Finally, it's Coca-Cola 600 week! It's an event that most native to Cabarrus County plan for because of traffic, the sound of engines blaring through the night, and of course, the culture around the event. Charlotte Motor Speedway (though it should be Concord Motor Speedway) is the Mecca for NASCAR fans. It's a location that all race fans have to make a pilgrimage to.
This race is more than the longest race in the Cup Series. It's also considered the "Home Game" to every chartered team in the Cup Series because of where each team's headquarters are located. Most teams have settled down in Mooresville, NC, the home of Dale Earnhardt. However, several others have settled somewhere in Cabarrus County, notably my favorite team, JTG Daugherty Racing, headquartered in the Town of Harrisburg.
This year's Coca-Cola 600 will be unique because this is the longest we are seeing this new generation of racecars go 600 miles. In an interview by Phillip Pilkington (Harrisburg Native) on The Patrick Johnson Show (94.3 The Game) on May 25, 2022, Stenhouse mentions that a big concern for the race this Sunday is how the tires will hold up. We've already seen issues with tires in shorter races, so the 600 will be a true test of the durability of the Next-Gen tires. Regardless, if you're in the stands this weekend, please keep a heads up.
Within the last ten years, Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing have one six Coca-Cola 600s. So if you put money on this race, you will probably be safe if you bet on Alex Bowman, William Byron, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr, or Denny Hamlin. Of course, that's the case for most races, but the point still stands.
Kyle Larson won the 600 last year in 3 hours 58 minutes and 45 seconds, one of the five times the race finished in under four hours (400 completed laps). This year, I predict we will see the race finish in under four hours since most Next-Gen cars have the ability to do so.
The All-Star Race this year might give us insight into who will perform well this weekend since Charlotte and Texas Motor Speedway are very similar and owned by the same company, Speedway Motorsports. My picks for the 600 are Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Alex Bowman, or Christopher Bell. All of which finished the All-Star Race in the Top-10 and compete for either Hendrick or Joe Gibbs.
Whether your driver performs well this Sunday or not, the 600 is always a phenomenal event to attend. The entire event is one huge gesture to show our gratitude to those that have fallen to give us our freedom in this country, and I would argue that there is no better way to show your appreciation.
This Sunday, I'll stick out like a sore thumb wearing my blue Ricky Stenhouse T-Shirt and likely a cowboy hat. It's race week in Concord, North Carolina! Boogity Boogity, Lets go racin' boys!
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