Coca-Cola 600 Betting News and Notes
Re: Coca-Cola 600 Betting News and Notes
Charlotte Driver Tale of the Tape
Greg Biffle (No. 16 Fastenal Ford)
· Five top fives, eight top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 17.0
· Average Running Position of 14.6, sixth-best
· Driver Rating of 91.4, sixth-best
· 302 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
· 1,296 Green Flag Passes, 10th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 176.139 mph, sixth-fastest
· 3,891 Laps in the Top 15 (60.4%), seventh-most
· 689 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), eighth-most
Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Made In America Chevrolet)
· One win, six top fives, seven top 10s
· Average finish of 18.9
· Driver Rating of 84.7, 10th-best
· 204 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most
· 3,434 Laps in the Top 15 (53.3%), 10th-most
Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M's Toyota)
· Nine top fives, 12 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 15.9
· Average Running Position of 9.7, second-best
· Driver Rating of 107.5, second-best
· 452 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 176.928 mph, second-fastest
· 5,106 Laps in the Top 15 (79.3%), second-most
· Series-high 923 Quality Passes
Carl Edwards (No. 99 Fastenal Ford)
· Five top fives, 11 top 10s
· Average finish of 11.8
· Average Running Position of 14.7, eighth-best
· Driver Rating of 89.8, seventh-best
· 1,463 Green Flag Passes, second-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 175.970 mph, 10th-fastest
· 4,007 Laps in the Top 15 (62.2%), sixth-most
· 735 Quality Passes, fifth-most
Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet)
· Five wins, 16 top fives, 22 top 10s; nine poles
· Average finish of 16.0
· Average Running Position of 15.1, ninth-best
· Driver Rating of 88.8, eighth-best
· 219 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 176.189 mph, fifth-fastest
· 3,855 Laps in the Top 15 (59.9%), eighth-most
· 700 Quality Passes, seventh-most
Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota)
· Four top fives, 10 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 13.2
· Average Running Position of 12.3, fourth-best
· Driver Rating of 93.4, fifth-best
· 220 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 176.102 mph, seventh-fastest
· 4,488 Laps in the Top 15 (74.3%), third-most
· 725 Quality Passes, sixth-most
Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Patriotic Chevrolet)
· Six wins, 12 top fives, 16 top 10s; three poles
· Average finish of 11.6
· Series-best Average Running Position of 7.8
· Series-best Driver Rating of 111.1
· 621 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
· 1,292 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most
· Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 176.938 mph
· Series-high 5,588 Laps in the Top 15 (86.8%)
· 922 Quality Passes, second-most
Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Farmers Insurance / ThankAMillionTeachers.com Chevrolet)
· Four wins, nine top fives, 12 top 10s
· Average finish of 11.4
· Average Running Position of 11.3, third-best
· Driver Rating of 102.6, third-best
· Series-high 662 Fastest Laps Run
· 1,432 Green Flag Passes, third-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 176.273 mph, third-fastest
· 4,462 Laps in the Top 15 (69.3%), fourth-most
· 814 Quality Passes, third-most
Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Home Depot Husky Toyota)
· Two wins, eight top fives, 15 top 10s
· Average finish of 13.8
· Average Running Position of 13.9, fifth-best
· Driver Rating of 96.0, fourth-best
· 363 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
· 1,362 Green Flag Passes, seventh-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 176.211 mph, fourth-fastest
· 4,250 Laps in the Top 15 (66.0%), fifth-most
· 785 Quality Passes, fourth-most
Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford)
· One win, two top fives, two top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 16.3
· Average Running Position of 16.1, 11th-best
· Driver Rating of 83.0, 12th-best
· Average Green Flag Speed of 175.869 mph, 12th-fastest
Joey Logano (No. 22 Pennzoil Platinum Ford)
· Three top fives, six top 10s
· Average finish of 10.4
· Average Running Position of 14.7, seventh-best
· Driver Rating of 87.3, ninth-best
· Average Green Flag Speed of 175.981 mph, ninth-fastest
Tony Stewart (No. 14 Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1Chevrolet)
· One win, six top fives, 13 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 13.8
· Average Running Position of 15.9, 10th-best
· Driver Rating of 83.6, 11th-best
· 189 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most
· 1,360 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 176.088 mph, eighth-fastest
· 3,124 Laps in the Top 15 (51.2%), 11th-most
· 610 Quality Passes, 10th-most
Re: Coca-Cola 600 Betting News and Notes
Indy 500 & Coca-Cola 600
By Micah Roberts
The best day of the year for motorsports fans is this Saturday with a fantastic triple-header that kicks off with the Monaco Grand Prix early in the morning, followed by the Indianapolis 500 and closing with the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Charlotte. It’s got a little of something for everyone, intertwining history and name recognition of the three most popular racing organizations.
You may not bet the Formula-1 races weekly, or you may see Lewis Hamilton as the 4/7 favorite (Bet $100 to win $57) to win and figure it’s not an attractive venture, but the sights and sounds of racing on the streets of Monte Carlo are one of the best in all of sports. It is one of those F-1 races I always try to wake up early for even without having wager on anyone. There is something about seeing the most finely tuned cars in the world ripping up and down the streets of the most regal International city with all the super yachts docked in the background.
Then there is the Indy 500 which has been running since 1911. It‘s an epic brand and one that has kept the fledgling IndyCar Series afloat. The race itself has more meaning to me than any other just because it brings back so many fond memories of family from the past, where the Indy 500 was always on television with the traditional Memorial Day weekend family gatherings.
I have kept that tradition going strong, and it’s never about who is racing, but rather about what the brand is all about. To me, there aren’t too many things more American than the Indy 500, and I bask in the flag each year as I celebrate not only America, but past family members who died for our country. My late grandfather served in World War II and Korea, and he got this whole thing started for me at the earliest of age, and while we saluted his cousin Bob Roberts who died in the Bataan Death March or my other grandfather Paul Kukich who was stranded on Gudalcanal, the Indy 500 was always right there with us.
I’m a little more excited for this year’s race just because of a couple new drivers participating. Juan Pablo Montoya won the Indy 500 in 2000, and after taking off for Formula-1 -- where he happened to win at Monaco -- and then raced in NASCAR from 2007-2013, he’s come full circle to be driving for Roger Penske in his first Indy 500 since winning. The Columbian is one of the best drivers in the world, but what I like most about his is his swagger. He’s knows he’s one of the best in the world and oozes confidence.
Montoya is always thrilling, but I’m even more excited for another driver. Kurt Busch will attempt to race in the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 later that night. Two races at two different tracks 580 miles apart, and doing it within hours of each other. That’s pretty awesome stuff, and it’s even better that he grew up in Las Vegas. He’s one of our own which makes the rooting easier. He’ll be driving a car for Michael Andretti that he showed some great speeds with practices. But because of his inexperience in the Indy cars, you can get 30/1 (Bet $100 to win $3,000) on him at the LVH Super Book.
My favorite to win is three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves at 6/1 odds. He showed throughout practices last week that his Penske car will be one of the fastest on the track. Between his experience and horsepower, he is definitely the driver to beat.
Tony Kanaan won last year’s race and proved that a team not backed behind the power names of Andretti, Ganassi or Penske can win. Kanaan drives for Ganassi this year, but candidates to win that shouldn’t be discounted because of who they race for include Simon Pagenaud (20/1) and pole sitter Ed Carpenter. Because Carpenter is on the pole, his odds have dropped from 20-to-1 down to 7-to-1.
Between the three races on Sunday, the Coca-Cola 600 will get the most attention from bettors and the drivers to key on in the longest race of the season are the ones that have fared the best on the three 1.5-mile tracks this season. Joey Logano (8/1) and Jeff Gordon (9/1) have looked the sharpest so far between Las Vegas, Texas and Kansas, but with the extra distance here, it’s not a bad idea to take a long look at a few other candidates.
Kasey Kahne is a four-time winner at Charlotte and finished second in the two races there last season. He’s been showing a little more speed in practices lately and looks close to breaking through for a win. He loves this track, so getting 10-to-1 or higher on him might not be a bad investment.
Jimmie Johnson falls into the same category as his teammate Kahne. He’s yet to win on the season, but that can’t last, right? He’s a six-time winner at Charlotte, and because of his mini-struggle this season, you can finally get decent odds on the six-time champ. Getting a 7/1 price on Johnson over the past decade at Charlotte was impossible, but not this time around.
Brad Keselowski won the fall race at Charlotte last season and also has the Las Vegas win on his resume this year making him a great candidate to win at 10/1 odds.
If the sportsbooks had a pick-3 for the day (they don‘t), I would take Hamilton to win at Monaco, Castroneves at Indy and Keselowski at Charlotte.
Indy 500 Finish Prediction:
1) #3 Helio Castroneves (6/1)
2) #77 Simon Pagenaud (20/1)
3) #2 Juan Pablo Montoya (7/1)
4) #28 Ryan Hunter-Reay (12/1)
5) #25 Marco Andretti (6/1)
Cola-Cola 600 Finish Prediction:
1) #2 Brad Keselowski (10/1)
2) #5 Kasey Kahne (10/1)
3) #22 Joey Logano (8/1)
4) #24 Jeff Gordon (8/1)
5) #4 Kevin Harvick (7/1)
Re: Coca-Cola 600 Betting News and Notes
#1-Jamie McMurray: chassis not reported on race preview.
#2-Brad Keselowski: Primary Chassis for Charlotte is PRS-912, which is a new chassis. The Backup Chassis is PRS-840 which was last used as a backup at Kansas.
#3-Austin Dillon: will pilot chassis No. 465 in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This is the same Cheerios Chevrolet SS that Dillon raced to a 21st-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway in April. Although Sunday's 600-mile event will mark Dillon's first Coca-Cola 600 start, the Welcome, N.C. driver grew up watching the Memorial Day-weekend race from his grandfather's condo, which overlooks the racetrack. Dillon participated in the Sprint Showdown last Friday. After earning the pole, he led three laps but, following a pit stop for two tires, ultimately earned an eighth-place finish after developing a tight-handling condition.
#4-Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 858 in Sunday's race at Charlotte. Harvick last raced this car at Texas in April. In that event Harvick started third and took the lead at lap 25, just before the engine in his #4 Chevrolet SS expired, leaving the team with a 42nd-place finish. Harvick has 26 prior NSCS starts at CMS. He's visited Victory Circle twice in the Coca-Cola 600, first in 2011 and again last May. Harvick also has three top fives and nine top-10 finishes to his credit. He has an average start of 18.1 and an average finish of 16.9 at CMS.
#5-Kasey Kahne: Crew chief Kenny Francis will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-863 for Sunday's race at Charlotte. Kahne drove this chassis to an 11th-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway in April. Nearly every statistical category at Charlotte ranks as a personal best for Kahne, who has competed in 20 Cup events at the 1.5-mile oval. Kahne's four wins and 12 top-10s are personal bests as well as his nine top-five finishes. Kahne has completed 97.2 percent of the laps he has attempted at Charlotte and has led a personal best 1,106 laps at the track. His 11.4 average finish at Charlotte ranks as his second-best among active tracks.
#7-Michael Annett chassis not reported on race preview.
#9-Marcos Ambrose: chassis not reported on race preview.
#10-Danica Patrick will pilot Chassis No. 10-839, which is a brand new chassis. The backup chassis No. 10-794 was tested in the wind tunnel May 1, 2013, before being used by Patrick in the Coca-Cola 600 later that month at Charlotte. Patrick started 24th and finished 29th after being involved in a multicar accident on lap 320 of 400. After repairs, she managed to finish the race but completed only 385 laps. The next time Patrick drove this car was in June at Kentucky, where she started 29th and finished 23rd. The last time she drove it was in 2013 at Atlanta where she started 21st and finished 21st. It was used as a backup car in fall 2013 at Kansas, Charlotte and Texas. It was then used in 2014 at Bristol, but she wrecked the car early in the first practice and went to a backup. Since then, it has been a backup at Texas and Darlington.
#11-Denny Hamlin: chassis not reported on race preview.
#13-Casey Mears: chassis not reported on race preview.
#14-Tony Stewart: Chassis No. 14-710 debuted in April 2012 at Richmond. It qualified 22nd and led four times for 118 laps before a late-race caution canceled Stewart's two-and-a-half second lead and forced him to settle for a third-place finish. It was then tested June 6-7 at Pocono and again during a Goodyear Tire Test June 12-13 at Bristol. New Hampshire marked Chassis No. 14-710's second career start. There, a new tire compound from Goodyear confounded the #14 team, and they labored to a 12th-place finish. The car returned to Richmond in September for its third career start via the Federated Auto Parts 400, where it rallied from its 28th-place starting spot to lead 15 laps before finishing fourth. Its last start of 2012 came in October at Martinsville where in its fourth career start, it qualified seventh and finished a disappointing 27th. With 2013 Chevrolet SS bodywork covering it, Chassis No. 14-710 returned to Martinsville in April. After rallying from its 26th starting spot to 10th by lap 200 and then hovering in or near the top-10 for the remainder of the race, Stewart found himself hung in the outside lane following a restart on lap 473. The final 27 laps of the 500-lap race around paperclip-shaped .526-mile oval proved arduous, as Stewart was stuck in the outside lane as the seemingly express lane to his left boxed him out of the preferred line. When the checkered flag dropped, Stewart was 17th. Chassis No. 14-710 sat idle until being tested at Richmond Aug. 26-27 with interim driver Mark Martin at the wheel in preparation for the track's Sept. 7 Sprint Cup race. The testing paid off as Martin scored a top-10 after starting 16th. Chassis No. 14-710 returned to Martinsville for its third start of 2013, its second with Martin and seventh overall in October, qualifying 21st and finishing 36th after an accident on lap 204 sent it to the garage for repairs. The car underwent a massive overhaul under the direction of crew chief Chad Johnston for the 2014 season. It made its first start of the year at Auto Club Speedway, where with Stewart back in the driver's seat, it qualified 10th and recovered from a midrace spin that dropped it to last in the 43-car field to finish fifth. The Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte will mark Chassis No. 14-710's ninth career start.
#15-Clint Bowyer: Chassis No. 813 serves as the primary chassis for Bowyer at Charlotte. It's a new chassis for the 2014 season and finished 13th at Phoenix earlier this year. Chassis No. 800 serves as the back-up chassis. This chassis has never seen action on the race track but has served as the back-up for several races this season, most recently Kansas.
#16-Greg Biffle: and the Matt Puccia led #16 Fastenal team will run chassis RK-908 which is a brand new chassis. The backup chassis will be RK-879 which last ran at Las Vegas finishing 22nd. Biffle has 22 starts in the Cup series at Charlotte, but a win has eluded him. He has finished in the top-five five times and has eight top-10 finishes.
#17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: and the #17 Fastenal Ford Fusion team will be using primary chassis RK-899 which is the same chassis that the #17 team ran in Texas finishing 26th after his Ford was too tight on the final run. The backup chassis is RK-888 which last raced in Bristol and finished second.
#18-Kyle Busch: chassis not reported on race preview.
#20-Matt Kenseth: chassis not reported on race preview.
#22-Joey Logano: Primary Chassis is PRS-911 for Charlotte, which is a new chassis. The Backup Chassis is PRS-844 which was last used as a backup at Kansas.
#24-Jeff Gordon: crew chief Alan Gustafson has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 24-861 for this Sunday night's race. This chassis has been raced twice previously with finishes of seventh and 13th earlier this year at Darlington and Auto Club Speedway, respectively. Gordon has five wins, nine pole positions, 16 top-five finishes and 22 top-10s in 42 starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
#27-Paul Menard will pilot chassis No. 454 in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This #27 Serta/Menards Chevrolet SS was previously raced at Texas Motor Speedway where Menard finished in the ninth position. Menard has 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Charlotte. His best start of fifth and best finish of eighth both came in 2010. The Wisconsin native has completed 4,775 of 4,970 laps attempted (96.1 percent) at the 1.5-mile track. In addition to his 14 Sprint Cup Series starts, Menard has nine NASCAR Nationwide Series starts at CMS. He won the pole award in 2011 and his best finish of third came in 2005. Menard has also led 31 laps in his nine Nationwide Series starts at Charlotte.
#31-Ryan Newman will race chassis No. 467 on Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Chassis No. 467 is brand new to the RCR fleet and will compete for the first time during Thursday's practice and qualifying sessions. In 26 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at Charlotte's 1.5-mile oval, Newman has recorded runner-up finishes two times (fall 2003 and Coke 600 2009) The "Rocket Man" also owns nine pole awards. In total, he owns four top-five and 10 top-10 finishes, and has led 276 laps of competition. The South Bend, Ind., native has an average start of seventh and average finish of 19th. When calculating points earned last season at CMS, Newman ranks fourth in most points earned.
#33-Brian Scott will pilot chassis No. 460 in this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This Shore Lodge Chevrolet SS was raced in March at Auto Club Speedway where Scott qualified 37th and finished 35th after an early-race accident. Scott will be making his second Sprint Cup Series start at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He made his Cup debut at the 1.5-mile speedway last fall where he started 19th and finished 27th.
#34-David Regan chassis not reported on race preview.
#36-Reed Sorenson chassis not reported on race preview.
#38-David Gilliland chassis not reported on race preview.
#41-Kurt Busch will pilot Chassis No. 761 in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. In one previous start, as the #39 for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), driver Ryan Newman started fifth and finished 36th at Dover in June 2014. Chassis No. 761 served as the backup at Las Vegas, California, Texas and Darlington in 2014. Parker Kligerman, most recently of Swan Racing, will serve as a practice and standby driver for Kurt Busch this week. Busch will be traveling back and forth to Indianapolis as he attempts to run the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 Sunday at Charlotte. Kligerman practiced the Haas Automation Chevrolet SS Friday in preparation for Saturday night's Sprint All-Star Race.
#42-Kyle Larson: chassis not reported on race preview.
#43-Aric Almirola:: chassis not reported on race preview.
#47-A.J. Allmendinger chassis not reported on race preview.
#48-Jimmie Johnson: Crew chief Chad Knaus has selected Chassis No. 48-797 for this weekend's 600-mile event. Johnson last raced this car in April at Texas. The backup car is Chassis No. 48-728, which Johnson most recently raced at Bristol in March. In 25 Cup starts at Charlotte, Johnson has six wins, 12 top-five finishes and 16 top-10s. He has completed 97.1 percent of laps run (8,594 of 8,852 laps) and has led 1,569 laps around the 1.5-mile oval. A three-time pole winner, Johnson has an average start of 7.4 and an average finish of 11.6.
#55-Brian Vickers: Primary Chassis 797 finished 7th at Auto Club Speedway. The backup chassis is 801, which has not raced.
#78-Martin Truex Jr. chassis not reported on race preview.
#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.: crew chief Steve Letarte and the #88 National Guard / Superman team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-882. This is a new chassis that has not been raced. In 28 Cup starts at Charlotte, Earnhardt has recorded one pole position, five top-five finishes and 11 top-10s. He has completed 94.1 percent of all laps he's attempted (9,454 laps of 10,052 total) at the 1.5-mile oval. The 39-year-old driver has led a total of 343 laps there.
#95-Michael McDowell: will drive Chassis No. PRS-847 in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. McDowell last drove this Wally Rogers-prepared Ford Fusion to a 30th-place finish, qualifying 28th, at Texas Motor Speedway on April 7. The chassis also has history at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway finishing 43rd.
Re: Coca-Cola 600 Betting News and Notes
Driver Handicaps: Charlotte
By: Jeff Wackerlin
MRN.com's detailed notes and statistics to help you set your fantasy racing lineup for Sunday night's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Who's HOT at Charlotte
• Defending race winner Kevin Harvick has finished in the top 10 in six of the last seven races, including another win in the 2011 Coca-Cola 600.
• Three-time Coca-Cola 600 winner Kasey Kahne (third this season in average finish at 1.5-mile tracks) has posted a 3.4 average finish in his last five starts.
• Denny Hamlin is the only driver that has finished in the top 10 in all of the last six races.
• Kyle Busch has finished in the top five in six of his last eight starts.
• Five-time winner Jeff Gordon (second this season in average finish at 1.5-mile tracks) is coming off his 22nd top 10.
• Matt Kenseth (fifth this season in average finish at 1.5-mile tracks) finished third last fall for his seventh top 10 in his last 10 starts.
• Carl Edwards (fourth this season in average finish at 1.5-mile tracks) has finished in the top 10 in four of his last five starts.
• Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers with six wins.
Who to Keep an Eye On at Charlotte
• Last weekend's All-Star winner Jamie McMurray will look to finish in the top 10 at Charlotte for the first time since winning the 2010 fall race.
• Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano have been strong at 1.5-mile tracks this season, each winning once and combining to lead 366 laps.
• Paul Menard (9.7), Brian Vickers (10.3) and Ryan Newman (11.3) each rank in the top 10 in average finish in the three races at 1.5-mile tracks this season.
• Kyle Larson had a good run at Charlotte last fall before engine problems and finished fifth this season at Texas Motor Speedway.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. has finished in the top 10 in two of his last three Coca-Cola 600s - last season he did not finish due to an engine issue.
• Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer (Last weekend's Showdown winner) and Tony Stewart each posted there only top 10 at a 1.5-mile track this season at Texas Motor Speedway.
Tire Notes: Teams will be running the same combination of left- and right-side tires that they have competed with at Charlotte since 2012. Kasey Kahne leads all drivers in average finish (3.2) in that span with Denny Hamlin (4.2), Kevin Harvick (7.8), Clint Bowyer (8.2) and Carl Edwards (9.2) rounding out the top five.
Qualifying Facts - Note: First at the Track under new "Knockout" Format
MRN.com Staff Picks
Jeff Wackerlin: Kyle Larson
Pete Pistone: Jimmie Johnson
Dustin Long: Kasey Kahne
John Singler: Denny Hamlin
Top 20 Driver Notes - Ordered by Current Standings
Jeff Gordon: Heads to the site of his first career win 20 years ago, fresh off a victory in the last race on a 1.5-mile track - two weeks ago at Kansas Speedway. Gordon, a five-time winner at Charlotte, finished seventh last fall for his 22nd top 10 in 42 starts. This year, Gordon ranks second in average finish (4.0) in the three races at 1.5-mile tracks ... where he's yet to finish worse than ninth. This weekend, Gordon will return in the same car that he last finished seventh with at Darlington Raceway.
Matt Kenseth: Finished third last weekend in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race to equal his finish last fall in the 500-mile race at Charlotte. He led 112 laps last year in this event en route to a 15th-place finish. This season, Kenseth has the sixth-best average finish (9.0) in the three races at 1.5-mile tracks but has only led three laps. Kenseth is a two-time winner at Charlotte, with his first career win coming in this race in 2000.
Kyle Busch: Has won a combined 17 times in the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series at Charlotte but has yet to win in the Sprint Cup Series. His last of two runner-up finishes came in the 2011 fall race. He finished fifth last fall for his ninth top five in 20 starts. Busch's best finish in the Coca-Cola 600 is third, accomplishing that three times. This year, Busch has been solid at the 1.5-mile tracks with a 9.7 average finish and 63 laps led.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Scored his last of three top 10s in 11 Charlotte starts in this event in 2012, sixth place. If not for the early-race incident at Texas Motor Speedway, Earnhardt has been solid on the 1.5-mile tracks this season with top-five runs in the two other races along with a combined 60 laps led. This weekend, Earnhardt will drive a new chassis (No. 882) as he looks for his first points-paying win at Charlotte.
Carl Edwards: Coming off fourth top 10 in the last five Charlotte races. Edwards has the fifth-best average finish (8.3) in the three races at 1.5-mile tracks this season with his best coming at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, fifth place.
Joey Logano: Heads into the fourth race on a 1.5-mile track this season leading the series in average finish (3.0) and laps led (215). Logano, who won at Texas Motor Speedway last month, has finished in the top 10 at Charlotte in six of his 10 starts. This weekend, Logano will pilot a new chassis (No. 911).
Jimmie Johnson: Leading all active drivers in wins (6) at Charlotte, Johnson heads into this weekend's race coming off a fourth-place run last fall after leading 130 laps. In the two races at 1.5-mile tracks where he's been able to stay on the lead lap, Johnson has finished in the top 10 and combined to lead 58 laps. This weekend, he will return in the same car (chassis No. 797) that he finished 25th with at Texas Motor Speedway after right-rear tire problem early in the race.
Ryan Newman: Finished in the top 10 in both races last season, in final Charlotte starts with Stewart-Haas Racing. He finished second twice from the pole, most recently in this race in 2009. Newman, who has posted an 11.3 average finish in the three races at 1.5-mile tracks this season, will debut a new car (chassis No. 467) in the Coca-Cola 600.
Greg Biffle: Had a strong season at Charlotte in 2012, finishing fourth in both races and combining to lead 275 laps. In his first two races with the Gen-6 car last season, Biffle did not lead a lap and his best finish was 16th. His best finish in 22 starts came in this event in 2008, second place. This year, Biffle finished sixth at Texas Motor Speedway, a similar 1.5-mile track to Charlotte. This weekend, Biffle will debut a new car (chassis No. 908).
Brian Vickers: Finished 25th in first Charlotte start with Michael Waltrip Racing last fall. This season, Vickers has posted a 10.3 average finish on 1.5-mile tracks including a fourth-place run in Texas. Has finished fifth twice for his best in 15 Charlotte starts while driving for Red Bull Racing. This weekend, Vickers will pilot the same car (chassis No. 797) that he finished seventh with at Auto Club Speedway.
Brad Keselowski: Coming off his first Charlotte win in nine starts after leading 11 laps. Keselowski also won the first race of the season at a 1.5-mile track, Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He's fourth in average finish (9.7) and second in laps led (151) in the three races at 1.5-mile tracks this year. This weekend, Keselowski will pilot a new car (chassis No. 912) in the Coca-Cola 600.
Denny Hamlin: Is the only the driver to finish in the top 10 in all of the last six races at Charlotte. He won the pole for this race last year and finished fourth. Hamlin led 20 laps at Texas Motor Speedway this season but is still looking for his first top 10 on a 1.5-mile track in 2014.
Kyle Larson: Has put together a solid average finish of 12.0 in the three races at 1.5-mile tracks in 2014 including a fifth-place run in Texas. He made his first Charlotte Cup Series start last fall and was running near the top 10 until the engine let go on Lap 247.
Austin Dillon: Will make first Cup start at Charlotte. Dillon will be racing the same car (chassis No. 465) that he finished 21st with in Texas.
Kevin Harvick: Won the Coca-Cola 600 last season for his second win in three years. He finished sixth last fall for his sixth top 10 in the last seven races at CMS. Harvick is coming off a dominating performance at Kansas Speedway, where he led 119 laps and finished second to Jeff Gordon. This weekend, Harvick will return in the same car (chassis No. 858) that he led early with at Texas Motor Speedway before the engine expired.
Kasey Kahne: Charlotte is Kahne's best track on the circuit based on wins (4), top fives (9), top 10s (12) and laps led (1,106). Kahne won his third Coca-Cola 600 in 2012 and has finished in the top 10 in his last five starts, including two runner-up finishes last season. This year, he holds the third-best average finish on 1.5-mile tracks (7.3) and will drive the same car (chassis No. 863) in the Coca-Cola 600 that he finished 11th with in Texas last month.
AJ Allmendinger: Two top 10s in 12 Charlotte starts came in 2011 when he was driving for Richard Petty Motorsports. This weekend, Allmendinger will make his first track start with JTG Daugherty Racing after posting an average finish of 23.7 in the first three races of the season on 1.5-mile tracks.
Paul Menard: Will look to continue his solid 9.7 average finish at 1.5-mile tracks this season by posting his first top 10 in the last seven races at Charlotte. Menard will be driving the same car (chassis No. 454) that he finished ninth with in Texas.
Marcos Ambrose: Finished 10th in this race last season for his third top 10 at Charlotte. All of Ambrose's top 10s at CMS have come with Richard Petty Motorsports. This season, he's yet to post a top-15 finish on a 1.5-mile track.
Clint Bowyer: Finished eighth in this race last year to follow up his 2012 fall win at Charlotte. Best finish on a non-restrictor plate track this season came at the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway, eighth place. Will return in the same car (chassis No. 813) that he finished 13th with at Phoenix International Raceway.
Re: Coca-Cola 600 Betting News and Notes
Drivers to Watch - Charlotte
NASCAR gets back to its regular schedule after last week’s All-Star Race, staying in Concord, NC for the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday evening. Charlotte Motor Speedway is a 1.5-mile, intermediate track completed in 1959 in a quad-oval shape. Every turn has the same 24° banking and straightaways are nearly flat with 5° banking. The frontstretch measures 1,980 feet (.375 miles) while the backstretch is just 1,500 feet (.284 miles).
In the past 14 regular-season races at this track, there have been 12 different winners, with Kasey Kahne and Kevin Harvick, who won last year's Coca-Cola 600, being the only drivers in this span to win twice. Brad Keselowski won the Bank of America 500 last
Drivers to Watch
Matt Kenseth (10/1) - Kenseth loves the intermediate tracks, and has thrived at Charlotte in his career with 15 top-10's, eight top-5's and two victories. Since crashing at the 2008 Bank of America 500, Kenseth has finished no worse than 15th in any of his past 10 Charlotte starts, producing a stellar average finish of 8.5, and leading for at least one lap in seven of those 10 races. Kenseth has also placed in the top-10's in six of his past seven starts this season, and has top-10's in the four tracks most similar to Charlotte, finishing 4th at Fontana, 7th at Fort Worth and 10th at both Las Vegas and Kansas.
Kasey Kahne (8/1) - Kahne has a career average finish of 11.4 at Charlotte, which ranks second among all active drivers at this track, trailing only Joey Logano (10.4). Kahne has already won four times in Charlotte as part of nine top-5 finishes in his 20 starts at this venue. And this isn't all ancient history either as he placed 4th, 1st and 8th before his back-to-back runner-ups in both the Coca-Cola 600 and Bank of America 500 last year. Kahne hasn't performed very well in 2014, but two of his top-three finishes have come at Kansas (3rd place) and Las Vegas (8th place), which are tracks very similar to Charlotte. Consider Kahne the best value play among all single-digit-odd drivers this week.
Denny Hamlin ( 20/1) - A great darkhorse pick this week is Hamlin, who was tabbed with 7-to-1 odds in the 2013 Coca-Cola 600. Despite having never won at Charlotte, Hamlin's 13.2 average finish at this track ranks fifth among active drivers. He has a current streak of seven straight top-10 finishes at Charlotte, which includes a runner-up in the 2012 Coca-Cola 600 and a fourth-place showing in last year's 600-mile event when he won the pole. Although he's had an up-and-down 2014 season and sits 12th in the points standings, Hamlin did win two races ago at Talladega and led laps in five of his other 10 starts this year.
Jamie McMurray (60/1) - Another darkhorse for Saturday is Jamie McMurray, who is fresh off an All-Star Race win at this very track. McMurray has two regular-season wins in Charlotte (2002 and 2010) as part of eight top-8 showings at this track. The 38-year-old driver also had his best performance in 2014 on a track very similar to Charlotte when he came in sixth place at Fontana.
Martin Truex Jr. (100/1) - As true longshots go, Truex Jr. is amazingly getting triple-digit odds just one year after he went off at 15-to-1 in last spring's Coca-Cola 600. Truex has not been the beacon of success at Charlotte with a pedestrian 18.4 average finish and zero top-5's in 17 starts, but he has placed in the top-12 in three of his past four races at this track, which shows he has a chance to race among the leaders here.
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