Race: Coca-Cola 600
Date: Sunday May 27, 2018
Track: Charlotte Motor Speedway
Time: 6pm ET
by Virginia Vroom, NASCAR Handicapper, Predictem.com
In an interesting turn of events, NASCAR managed to produce one of the best actual races in a very long time. Although the All-Star Race wasn’t a points-driven event, it was definitely an aggressive one. With all that money on the line, the drivers didn’t hold back, leaving Kevin Harvick to take the win. Not that it’s any surprise, but there was a multitude of potential winners throughout the night. In fact, in this very same event from last year, Kyle Busch won with zero green flag lead changes. This year, there was a total of 38 total green flag lead changes.
So, it looks like NASCAR did something right! Charlotte was an opportunity for NASCAR to introduce restrictor plates on cars for an intermediate track. The cars also were built with noticeably larger spoilers. Overall, from a fan’s perspective, the racing was obviously much better. There were more than just passes for the lead. There were passes all over the track from the back to the front. It indeed seemed to make a world of difference. The drivers seemed somewhat split on the change. Kevin Harvick, of course, supported it, saying that he liked the competitiveness that came from the changes. Joey Logano, on the other hand, said the change wasn’t good or bad…just different. Honestly, he seemed a bit salty, but who’s to blame him? He said that it should be up to the drivers as to whether they continue to run this package and extend it to other tracks, but NASCAR seems to be on the bandwagon of expanding its use already. We’ll have to see how it all plays out for the rest of the year and the rest of the intermediate tracks.
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In the meantime, we are heading back to Charlotte for the main event after the All-Star Race. The Coca-Cola 600 is perhaps one of the most significant events of the year. It is a grueling 600-mile race that puts a lot of strain on both drivers and cars alike. It also tends to be crazy hot on Memorial Day weekend during the race, which affects a lot of the drivers and their abilities to remain comfortable in the cars for this extended period. Charlotte Motor Speedway boasts a long history as a stereotypical or cookie-cutter intermediate track. It’s really the template for these sizes of tracks and serves as an excellent foundation for other track ideas. Charlotte is a 1.5-mile asphalt quad oval with 24-degree banking in the turns and 5 degrees on the straights. It has multiple grooves, with many drivers finding multiple lines to make their cars work.
As we look at potential winners, how in the world do you go against Kevin Harvick? That’d be like going against Secretariat in the Belmont. You don’t do it. So, there you have it. Cut and dry. Kevin Harvick will take the win on Sunday. That’s not to say he won’t have some good competition. I’m interested to see if we see the eclectic group of drivers running up in the front pack like on Sunday. Daniel Suarez came in second, as a matter of fact, trailed by Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, and Chase Elliott. Jimmie Johnson had a solid 6th place finish followed by Kyle Larson, AJ Allmendinger, Kyle Busch, and Kasey Kahne. Here’s a look at your potential winners this weekend heading back to Charlotte:
My Pick to Win: Kevin Harvick
Middle of the Road Pick: Chase Elliott
Dark Horse Prediction: Kasey Kahne
I’m going out on a massive limb with Kasey Kahne. He’s been pretty faulty at best in recent years. It seems his hay-day has come and gone, but maybe he’s got something left. He always did pretty well at the bigger tracks, so let’s give him a shot this weekend. This is one of the only times I’d run him on a win roster, to be honest. Chase Elliott has a much better shot in my opinion of taking the win this weekend. He’s got an affinity for intermediate tracks, but he’s had some issues this year and has struggled more so now than his previous year. Let’s see if Charlotte is a place where he can turn around his luck. Overall, Harvick will more certainly be the one to beat. He’s closing his lead on Kyle Busch, but he remains third in the points heading into this weekend.
Here are your current top 16 after last week’s race:
1. Kyle Busch
2. Joey Logano
3. Kevin Harvick
4. Brad Keselowski
5. Kurt Busch
6. Clint Bowyer
7. Denny Hamlin
8. Martin Truex Jr.
9. Ryan Blaney
10. Aric Almirola
11. Kyle Larson
12. Jimmie Johnson
13. Erik Jones
14. Alex Bowman
15. Chase Elliott
16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Harvick will have his work cut out for him. There are a lot of solid drivers coming back to Charlotte this weekend. Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, and Martin Truex Jr. are going to be some fierce competitors. This will be a long and grueling race. There are going to be a lot of drivers to look out for and a lot of variables including driver stamina, weather, and equipment failures to be cautious of. When it comes to making it through this race, the drivers that can finish are to be applauded, regardless of placings. It’s simply a feat to finish on the lead lap after 600 miles at Charlotte. Stay tuned for a very patriotic, fun-filled, Memorial Day celebration as the drivers race to the checkers at Charlotte Motor Speedway! - Looking for more than just standard driver to win NASCAR bets? Check out 5Dimes!