Sunday NASCAR put on its longest race of the season with the running of the Coca-Cola at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It was a home game of sorts for most of NASCAR’s Cup Series teams, which are primarily based in the Charlotte area. And that racing at home feel will be replicated again on Wednesday when the series heads right back to Charlotte for the Alsco Uniforms 500, as this time though the marathon turns to a virtual sprint for the Cup Series.
Alsco Uniforms 500 Cup Series Event
The Cup Series will run the Alsco Uniforms 500 at Charlotte Wednesday. The 500-kilometer event (208 laps, 312 miles) will mark the shortest Cup Series event in the history of the facility.
Brad Keselowski (10.5-1) carries the winner’s momentum into Charlotte Wednesday after scoring victory in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600.
Sunday’s win marked the second career Cup Series victory at Charlotte for Keselowski, who got his first win in the former fall event at the venue in 2013. After struggling for much of his early career at Charlotte, Keselowski has top-10 finishes at the track in six of his last nine Cup Series starts there.
Chase Elliott (6.5-1) looked to be cruising to a runaway victory in the Coca-Cola 600 Sunday before a late caution brought out by his teammate William Byron forced him to the pits before the final restart. Elliott fought back to finish third on track and was ultimately credited with second after runner-up Jimmie Johnson was disqualified for failing post-race tech inspection.
Elliott has eight career starts at Charlotte and has been on the cusp of victory three of his last four races at the track so will probably be in the mix for the Uniforms 500 too. Over his last four starts at the track he has two seconds and a fourth-place finish with a worst finish of 11th during that span.
Martin Truex Jr. (6-1) is still looking for his first Cup Series win of the season and Charlotte is certainly a track where the probability of that happening increases for the former series champion.
Truex won the 2019 Coca-Cola 600 and was also victorious in the event in 2016. He also has a win in the former fall event at Charlotte. Over 28 starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway Truex has seven top-five’s and 12 top-10’s with an average finish of 13.8.
Denny Hamlin (10-1) is a driver long overdue for a first victory at Charlotte. The winner of this year’s Daytona 500 and last week’s Wednesday night Cup Series event at Darlington has top-five finishes in five of the last eight events at Charlotte. In 28 career Cup Series starts at the track Hamlin has finished outside the top-10 just 11 times.
Hamlin will be looking to bounce back from a horrendous day on Sunday that saw their race go bad before the green flag for the start was even waved. On the pace laps of Sunday’s race two tungsten weight blocks fell off his car forcing him to the pits to get them replaced. By the time Hamlin got back on track he was already eight laps down from the leaders.
Kyle Busch’s only Cup Series career victory in 31 starts at Charlotte came in the 2018 Coca-Cola 600. Despite few trips to victory lane, Busch (7-1) typically tends to find a way to finish strong at Charlotte. He was fourth on Sunday and has 14 top-five finishes and 19 top-10’s overall at the track and has finished in the top-five in 11 of the last 19 events at the track.
Kevin Harvick (7-1) has been a force in all three events since NASCAR’s return to action after shutdown. He won the Cup Series event on May 17 at Darlington was third in the May 20 event there behind winner Hamlin and second place Busch. Harvick recorded a fifth-place finish Sunday at Charlotte.
Harvick has three career victories at Charlotte but hasn’t won at the track since 2014. He has finished in the top-10 in 18 of his 37 career starts at the track.
Despite his disqualification Sunday, Johnson’s team has shown signs of resurgence since NASCAR’s restart from its shutdown and could take that form into the Alsco Uniforms 500 as well.
Johnson (10.5-1), a seven-time series champion, has eight victories at Charlotte over 36 career Cup Series starts. Johnson’s last win at the track came in the fall event in 2016. Before Sunday’s disqualification he had finished in the top-eight in five of the last seven events in Charlotte.
Alex Bowman (9-1) led a race high 164 laps at Charlotte Sunday but ultimately settled for a 19th place finish.
Tyler Reddick (41-1) is an interesting long shot choice. The Richard Childress Racing rookie has been strong in the last three events. He was eighth on Sunday at Charlotte and recorded a Cup Series best finish of seventh in the May 17 event at Darlington.