Sunday, May 30, 2021

NASCAR Cup News & Notes – Charlotte Motor Speedway

NASCAR Cup News & Notes – Charlotte Motor Speedway

Coca-Cola 600 highlights action-packed Memorial Day Weekend at Charlotte

NASCAR Cup News & Notes – Charlotte Motor Speedway
  • Next Race: Coca-Cola 600  
  • The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway  
  • The Date: Sunday, May 30  
  • The Time: 6 p.m. ET  
  • TV: FOX, 5:30 p.m. ET  
  • Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio  
  • Distance: 600 miles (400 laps)
    • Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 100)
    • Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 200)
    • Stage 3 (Ends on Lap 300)
    • Final Stage (Ends on Lap 400)


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 scheduled 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.


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.


Active Charlotte Motor Speedway Drivers (#NASCAR)


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

Top 10 All-Time #NASCAR Cup Series Organization Wins


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.


Hendrick Motorsports / Petty Enterprises (#NASCAR)


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).


NASCAR Cup Series Drivers With Wins In All Three Events

#NASCAR Cup Series Drivers With Wins In All Three Events


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).


Active NASCAR Cup Series Drivers With Wins In At Least one Of The Three Events

Active #NASCAR Cup Series Drivers With Wins In At Least one Of The Three Events


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.



source: NASCAR Media

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