2011 Coca-Cola 600 Predictions
(The Spread) – On Sunday we’re going back to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the longest race of the year in the Coca-Cola 600.
Not only is the longest race of the year, but it's also three different races rolled into one. What makes this race so difficult for both divers and crew chiefs is that it starts during daylight, runs through twilight and finishes with the final, crucial segment late at night.
Since this race has switched to a night event, history has shown that the eventual winner generally is not very fast during the first two segments, but has a car that comes alive during those final 100 miles. Not only do we have to handicap the drivers this week, but we also have to look at the crew chiefs. These are the men that will be keeping these cars in contention early and making the crucial final adjustment towards the end (which is when this race is won).
Carl Edwards 5/1
Edwards has always shined at tracks like Lowe's and with the power he’s shown this year, he deserves to be favored this week. Though he has yet to win a race here, he has shown a real fondness for this track with four top 5s and seven top 10s in 12 starts. Even though Edwards has never won a race at Lowe's in this series, we think this might finally be the week he gets that elusive first win under the lights Sunday night.
Matt Kenseth 10/1
Just like his teammate, Kenseth has been fast all year long and what better track to come to then the place where he won his first race in this series. In his last six starts at Charlotte, Kenseth has just one finish outside of the top 10 and that lone bad race was due to a crash. Overall, he has six top 5s and 12 top 10s in 23 starts. He also has a respectable average finish of 15.0 on a track that many struggle with.
Kasey Kahne 25/1
If any track can wake Kahne out of his slump, it has to be Charlotte Motor Speedway, where he was won three out of his last 10 points races in this series and also won the All-Star Race three years ago. Like our top two picks this week, Kahne has been fast all year but always seems to run into others’ accidents or has suffered mechanical issues. If he can just keep the car on the track until the final 100 miles, we think he could pull off the upset at a nice price.