Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
NASCAR continues its Cup Series binge. For Memorial Day weekend, the Cup Series will take a trek north from Darlington to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600.
The Coke 600 marks the third Cup Series race in the past week and the first race to take place at Charlotte in 2020.
As the Cup Series continues to move forward, drivers will not only get a taste of what one of the “Crown Jewels” of racing has to offer, but also the durability of their cars that have driven in two races over the past week.
Kevin Harvick, who won the Cup race at Darlington last Sunday, looks to pad his points lead in the standings. The 44-year-old currently holds a 34-point advantage over second-place Joey Logano. Harvick remains the only driver to finish in the top 10 in every race this season. In last year’s Coke 600, the Stewart-Haas Racing driver finished 10th and collected the sixth-most quality passes (94).
Hamlin, who won Wednesday’s Darlington Cup race, looks to rebound from last season’s 17th-place finish in the Coke 600. The 39-year-old for Joe Gibbs Racing currently sits in fourth place in the point standings and remains one of two drivers with multiple Cup race wins on the year (Logano).
Last season’s Coke 600 winner in Martin Truex Jr., who led the field with the fastest lap 83 times, looks to build up momentum after a poor start at the beginning of the season. In the 39-year-old’s first four races this season, his average finish was 25th. In his past two races, his average finish was eighth.
The drivers of Hendrick Motorsports remain the top Chevrolet’s in the point standings (Alex Bowman sits in third, Chase Elliott in fifth and Jimmie Johnson in 12th). Elliott, who remains the top driver in the field in points without a win, looks to rebound after finishing 38th due to Kyle Busch accidentally wrecking the 24-year-old in Wednesday’s Toyota 500. Elliott’s 103 quality passes in last year’s Coke 600 was second among the field. Meanwhile, Johnson continues his farewell tour with one final Coke 600, where the 44-year old led the field in quality passes last year (120). Johnson has finished in the top 10 in three of his last four Coke 600’s.
Kyle Busch, who finished second in both Wednesday and Thursday’s Cup and Xfinity race, respectively, looks to cap off another high finish in the Coke 600, where the Toyota for Joe Gibbs finished third in last year’s race. The 35-year-old currently sits 13th in the point standings. His 157 points is third among Toyota’s (Hamlin has 201 and Truex Jr. has 179).
In qualifying on Sunday afternoon, Kurt Busch won the pole in his Chip Ganassi No. 1 Chevy. Johnson will join him on the front row. Chevy claimed the top six positions with Elliott(3rd), Matt Kenseth(4th), Tyler Reddick(5th), and Austin Dillon(6th). Matt DiBenedetto will start last for going to a backup car after hitting the wall in his qualifying run. Aric Almirola spun in his qualifying lap and will start 39th.
Coverage for the Coke 600 begins at 6:00 p.m. EST on FOX.
Here is the starting lineup for the Coke 600: https://www.jayski.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/31/2020/05/24/2020-07cup-lineup.pdf