One of NASCAR’s major races will take place on Sunday for the annual Coca-Cola 600 (6 p.m. ET/FOX/PRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway will conclude the triple header of racing action on Sunday.
So, how will this race look?
Richard Childress Racing Top Sleepers
This is obviously their home race, but RCR is coming out swinging this weekend. Both Austin Dillon and Daniel Hemric have not only looked strong, they look like the favorites.
Dillon, won this race in 2016 and was second, third and seventh respectively in practice this weekend in his No. 3 Chevrolet. He was also first and second respectively on Saturday on the two 10 lap average charts. Also, he will start in Row 2 on Sunday as well.
What about Hemric?
He was fastest in practice on Thursday and backed that up with being ninth and second respectively on single lap speed on Saturday. He was third on both 10 lap average charts on Saturday too. Hemric, will roll off 10th.
Watch out for this group.
Daniel Suarez, Stewart-Haas Racing Looks Strong
SHR put all four cars in the top eight of the starting lineup for Sunday’s race. They all look like legitimate race winners too.
Daniel Hemric leads them with being quickest in both practice sessions on Saturday. He was also eighth and sixth respectively on the 10 lap averages and fourth fastest in final practice on the 15 lap as well as the 20 lap average chart. With a sixth place finish at Charlotte in this race in 2017, he’s a favorite.
So is Clint Bowyer. He hasn’t scored a top five at Charlotte since his win in Oct. 2012. His last top 10 on the 1.5-mile track was in 2013. But, Bowyer was ninth, seventh and 10th respectively in practice while being ninth on Saturday on the two 10-lap average charts. He starts eighth on Sunday.
Aric Almirola qualified his No. 10 Ford on the front row and was in the top 15 of all three practice sessions himself.
You also can’t overlook Kevin Harvick. He was fifth on Saturday morning and fifth and 13th respectively on the 10 lap average chart. Harvick also qualified fifth. He has three top eight finishes in his last five starts on the Charlotte oval.
Toyota Could Keep RCR/SHR Out Of Victory Lane
Combined, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. have won five races this season. They’ve also been the top drivers on the Charlotte oval lately too. Busch, has two straight top two finishes on the oval including dominating this race a year ago. He has 16 top 10 finishes in his last 22 oval starts at Charlotte. With how well he’s done this season, his No. 18 Toyota certainly will be found up front. He was fourth, second and fifth respectively on single lap runs this weekend while being sixth and first respectively on 10 lap averages. On the 15 and 20 lap averages, Busch was quickest too.
So will Truex’s No. 19 Toyota. In his last seven Charlotte oval starts, he has six top five finishes including five of which being in the top three. He’s led 626 laps in his last three ‘600 starts. He’s finished fifth, first, third and second respectively in his last four ‘600 starts overall. Truex, was 10th, eighth and 11th respectively in practice this weekend while being seventh on the 10 lap average chart in final practice.
With how well he’s driving on the season, watch out for him on Sunday too.
Then there’s Denny Hamlin and Erik Jones. Hamlin, has 14 top 10 finishes in his last 16 Charlotte oval starts including three straight top fives. He was 12th, sixth and third respectively in practice while being second and fourth respectively on the 10 lap averages.
Jones, was 11th, 10th and sixth in practice himself and 11th and fifth on the 10 lap average chart. Hamlin and Jones were also in the top three in both 15 lap and 20 lap averages in final practice.
Toyota has won three of the last four ‘600’s, so look for these four to be in the running to make it four of five on Sunday night.
Top 5 Prediction
41 Suarez – I just like his speed and it feels like this is his weekend.
18 Busch – He’s been close all weekend and he’s close again on Sunday.
3 Dillon – He’s been running good too and will bring home a top five on Sunday night.
11 Hamlin – His bad luck ends and gets a 15th top 10 finish in his last 17 Charlotte starts.
19 Truex Jr. – He doesn’t have the past Charlotte domination but does give JGR three cars in the top five on Sunday night in the finishing order.