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NASCAR Motors On With Coca-Cola 600

After restarting their Cup Series season with a pair of newly-injected events into the schedule at Darlington Raceway earlier this week, NASCAR returns to some schedule normalcy for Memorial Day weekend. NASCAR’s longest event of the season, the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, is a long-held tradition for the sport. And despite much modifying and maneuvering with the schedule going forward thanks to the COVID-19 global pandemic, NASCAR will keep that Charlotte Memorial Day weekend tradition alive on Sunday.

Normal NASCAR Qualifying For Coca-Cola 600

The Cup Series will run a one-day event Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. After running two events at Darlington with no qualifying, the Charlotte event on Sunday will return normal qualifying for the event.

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Fox will broadcast the 6 p.m. ET event Sunday with qualifying taking place at 2 p.m.

Martin Truex Jr. is still looking for his first Cup Series win of the season and Charlotte is a place where the likelihood of that happening increases for the former series champion.

Truex (7-1) won last year’s Coca-Cola 600 and was also victorious in the event in NASCAR 2016. He also has a win in the former fall event at Charlotte. Over 27 starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway Truex has seven top-five’s and 11 top-10’s with an average finish of 14.1.

Denny Hamlin (10-1) is a driver long overdue for a first victory at Charlotte. The winner of this year’s Daytona 500 and Wednesday’s Cup Series event at Darlington has top-five finishes in five of the last seven event at Charlotte. In 27 career starts at the track he has finished outside the top-10 just 10 times.

Kyle Busch’s lone career victory in 30 starts at Charlotte came in the 2018 NASCAR Coca-Cola 600. Despite few trips to victory lane, Busch (5-1) typically tends to find a way to finish well and be in contention at Charlotte. He has 13 top-five finishes and 18 top-10’s and has finished in the top-five in 10 of the last 18 events at the track.

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Kevin Harvick (7-1) has been strong in both events since NASCAR’s return to action after shutdown. He won the Cup Series event on May 17 at Darlington was third in Wednesday’s event behind Hamlin and second place Busch.

Harvick has three career victories at Charlotte Motor Speedway but hasn’t won at the track since 2014. He has finished in the top-10 in 17 of his 36 career starts at Charlotte.

Joey Logano (9.5-1) goes to Charlotte looking to add his second career victory at the 1.5-mile oval. He won the fall event at Charlotte in 2015. Overall he has top-10 finishes in half of his 20 career starts at the track with an average finish of 12.5.

Logano’s Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski (10-1) has a win at Charlotte in the 2013 fall event and eight top-10 finishes in 19 starts at the track.

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Kurt Busch (26-1) has shown breakout signs of late with Chip Ganassi Racing. The former NASCAR series champion was the 2010 Coca-Cola 600 winner.

Seven-time series champion Jimmie Johnson (17-1) is the perfect long shot choice for the weekend. Johnson’s eight victories at Charlotte over 35 career Cup Series far eclipses the numbers for any other active driver. Johnson’s last win at the track came in the fall event in 2016. He has finished in the top-eight in five of the last six events.

Sunday’s event marks the first of back-to-back events for the Cup Series at the home base track for many of NASCAR’s organizations. The series will return to action for the Alsco Uniforms 500 on Wednesday May 27.

Shawn Courchesne is an award-winning journalist who has been a sports reporter for 27 years and has covered motorsports professionally since 1995. The New England native spent 19 years as a reporter at the Hartford (CT) Courant, where he primarily covered UConn football & basketball, the NFL, NASCAR and boxing. In 2012 he launched the website RaceDayCT.com, which today is the leading source for New England short track racing news.

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  1. Pingback: NASCAR Back In Charlotte For Alsco Uniforms 500 | Sports Intel

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