CONCORD, N.C— Before the Coca-Cola 600 weekend began, VHT was added to the high groove at Charlotte Motor Speedway after a lackluster Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race the weekend prior.
This was the first time VHT was applied on an asphalt track. Many drivers came into the race cautiously optimistic about the VHT on the track.
After Saturday’s Xfinity race, NASCAR and Charlotte Motor Speedway officials applied more VHT to the groove because many drivers weren’t optimistic after the race.
Before the rain fell, drivers were itching their way into the groove with VHT. Kurt Busch attempted to run in the VHT groove during the race, but compared it to driving on ice.
After the race, Martin Truex Jr and Austin Dillon explained how the VHT changed the complexion of the race.
“I think it was a huge factor. I think last weekend the middle groove, middle to high middle, was nonexistent. It was the slickest part of the racetrack. Tonight for 375 laps of the 400 it was the main groove. Where typically there is the least grip on this racetrack, it was the most tonight,” said Truex. “It definitely played a factor. It changed the race quite a bit. I think the downforce rules this year changed it quite a bit as well. The bottom of the racetrack is so bumpy and so slick, I'm telling you after 10 laps it's all you can do to make laps without crashing down there. It definitely changed the race tonight. It made it a lot of fun, I thought. I thought it was a good addition.”
“I think it was pretty good to start the race. The middle groove took away from the bottom lane, which is pretty dominate here. After the rain, the bottom was pretty dominate. As the race went on, I could actually see the VHT leaving the track, and was getting clean higher and higher,” said Dillon.
When asked if VHT should be used on other asphalt tracks, Truex doesn’t believe it should be used on other asphalt tracks. However, Dillon would like to see it used more.
“I don't think so. I think this track is so unique, the pavement here, the geometry of the racetrack, the bumps that are in it. It's almost got a concrete feel the way the bumps are. They're really, really small, high-frequency bumps, almost like a washboard, kind of the feeling you get at Dover. Most asphalt tracks are not bumpy that way. They're more of a swell. The car kind of goes through swells, a place like Chicago or Atlanta. It's very, very different here. The pavement is different than anywhere we go,” said Truex. “The bumps in the racetrack are way different than anywhere we go. I think both of those things kind of contribute to us needing to do some different things here to change up the racing. I think it was a good addition tonight. I don't know what it would have been like had we not had it. The bottom was so slippery, I don't know if it would have been a good race or not. Just hard to say.
“We got something there as far as trying it. It’s not a bad thing. I really think we should try it more often. I think the next thing we need to look into is the placement of it. We needed more on the very top because the middle was really dominate, but you couldn’t really get into the top of it like you needed to. That would be my next thing. I like it,” said Dillon.
As the sport continues to enhance competition, VHT may be next on the list.
CONCORD, N.C.— In a race that was dominated by Martin Truex, Jr., it was Austin Dillon who made it to victory lane at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Coca-Cola 600 after pushing the limits in the gas tank.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet. I can’t believe it. I was just really focused on those last laps. My fiancé wrote in the car, ‘When you keep God in the first place, he will take you places you never imagined.’ And, I never imagined to be here at the 600 Victory Lane,” said Dillon. “Praise the Lord and all these guys who work so hard; and my pit crew is the best on pit road. I love it for them. We’re in the Chase. It’s awesome.”
This is Dillon’s first career victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. This is Dillon’s first race with crew chief, Justin Alexander, on top of the pit-box. This is his first victory in 133 races. Dillon becomes the 10th driver to score his first career victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
When many drivers were hitting pit road for tires and fuel, Dillon, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman, and Joey Logano stayed out in an effort to conserve fuel and make it to the end. Johnson had the race in the bag, but ran out of fuel going down the backstretch on lap 398. Dillon was able to conserve enough fuel to score the victory. Dillon ran out of fuel right as the checkered flag fell. Dillon was able to make it back around for one victory spin.
After running towards the front for majority of the night, Kyle Busch finished in the second position. Busch was able to get out front in the opening stage of the race to score the one playoff and 10 championship points. Busch led 63 laps, but fell short of victory to finish second at Charlotte.
“This M&M’s Camry was awesome tonight. It was just super fast. I mean we had one of the fastest cars all night long and then the 78 (Martin Truex Jr.) was probably the fastest car. There at the end, somehow we ran him down. You know he got a straightaway out on us, but there that last 100 laps we were able to get back to him and pass him so you know that was promising for us there at the end in order to get a second-place finish, but man just so so disappointed,” said Busch. “I don’t know. We ran our own race. We did what we needed to do and it wasn’t – it wasn’t the right game. We come up short and finish second.”
After dominating majority of the race, Truex Jr was unable to catch Dillon on fresh tires. On his final march to the lead, Truex used up his tires quickly and was unable to catch Ky. Busch and A. Dillon. Truex was able to finish in the third position after leading 233 of the 400 laps. With his performance tonight, Truex was able to snag the points lead from Kyle Larson.
“That stings a little bit, but can’t say enough about the guys on the team and everybody in Denver. Everybody on this Bass Pro Toyota did a heck of a job today. We just – we missed it a little bit on our last adjustment. I think if not for that we probably could’ve gotten the 3 (Austin Dillon), said Truex. “And then lapped traffic is just so tough here. There’s a few guys out there that you don’t ever know where they’re going to be when you get to the corner and it cost you so much time trying to pass them, ultimately that’s what got us. It is what it is. Like I said, we’re proud of everybody at TRD, at Toyota, Bass Pro and all the partners. Just came up a little short tonight.”
Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Erik Jones, Kevin Harvick, Newman, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. rounded out the top-10.
The Coca-Cola 600 was stopped shortly after lap 143 due to a brief rain shower. The red flag lasted one hour, 36 minutes, and 59 seconds for track drying operation. The caution flew a total of nine times for 53 laps. There were 23 lead changes among 10 different drivers.
Truex assumed a five point lead over Larson. Keselowski sits in the third position 82 points behind Truex. Kevin Harvick sits fourth in points only 103 points behind Truex. Ky. Busch rounds out the top-five in points only 105 points behind Truex.
Next up for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams is a trip to Dover International Speedway for the AAA 400 Driver For Autism. The race will be broadcasted on Fox Sports 1 and Motor Racing Network beginning at 1:00 p.m. EST.
CONCORD, N.C.— The days for Chase Elliott and Brad Keselowski ended early in the Coca-Cola 600 from Charlotte Motor Speedway. Both drivers finished the race 38th and 39th respectively.
As Jeffrey Earnhardt was coming off the fourth turn on lap 21 something broke in the rear end of the car. The object that broke went into the front end of Elliott’s car causing a fire. Keselowski was coming from behind and rammed into the back of Elliott, due to “oil” on the track.
“Somebody broke and there was just oil everywhere and I couldn’t turn. I ran into the back of Chase. Somebody broke in front of him and then he ran over what they broke and then he broke, so there were two cars broke in front of me and just oil everywhere,” said Keselowski. “You couldn’t stop and turn. You couldn’t do anything. It’s a real bummer four our team. We had a really fast Miller Lite Ford and I think we had a shot at winning tonight, but that’s how it goes.”
“This is so disappointing. Our NAPA Chevy was going to be all right as the night went along. But the No. 33 (Jeffrey Earnhardt) broke something, I guess, and I hit it hard and I saw some fire. And I guess I was laying down some oil all at the same time. And Brad (Keselowski) couldn’t get stopped. I hate it. It’s such a bummer. We’ll just go after it again next week,” said Chase Elliott.
Although the drivers involved claimed there was oil on the track, NASCAR officials saw no oil on the track during the caution period.
Elliott finished 38th, Keselowski finished 39th, and Earnhardt finished 40th.
CONCORD, N.C— After multiple restarts in the final 20 laps, Ryan Blaney scored his first win of 2017 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Hisense 4K TV 300.
“It was really tough. We kept having tons and tons of cautions,” Blaney said. “We lost the lead on a pit stop when we kind of got blocked in and I wasn’t sure I was going to get a shot at it. It worked out where we could put ourselves in position to get the win and we capitalized on it. Everybody did a great job.”
This is Blaney’s first win since September of 2015 at Kentucky Speedway. This is his fifth victory 56 NASCAR Xfinity Series starts, and his first win at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Blaney and his father, Dave, are the first father-son duo to win at Charlotte.
Blaney was able to hold of Austin Dillon and Kevin Harvick on a late race restart with four laps remaining. Blaney worked his way towards the front of the field after starting in the rear due to unapproved adjustments after the car was impounded after qualifying.
Harvick finished second in the race after not being able to receive any help on the final restart by Blaney and Brad Keselowski. This is Harvick’s 18th top-10 finish in 28 races at Charlotte Motor Speedway and his third top-10 of 2017.
“If I could do (the final restart) again I would probably do it differently. I felt like the 12 (Blaney) had the best car on restarts. He was the one who helped us get the lead. Just wasn’t able to get going through one and two. I needed to be clear by the time I got to three and four. I hadn’t been taking the top but I felt if the 12 and 22 got paired up on the top, I would be in double trouble,” said Harvick. I had a heck of a time today. All in all, I just got beat there by the 12. He did a good job all day there on the restarts. I’m really proud of everybody on the team. We ran well and led a bunch of laps.”
Dillon finished in the third position in the race following having to go to the rear after an initial start violation in the opening laps. Dillon dropped to the rear, but was able to work his way to the third position by race end. This was Dillon’s sixth top-10 finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“We did a really good job. Our Chevy really came to us. I hate it for our pit crew there. I messed up on the start. There at the end, I had a Penske sandwich. I couldn’t do much about it. I got hit on the restart but it wasn’t enough to carry me to the front. We had a lot of fun today,” said Dillon. “The track changed and we are trying to figure out what we need here. We’re getting closer.”
Christopher Bell, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Cole Custer, Brennan Poole, Brendan Gaughan, and Tyler Reddick rounded out the top-10 in Saturday afternoon’s event.
The race was slowed 12 times for 52 laps by caution. There were 12 lead changes among seven drivers with leading the most laps at . The average speed of the race was 113.720 mph. The time of the race was two hours, 38 minutes, and 17 seconds. Blaney beat Harvick by 0.244 seconds,
Elliott Sadler remains the point leader after his 35th place finish by six points over teammate Justin Allgaier, 57 points over William Byron, 79 points over Daniel Hemric, and 83 points over fifth place driver, Darrell Wallace Jr.
Next up for the Xfinity Series is the OneMain Financial 200, a Dash4Cash event, from Dover International Raceway. The race will be broadcasted on Motor Racing Network and Fox Sports 1 on June 3rd at 1:00 p.m. EST.
CONCORD, N.C— Justin Allgaier will start from the pole in today’s Hisense 4K TV 300 from Charlotte Motor Speedway. This is his fifth career pole.
In the opening round, Cale Conley went for a spin through the grass coming off the fourth turn, but was able to drive away with minimal damage. Brad Keselowski will start in the rear of the field due to the team being unable to get through inspection five times during qualifying. Dakoda Armstrong was the other driver who did not post a time in qualifying. Cole Custer was fastest in the opening round at 182.457 mph. William Byron was second fastest at 181.330 mph. Christopher Bell was third fastest at 181.214 mph. Matt Tifft was fourth fastest at 180.439 mph. Ryan Blaney rounded out the top-five at 180.421 mph. Jeff Green and Jordan Anderson were the only two drivers unable to make the show.
In the second round of qualifying, there were two ties for position on the race track. The first tie came between Justin Allagier and Daniel Hemric, both posted a speed of 181.141 mph, but Allgaier took the position over Hemric due to his points position. The second tie came between Tyler Reddick and Kevin Harvick, both posted a speed of 180.542 mph, but Reddick received the advantage. Bell was fastest in this round at 181.360 mph. Elliott Sadler jumped to second in the final moments with his speed of 181.178 mph. Blaney was third fastest at 181.147 mph. Allgaier was fourth while Hemric rounded out the top-five with their speeds of 181.141 mph.
In the final round, Allgaier posted a speed of 182.488 mph to start from the pole. Austin Dillon will start second with his speed of 181.519 mph. Blaney will start third with his speed of 181.378 mph. Hemric will start from the fourth position with his speed of 181.324 mph. Harvick rounded out the top-five with his speed of 181.245 mph. Custer, Bell, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Reed, and Reddick round out the top-10.
The Hisense 4K TV 300 will go green shortly after 1:00 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 1 and Performance Racing Network.
CONCORD, N.C— Kevin Harvick will start from the pole in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 from Charlotte Motor Speedway. This is Harvick’s first pole for the 600 and his third pole of 2017. This is Stewart-Haas Racing’s 33rd pole since its inception in 2009.
“The cars in qualifying were a lot looser than they were in practice and just based on past experience here it was a handful through one and two. I just about lost it the first run, but the car was so good in three and four I didn’t want to overadjust on it and make it too tight down there because you get tighter as the lap runs, so the guys did a good job of making adjustments, but not making it so tight that I couldn’t carry the throttle like I needed to in three and four. So they just did a great job on our Mobil 1 Ford,” said Harvick.
In the opening round, Kyle Busch was fastest at 191.381 mph. Denny Hamlin was second fastest at 191.008 mph. Erik Jones was third fastest at 190.799 mph. Matt Kenseth posted the fourth fasted speed in the round at 190.752 mph. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. rounded out the top-five at 190.638 mph. No drivers were sent home as the 40 cars showed up. Corey LaJoie and Kyle LAtson
In the second round, Harvick posted the fastest time at 193.237 mph. Ky. Busch posted the second fastest speed in the round 193.223 mph. Chase Elliott posted the third fastest speed in the round at 191.734 mph. Clint Bowyer posted the fourth fastest speed at 191.673 mph. Martin Truex, Jr. rounded out the top-five in the second round at 191.605 mph.
In the final round, Harvick posted a speed of 193.424 mph to grab the pole. Ky. Busch posted a speed of 192.513 mph for the second position, Elliott posted the third fastest time at 192.260 mph, Kenseth posted the fourth fastest speed at 192.130 mph, and E. Jones posted the fifth fastest speed to round out the top-five on Sunday at 191.782 mph. Hamlin, Blaney, Truex, Bowyer, and Keselowski rounded out the top-10.
Friday will be a dark day at Charlotte Motor Speedway for teams. Teams will have two practice sessions on Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. EST and 11:30 a.m. EST on Fox Sports 1.
CONCORD, N.C— It is another venue with the same problems when it comes to pre-qualifying inspection. Numerous teams were unable to pass the LIS station before the green flag flew for qualifying. This issue has been going on since Atlanta.
Teams are given the chance before practice begins to roll through inspection as a courtesy. Many teams take that courtesy check of their cars. However, official tech inspection is done after practice and before qualifying. All teams are given the chance to pass inspection before those that have failed can come back through. In today’s session, all drivers were given that chance to pass on the first try.
Unlike previous weeks, Kyle Larson and Corey LaJoie were the only two drivers who did not post a time in Thursday’s qualifying session from Charlotte Motor Speedway. Larson and his team were able to pass inspection with roughly one minute remaining in the opening round of qualifying.
Larson was furious about not being ale to pass LIS and attempt to make a lap on the track. Because of the issues, Larson will start from the 39th position on Sunday.
“We’ll start last instead of from the pole. I guess I’m upset at myself for getting into the wall in practice there because it put us behind on getting to the tech line. We still failed a couple of times. The machine wouldn’t work there, late, and it cost us a minute or minute and a half, and we actually passed,” said Larson. “But we didn’t have enough time to get out there. Had the machine worked, maybe we would have made it out there for that round. I don’t know. I won’t speak too much on it because I don’t know much about how that whole tech process works. I know all the teams hate it. The teams point at NASCAR. NASCAR points at the teams. It’s confusing to me.”
NASCAR Officials were standing by Larson when he made those comments. NASCAR confirmed that the LIS machine was working properly, but his team was unable to roll the car onto the platform correctly.
It is a constant battle of teams blaming NASCAR and NASCAR blaming teams, but who is in the right? The NASCAR community will never know.
CONCORD, N.C— With the announcement of the suspended operations of Red Horse Racing, Kyle Busch was adamant on Friday that things need to change in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) for it to be viable.
According to Busch, Kyle mentioned the it takes $3.2 million per season to run a fully competitive team in NCWTS, while advocating for reducing the costs.
“Our cost is 3.2. That's how much it takes to run a full operation of a truck team, and that number should be around 2, and how to get it lower, there's some engine talks I know and some body talks I know, but we're hitting it, but we're only hitting it about a half a million by doing that,” said Busch.
What is the biggest cost for teams? It is the people.
“Your biggest expense is your people, and that's where it all comes from. But as far as our model goes, it does work right now thanks to the support of Toyota, thanks to the support of the (Noah) Gragson with Switch, and the Myatt Snider’s and the Bubba Wallace's sponsors and Erik Jones' sponsors and the people like that that we've had over the course of the years that were able to make it all work.”
As Cup guys own teams in NCWTS, it is not about the money. There are many challenges for people like Busch and Brad Keselowski, who fields two teams in NCWTS.
“To really make it work and to drive your costs down, you have to have three teams, and even four teams makes it even better, but we're not to the point yet where we're ready to grow because we still need to develop our third team and make it a strong force to be reckoned with each and every week,” said Busch. “But once we get to four teams, people are mad at us because then we're too good, people can't beat us, whatever you want to say, so people are mad that we're overtaking the sport, which all we're trying to do is continue to help and build it, but there's a double‑edged sword in anything that I do anyways, so we just keep working on it, keep trying, and make it work as best we can for us."
With the 2018 schedule being released this week, people like Kevin Harvick have advocated that the NCWTS moves more to a “grassroots” schedule, something that the series was built on in its early inception.
"I would definitely enjoy that model of going back to those race tracks. Now again, how you accomplish that and how you get that done, that's for people a hell of a lot smarter than me to figure out, but I would certainly enjoy seeing the Truck Series go back to Tucson, or even around here, go to Motor Mile, go to some of these short tracks that you can put 10, 15, 20,000 people in the stands for an exciting truck race because in all honesty, that's the crowd count that you're getting at a mile‑and‑a‑half anyways, so pack the place, make it look good, and put on a good show for the fans and go back to some of the roots of short track racing that these drivers are coming up from, that the trucks came from, and Friday night shows, Saturday night shows, whatever it might be at some of these cool short tracks, and I think you'll put on a great show, you'll have the fans come out and support that. It's just how to make the model work. There's TV money involved, there's sanctioning agreements involved, there's all kind of too much behind‑the‑scenes BS that I'm not smart enough to figure out, but hopefully somebody can be smart enough to figure it out. Maybe this guy can figure that out,” said Busch.
The question was raised about if going to these smaller tracks would be a challenge and how would it work.
"Well, you just said it right there. If we make less money you're digging our grave, so the sanctioning agreements can't be for any less money, that's for sure. We actually need them to be for more. In order to cut our costs, we need to be able to make more money or compete for more money to race for more winnings. If you cut our winnings out, you might as well just say goodbye. You know, there's a problem in that fact right there, too. You know, it's just ‑‑ it's about trying to get the butts in the seats,” said Busch. “That's what matters most. If South Boston packed the place every single time and made money and NASCAR made money, the teams made money and all of us would still be going there, so there's obviously something that was missing, and I don't know what that was. But to figure that out and to be able to pack some of these short tracks and to put the trucks back on some of those standalone events, it's all about exciting moments, exciting racing, having some rooting and gouging, and it's probably worth having fights in the pits. That's what it all comes down to, and you know, we'll see if any of that happens."
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. also chimed in about the importance of the truck series and XFINITY series.
“Yeah, we moved our Truck team up to the Xfinity Series to make another team there. When I was in the series we went to South Boston and places like that and I miss watching those races. They were great races. I don’t know if the business model works to be able to go back and undo everything we’ve done, but I’d rather tune-in and watch them run the beach or the fairgrounds. Man! I’d love to go run a Xfinity race at the fairgrounds, in our cars. That would be at the top of my list if it was on the schedule,” said Earnhardt Jr. “I run Richmond and Bristol. That’s the only ones I’m running this year because that’s the only short track action you can find. But, the 1.5-miles just aren’t that fun. We run too many of them for it to be fun. We rarely run the short tracks. So, you try to get as much of that as you can. Not everybody is the same. This is just me talking. I don’t know if all the drivers like short tracks that much. But, I would certainly tune-in.”
Busch believes that the interest and sponsorship are just not there for the Trucks.
"I don't know what Brad's (Keselowski) scenario is. You'll have to ask him. I do believe that I have heard that he puts money in himself. I know that I put money in myself. You know, I wouldn't say that the model is working for us. I just think that we're content with the amount of money that we are spending,” said Busch. “That makes it worth our while. There just aren't any big sponsors. There aren't any Fortune 500 companies I think besides M&M's, Mars, with Pedigree now that's joining us with Todd Gilliland with Pedigree to be on our truck, and it's just not ‑‑ there's not enough people on TV, there's not enough people in the stands. The sponsorship just doesn't come. They just don't care, and that's the most frustrating part of it.”
After qualifying on Thursday night, Harvick expounded even more on the initial comments he made on his radio show "Happy Hours" on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
“I can’t walk anywhere and not have somebody talk to me about the Truck Series schedule. I think it’s something that a lot of people want to say and haven’t said, but I think it’s definitely time to look at the grassroots sides of things and I think the Truck Series is a grassroots division. If you could just for example take it somewhere like Nashville Speedway and pair it up with the All-American 400 and put the All-American 400 in Nashville back on the map with a Truck Series race with some SAFER barriers, get the city of Nashville involved and that’s just one race. I think it would be very interesting and I feel like that regionally is a big touring race. You go up to Oxford, Maine, but getting the TV to these cars and these local racers and these people and the enthusiasm that it brings to a local market, that’s what the Truck Series does," said Harvick. "When you look at Eldora and you look at the road race in Canada, you look at these one-off events and every one of them are well attended, every one of them are exciting and well attended. We need events and I think it’s a great way to reinvest from the bottom up in different facilities and you could sit here and name a bunch of them, and what better way to show them you care than by putting soft walls up at the race track somehow and some way to get the cities involved and the race track and work on getting those sanctioning fees down and get them to places where they can knock the fenders off of each other and put on a great show, much like they do at Eldora. I mean, it’s got 20-some thousand people there every time we show up and everybody loves watching on a Wednesday night.”
When asked how it works, Harvick quickly went on how TV funds most everything in today's world.
TV money is still how everyone survives. That’s the reason a lot of these race tracks take these Truck races now because the TV money went up, so there’s a reason that they want to keep them. But there are ways to make all of this work. Everybody doesn’t need to have their hand out, they need to be thinking from the bottom up and how do we make this better?," said Harvick. "You look at some of these historic, just really great short tracks across the country. I’m not saying we need to take them from Daytona or Phoenix or some of these other places, but there are some places that they don’t need to be going and I think it would be interesting to revive the Copper Classic and start the season with the Trucks out there and see the sprint cars show back up and TV is gonna be there to cover it, so now you can film all these races and put these guys on TV. All of a sudden there’s TV there and they can get better sponsorship, so there’s a lot of things that you could do and, like you say, it has to be something that everybody buys into that is worried about making money.”
What can be done? That is something NASCAR and teams are looking to fix.
After a couple of weekends off, the NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to on-track action at the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Hisense 4K TV 300. There will be two stage lengths of 45 laps and a final 110 lap shootout on Saturday afternoon.
42 drivers are scheduled to arrive in Charlotte to compete for the 40 car field on Saturday. Todd Bodine will be driving in the 07 car for Ray Black Jr. on Saturday. Cup drivers scheduled to run in the race include Austin Dillon, Ty Dillon, Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin. Brad Keselowski, and Kevin Harvick.
This will be the 36th annual Hisense 4K TV 300 from Charlotte Motor Speedway. There have been 45 different pole winners. 33 different drivers have found their way into victory lane. 11 races have been won from the pole with A. Dillon being the last driver to do so in October of 2015. Mark Martin holds the race record at 155.799 mph set back in 1996. Jimmie Johnson holds the qualifying record set back in 2005 at 187.735 mph.
Xfinity drivers are ready to return to action this weekend in Charlotte.
“Charlotte Motor Speedway is a place that is obviously a lot of fun and I’m really looking forward to racing at home this weekend with this Breyers team,” said Elliott Sadler, current points leader. “We had a great test a couple of weeks ago and everybody at JR Motorsports was able to go out there and run laps and I think we learned a lot. We didn’t quite have the speed we were looking for, but we also tried a lot of things and we were able to get a good database of things we tried and what worked and what didn’t. I think that’s even more important at a test.”
“I’m excited for everyone to be able to come out to Charlotte and join me for a lap around the track,” said Ryan Reed. “Getting a look at the banking and making a lap around the 1.5-mile track is a great way to #DriveYourHealth, while also raising money for a great cause and something that I know firsthand can affect so many people.”
“I’m ready to get back behind the wheel of the No. 41 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford,” said Harvick. “We had a good test at Charlotte a couple weeks ago and the No. 41 guys are working hard to make our cars better each and every time we go out. (Richard) Boswell (crew chief) has really been working hard, just for the fact that he’s building a team from scratch and we should have a great shot at running up front and competing for SHR’s first XFINITY win.”
Teams will only have two practice sessions on May 25th at 4:00 p.m. EST and 6:00 p.m. EST. Teams will qualify on May 27th at 10:00 a.m. EST. The race will go green shortly after 1:00 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 1 and Performance Racing Network.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns for the second week in a row to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600, the sport’s longest race and the nightcap on one of the biggest days in all of motorsports. The race will consist of four stages each of 100 laps.
40 drivers will arrive in Charlotte to compete for 40 spots on Sunday night. Carl Long was scheduled to attempt to qualify, but with the chance of impending rain in the Charlotte area and being short on people with the Xfinity car running this weekend, he withdrew.
Earlier in the week, Charlotte Motor Speedway announced that they would be placing VHT, the sticky substance used in the low groove at Bristol, on the high line in the corners. Officials at the track have also ran the tire dragon over the sticky substance. Officials believe this move will help the high groove come in during the 600, something that did not happen in the All-Star Race.
The Coca-Cola 600 will also feature the addition of a fourth stage. Each stage will be 100 laps.
“The stage racing format is delivering more dramatic moments over an entire race, fueling tremendous racing action this season,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “With a fourth stage added to the Coca-Cola 600, the historic event will have another layer of strategy for teams, and even more excitement within the race for fans.”
This will be the 58th annual Coca-Cola 600. There have been 45 different pole winners at Charlotte. 49 different drivers have made their way into victory lane. Only 16 drivers have won from the pole with Martin Truex doing so last year in the same event. Truex Jr. also set the race record at 160.655 mph in 2016. Kurt Busch set the qualifying record in 2014 at 198.771 mph.
Teams will be allotted four sets of tires for practice, one set for qualifying, and 11 sets for the race. Goodyear is bringing the same tire compound as last season.
Drivers are excited about 600 miles at Charlotte and the chance to honor our nation’s heroes.
“This weekend is more than racing – it's a time for Americans to remember and pay tribute to our military service members who gave their life so we can enjoy our freedom,” said Truex, who is the defending champion of the Coca-Cola 600. “As I learn the courageous background of 2nd Lt. John Yates during his time in Vietnam he is without a doubt a true American patriot.”
“I think you saw from the All-Star Race that track position is going to be key. But we will have longer green-flag runs Sunday and handling will come into play,” said Clint Bowyer, who is looking for his first win in 2017. “We had a really good car last week. If we could have gotten out front in the All-Star Race like we did in the Open, then we would have been tough to handle.”
"Charlotte is a big weekend for us," Chris Buescher said. "We need to come out here and be competitive. This is our fifth 1.5-mile track this season. We’re starting to get an idea of where our intermediate track program is at, and what needs to be done to improve on it. We’ve got to come out and get the job done. This team has been working really hard. We’ve been coming out with better racecars, and we’re headed in the right direction. We get a lot of families from employees in the shop that are able to come out to the races at Charlotte (Motor Speedway) and it’s really special and important to be able to go out and run well for not only the guys on the road every weekend, but for everyone in the shop too."
Cup teams will have one practice session beginning at 2:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, May 25th with qualifying set for 7:15 p.m. EST. Friday will be a “dark” day in Charlotte. Action will pick up on Saturday with two practice sessions slated for 9:00 a.m. EST and 11:30 a.m. EST. The Coca-Cola 600 will be broadcasted on FOX and Performance Racing Network on May 28th at 6:00 p.m. EST.