One of the most-hyped races of the year–the Coca-Cola 600–is this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and unfortunately it also tends to be one of the most boring. NASCAR is trying to stop that from happening this weekend, though, as they have added VHT to the racing surface to try and allow multiple racing grooves, as well as by adding a fourth Stage to the race–equally splitting up each stage into 100 laps.
Kevin Harvick is on the pole for this year’s Coke 600 and the full starting lineup can be found by clicking here. After a dead day on Friday with no on-track activity, we got two practice sessions on Saturday morning, but you have to take those speeds with a grain of salt considering we will be racing in the late afternoon and into night on Sunday. The results of those can be found here: Practice #2 — Happy Hour. As always, our in-depth notes are also very helpful, and those can be found here: Practice #2 — Happy Hour.
Final Top 25 Ranking For The Charlotte Coca-Cola 600
1. Kevin Harvick – Starts 1st – DraftKings Price: $10,300 – Yahoo! A Group
**Risk Factor: Low Risk**
The #4 Ford is on the pole again this weekend (and for the second straight points-paying race at Charlotte), and now the only question is whether or not the car is good enough to finally get into victory lane. Harvick is a three-time winner here at Charlotte Motor Speedway and has finished 1st or 2nd in four of the last eight races at this track. This weekend, in addition to being fastest during qualifying on Thursday, the #4 Ford was 9th-best in Practice #2 while posting the 8th-best ten-lap average in Happy Hour. Looking at the last three Coca-Cola 600 races, the winner has started from 1st, 3rd, and 1st, so that bodes well for Harvick here on Sunday night. The only concern that this #4 team has to have right now is the guy who starts on the outside pole, Kyle Busch. I’m expecting both of those drivers to lead quite a few laps here this weekend.
2. Kyle Busch – Starts 2nd – DraftKings Price: $9,800 – Yahoo! A Group
**Risk Factor: Medium Risk**
The Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas are very close to getting back to where they’re actually contending for race wins, and the driver that’s probably going to break through first is Kyle Busch. Looking at recent races, Rowdy led 59 laps at Kansas a couple of weeks ago, and that was a week after he led the most laps (48) at Talladega. He’s close. Here at Charlotte, Busch has yet to get to victory lane in a points-paying event, but he has posted a single-digit finish in fourteen of the last nineteen races here and is poised to post another this weekend. The #18 Toyota will roll off the grid from the outside pole when we get going here on Sunday night, and Busch should be able to lead quite a few of the 400 scheduled laps. Kyle had the 2nd-best ten-lap average in Practice #2 on Saturday morning and wound up 6th on that chart in Happy Hour with the 12th-fastest overall lap.
3. Martin Truex, Jr. – Starts 8th – DraftKings Price: $10,700 – Yahoo! A Group
**Risk Factor: Low Risk**
The #78 Toyota didn’t roll off the truck as the fastest car in the garage but that doesn’t mean that Truex is out of the potential winner discussion. Remember, we have 600 miles to race here on Sunday night, and it’s unlikely that just one driver is going to dominate the whole race–even though Truex did it last year (despite DW’s opinion that he was “challenged”). Anyway, Martin is the best driver on 1.5-mile race tracks and he has led 523 laps in the last two Coca-Cola 600 races, finishing 1st and 5th in those two events. Overall, Truex has three top 5s in the last four races here at Charlotte and should make it four of the last five after this weekend. He’ll roll off the grid from 8th and had the best ten-lap average in Practice #2 on Saturday morning (by more than 1 mph on average). In Happy Hour, Truex was just 17th-fastest on the overall speed chart but had the 7th-best ten-lap average.