Preview: NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway

NASCAR’s longest drive of the year is also one of the most grueling events of all three motorsports series competing on the Greatest Day in Racing.

Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

The Greatest Day in Racing is upon us. Whether you are a Formula 1, IndyCar, or NASCAR fan, it’s time to buckle up and get ready for the best day of the year for most motorsport enthusiasts. On Sunday, fans can start their day by watching the Monaco Grand Prix, followed by the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500. NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the most patriotic race of the year for American stock car racing fans, will be the last race of the day.

The Coca-Cola 600 is the longest race of the three motorsports series on Memorial Day Weekend. It is the only race on The Greatest Day in Racing that will start during the day and conclude at night under the lights. Compared to last week's All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, NASCAR fans can expect a different style of racing at the 1.5-mile track. There will be more horsepower but less downforce for a demanding 400 laps around NASCAR’s home track. The annual Coca-Cola 600 is sure to be a tough race for the drivers to endure.

Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Matt Kenseth drives the #6 Wyndham Rewards Ford through the garage area during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 24, 2018, in Charlotte, North Carolina.


The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Schedule for the Coca-Cola 600:


Coca-Cola 600 (Follow live)
The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway
The Date: Sunday, May 27, 2018
The Time: Approximately 6 p.m. ET
TV: Fox, 5:30 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Hashtag: #CocaCola600
Distance: 600 miles (400 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 100), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 200), Stage 3 (Ends on Lap 300), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 400)

Press Pass (Watch live)
NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2019 Inductees: 3:05 p.m. ET
Post-Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race: 10:15 p.m. ET


Listen: He’s a Winner. Hate Him Now.


Starting Lineup

(Position, Driver, Manufacturer)

1. Kyle Busch, Toyota
2. Joey Logano, Ford
3. Denny Hamlin, Toyota
4. Erik Jones, Toyota
5. Brad Keselowski, Ford
6. Ryan Newman, Chevrolet
7. Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet
8. Ryan Blaney, Ford
9. Aric Almirola, Ford
10. Daniel Suarez, Toyota
11. Kyle Larson, Chevrolet
12. Austin Dillon, Chevrolet
13. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford
14. Paul Menard, Ford
15. Martin Truex Jr., Toyota
16. Kurt Busch, Ford
17. Matt Kenseth, Ford
18. Chris Buescher, Chevrolet
19. David Ragan, Ford
20. Ty Dillon, Chevrolet
21. William Byron, Chevrolet
22. Chase Elliott, Chevrolet
23. Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet
24. Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet
25. Ross Chastain, Chevrolet
26. Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet
27. Alex Bowman, Chevrolet
28. Clint Bowyer, Ford
29. Michael McDowell, Ford
30. AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet
31. Matt DiBenedetto, Ford
32. Parker Kligerman, Toyota
33. Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet
34. Gray Gaulding, Toyota
35. Landon Cassill, Chevrolet
36. Timmy Hill, Toyota
37. Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet
38. BJ McLeod, Chevrolet
39. Kevin Harvick, Ford
40. JJ Yeley, Chevrolet


Past 10 Coca-Cola 600 Winners at Charlotte Motor Speedway

(Year, Driver, Manufacturer)

2008, Kasey Kahne, Dodge
2009, David Reutimann, Toyota
2010, Kurt Busch, Dodge
2011, Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet
2012, Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet
2013, Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet
2014, Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet
2015, Carl Edwards, Toyota
2016, Martin Truex, Jr., Toyota
2017, Austin Dillon, Chevrolet

Coca-Cola 600 History

 
Kevin Harvick for the win—maybe? Harvick is one of only three active drivers competing in this year’s Coca-Cola 600 that have won NASCAR’s toughest race more than once. The 2014 NASCAR Cup champion has already amassed five wins this season, not including his $1-million-dollar All-Star Race win. Will he be able to race from the back to add another win to his 2018 resume?

Harvick and his No. 4 team missed qualifying at Charlotte Motor Speedway due to three failed inspections. The team will be forced to start from the back of the pack for the Coca-Cola 600 thanks to issues clearing NASCAR’s Optical Scanning Station (OSS) machine. Harvick’s car chief was ejected for the weekend.

Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

Jimmie Johnson drives the #48 Lowe's Patriotic Chevrolet through the garage area during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 24, 2018, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Active drivers that have more than one Coca-Cola 600 win aside from Harvick include Kasey Kahne (3 wins) and seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup champion Jimmie Johnson (4 wins). Ironically, Kyle Busch, the 2018 Coca-Cola 600 pole sitter and current leader in the NASCAR’s Cup standings has never won the 400 lap race. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has won other races at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. However, Charlotte is the only track where he has never won a points-paying race in the Cup Series.  Busch is a nine-time Xfinity Series and seven-time Camping World Truck Series winner at the 1.5-mile track.

With track conditions constantly changing, up and down temperatures, and racing during the day into the night, do you believe Busch is up for the challenge of the Coca-Cola 600 and defending his Cup Series lead?