NASCAR’s Memorial Day tribute is unmatched by any other sport. On Sunday, drivers will hit the track at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600. The longest race of the season brings together all the elements that make NASCAR so special.
Before we get into our preview of race, let’s take a moment to salute our nation’s military. Without these men and women, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy all the things we do everyday.
Hendrick Motorsports’ William Bryon will start on the pole. At 21-years-old, Byron is the youngest pole-sitter in the race’s 60-year history. Stewart-Haas Racing’s Aric Almirola will join him on the front row.
After a dominant performance in which he led 377 of the 400 laps in 2018, Kyle Busch is looking to defend last year’s win. Struggling to his first finish outside the top-ten in 2019 at Kansas, CMS could be just the track to get the 2015 champion back up near the top.
While some observers feel 600 miles is too long, Busch appreciates the history and tradition of this special event. “I like running the 600 miles,” the driver of the #18 Toyota Camry sounded.
“I think it brings a different aspect to our sport – it’s longevity. People will say, ‘It’s too long. It’s boring.’ Whatever. It’s a part of the product and history that we’ve had on Memorial Day weekend for a long time that you run the extra hundred miles.”
With 12 top-five finishes at Charlotte, expect Busch to be a threat to win once again.
The winner of last weekend’s All-Star Race, Kyle Larson will be looking to continue his season turnaround. He endured a brutal six-race stretch but has posted consecutive top-tens in the last two points races.
Larson knows it will take all hands on deck to continue their success in one of NASCAR’s big four events.
“We’ve got to continue to keep working hard and learning what we can,” he said. “Making our cars better and faster and more grip, more speed, everything. Pit crew has to to be on it, I’ve got to be on it if we want to continue to run up front.”
The #42 Chevrolet Camaro put on a strong showing in the 2018 Coca-Cola 600. He finished seventh and posted a third-place finish in each of the first two stages.
One more guy to keep your eye on is the #19 of Martin Truex Jr. The Mayetta, New Jersey native led 392 laps during his 2016 victory in this event, an all-time record.
“Charlotte has been a really strong track for us the last few years,” Truex stated. “I felt good about how our car drove in the All-Star Race last weekend, so that gives me confidence that we can make some of those same things work for the 600.”
Truex will begin 14th after posting a 29.622-second lap in qualifying on Thursday.
The action begins at 6:00PM ET on Sunday. Catch all the race coverage on FOX beginning at 5:30PM ET.
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