NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600
Charlotte Motor Speedway Distance: 600 miles (400 laps)
Sunday, May 30 6 p.m. ET TV: FOX, 5:30 p.m. ET Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 100), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 200), Stage 3 (Ends on Lap 300), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 400)
NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco Uniforms 300
Charlotte Motor Speedway 300 miles (200 Laps)
Saturday, May 29 1 p.m. ET TV: FS1, 12 p.m. ET Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series North Carolina Education Lottery 200. Charlotte Motor Speedway Distance: 201 miles (134 Laps)
Friday, May 28 8:30 p.m. ET TV: FS1, 8 p.m. ET Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 30), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 134)
NASCAR Cup Series
Coca-Cola 600 highlights action-packed Memorial Day Weekend at Charlotte
Another fun-filled weekend is on deck for the NASCAR Cup Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway with the 62nd running of the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday at 6 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Charlotte Motor Speedway is one of the most historic venues on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule. The famous facility is a 1.5-mile, paved oval with 24 degrees of banking in the turns and is located just outside Charlotte, North Carolina.
This weekend’s scoeduled procedures will be action-packed, with practice and qualifying taking place, making Charlotte the fourth of eight race weekends this season with designated practice and qualifying.
The lone NASCAR Cup Series Practice will take place at 7:00 – 7:50 p.m. ET (Friday, May 28) and can be viewed on FS1 from 7-8 p.m. ET. The Busch Pole Qualifying session will be held on Saturday at 11:05 a.m. ET (May 30) and can viewed on FS1 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. ET.
Charlotte Motor Speedway has hosted 122 NASCAR Cup Series races all-time – the fourth most in series history behind Daytona (148), Martinsville (145) and Richmond (129). The first NASCAR Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway was on June 19, 1960 and the event was won by driver Joe Lee Johnson driving a Chevrolet for car owner Paul McDuffie.
Charlotte’s 122 Cup races have produced 47 different pole winners, led by NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson with 14 poles (1961, 1972, 1973, 1974 sweep, 1975 sweep, 1976 sweep, 1977 sweep, 1978 sweep, 1982). Roush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Newman leads all active drivers in poles at Charlotte Motor Speedway with nine (2001, 2003 sweep, 2004, 2005, 2007 sweep, 2009 and 2010). Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch is the most recent pole winner at Charlotte, winning the pole for last season’s Coca-Cola 600 with a speed of 181.269 mph (29.790 secs.).
Charlotte Motor Speedway has also produced 52 different race winners in the 122 Cup Series races, led by Jimmie Johnson with eight victories (2003 summer, 2004 sweep, 2005 sweep, 2009 Playoffs, 2014 summer, 2016 Playoffs). Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick lead all active drivers in Charlotte wins with three each. Eight of the 52 former Cup Charlotte winners are entered this weekend, with three of the eight still looking for their first victory of the 2021 season – Kevin Harvick, Austin Dillon and Kurt Busch.
Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski is the defending winner of the 2020 Coca-Cola 600 will look to become the seventh different driver to win back-to-back Coke 600s; joining Buddy Baker (1972-‘73), Darrell Waltrip (twice: 1978-’79 and 1988-’89), Neil Bonnett (1982-’83), Dale Earnhardt (1992-’93), Jeff Gordon (1997-‘98) and Jimmie Johnson (2003, ’04, ’05) – Johnson leads the series in consecutive Coca-Cola 600 wins with three straight. A win this weekend would also tie Keselowski with Truex and Harvick for most wins among active drivers on the 1.5-mile track.
NASCAR Salutes the Military and their families in Coca-Cola 600
Now in its seventh year, NASCAR Salutes Together with Coca-Cola began at Kansas Speedway on May 2 and concludes this weekend with the return of 600 Miles of Remembrance during the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway taking place Memorial Day weekend (May 30, at 6 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
600 Miles of Remembrance is an annual honor held at the Coca-Cola 600 in which all cars in the field for the race feature the name of a fallen soldier on the windshield. The honor first began in 2015 and has been featured in every Coca-Cola 600 since.
“The NASCAR industry takes tremendous pride in honoring those who serve our country, along with their families and communities,” said Michelle Byron, vice president of partnership marketing, NASCAR. “It’s impossible to describe their sacrifices to protect and support our communities throughout the past year during the pandemic – it’s our privilege to recognize them through NASCAR Salutes annually.”
Hendrick Motorsports on the cusp of history
With Chase Elliott grabbing the win in the rain-shortened NASCAR Cup Series race at Circuit of The Americas, Hendrick Motorsports has tied Petty Enterprises for the series-most wins by a single organization with 268 victories each. This weekend, Hendrick Motorsports has the chance to surpass Petty Enterprises and become the sole leader in wins by a single organization in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Top 10 All-Time NASCAR Cup Series Organization Wins
Rank Organization NCS Wins
1 Petty Enterprises 268
2 Hendrick Motorsports 268
3 Joe Gibbs Racing 190
4 Roush Fenway Racing 137
5 Junior Johnson & Assoc. 132
6 Team Penske 128
7 Richard Childress Racing 109
8 Wood Brothers Racing 99
9 Holman-Moody Racing 96
10 Stewart-Haas Racing 65
Petty Enterprises and Hendrick Motorsports are the class of the field in their respective eras. Petty Enterprises won its first of their 268 wins in the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series season (1949) with NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Lee Petty taking the checkered flag at Heidelberg Raceway in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Petty Enterprises led eight different drivers to Victory Lane in the NASCAR Cup Series to reach 268 wins; including the series all-time winningest driver and NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty with 196 of his record 200 victories coming under the Petty banner. Petty Enterprises secured their final NASCAR Cup Series win on April 18, 1999 at Martinsville Speedway with driver John Andretti. In total the organization competed in the NASCAR Cup Series for more than 50 years bringing home not only wins but also 10 NASCAR Cup Series titles (Lee Petty: 1954, 1958, 1959 and Richard Petty: 1964, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1979).
Hendrick Motorsports since coming on the NASCAR Cup Series scene in 1984 (originally called All-Star Racing) and ever since have been a force to reckon with. Hendrick Motorsports scored their first NASCAR Cup Series victory with driver Geoff Bodine at Martinsville Speedway on April 29, 1984; just the organization’s eighth start in the series. Since entering the NASCAR Cup Series, Hendrick Motorsports has led 20 different drivers to Victory Lane; including their winningest driver and NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon with 93 Cup victories. Hendrick Motorsports already leads the series in championships with Chase Elliott securing their record 13th NASCAR Cup Series title, the most all-time (2020, ‘16, ’13, ’10, ’09, ’08, ’07, ’06, ’01, ’98, ’97, ’96, ’95) last season.
Elliott is also the most recent series winner at Charlotte Motor Speedway, grabbing the victory last season (5/28/20). A win this weekend at Charlotte could have them celebrating the milestone 269th victory in front of a home town crowd. Hendrick Motorsport’s drivers are hot right now putting up five wins this season; including winning the last two races on the 2021 schedule (Alex Bowman, Dover and Chase Elliott, COTA). And to boot, all four drivers have secured wins this season and are locked into the Playoffs.
With a win this weekend Denny Hamlin could join elite club
Three major pillars within the NASCAR Cup Series schedule, some even refer to them as the ‘Crown Jewel events’ of the series – the Daytona 500, the Southern 500 and this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway – are all extremely difficult to win by themselves, but even more so, is conquering all three. In NASCAR Cup Series history only 11 drivers have won all three major events, and with a win this weekend, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin could be the 12th.
NASCAR Hall of Famer and current FOX Sports TV Analyst Jeff Gordon leads the series in ‘Crown Jewel’ wins with a combined 12 victories across the three events – three Daytona 500 wins (1997, 1999, 2005), six Southern 500s (1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2007) and three Coca-Cola 600s (1994, 1997, 1998). Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick is the only active driver to already accomplish the feat with five combined victories across the three historic events – one Daytona 500 (2007), two Southern 500s (2014, 2020) and two Coca-Cola 600s (2011, 2013).
Denny Hamlin is one of 10 active drivers that have already won at least one of the three events – the Daytona 500, Southern 500 or Coca-Cola 600 – and leads all active drivers in combined wins of the races with five victories – three Daytona 500s (2016, 2019, 2020) and two Southern 500s (2010, 2017).
Hamlin is joined by Team Penske’s Joey Logano, Front Row Motorsport’s Michael McDowell, Roush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Newman and Richard Petty Motorsport’s Erik Jones as the drivers with wins in at least one of the three events that are still looking for a Coca-Cola 600 win.
Hamlin has made 29 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway posting two poles, 10 top fives and 18 top 10s; including three runner-up finishes. Hamlin finished second to Chase Elliott in the most recent race at Charlotte (5/28/20) last season.
Elliott adds name to wins list last week, to make 200th milestone start this week
It took 14 races into the 2021 season by the defending NASCAR Cup Series champion (2020) Chase Elliott to grab his first win of the year in the rain-shortened inaugural event at the Circuit of the Americas. But with the win, Elliott has locked himself into the Playoffs for the sixth consecutive season in his career (2016-2021) and now turns his attention to and making his 200th NASCAR Cup Series career milestone start this weekend at Charlotte.
In his first 199 NASCAR Cup Series career starts Chase Elliott has put up a series championship (2020), 12 wins, 65 top fives, 104 top 10s and nine poles. Plus, let’s not forget he comes from racing royalty, the Elliotts joined the Pettys (Lee: 1954, ‘58, ‘59 and Richard: 1964, ‘67, ‘71, ‘72, ‘74, ‘75, ‘79), and the Jarretts (Ned: 1961, ‘65 and Dale: 1999) as just the third father-son combo to win NASCAR Cup Series titles. In addition, Chase Elliott, from Dawsonville, Georgia, is the third NASCAR Cup Series champion from the state of Georgia; joining his father NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott (1988) from Dawsonville as well and NASCAR Hall of Famer Tim Flock, a two-time series champion (1952, 1955) from Atlanta. Oh, and the fans like him too, as he became the first series’ Most Popular Driver to win the NASCAR Cup Series championship since 1988 (Bill Elliott).
Heading to Charlotte this weekend, expect Elliott to contend for the win. He has made nine starts on the Charlotte 1.5-mile track posting one win (2020), four top fives and five top 10s. He finished second in the Coca-Cola 600 last season.
Playoff Bubble: Spots for the postseason are dwindling
Last weekend at the Circuit of the Americas the NASCAR Cup Series welcomed its 11th different winner in 14 races this season. Hendrick Motorsport’s Chase Elliott is now locked into the postseason and has the opportunity to become the first driver to win consecutive title since his former teammate Jimmie Johnson accomplished the feat from 2006-2010. Elliott’s win also dwindles the number of available spots for this season’s NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, now down to five total – four by virtue of points or a win and one reserved for the points leader (currently Denny Hamlin).
Following Circuit of The Americas, Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick strengthened his grip on 16th in driver standings – the final transfer position to the Playoffs – by 38 points over Wood Brothers Racing’s Matt DiBenedetto in 17th.
The most successful driver at Charlotte Motor Speedway on the Playoff bubble still looking for his first win of the 2021 season is Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick. Harvick is currently a comfortable 132 points ahead of the Playoff cutoff heading into this weekend. Harvick has made 38 series starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway posting three wins, nine top fives and 19 top 10s. He finished fifth in the Coca-Cola 600 last season.
Harvick is not the only former Charlotte winner looking for a win this season, Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon won the 2017 Coca-Cola 600 and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch won the 2010 Coca-Cola 600. Dillon has made 12 series starts at Charlotte posting a win and three top 10s; he finished 14th in the Coke 600 last season. Kurt Busch has made 39 series starts at Charlotte posting one win, eight top fives and 15 top 10s.
Kurt Busch’s brother Kyle is the only driver in series history to win in all three NASCAR national series at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Three Cup drivers looking for their first wins of the 2021 season that have won at Charlotte in the NASCAR Xfinity Series previously, are Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman and Tyler Reddick.
Charlotte Motor Speedway is a great place for first-time winners
When it comes to getting your first win in the NASCAR Cup Series, nowhere beats Daytona International Speedway with 21 first-time winners. But when it comes to 1.5-mile tracks, none have produced more first-time winners than Charlotte Motor Speedway with 10 – fourth-most all-time behind Daytona (21), Martinsville (12), and Talladega (11).
The most recent driver to win his first career NASCAR Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway was Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon, who collected his first checkered flag back in 2017.
First-Time Cup Winners at Charlotte
Date Austin Dillon Sunday, May 28, 2017
David Reutimann Monday, May 25, 2009 Casey Mears
Sunday, May 27, 2007 Jamie McMurray Sunday, October 13, 2002
Matt Kenseth Sunday, May 28, 2000 Bobby Labonte
Sunday, May 28, 1995 Jeff Gordon Sunday, May 29, 1994
Charlie Glotzbach Sunday, October 20, 1968 Buddy Baker
Sunday, October 15, 1967 David Pearson Sunday, May 28, 1961
The 2021 season has already seen two first-time winners in Michael McDowell (Daytona 500) and Christopher Bell (Daytona RC). In the Modern Era (1972-Present) the most first-time winners the NASCAR Cup Series has seen in a single season is five in 2001 and 2011.
NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.
The Samantha and Kyle Busch Bundle of Joy Fund night of fun at Topgolf Charlotte – This week the Samantha and Kyle Busch Bundle of Joy Fund is hosting a night of fun and fundraising at Topgolf Charlotte. Top NASCAR personalities and fans will gather to raise money to support the mission of The Samantha and Kyle Busch Bundle of Joy Fund. The evening will include a fan autograph session with NASCAR driver Kyle Busch, golfing fun, and a silent auction.
The Samantha and Kyle Busch Bundle of Joy Fund is dedicated to advocating for infertility education and awareness and removing financial barriers by granting monetary awards to couples who require fertility treatments to have their own bundle of joy.
The event will be held Thursday, May 28 at Top Golf Charlotte. Please RSVP to Jen Hebert – email@example.com or 704-526-9180 if your outlet would like to attend.
Joey Logano Foundation partners with Convoy of Hope and Arby’s Foundation for essential supplies distribution event – The Joey Logano Foundation, Convoy of Hope and the Arby’s Foundation announced this week they will team-up with the goal of distributing 35,000 lbs. of groceries and essential supplies to more than 1,000 families through a mobile, drive-thru event this Saturday, May 29 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET at 2700 E. Independence Blvd., Charlotte, N.C.
Big names listed as dignitaries this weekend at Charlotte – Legendary talk-show host and avid car collector Jay Leno will be joined by his former The Tonight Show musical director, Kevin Eubanks, to offer the most famous words in motorsports – ‘Drivers, Start Your Engines’ – when the pair serve as grand marshals for the 62nd running of the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, May 30 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Together for 15 years on The Tonight Show, the longtime friends and television stars will launch a new network comedy program, ‘You Bet Your Life’ on FOX this fall.
Joining the star-studded affair, Carolina Panthers’ All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey will pilot the Toyota Camry TRD as the honorary pace car driver, leading the field of NASCAR Cup Series drivers to the green flag to start the crown jewel event.
Additional dignitaries for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 include:
Presentation of Colors: Official Color Guard of the U.S. Marine Corps, Marine Barracks Washington
State of Freedom Address: Admiral Karl L. Schultz, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard
Invocation: Brian Koyn, Division Chaplain at 82nd Airborne Division, U.S. Army
National anthem: MU1 Megan Weikleenget, U.S. Coast Guard
Honorary Starter: Jim Whaley, USO Southeast Regional President
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Up: Tripleheader weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway
This weekend the NASCAR Xfinity Series will take on Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Alsco Uniforms 300 at 1 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio as the second event of a NASCAR national series tripleheader weekend at the 1.5-mile track.
The Alsco Uniforms 300 Xfinity race will be 200 laps (300 miles) and broken up into three stages with Stage 1 ending on Lap 45 and Stage 2 ending on Lap 90.
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch was victorious last season at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series grabbing his series leading ninth win at the facility (2004, 2005, 2008 sweep, 2009, 2010, 2013 sweep, 2020). Closely following Busch last season were Daniel Hemric, Austin Cindric, Ross Chastain and Justin Allgaier rounding out the top five.
This weekend the Xfinity Series will compete in qualifying for the pole position. Due to the pandemic, qualifying has been eliminated from a variety of tracks and the pole position is won based on metrics from the previous race weekend. But this weekend we will get to see the field compete for the pole.
The only practice this week for Xfinity will be held Friday, May 28 at 4:35 p.m. – 5:25 p.m. with qualifying on Saturday, May 29 at 10:05 p.m. and you will be able to view both on FS1.
Busch dominates inaugural race at COTA gets 29th Xfinity career Perfect Driver Rating
Kyle Busch took home his 98th NASCAR Xfinity Series victory on Saturday at Circuit of The Americas, dominating the field with an 11-second victory in the inaugural and highly anticipated race. The legendary driver also captured his 29th career NASCAR Xfinity Series Perfect Driver Rating (150.0) – the series-most.
Busch led 36 of 46 laps in the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota while no other driver led more than three laps at the 20-turn track.
AJ Allmendinger, one of the drivers in the field known for their road course racing talent, finished in second. Justin Allgaier finished third, Kevin Harvick fourth, and series points leader Austin Cindric finished fifth. Kaulig Racing teammates Allmendinger and Haley won Stage 1 and Stage 2, respectively and chose to earn points and stay on track rather than pitting before the conclusion of the stages.
The win marked the 17th season that Busch has won an Xfinity Series race and the 27th different track that he’s gone to Victory Lane at.
Looking to Charlotte this weekend, Busch is not entered, but instead Joe Gibbs’ grandson, Ty Gibbs will be piloting the No. 54 Toyota. Ty Gibbs is running a part-time schedule this season having made five starts posting a win in his series debut at the Daytona Road Course and four top fives. This will be his series debut at Charlotte this weekend.
Charlotte Motor Speedway Xfinity Fast Facts
There have been 75 total NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Charlotte Motor Speedway with the inaugural race on May 29, 1982. Harry Gant won the first Xfinity race at Charlotte from the pole position in his own Pontiac.
The 75 Xfinity Series races have produced 48 different pole winners and 36 different race winners. The youngest pole winner was Chase Elliott in 2014 at 18 years, 10 month and 12 days. The oldest pole winner was Harry Gant in 1988 at 48 years, 8 months, 28 days.
The youngest race winner was Kyle Busch in 2004 at 19 years, 0 months and 27 days and the oldest winner was Harry Gant, once again, in 1991 at 51 years, 8 months and 25 days.
There have only been 12 races won from the pole or first starting position, most recently in 2018 by Brad Keselowski.
NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin holds the race record from 1996 at 155.799 mph and the qualifying record is held by Jimmie Johnson in 2005 at 187.735 mph.
Last season’s race had 37 cars with 20 lead changes and five different leaders. There were 11 cautions for 53 laps and only 11 cars on the lead lap at the conclusion of the race. There were 28 cars running at the finish and the race winner led 94 laps. The Margin of Victory was 0.178 seconds.
Joe Nemechek holds the record for the most races run at Charlotte Motor Speedway with 38. Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth are tied for the most pole awards with four. Kyle Busch holds the record for the most wins (9), most top fives (19), most top 10s (22), most lead lap finishes (22) and most laps led (1,475).
Alex Bowman got his first Xfinity Series win at Charlotte in 2017 and Justin Allgaier made his first career start at this track in 2008.
Xfinity Sunoco Rookie Update
JR Motorsport’s driver Josh Berry continues to lead the NASCAR Xfinity Series Sunoco rookie standings after his runner-up finish at Dover International Speedway two weeks ago. Last week, the series was at Circuit of the Americas but no rookie was entered to run the race. Therefore, the standings have stayed the same.
JR Motorsport’s Josh Berry took the lead in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings after Darlington Raceway. And extended his lead over Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ty Gibbs, who had been in the lead since his win at the Daytona Road Course early in the season, to +35 points.
In nine starts so far this year, Berry got his first-ever Xfinity Series win at Martinsville and has three top fives and five top 10s to his name. He’s also led 151 laps this season and has an average start of 14.9 and average finish of 17.1.
Ty Gibbs is running a part-time schedule for Joe Gibbs Racing this season and in his first-ever start at the Daytona Road Course, he won after starting 15th. He’s made five starts so far in 2021 and has four top-five finishes and four top 10s. His average finish is 6.0 and average start is 20.2.
JD Motorsport’s Ryan Vargas is still sitting in third in the rookie standings with 89 points. In nine starts so far this season for JD Motorsports, Vargas has a best finish of 18th from the season-opener at Daytona. Most recently, he finished 26th at Dover.
Bubble Trouble: Who’s in, out in Xfinity Playoffs?
With Kyle Busch’s victory at Circuit of the Americas in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, drivers fighting for their spot in the Playoffs luckily didn’t lose another chance to make their way in.
Currently, there are five drivers locked into the postseason with wins – Austin Cindric, Justin Allgaier, AJ Allmendinger, Jeb Burton and Myatt Snider.
That means there are seven spots left in the field to either make it in with a win or on points. After last weekend’s race at COTA, Harrison Burton jumped to sixth in the standings, making him the highest ranked driver without a win this season.
Daniel Hemric had occupied that spot for a majority of the season but after bad luck loomed over him and the No. 18 team again at COTA, he dropped to seventh. He still has a 141-point cushion between himself and the Playoff cutline.
Noah Gragson also had a rough day at COTA as he finished 36th because of an engine issue, completing only 13 laps. He’s in 10th in the Playoff standings, with a 59-point buffer.
Jeremy Clements is still the underdog story of the season in the Xfinity Series, sitting in ninth in the Playoff standings. His small, family-owned team has been above the cutline for the entire season so far (11 races). He’s moved up a few spots in recent weeks with a 60 point cushion between himself and the Playoff cutoff heading into Charlotte.
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Brandon Jones is in the final transfer spot right now in 12th with Brandon Brown right behind him in 13th – the two separated by 26 points. The two drivers have gone back and forth each week for the final spot while Riley Herbst and Ryan Sieg are in 14th and 15th, respectively.
NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.
Manufacturer update after COTA: Chevrolet held onto their lead in the manufacturer standings this weekend with 411 points and six wins. Toyota got their second win of the season and jumped to the second position with 381 points. Ford is in third with three wins and 378 points, not far behind Toyota.
Best Buy sponsoring Ryan Vargas: JD Motorsports with Gary Keller announced that longtime sponsor Best Buy is returning to NASCAR with Ryan Vargas for Saturday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Swann Security will also join the partnership. Swann announced a four-race deal with Vargas at the beginning of the season. They will team up to showcase their latest camera security systems that are available exclusively at Best Buy. Best Buy will be prominently featured on the quarter panels of the No. 4 Chevrolet with a red, white and blue theme with stars across the front of the car to commemorate Memorial Day. This will be Vargas’ first career start at the Charlotte track.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Front Row Motorsport’s Todd Gilliland and Ford join 2021 winners list
As the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series made its debut at Circuit of the Americas last weekend, Front Row Motorsport’s driver Todd Gilliland and Ford joined the list of 2021 race winners as they captured the victory in the first NASCAR national series ever run on the 20-turn road course in Austin, Texas.
The victory in the rain-soaked race not only got Gilliland the trophy but also the second $50,000 bonus in the 2021 edition of the Triple Truck Challenge presented by Womply. Sheldon Creed won the opening round at Darlington.
Gilliland became the sixth different winner in nine races this season – Ben Rhodes, John Hunter Nemechek and Kyle Busch each have two wins, Martin Truex Jr. and Sheldon Creed each have one. And the win was Ford’s first of the year after Toyota won the opening seven races before Chevrolet ended the streak at Darlington.
It was the first win for Gilliland since Martinsville in October of 2019, and the first win for Ford since Grant Enfinger won at Martinsville in October of last year.
Camping World Trucks take on the Queen City
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Charlotte Motor Speedway for a Friday night showdown under the lights to kick off the traditional Memorial Day weekend of racing with the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at 8:30 p.m. ET (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
This weekend marks the 20th time the trucks have taken on the 1.5-mile oval. Ted Musgrave won the inaugural race in 2003, and Kyle Busch leads all drivers with eight wins in 14 starts at the track. Matt Crafton is the only active driver with multiple wins (two – 2008, 2016) at the track. (Ron Hornaday Jr. also has a pair of wins at Charlotte.)
Johnny Sauter (2018) is the only other previous winner who is entered in this weekend’s race.
Hornaday is the only driver to have won at Charlotte and then gone on to win the series championship that year – and he did it twice in 2007 and 2009.
The Camping World Truck Series will hold practice and qualifying sessions for the second week in a row, with all on-track activity taking place on Friday. There are currently 40 trucks entered to contend for 36 spots on the starting grid.
Taking an early look at the Playoff picture
With nine races down and six to go in the regular season, John Hunter Nemechek, Ben Rhodes, Sheldon Creed and Todd Gilliland have all secured spots in the Playoffs by virtue of wins. That currently leaves six spots filled by points.
Former Charlotte winner Johnny Sauter holds the 10th and final spot based on points, 16 points ahead of Austin Wayne Self, who is the first driver on the outside looking in.
Another previous Charlotte winner, Matt Crafton, is currently sixth on the Playoff grid, comfortably in position to advance to the postseason.
The remainder of the field currently in the Playoff picture (Austin Hill – fourth on the grid, Zane Smith – seventh, Stewart Friesen – eighth, Carson Hocevar – ninth) are all looking for their first win at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Although Grant Enfinger is currently seventh overall in points, he’s not eligible for the Playoffs after missing the race at the Daytona Road Course early in the season.
Hill has four starts at Charlotte with a pair of top-10 finishes in his last two races (sixth in 2019, ninth last year). Smith has one start, last season, and finished third in his track debut. Friesen has also cracked the top 10 twice in his four starts – placing sixth in 2018 and third in 2019, while Sunoco Rookie points leader Hocevar will be making his track debut this weekend.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Etc.
Triple Truck Challenge Presented by Womply: Sheldon Creed won the opening round of the Triple Truck Challenge this season at Darlington Raceway, netting a $50,000 bonus. This marked Creed’s third Triple Truck Challenge victory after winning the bonus last year at Daytona and World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway. Todd Gilliland followed that up by winning the second leg of the bonus program last weekend at Circuit of the America. The 2021 edition of the Triple Truck Challenge presented by Womply wraps up on Friday night at Charlotte.
Sunoco Rookie Update: Coming out of COTA, Carson Hocevar extended his lead to 45 points over second-place Chandler Smith (225 to 180). Hocevar finished seventh in the rainy race last weekend, while Smith placed 33rd. Hailie Deegan is in third with 154 points after finishing 14th in Austin, while Chase Purdy has 103 points in fourth (he finished 27th at COTA) and Kris Wright is in fifth with 44 points. Wright has only competed in five of the nine races this season, most recently at Darlington, but he is entered this weekend at Charlotte.
Deegan at Charlotte: Team DGR’s Hailie Deegan will become the eighth different female competitor in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series to make a start at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend. The best starting position by a female competitor in the Xfinity Series at Charlotte is second by Erin Crocker in 2006. The best finish by a female in the Xfinity Series at Charlotte is 13th by Tina Gordon in 2003; she started 33rd.
Graphics & Photos Courtesy of NASCAR