Ross Chastain is Ready for NASCAR’s Longest Race at Charlotte

CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA - MAY 30: Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Off Road Chevrolet, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 30, 2021 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Charlotte Motor Speedway hosts the 63rd annual Coca-Cola 600 (Sunday at 6 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) to continue decades of North Carolina traditions. The 1.5-mile track has hosted 123 races, the fourth-most in NASCAR history.

The weekend will also be highlighted by the NASCAR Salutes program, as the sport celebrates veterans on Memorial Day weekend. Cup Series drivers will participate in the 600 Miles of Remembrance, driving with the name of a fallen service member on their windshields. Other partners will honor veterans as well, with Goodyear writing “Honor and Remember” on all tire sidewalls.

Michelle Byron, NASCAR’s Vice President of Partnership Marketing, said: “It’s always incredible to see the NASCAR industry and our fans unite to celebrate our military service members and their families through NASCAR Salutes Together with Coca-Cola. The month of May has become a time when, together as an industry, we can reflect on our nation’s heroes and honor the sacrifices they make every day to keep our country and its communities safe.”

Plenty of drivers will be looking to the race itself, too. Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr, and Brad Keselowski have found victory lane at Charlotte multiple times, and all three drivers are looking for their first win this year.

Keselowski especially needs a good run. He sits thirty-first in the points standings, 299 points behind leader Chase Elliott and without a win to lock his way into the Playoffs. But he’s confident. “Our team is poised for a good run this weekend,” Keselowski said. 

Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, and Kyle Larson have all won at Charlotte. Defending Coca-Cola 600 Larson looks to be seventh different driver to ever win back-to-back in NASCAR’s longest race.

One driver who’s confident about delivering his first win is Ross Chastain. The Florida driver has enjoyed a breakout season, scoring two wins, and he looks poised to win a third time in the backyard of his Trackhouse team shop. 

Also confident is Kyle Busch, who believes that his team deserves more win than just the one they have this year. 

“I mean, the mile-and-a-half stuff has kind of been our bread and butter a little bit this year,” Busch said. “You know, at California we were okay. I thought we were quick, but we got behind early, but then Vegas and Kansas were really good. We were fast there. So being another mile-and-a-half here, hopefully that bodes well.”

Ty Gibbs Intends to Score Another Charlotte Xfinity Win

Ty Gibbs won his second Xfinity race last season at Charlotte, and he’ll be hoping to back it up this season in the Alsco Uniforms 300 (Saturday at 1 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). He’ll be the just sixth driver to win two consecutive Xfinity races at Charlotte, joining Austin Dillon and Kyle Busch. 

Don’t count out JR Motorsports, though. The team has won a third of races as the season is halfway over, and now have a new record for consecutive stage wins at eight, having won every stage from Talladega to Texas. 

Allgaier looks to continue his strong season, where he has a win and five top-fives, at Charlotte. He’s got a good record at the track, with five top-fives and ten top-tens. He’ll be looking to up those numbers with a win. 

Truck Series Goes Under The Lights at Charlotte

The Truck Series will be racing under the lights at Charlotte for the North Carolina Education 200 (8:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Just five spots remain in the Playoffs with seven races to go, and the urgency is increasing.

Matt Crafton is in tenth and above the cutline by 35 points, and Tanner Gray is gunning for his spot. Derek Craus and Matt DiBenedetto are only 57 and 67 points out respectively, and both are in range. Tyler Ankrum in fourteenth is just one point behind DiBenedetto. Expect the Playoff bubble picture to heat up at Charlotte. 

CHARLOTTE, NC – SEPTEMBER 29: Austin Cindric, driver of the #22 MoneyLion Ford, leads the field at the start of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive for the Cure 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on September 29, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: Coca-Cola 600
The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway
The Date: Sunday, May 29
The Time: 6 p.m. ET
The Purse: $8,919,032
TV: FOX, 5 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)

NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: Alsco Uniforms 300
The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway
The Date: Saturday, May 28
The Time: 1 p.m. ET
The Purse: $1,284,615
TV: FS1, 12 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 300 miles (200 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Next Race: North Carolina Education Lottery 200
The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway
The Date: Friday, May 27
The Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
The Purse: $676,097
TV: FS1, 8 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 201 miles (134 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 30),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 134)

Owen Johnson