We’ve come to NASCAR’s longest race of the season, 600 miles after the Indianapolis 500. No one ran the double this time; will you be watching the double at home? Late start on a Sunday with Memorial Day being observed tomorrow and a day off of work for a lot of the United States. Green flag is just about an hour away — are you ready?
Here’s what to look for:
–Kyle Larson earned this Pole. We haven’t had a lot of Qualifying this season, and sometimes the sessions we’ve planned for have been rained out, but we got this one in. He was quick in Practice, too. His last three races this season he’s finished 2nd. The last time he finished 2nd three times in a row his 4th race was a Win. Makes for a good story, do we see it again tonight?
–Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will start Outside Pole. Not typically the driver you’d expect to see starting up front on an Intermediate, Stenhouse has come to be associated with tracks formerly known as “Restrictor Plate” tracks, like Daytona and Talladega. This race has offered some surprises before though. In the last few years, we had David Reutimann grab his first career Win here. It is a test, this race, it is just a matter of who is up to the challenge.
–Brad Keselowski was our most recent Coca-Cola 600 winner, tacking the checkers in Week 7 last year. It was very early on the schedule with a COVID-displaced lineup, but still on Memorial Day weekend. This is a race that seems to favor the Bowtie Brigade, but Keselowski will do his best to rep the Blue Ovals in 2021.
-We got a bonus Charlotte race in Week 8, 500 kilometers topped by Chase Elliott. Since the Roval made its debut, we’ve only had one true “oval” race at Charlotte each year. Since we had the additional one last year, that actually makes Chase the most recent oval winner here. Hmm!
–Martin Truex Jr. has three Charlotte Wins in the last ten races, and has won two of the last five Coca-Cola 600’s. He’s a guy to keep on your short list tonight, definitely someone who is a realistic threat to win. He’s not starting on the front row, no, but he’ll probably make his way there as soon as he can. Remember: he’s got more Wins than anyone so far this season.
I think we skipped out on some real food last year as we had an awesome picnic to attend, but since the party is on Monday, we’re rippin’ some awesome Carolina Gold tonight:
Lisa has prepared some delicious chicken fingers soaked in Carolina Gold BBQ sauce, with sidecar corn on the cob and a volley of salt potatoes. The grill didn’t know what hit it. And our stomachs are all the happier. Nice job, Leese! We’ve also got some Mt. Olive pickles, native to North Carolina, and a patriotic Mountain Dew-S-A, for the occasion. I hope you all enjoy the race tonight, have a nice Memorial Day tomorrow, and remember those who made all of this possible for us.
Coverage of the race today starts on FOX at 6:00pm, green flag scheduled for 6:23pm.