yourself to overcome those last hundred miles because you are used to the 400- or 500-mile races.” 

You have an added advantage with Mobil 1 as a sponsor. It’s more than a sponsor, with its technology directly benefiting how you perform on the racetrack. How advantageous has this relationship with Mobil 1 been since you joined SHR in 2014? 
“It was really mind-blowing when I first came to Stewart-Haas Racing. Every time we went to qualify, we really didn’t do anything different from the driver’s seat, but we’d always pick up a tenth-and-a-half or two-tenths of a second, and it literally came down to the oils in the engine, the oil in the transmission, the oil in the rear gear and the things they did from a lubricant standpoint – those were the biggest changes we made to the car before we would go and qualify. So, when you see that level of technology and commitment to the things that go in your car, every piece of it adds up to a pretty big chunk of speed. It’s pretty remarkable.” 

You’ve had quite a start to the season with five wins in 12 races. What has led to this kind of performance? 
“I would just point at the experience of the race team because of the fact this is our fifth year together. We’ve been through a lot of very high-pressure situations, low-pressure situations, good moments, bad moments. And everybody just gets along so well on our race team and, when you look at that as a group, it’s something that’s pretty special. I think the second thing is the fact that Ford has brought a lot to the table for our race team. It’s allowed us to expand our engineering staff over the first winter and really just brought resources to our team. So, when you add all those pieces to the puzzle up and look at the experience of the race team and you look at the partnerships we have with Ford and Mobil 1 and all the support we have from our ownership group to let us go out and explore and do the things and take the chance of switching to a different manufacturer and take the chance of bringing things into our own house and controlling more of our own parts and pieces, those things all added up.” 

What does it mean to honor and remember a military member on your No. 4 Mobil 1/Busch Beer Ford Fusion this Memorial Day weekend?
“There isn’t any sport that honors the military any better than NASCAR. I know a lot of sports do a lot of things for our military but, when you roll into this particular weekend with the Coke 600 and you are a part of the celebration and remembrance for all the things that have happened with our military, to see the support that NASCAR and everybody in our garage gives the military, especially on this particular weekend, is something that gives you goosebumps. We are honored to carry the names on our cars.”

Martin Truex Jr 4.4 average finish over past six Charlotte starts.

Martin Truex Jr is 5/1 to win Sunday's race.
DENVER, Colo. (May 22, 2018) — It is safe to say that Martin Truex Jr. has figured out Charlotte Motor Speedway, site of Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, the longest race on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit.

In his first 19 starts at Charlotte, Truex’s record was 0 wins, 0 top fives and four top 10s.

But in recent years his Charlotte performances have taken a 180-degree turn. In Charlotte’s past six races, Truex has won twice and scored five top fives. His most recent win at Charlotte was in the 2017 fall playoff race.

Where Truex has truly shined has been in the 400-lap Coca-Cola 600. In the past three Coca-Cola 600s, he has had results of fifth (2015), first (2016) and third (2017) for an average finish of 3.0. He has also led 756, or 63 percent, of the 1200 laps in those three races.

The question begs why the sudden turnaround for the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series champion at the 1.5-mile oval, located in the heart of NASCAR country?

“Ever since I came to Furniture Row Racing we just seem to figure that track out and it has suited us well,” explained Truex. “Very difficult track to get around and very tough to get your car setup right. Our guys are really good at giving me cars that I can drive and give me the feel in the car that I need to go fast. So hopefully we can continue that Sunday in our No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY Toyota.

One of the biggest moments in Truex’s career was when he won the 2016 Coca-Cola 600 in record fashion by leading 392 of 400 laps or 588 of 600 miles.

“That was a special night and will always remain a career highlight,” Truex said. “We had a great car and it was just our night. We didn’t make any mistakes and took advantage of a very fast Toyota Camry.”

Though Truex doesn’t like to look back at the what ifs, he did mention that he had a good shot of winning the last three Coke 600s if it hadn’t been for two of the races (2015 and 2017) that came down to a gambling fuel mileage contest.

“No doubt we could have won three in a row,” Truex noted. “Just a long race and more opportunity for fuel mileage to come into play. At some point of the race you get those long green-flag runs and for whatever reason they seem to come at the end. That’s the reason we lost it twice.”

The Memorial Day Weekend race will honor fallen military heroes, whose names will be on the windshield of the race cars. The tribute is part of NASCAR’s 600 Miles of Remembrance which honors military service members who paid the ultimate price to defend freedom.

Truex will honor 1st Lt. Arlen Del Richardson, a Lawrence, Kan. native who was killed in Vietnam in February 1970 during a reconnaissance mission. Richardson, who was 27 at the time of his death, was an U.S. Army medevac helicopter pilot.

“This is the weekend we all need to sit back, reflect and give thanks to all of our service members who lost their lives to defend freedom,” Truex stated. “I am honored to have 1st Lt. Arlen Del Richardson riding with me on this special weekend.”

Truex is coming off a pair of top-five finishes – fourth at Dover and second at Kansas. He is eighth in the driver point standings. His record after 12 races includes one win, seven top fives, seven top 10s and three poles.

Charlotte Motor Speedway Track Facts: 2018 Coca-Cola 600

Jimmie Johnson's eighth and final Charlotte win in fall of 2016. He's 60/1 to win Sunday, the highest odds ever placed on him.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 2018 Top 16 at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Rank
Driver
Races
Poles
Wins
Top Fives
Top 10s
DNFs
Average Finish
Driver Rating
 
 
1
Kyle Busch
28
2
0
11
16
6
15.5
104.9
 
2
Joey Logano
18
0
1
5
9
0
12.6
89.3
 
3
Kevin Harvick
34
2
3
8
16
2
14.8
91
 
4
Brad Keselowski
17
1
1
3
7
2
15
85.8
 
5
Kurt Busch
35
0
1
7
12
4
17.7
88.1
 
6
Clint Bowyer
24
0
1
2
5
1
17.5
78.4
 
7
Denny Hamlin
25
2
0
8
16
2
12.4
96.4
 
8
Martin Truex Jr
25
1
2
5
9
0
15.1
88.5
 
9
Ryan Blaney
6
0
0
0
1
1
23.2
76.9
 
10
Aric Almirola
11
1
0
0
1
1
19
72.2
 
11
Kyle Larson
9
0
0
1
3
2
18.7
85.8
 
12
Jimmie Johnson
33
4
8
15
20
5
12.5
109.8
 
13
Erik Jones
2
0
0
0
1
0
12
75.8
 
14
Alex Bowman
5
0
0
0
0
1
32
44.7
 
15
Chase Elliott
5
0
0
1
2
2
19.8
85.2
 
16
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
12
0
0
0
0
1
19.7
68.4
 
* – Based on last 26 races at Charlotte Motor Speedway (2005 – 2017).


Charlotte Motor Speedway – Loop Leaders
Monster Energy Series - Top 3 In Key Loop Data Statistics
Driver Rating

Avg. Running Position
Laps Led

Jimmie Johnson
109.8
Jimmie Johnson
8.019
Jimmie Johnson
1,094
Kyle Busch
104.9
Kyle Busch
10.069
Kyle Busch
993
Denny Hamlin
96.4
Denny Hamlin
11.165
Kasey Kahne
896
      
Fastest Laps Run
% Laps in the Top 15

Quality Passes

Jimmie Johnson
875
Jimmie Johnson
87.0%
Jimmie Johnson
1,260
Kasey Kahne
713
Kyle Busch
77.5%
Kyle Busch
1,239
Kyle Busch
621
Denny Hamlin
77.2%
Matt Kenseth
1,085
Loop Data stats are from 2005 - Present

Charlotte Motor Speedway Data
Season Race #: 12 of 36 (05-28-17)
Track Size: 1.5-miles
Banking/Turns 1 & 2: 24 degrees
Banking/Turns 3 & 4: 24 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 5 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 5 degrees
Frontstretch Length:  1,980 feet
Backstretch Length:  1,500 feet
Race Length: 400 laps / 600 miles
Stage Length: 100 Laps each

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Charlotte
Jimmie Johnson........................ 109.8
Kyle Busch............................... 104.9
Denny Hamlin............................. 96.4
Matt Kenseth.............................. 96.1
Kasey Kahne.............................. 93.3
Kevin Harvick............................. 91.0
Joey Logano............................... 89.3
Martin Truex Jr........................... 88.5
Kurt Busch................................. 88.1
Brad Keselowski......................... 85.8
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2017 races (26 total) among active drivers at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Qualifying/Race Data
2017 pole winner:
Kevin Harvick, Ford
193.424 mph, 27.918 secs. 05-26-17

2017 race winner:
Austin Dillon, Chevrolet
138.800 mph, (04:19:22), 05-28-17

Track qualifying record:
Kurt Busch, Chevrolet
198.771 mph, 27.167 secs. 10-09-14

Track race (600 miles) record:
Martin Truex Jr., Toyota
160.655 mph, (03:44:05), 05-29-16


At Charlotte Motor Speedway:
History
·        Construction began on Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS) in 1959.
·        The track’s first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup race was held on June 19, 1960 – won by Joe Lee Johnson.
·        The track was repaved midseason in 1994.
·        The track name changed from Charlotte Motor Speedway to Lowe’s Motor Speedway in 1999. It changed back to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the 2010 season.
·        The track was re-paved again before the 2006 season.
·        There have been 118 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points races at Charlotte Motor Speedway, two races per year since the track opened in 1960.
·        In 1961, there were two 100-mile qualifying points races held the week before the May race. The first six fall races at Charlotte were 400-mile events (1960-65).
Starts
·        539 drivers have competed in at least one Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points-paying race at Charlotte Motor Speedway; 390 in more than one.
·        NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty leads the series in starts at Charlotte with 64.
·        Matt Kenseth leads all active drivers in series starts at Charlotte with 37; followed by Kurt Busch with 35.
·        Jack Sprague (two starts) leads the series in average starting position at Charlotte with a 5.000.
·        Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in average starting position at Charlotte with an 8.575.
·        65 drivers in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series history have made their first series career start at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
·        Five active MENCS drivers have made their first career start at Charlotte Motor Speedway: Dale Earnhardt Jr.(5/30/99), Jimmie Johnson (10/7/01), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (5/29/11), Elliott Sadler (05/24/98) and Kyle Larson (10/12/13).

Poles
·        Fireball Roberts won the inaugural Busch Pole Award at Charlotte Motor Speedway (World 600) in 1960 with a speed of 133.904 mph.  
·        45 series drivers have won the Busch Pole Award at Charlotte, led by David Pearson with 14. Ryan Newman leads all active drivers in poles at CMS with nine; followed by Jimmie Johnson with four.
·        14 drivers have won consecutive Busch poles at Charlotte. David Pearson holds the record for most consecutive poles at Charlotte with 11-straight from the fall of 1973 through 1978. 
·        Kevin Harvick is the most recent driver to post consecutive poles (2016 Playoffs, 2017 May race).
·        Youngest Charlotte pole winner: Jeff Gordon (10/10/1993 – 22 years, 2 months, 6 days).
·        Oldest Charlotte pole winner: Bobby Allison (10/11/1987 – 49 years, 10 months, 8 days).
·        Eight drivers have posted their first career MENCS pole at Charlotte Motor Speedway: Donnie Allison (5/26/1968), Brett Bodine (10/7/1990), Jeff Gordon (10/10/1993), Ward Burton (10/9/1994), Derrike Cope (10/4/1998); including three active drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. (5/28/2000), Ryan Newman (5/27/2001) and Aric Almirola (5/27/2012).
Wins
·       50 different drivers have won at Charlotte Motor Speedway, led by Jimmie Johnson with eight wins – 2003 summer, 2004 sweep, 2005 sweep, 2009 playoffs, 2014 summer, 2016 playoffs.  

·        Youngest Charlotte winner: Jeff Gordon (05/29/1994 – 22 years, 9 months, 25 days).
·        Oldest Charlotte winner: Cale Yarborough (10/06/1985 – 46 years, 6 months, 9 days).
·        10 drivers have posted their first career MENCS win at Charlotte: David Pearson (5/28/1961), Buddy Baker (10/15/1967), Charlie Glotzbach (10/20/1968), Jeff Gordon (5/29/1994), Bobby Labonte (5/28/1995), Matt Kenseth (5/28/2000), Jamie McMurray (10/13/2002), Casey Mears (5/27/2007), David Reutimann (5/25/2009), Austin Dillon (5/28/2017).
·        Nine drivers have posted consecutive wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway, including three consecutive by NASCAR Hall of Famer Fred Lorenzen (fall 1964 and both 1965) and four-straight by Jimmie Johnson (2004 and 2005 sweeps).
·        A season sweep at Charlotte has occurred eight times, including each season from 2004-2007.
·        Hendrick Motorsports leads the series in wins at Charlotte in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with 19: Jimmie Johnson (eight), Jeff Gordon (five), Darrell Waltrip (two), Ken Schrader (one), Terry Labonte (one), Casey Mears (one) and Kasey Kahne (one).  
·        Eight different manufacturers have won in the MENCS at Charlotte; led by Chevrolet with 45 victories; followed by Ford (30), Dodge (15), Pontiac (8), Mercury (7), Toyota (5), Buick (4) and Plymouth (4).
·        16 of the 118 (13.5%) Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Charlotte have been won from the Busch Pole; the most recent was Martin Truex Jr. in 2016 (Coca-Cola 600).
·        The second-place starting position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (17) than any other starting position at Charlotte Motor Speedway. 
·        The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Charlotte is 37th, by Jimmie Johnson in the Coca-Cola 600 of 2003.
·        Ryan Newman leads the series among active drivers with the most Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Charlotte without visiting Victory Lane at 34.
Additional Finishing Positions
·        Richard Petty leads the series in runner-up finishes at Charlotte with nine. Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth lead all active drivers in runner-up finishes with four each.
·        NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Bobby Allison are tied for the series most top-five finishes at Charlotte with 23 each. Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers with 15; followed by Matt Kenseth with 12.  
·        Richard Petty leads the series in top-10 finishes at Charlotte with 31. Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth lead all active drivers with 20 each.   
·        Johnny Beauchamp (two starts) leads the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in average finishing position at Charlotte with a 7.000.
·        Daniel Suarez (two starts) leads all active drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in average finishing position at Charlotte with an 8.500.
Track / Event Specific Stats
·        Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory (MOV) in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway is the May 29, 2005, race won by Jimmie Johnson over Bobby Labonte with a MOV of 0.027 second.
·        There have been three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races resulting with NASCAR Overtime at Charlotte Motor Speedway (Scheduled No. of Laps/Actual No. of Laps): 2005 Playoff race (334/336), 2007 Playoff race (334/337), 2011 Coca-Cola 600 (400/402), 2017 Playoff Race (334/337).
·        Five of the 118 races at Charlotte Motor Speedway have been shortened due to weather conditions; the most recent was the 2009 Coca-Cola 600 won by David Reutimann and Michael Waltrip Racing. Four of the five races shortened were the 600-mile events (1968, 1997, 2003 and 2009).   
·        Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway twice; the fall race of 2002 and the fall race of 2008.   
·        Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the series in laps led at CMS with 1,930 laps led 33 starts.

Female Competitor Stats
·        Two female drivers have competed at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series: Janet Guthrie and Danica Patrick.
Driver
Starting Position
Finishing Position
Date
Danica Patrick
12
38
10/8/2017
Danica Patrick
15
25
5/28/2017
Danica Patrick
13
10
10/9/2016
Danica Patrick
19
21
5/29/2016
Danica Patrick
24
19
10/11/2015
Danica Patrick
20
22
5/24/2015
Danica Patrick
14
26
10/11/2014
Danica Patrick
4
39
5/25/2014
Danica Patrick
35
20
10/12/2013
Danica Patrick
24
29
5/26/2013
Danica Patrick
40
30
5/27/2012
Averages
20.0
25.4

Driver
Starting Position
Finishing Position
Date
Janet Guthrie
31
35
10/8/1978
Janet Guthrie
27
9
10/9/1977
Janet Guthrie
26
22
10/10/1976
Janet Guthrie
27
15
5/30/1976
Averages
27.8
20.3


NASCAR in North Carolina
·        There have been 810 NASCAR national series races among 31 tracks in North Carolina.
Track Name
City
Monster Energy
Xfinity
Camping World
Total Races
Charlotte Motor Speedway
Concord
118
72
16
279
Rockingham Speedway
Rockingham
78
42
2
122
North Wilkesboro Speedway
North
93
4
2
99
Hickory Speedway
Hickory
35
42
0
77
Asheville-Weaverville Speedway
Weaverville
34
0
0
34
Occoneechee Speedway
Hillsboro
32
0
0
32
Bowman Gray Stadium
Winston-Salem
29
0
0
29
Orange County Speedway
Rougemont
0
27
0
27
Southern States Fairgrounds
Charlotte
17
0
0
17
Charlotte Speedway
Charlotte
12
0
0
12
Concord Speedway
Concord
12
0
0
12
Wilson Speedway
Wilson
12
0
0
12
New Asheville Speedway
Asheville
8
0
0
8
Dog Track Speedway
Moyock
7
0
0
7
Raleigh Speedway
Raleigh
7
0
0
7
Cleveland County Fairgrounds
Shelby
6
0
0
6
Champion Speedway
Fayetteville
4
0
0
4
Caraway Speedway
Asheboro
0
3
0
3
Greensboro Agriculture Fairgrounds
Greensboro
3
0
0
3
North Carolina State Fairgrounds
Raleigh
3
0
0
3
Tar Heel Speedway
Randleman
3
0
0
3
Forsyth County Fairgrounds
Winston-Salem
2
0
0
2
Harris Speedway
Harris
2
0
0
2
Jacksonville Speedway
Jacksonville
2
0
0
2
Tri-City Speedway
High Point
2
0
0
2
Asheville Speedway
Asheville
0
1
0
1
Gastonia Fairgrounds
Gastonia
1
0
0
1
Harnett Speedway
Spring Lake
1
0
0
1
McCormick Field
Asheville
1
0
0
1
Salisbury Super Speedway
Salisbury
1
0
0
1
Star Lite Speedway
Monroe
1
0
0
1
Totals

526
191
20
810

North Carolina Drivers In NASCAR
·        454 drivers in NASCAR national series history have their home state recorded as North Carolina.
·        52 drivers from North Carolina have won at least one race in NASCAR’s three national series; 31 have won in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Driver
Monster Energy
Xfinity
Camping World
Richard Petty
200
0
0
Dale Earnhardt
76
21
0
Lee Petty
54
0
0
Ned Jarrett
50
0
0
Junior Johnson
50
0
0
Herb Thomas
48
0
0
Buck Baker
46
0
0
Bobby Isaac
37
0
0
Dale Jarrett
32
11
0
Rex White
28
0
0
Dale Earnhardt Jr
26
24
0
Jim Paschal
25
0
0
Benny Parsons
21
0
0
Speedy Thompson
20
0
0
Buddy Baker
19
0
0
Harry Gant
18
21
0
Bob Welborn
9
0
0
Kyle Petty
8
0
0
Morgan Shepherd
4
15
0
Brian Vickers
3
3
0
Bill Blair
3
0
0
Gwyn Staley
3
0
0
Austin Dillon
2
8
7
Billy Myers
2
0
0
Jimmy Pardue
2
0
0
Ryan Blaney
1
7
4
Phil Parsons
1
2
0
Richard Brickhouse
1
0
0
Leon Sales
1
0
0
Buddy Shuman
1
0
0
Donald Thomas
1
0
0
Jack Ingram
0
31
0
Tommy Houston
0
24
0
Sam Ard
0
22
0
Robert Pressley
0
10
2
William Byron
0
4
7
Scott Riggs
0
4
5
Hank Parker Jr
0
2
0
Johnny Rumley
0
2
0
Dennis Setzer
0
2
18
Ronnie Silver
0
2
0
Ed Berrier
0
1
0
Ty Dillon
0
1
3
Justin Labonte
0
1
0
Stephen Leicht
0
1
0
John Settlemyre
0
1
0
Timothy Peters
0
0
10
John Hunter Nemechek
0
0
6
Andy Houston
0
0
3
Austin Cindric
0
0
1
Ricky Hendrick
0
0
1
Shane Hmiel
0
0
1


 

Date
Track
Busch Pole
Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3
Race Winner
OEM
2/18/2018
Daytona
Alex Bowman
Kurt Busch
Ryan Blaney
N/A
Austin Dillon
Chevrolet
2/25/2018
Atlanta
Kyle Busch
Kevin Harvick
Brad Keselowski
N/A
Kevin Harvick
Ford
3/4/2018
Las Vegas
Ryan Blaney
Kevin Harvick
Kevin Harvick
N/A
Kevin Harvick
Ford
3/11/2018
ISM
Martin Truex Jr
Kyle Busch
Kurt Busch
N/A
Kevin Harvick
Ford
3/18/2018
Auto Club
Martin Truex Jr
Martin Truex Jr.
Martin Truex Jr.
N/A
Martin Truex Jr
Toyota
3/26/2018
Martinsville
None-Weather
Denny Hamlin
Ryan Blaney 
N/A
Clint Bowyer 
Ford 
4/8/2018
Texas
Kurt Busch
Kevin Harvick
Kyle Busch
N/A
Kyle Busch
Toyota
4/15/2018
Bristol
Kyle Busch
Brad Keselowski
Brad Keselowski
N/A
Kyle Busch
Toyota
4/21/2018
Richmond
Martin Truex Jr.
Joey Logano
Joey Logano
N/A
Kyle Busch
Toyota
4/29/2018
Talladega
Kevin Harvick
Brad Keselowski
Paul Menard
N/A
Joey Logano
Ford
5/6/2018
Dover
Kyle Larson
Kevin Harvick
Kevin Harvick
N/A
Kevin Harvick
Ford
5/12/2018
Kansas
Kevin Harvick
Ryan Blaney
Kyle Larson
N/A
Kevin Harvick
Ford
5/19/2018
All-Star Open
N/A
Alex Bowman
Daniel Suarez
N/A
AJ Allmendinger
Chevrolet
5/19/2018
All-Star Race
Matt Kenseth
Kevin Harvick
Kyle Busch
Kevin Harvick
Kevin Harvick
Ford
5/27/2018
Charlotte
      
6/3/2018
Pocono






6/10/2018
Michigan
      
6/24/2018
Sonoma






7/1/2018
Chicagoland
      
7/7/2018
Daytona






7/14/2018
Kentucky
      
7/22/2018
New Hampshire






7/29/2018
Pocono
      
8/5/2018
Watkins Glen






8/12/2018
Michigan
      
8/18/2018
Bristol






9/2/2018
Darlington
      
9/9/2018
Indianapolis






9/16/2018
Las Vegas
      
9/22/2018
Richmond






9/30/2018
Charlotte
      
10/7/2018
Dover






10/14/2018
Talladega
      
10/21/2018
Kansas






10/28/2018
Martinsville
      
11/4/2018
Texas






11/11/2018
ISM
      
11/18/2018
Homestead









Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series - Milestones
STARTS
Driver: Kurt Busch
Has
Needs
Milestone:
624
1
Will become the 24th driver to make 625 or more Monster Energy Series starts.
Driver: Kyle Busch
Has
Needs
Milestone:
474
1
Will become the 46th driver to make 475 or more Monster Energy Series starts.
Driver: Daniel Suarez
Has
Needs
Milestone:
48
2
Will become the 287th driver to make 50 or more Monster Energy Series starts.
WINS
Driver: Jimmie Johnson
Has
Needs
Milestone:
83
1
Tie Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip for fourth on the all-time series wins list.
Driver: Kyle Busch
Has
Needs
Milestone:
46
2
Tie Herb Thomas (48) for 14th on the all-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins list.
Driver: Kevin Harvick
Has
Needs
Milestone:
42
1
Tie Bill Elliott (44) for 16th on the all-time MENCS wins list.
Driver: Matt Kenseth
Has
Needs
Milestone:
39
1
To tie Mark Martin for 19th on the all-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins list.
Driver: Denny Hamlin
Has
Needs
Milestone:
31
1
To tie Dale Jarrett for 24th on the all-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins list.
Driver: Kurt Busch
Has
Needs
Milestone:
29
2
Tie Denny Hamlin for 25th on the all-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins list.
BUSCH POLES
Driver: Ryan Newman
Has
Needs
Milestone:
51
3
Tie Bill Elliott for eighth on the all-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series poles list.
Driver: Jimmie Johnson
Has
Needs
Milestone:
35
1
To tie Rusty Wallace and Rex White for 18th on the all-time series poles list.
Driver: Kyle Busch
Has
Needs
Milestone:
29
2
To tie Fonty Flock for 23rd on the all-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series poles list.
Driver: Kasey Kahne
Has
Needs
Milestone:
27
2
To tie Kyle Busch and Ricky Rudd for 25th on the all-time Monster Energy Series poles list.



Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series - Milestones
Second-Place Finishes
Driver: Jimmie Johnson
Has
Needs
Milestone:
46
2
Tie Lee Petty for 11th on the all-time series second-place finishes list.
Driver: Kyle Busch
Has
Needs
Milestone:
43
1
Tie Tony Stewart for 13th on the all-time series second-place finishes list.
Driver: Matt Kenseth
Has
Needs
Milestone:
30
1
Tie Benny Parsons for 24th on the all-time series second-place finishes list.
Top Fives
Driver: Jimmie Johnson
Has
Needs
Milestone:
223
2
To become the 11th series driver all-time to post 225 or more top fives
Driver: Matt Kenseth
Has
Needs
Milestone:
181
1
Tie Terry Labonte for 18th on the series all-time top-five finishes list
Driver: Martin Truex Jr.
Has
Needs
Milestone:
74
1
To become the 54th series driver all-time to post 75 or more top fives
Top 10s
Driver: Jimmie Johnson
Has
Needs
Milestone:
345
4
Tie Rusty Wallace for 11th on the series all-time top-10 finishes list
Driver: Kevin Harvick
Has
Needs
Milestone:
317
2
Tie Cale Yarborough for 16th on the series all-time top-10 finishes list
Laps Led
Driver: Jimmie Johnson
Has
Needs
Milestone:
18,663
337
To become the ninth driver in the MENCS all-time to lead 19,000 laps.
Driver: Kyle Busch
Has
Needs
Milestone:
14,878
122
To become the 10th driver in the MENCS all-time to lead 15,000 laps.
Driver: Kevin Harvick
Has
Needs
Milestone:
11,911
89
To become the 15th driver all-time in the MENCS to lead 12,000 laps.
Driver: Matt Kenseth
Has
Needs
Milestone:
11,751
249
To become the 15th driver all-time in the MENCS to lead 12,000 laps.
Driver: Martin Truex Jr.
Has
Needs
Milestone:
6,796
204
To become the 29th driver all-time in the MENCS to lead 7,000 laps.