Coca-Cola 600 Race Analysis & Predictions

by | Last updated May 27, 2021 | nascar

Race: Coca-Cola 600

Date: Sunday May 30, 2021

Track: Charlotte Motor Speedway

Time: 6pm ET

Channel: FOX

What Did We Learn From Last Week?

And just like that, the inaugural race at The Circuit of the Americas is in the books. As predicted, Chase Elliott came home with the win after a rain shortened race that infuriated a LOT of drivers and teams alike. Quite frankly, it was rightfully so. Top tier teams and drivers were furious after they encountered crazy conditions on the track. NASCAR officials were put in a position where there was nothing more they could do other than put their tail between their legs and concede to the fact that there were some serious issues during the race that should’ve been addressed. The race clearly should’ve been either postponed or called after the initial incident with Christopher Bell and Ryan Blaney. On lap 20 (which is why NASCAR couldn’t “call” the race), the back straightaway turned into a point of contention or zero visibility after rain started falling steadily. Bell ran into the back of Blaney’s car causing another incident behind them. Although Kevin Harvick’s spotter was able to warn him of the impending danger, either no one warned Bubba Wallace or Bubba Wallace just couldn’t get his act together and ran into the back of Harvick. Both of their days ended after that incident. Kevin Harvick was one of the most vocal drivers in terms of the safety issues of racing in the conditions present.

I don’t blame Harvick. After seeing his incident after Bell and Blaney’s incident FOLLOWED by another incident involving Cole Custer and Martin Truex Jr. and flames, well, it’s safe to say this wasn’t a race of skill. It was a race of luck. With drivers having literally zero visibility, it was nothing more than a crap shoot. That’s not okay. As a fan sitting there and watching these things unfold and wondering why NASCAR didn’t red flag sooner, it really was bewildering. NASCAR finally had a mea culpa and admitted that this was a learning process. But let’s be real. After the THIRD wreck where a car went under another one and caught on fire, can we all agree that these conditions were not an accurate indicator of skill? Anyone driving with a lack of visibility to that degree understands that skill has very little to do with it.

Where Are We Headed This Weekend?

These guys and teams have a much different track coming at them this weekend. Charlotte is a traditional holiday track that NASCAR puts on the schedule. This Memorial Day weekend, these teams are going to be battling one of the most traditional types of intermediate tracks on the circuit. Rich in its history, Charlotte is still a very cookie cutter type track that we see through the whole season. This used to be a track that was dominated by Jimmie Johnson when it was known as Lowes Motor Speedway. Those were some of the greatest haydays of racing in my opinion. The 1999-2009 years saw a lot of changes but still a lot of competitive racing. When Johnson was racing, however, he was a hands-down favorite here. Now, we’ve had to shift our focus with Jimmie no longer racing in NASCAR. The things to think about the most at tracks like this include long green flag runs and especially the tire wear that comes with them. Charlotte lends itself to few cautions. It’s a track where the field tends to spread out and ride comfortably for a good portion of the race. That’s because this place is a 1.5-mile asphalt quad-oval with 24 degrees of banking through the turns and 5 degrees on the straights. There isn’t much brake usage as these guys go into the turns and then back out onto the straights. The speed and momentum carried throughout the track don’t create too many equipment issues like we see at some other tracks like Pocono or Darlington with odder configurations. One cool thing about this race is that it is the longest race of the years. The drivers and teams will need to set up their cars knowing that they are starting under the sun but ending under the lights. That will change the conditions of the track tremendously, so that’ll make for an interesting element.

Odds and Value Picks

Coca-Cola 600 Picks

When it comes to picking a winner at Charlotte, while we don’t have Jimmie Johnson in the bag anymore, Martin Truex Jr. is proving to be a big force in the intermediate track domination field. Just in his last 10 starts here, Truex has finished in the top 5 seven times over. Three of those times, Truex won the race. He has actually completed 98.7% of the laps in his 29 starts here. That’s pretty impressive. He’s had a solid year so far, granted a few hiccups, but this place is a playground for him. I believe that he will contend for the win most of the day. I’d even bet he wins a stage or two. That’s not to say he won’t have his fair share of competition. Chase Elliott is another driver to keep your eyes on. I think that he’s going to be the closest to beating Truex. He’s gotten 4 top 5s in his last 5 starts and also won the second race at Charlotte last year. While it isn’t as grueling as the 600, it’s still a testament to knowing how to get around this track. Elliott is overall a great intermediate track driver anyway. Here’s a peak at your potential winners heading into Charlotte:

  • Winner: Martin Truex Jr. Bet YOUR picks for FREE by taking advantage of a 100% REAL CASH bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $300 at MyBookie! (Must use bonus code PREDICT100 to receive the special bonus!)
  • Mid-Range Pick: Alex Bowman
  • Dark Horse: Michael McDowell

McDowell is truly a dark horse, but one with much respect given in my eyes. He’s really coming into his own and getting the finishes to prove his worth. In his last race at Charlotte in May 202, he came away with a 3rd place finish. The man knows what he’s doing and his confidence is showing in his consistency. He’s where he’s at in the standings because he’s putting the work in each and every week. Alex Bowman already has 2 wins this season. He is great on these types of tracks as well. Although he couldn’t pull off a win last year, he won 3 of the 4 stages. I think that he’s going to be very competitive here again this weekend. He will have to chase down Truex, though. There are a handful of other drivers that can’t be counted out. Keep Keselowski and Kyle Busch in your back pockets as well. Keselowski won this race last year, and he’s proving to be a frontrunner again this year. Busch is in that either really good or really bad rut. He can’t seem to catch a break. As the season wears on, he seems to be making improvements with his team, though, so look for him to try to make the necessary adjustments through the day and have a solid run.

Coca-Cola 600 Odds

Kyle Larson No.5, +500
Martin Truex Jr. No.19, +500
Kyle Busch No.18, +550
Chase Elliott No.9, +600
Denny Hamlin No.11, +650
Brad Keselowski No.2, +800
Ryan Blaney No.12, +900
Kevin Harvick No.4, +1200
Joey Logano No.22, +1400
Alex Bowman No.48, +1600
William Byron No.24, +1600
Christopher Bell No.20, +2200
Kurt Busch No.1, +3300
Austin Dillon No.3, +4000
Tyler Reddick No.8, +5000
Matt DiBenedetto No.21, +8000
Aric Almirola No.10, +10000
Cole Custer No.41, +12000
Chase Briscoe No.14, +15000
Chris Buescher No.17, +15000
Michael McDowell No.34, +15000
Daniel Suarez No.99, +20000
Darrell Wallace Jr. No.23, +20000
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. No.47, +20000
Ross Chastain No.42, +20000
Ryan Newman No.6, +20000
Erik Jones No.43, +25000
Ryan Preece No.37, +50000
Corey LaJoie No.7, +75000
Justin Haley No.77, +75000
Anthony Alfredo No.38, +150000
BJ McLeod No.78, +150000
Cody Ware No.51, +150000
Josh Bilicki No.52, +150000
Quin Houff No.00, +150000
David Starr No.53, +200000
Garrett Smithely No.53, +200000
James Davison No.77, +200000


NASCAR Standings

Let’s see where Busch and the rest of the gang stand in the points after the disaster of last weekend.
While McDowell is sitting on the bubble, he’s been in and around that spot for the entire season. He’s looking to creep up a few spots, and I think that this weekend at Charlotte should help him tremendously. He had a solid 7th place finish last weekend, which by all account may have been pure luck, but honestly McDowell is very skilled on the road courses. That being said, under more “normal” conditions this weekend, I’m sure he’d like to best even a 7th place run. Christopher Bell fell a couple of spots after his unfortunate ending last weekend while Larson gained a couple of spots. Larson will also be one to watch here at Charlotte. I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s solid no matter where we’re headed to race. Larson is just a wheel-man.

  1. Denny Hamlin +650
  2. Kyle Busch +800
  3. Brad Keselowski +900
  4. Joey Logano +900
  5. Kevin Harvick +900
  6. Ryan Blaney +1200
  7. Alex Bowman +1300
  8. William Byron +1400
  9. Christopher Bell +2200
  10. Austin Dillon +6600
  11. Kurt Busch +6600
  12. Matt DiBenedetto +6600
  13. Tyler Reddick +7700
  14. Aric Almirola +12500
  15. Darrell Wallace Jr. +15000
  16. Ryan Newman +15000
  17. Cole Custer +17500
  18. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. +20000
  19. Chase Briscoe +25000
  20. Chris Buescher +25000
  21. Erik Jones +25000
  22. Ross Chastain +40000

McDowell is holding steady on the bubble right now. He had a solid 7th place finish at last weekend’s road course, but that should come as no surprise. While we’d assume it was luck based on the craziness that was The Circuit of the Americas, McDowell is notoriously strong on those tracks. He will be looking to best his 7th place finish as we head into a little more normalcy this weekend at Charlotte. Hopefully, McDowell can gain a few more points to crack a little further into the top 16 as we move through the season. There wasn’t too much movement among the top contenders, though. That’s probably because the majority of drivers all suffered through the same level of chaos. Kyle Larson gained a couple of spots while Christopher Bell lost a couple. Regardless, that was the extent of points being lost or gained. There weren’t any significant gains or losses surprisingly. Charlotte will likely give us the same outcome. This is a pretty steady race. We don’t usually see too many catastrophes. The seemingly most difficult part of this race is enduring the length. If the drivers can maintain their tires and track position, they’ll have a solid finish. Stay tuned for a patriotic and fun-filled run at Charlotte Motor Speedway!