Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch 2-Minute Drill: Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte

A full 500 miles of racing have already been completed on Sunday (May 30) with Helio Castroneves‘ historic win in the Indianapolis 500 kicking off a full day of motorsports, but 600 miles loom ahead of the NASCAR Cup Series for the evening’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

See also
Helio Castroneves Wins Historic 4th Indianapolis 500

The normally busy day was cut in a third, devoid of morning racing since Formula 1’s Monaco Grand Prix was held last week. A total of 1,100 miles still populate the afternoon and evening, and polesitter Kyle Larson will lead the Cup field to green alongside Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and 36 other competitors.

Other notable qualifiers include Austin Dillon (sixth), Daniel Suárez (ninth), Ross Chastain (10th) and Tyler Reddick (15th).

Kurt Busch and B.J. McLeod will drop to the back for unapproved adjustments, a huge change compared to nine cars at Circuit of the Americas last week.

Fortunately for those two and the rest of the field, the rain chance for Sunday’s race doesn’t spike above 2% for the duration of the event, which is a blessing after last week’s eventual washout at COTA. Chase Elliott is coming off the rain-shortened victory there; he’s also the most recent winner on the 1.5-mile oval, scoring the win in last spring’s 312-mile race (also impacted by rain, but delayed rather than shortened). Elliott also won the fall race there, albeit on the road course-oval hybrid layout.

Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick are the most frequent winners at the track among active drivers, with three points victories apiece on the oval. Harvick hasn’t won there since 2014 and is winless so far in 2021; Truex, meanwhile, has two 600-mile triumphs in the last six years and led 508 of the 800 total laps between the two races. Harvick (fifth) and Truex (eighth) will both roll off inside the top 10.

The lengthy event caps off a trio of action-filled days at Charlotte. John Hunter Nemechek led more than half the race en route to a win in Friday’s (May 28) Camping World Truck Series race, which featured a violent crash late in the running that resulted in Johnny Sauter‘s Toyota practically disintegrating across the frontstretch (including damaging Nemechek’s truck).

See also
John Hunter Nemechek Wins at Charlotte; Johnny Sauter Walks Away From Massive Crash

Two more races were run within the next 24 hours, with the Xfinity Series and ARCA Menards division both competing on Saturday (May 30). Ty Gibbs won both, scoring his second Xfinity and fourth ARCA wins of the season for a Saturday sweep.

See also
Ty Gibbs Takes Home Alsco Uniforms 300 For 2nd Career Win

Reddick, Chase Briscoe, Justin Haley and Cody Ware make up the quartet of double-duty drivers competing in at least one series along with Cup at Charlotte.

Bend your TV’s rabbit ears to FOX for the Coca-Cola 600, which will take the green flag at 6:23 p.m. ET.

About the author

Adam Cheek joined Frontstretch as a contributing writer in January 2019. A 2020 graduate of VCU, he works as a producer and talent for Audacy Richmond's radio stations. In addition to motorsports journalism, Adam also covered and broadcasted numerous VCU athletics for the campus newspaper and radio station during his four years there. He's been a racing fan since the age of three, inheriting the passion from his grandfather, who raced in amateur events up and down the East Coast in the 1950s.

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