The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series has a lot of attention this weekend for the annual Coca-Cola 600 (6 p.m. ET/FOX/PRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Indianapolis, Monaco and Charlotte will have all the attention of the motorsports world on Sunday. With that being said, here are five storylines for this weekend’s race.
Longest Race Of The Year
The Coke 600 is the longest major motorsports race of the year. The 600 mile race exceeds everything else by 100 miles. That makes Sunday’s race one of attrition. While most drivers and cars can easily last 600 miles these days, it’s still a spectacle to who can last that length and who can sustain their cars to last that long.
Martin Truex Jr. had a rough four week stretch in April where he didn’t finish in the top 10 in any race between Texas through Talladega, but that wasn’t surprising. None of those four tracks suit him well. But, in the two races since, well he’s back to normal. Take out that four race stretch and Truex has eight top five finishes in eight tries. Factor that plus how dominant he’s been at Charlotte lately and you get why he’s the favorite on Sunday evening.
Truex, led 131 laps and finished fifth in this race in 2015. He led 392 out of 400 laps and won in 2016. He led 233 more in a third place effort last season. Plus, the fall race, he led 91 laps and won.
His No. 78 Toyota is the one to beat.
Can Harvick Go For 3 In-a-row and Sweep Month of May?
Kevin Harvick has already won 3 races in-a-row once this season when he won the second, third and fourth races of the season consecutively. Now, can he do it again? Harvick dominated in a win at Dover in early May. He won the last points paying race at Kansas two weeks ago. Heck, he even won the All-Star race last weekend. Now, can he sweep the entire Month of May?
It’s certainly possible. Harvick, finished eighth and third respectively at Charlotte last season. Since, 2013, Harvick has six top three finishes on the 1.5-mile track. With three wins and a second place finish in four 1.5-mile starts this season, his No. 4 Ford is obviously one of the favorites this weekend.
Can Ford Get 1st Charlotte Win Since 2015?
While Ford drivers have been the ones to beat in 2018, can they end a winless drought at Charlotte? Ford hasn’t won a race in Charlotte since 2015. They have won seven of the 12 races in 2018 though, so it’s not entirely far fetched that they can’t win on Sunday.
One of these years, Penske and/or Ganassi is going to win both the Memorial Day doubles. But, if they’re going to do so, they need to up their Charlotte game. Out of the two Ganassi driver, Kyle Larson has just one career Charlotte top five finish and Jamie McMurray has three top fives since 2014 there. Plus, he’s struggling this season. The Penske trio has struggled at Charlotte too. Brad Keselowski has just two total top five finishes in Charlotte since 2009 and Joey Logano’s last three Charlotte finishes are 36th, 21st and 26th respectively. Ryan Blaney has never scored a top five finish there.