The Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway is set for Saturday May 30 at 6:00 PM. Tune in on Fox Sports 1, MRN radio, or SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 to catch Saturday’s action.
Four hundred laps and 600 miles - it’s the longest race on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule, and while most races have 3 stages, this race has 4, which are also100 laps each. The annual Memorial Day Weekend Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway is the ultimate endurance test. Drivers will compete for four hours while battling with other cars, changing track conditions and unexpected cautions.
The “Beast of the Southeast” is a 1.5 mile quad oval. The turns feature 24-degree banking and the straights have 5-degree banking. This is a “home” race for the majority of NASCAR teams as well, as they have team shops located in and around the Charlotte area. Lastly, please pay attention to the driver’s windshields. While most races feature the drivers’ last names, this weekend teams will honor fallen service members. Now let's dive into some drivers to look out for in Sunday's race and a best bet to boot:
Best Bets Recap
Twitter H2H Matchup- Martin Truex Jr (+130 BetOnline) vs. Chase Elliott: I’ll be honest, I was hesitant to place any money on this race. So many uncertainties, but Elliott and Truex Jr are the two top road course drivers. What I didn’t know was that NASCAR was going to let the race go on in the pouring rain. Cup cars can drive on a wet road course, even with some mist/light rain. The conditions on Sunday were way worse. The rooster tails (water spraying up in the air from the back tires) made zero visibility for the drivers. Twitter dummies were trying to compare other racing series of who can go in the rain. These are Cup cars, not sports cars. Veteran Kevin Harvick said, “It's the most unsafe thing I've ever done in a race car by a lot. You can't see anything down the straightaways.” How did Truex Jr do? He rammed into the back of McDowell on the straightaway, and then Cole Custer rammed into the back of Truex Jr. It was a mess. Elliott went on to win the rain-shortened race and Truex Jr finished 35th. I’m not mad that I lost the bet, wrecks happen. I’m mad that officials kept the race going when drivers complained that they couldn’t see and made it known they were hydroplaning in certain parts of the track.
Drivers to Look Out For *Statistics since 2018*
Martin Truex Jr (+600 FanDuel): Best finish, 1st. Worst finish, 9th. That is pretty impressive to finish inside the top 10 in the last 4 races at Charlotte. He’s tied with another driver with the best average finish of 4.5 over that span. He has led 203 laps which ranks 3rd on the list. Over the last five 1.5 mile low tire wear tracks, Truex Jr has an average of 5.4 (only behind Kyle Busch), average running position of 7.6 (ranks 4th) and has finished inside the top 10 in each of the five races. He won here back in 2019 and the #19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota is an easy favorite.
Chase Elliott (+600 FanDuel): Oh boy, here we go. All the Hendrick cars have a win under their belt, most recently, the reigning champ. Can you take a guess who Truex Jr is tied with for the best average finish? Yeah, you guessed it, Chase Elliott. He has statistically gotten better at this track each year with finishes of 11th (2018), 4th (2019), 2nd (2020) and 1st (2020) in that order. He hasn’t led as many laps as other drivers, only 103, but that shouldn’t be a factor unless you’re playing DFS. Elliott ranked 3rd overall fastest in both Charlotte races last year. Over the last eleven High Speed Intermediate Tracks Total Speed Rankings (Low to Minimal Tire Wear track type) Elliott has been 3rd fastest. You get the point, he’s fast. Fast is good. Fast will bring Rick Hendrick another win for his storied race team--would not be surprised if Elliott went back to the winners circle for a second straight week.
Kyle Busch (+700 FanDuel): When practice is involved, Kyle Busch has to be looked at as a dominator/ favorite to win. Dominator? Yeah he has led the most laps over the last four races, 456 laps led to be exact. Not counting the last Charlotte race (finished 29th), his other Charlotte finishes are 4th (2020), 3rd (2019) and 1st (2018). He has the best average finish (3.2) over the last five races at low tire wear 1.5 mile tracks. His two wins are the most for any driver over those five races as well. Being that this is a 600 mile race, I would argue that this gives Busch an advantage as well. He has time to figure out how to make his car better and while the track conditions change, he will stay ahead of the competition. He is starting to become his old self and put that 2020 season behind him. Advantage, Kyle Busch.
Best Value Bet
William Byron (-112) vs. Alex Bowman: FanDuel has matched Hendrick drivers against each other. Over the last four Charlotte races, Byron’s 13.8 average finish is slightly better than Bowman’s 16.5. When comparing two tracks that are similar to Charlotte, Las Vegas and Kansas, Byron also fared out better. He finished 8th at Vegas and 9th at Kansas. Bowman on the other hand finished 27th at Vegas and 18th and Kansas. NASCAR has blessed us again with practice. Byron was FAST during Friday’s happy hour practice. Byron was faster when comparing 5, 10 and 15 lap average speeds. Byron ranked 6th to Bowman’s 23rd 5 lap average speed. When looking at longer run speed, Byron got even faster. His was 2nd on 10 lap average speed and 1st on 15 lap average speed. Bowman didn’t even make the list (10/15 lap averages stop at 14th place). If it’s the longest race of the year, and Byron is getting faster as the run goes on, I’m taking the #24 on this one!