Here’s all you need to know about the Coca-Cola 600 and Charlotte Motor Speedway

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Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 is the longest and most grueling race on the Sprint Cup – 400 laps, 600 miles in total.

Providing there’s no race-extending Green-White-Checker finish, of course.

Because the race is so long, sometimes fans can use a slight diversion – like reading all about the history of the race, some of its top statistics, and so forth.

Thanks to the great figure-filberts in NASCAR’s and Charlotte Motor Speedway’s PR and Statistics departments, here’s everything you need to know about the Coca-Cola 600 and CMS:

COCA-COLA 600 at CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Track Specifications:
–Superspeedway: 1.5-mile quad oval
–Race Length: 400 laps, 600 miles
–Track Length: 1.5 miles or 7,920 feet
–Banking: turns: 24 degrees; straights: 5 degrees
–Straights: Frontstretch – 1980 feet; Backstretch – 1500 feet
–Turns: Turns 1 & 2: 2,400 feet; Turns 3 & 4: 2,040 feet
–Radius Turns 1 & 2: 685 feet
–Radius Turns 3 & 4: 625 feet
–Grandstand Seating: 89,000 (down from 134,000)
–Suites: 113
–Pit Road Speed: 45mph
–Pace Car Speed: 55mph
–Opened: 1960
–Last Repave: March 2006

Race Festivities/Officials:
–Grand Marshal: Dawn Seif, wife of fallen Marine SSgt. Andrew Seif; USO CEO & President J.D. Crouch II
–Command to start engines: Dawn Seif
–Honorary Starter/Wave Green Flag: West Virginia Senate President/Lieutenant Governor Bill Cole
–Honorary Pace Car Driver:Carolina Panthers LB Thomas Davis
–Honorary Pace Director: North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest
–Color Guard: TBA
–Invocation: TBA
–National Anthem: 82nd Airborne Chorus
–Flyover: TBA

PURSE:

2015: TBA
2014: $6,659,323
2013: $6,611,706
2012: $6,544,088
2011: $6,412,212
2010: $6,474,775
2009: $6,696,340
2008: $6,648,557
2007: $6,569,628
2006: $6,452,431
2005: $6,279,649
2004: $6,201,379
2003: $5,396,853

Track Websites & Social Media:
Charlotte Motor Speedway
Speedway Motorsports
Facebook – Charlotte Motor Speedway
Twitter – @CLTMotorSpdwy
YouTube – CLTMotorSpdwy
U.S. Legend Cars
Cabarrus County Destination Guide
Track Stats – Racing-reference.info

RECORDS/STATISTICS:
–2014 May Race Winner: #48-Jimmie Johnson, 145.484mph, started 1st
–2014 October Race Winner: #4-Kevin Harvick, 145.346mph, started 7th
Track Race Record 500 miles: Jeff Gordon, Oct 1999, 160.306mph
Track Race Record 600 miles: Kasey Kahne, May 2012, 155.687mph
Slowest Race Record: Junior Johnson, 107.752mph, 1960
Worst Starting Spot to Win: Jimmie Johnson, May 2003, started 37th
Oldest Winner: Cale Yarborough, 46 years, 6 months, 9 days, 10/6/1985
Youngest Winner: Jeff Gordon, 22 years, 9 months, 25 days, 5/29/1994
2014 May Pole Winner: #48-Jimmy Johnson, 194.911mph, finished 1st
2014 October Pole Winner: #18-Kyle Busch, 197.390mph, finished 5th
Track Qualifying Record: Kurt Busch, Oct 2014, 198.771mph, set in 2nd round of qualifying
Coke 600 Qualifying Record: Denny Hamlin, May 2013, 195.624mph
500 mile Qualifying Record: Jeff Gordon, Oct 2013, 194.308mph
Youngest Pole Winner: Jeff Gordon, 22 years, 2 months, 6 days, 10/10/1993
Oldest Pole Winner: Bobby Allison, 49 years, 10 months, 8 days, 10/11/1987

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Charlotte
–#48-Jimmie Johnson 111.6
–#18-Kyle Busch 106.7
–#5-Kasey Kahne 100.8
–#20-Matt Kenseth 95.5
–#11-Denny Hamlin 92.8
–#24-Jeff Gordon 91.6
–#19-Carl Edwards 89.6
–#16-Greg Biffle 88.7
–#22-Joey Logano 88.4
–#2-Brad Keselowski 86.5

Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2014 races (19 total) among active drivers at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Formula combining the following categories: Win, Finish, Top-15 Finish, Average Running Position while on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.

See an explanation how the Driver Rating is calculated at NASCAR.com.

Winners of the Coca-Cola 600 and All-Star Race in same season:
1985-Darrell Waltrip
1991-Davey Allison
1993-Dale Earnhardt
1997-Jeff Gordon
2003-Jimmie Johnson
2008-Kasey Kahne
2010-Kurt Busch

Charlotte Motor Speedway Notes & Facts – history:
–Construction began on Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS) in 1959.
–The track’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was held on June 19, 1960 – won by Joe Lee Johnson.
–The track was repaved midseason in 1994.
–The track name changed from Charlotte Motor Speedway to Lowe’s Motor Speedway in 1999.
–It changed back to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the 2010 season.
–The track was re-paved again before the 2006 season.

Charlotte Motor Speedway Notes & Facts – drivers:
–527 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points paying race at Charlotte Motor Speedway; 378 in more than one. 441 drivers have competed in the Coca-Cola 600; 287 in more than one.
–NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty leads the series in starts at Charlotte with 64. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 44 starts; followed by Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart with 31. Richard Petty and Bill Elliott have made the most Coca-Cola 600 starts with 31 each; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers in 600 starts with 22.
–45 different drivers have won at Charlotte Motor Speedway, led by Jimmie Johnson with seven wins including four Coca-Cola 600 wins – 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2014.
–30 different drivers have won the Coca-Cola 600, led by NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip with five; Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers with four; followed by teammates Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne with three each.
–Nine drivers have posted consecutive wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway, including three consecutive by NASCAR Hall of Famer Fred Lorenzen (fall 1964 and both 1965) and four straight by Jimmie Johnson (2004 and 2005 sweeps).
–A season sweep at Charlotte has occurred eight times, including each season from 2004-2007.
–Seven times from seven different drivers has the winner of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race gone on to win the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway: Darrell Waltrip (1985), Davey Allison (1991), Dale Earnhardt (1993), Jeff Gordon (1997), Jimmie Johnson (2003), Kasey Kahne (2008) and Kurt Busch (2010).
–Richard Petty leads the series in runner-up finishes at Charlotte with nine. Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne and Matt Kenseth lead all active drivers with three.
–Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth lead all active drivers in runner-up finishes in the Coca-Cola 600 with two.
–NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Bobby Allison are tied for the series most top-five finishes at Charlotte with 23. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 17. Richard Petty leads the series in top fives in the Coca-Cola 600 with 12; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with seven.
–Richard Petty leads the series in top-10 finishes at Charlotte with 31. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 24. Darrell Waltrip, Ricky Rudd and David Pearson lead the series in top 10s in the Coca-Cola 600 with 15 each; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 12.
–Joey Logano leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average finishing position at Charlotte with a 10.000. Carl Edwards leads all active drivers in average finish in the Coca-Cola 600 with a 9.000.
–Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads the series among active drivers with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Charlotte without visiting Victory Lane at 30; followed by Ryan Newman with 28.
–Seven NASCAR Sprint Cup Series active drivers have made their first career start at Charlotte Motor Speedway: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (5/30/99), Jimmie Johnson (10/7/01), Brian Vickers (10/11/03), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (5/29/11) and Kyle Larson (10/12/13).
–Four active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers have posted their first career win at Charlotte Motor Speedway: Jeff Gordon (5/29/94), Matt Kenseth (5/28/00), Jamie McMurray (10/13/02) and Casey Mears (5/27/07).
–Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in laps led at Charlotte with 1,733 laps led in 27 starts.
–Two female drivers have competed at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Janet Guthrie and Danica Patrick.

Charlotte Motor Speedway Notes & Facts – race:
–There have been 112 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points races at Charlotte Motor Speedway, two races per year since the track opened in 1960. In 1961, there were two 100-mile qualifying points races held the week before the May race. The first six fall races at Charlotte were 400-mile events (1960-65).
–Hendrick Motorsports has the most wins at Charlotte in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with 18: Jimmie Johnson (seven), Jeff Gordon (five), Darrell Waltrip (two), Ken Schrader (one), Terry Labonte (one), Casey Mears (one) and Kasey Kahne (one).
–Eight different manufacturers have won in the NSCS at Charlotte; led by Chevrolet with 43 victories; followed by Ford with 29. Chevrolet also has the most Coca-Cola 600 wins at 23.
–There have been three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races resulting with a green-white-checkered finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but only once for the Coca-Cola 600 (Scheduled No. of Laps/Actual No. of Laps): fall of 2005 (334/336), fall of 2007 (334/337) and the 2011 Coca-Cola 600 (400/402).
–Five of the 112 races at Charlotte Motor Speedway have been shortened due to weather conditions; the most recent was the 2009 Coca-Cola 600 won by David Reutimann and Michael Waltrip Racing. Four of the five races shortened were the 600-mile events (1968, 1997, 2003 and 2009).
–Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory (MOV) in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway was the May 29, 2005 race won by Jimmie Johnson over Bobby Labonte with a MOV of 0.027 second.

Charlotte Motor Speedway Notes & Facts – poles:
–Fireball Roberts won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Charlotte Motor Speedway (World 600) in 1960 with a speed of 133.904 mph.
–42 drivers have Coors Light poles at Charlotte, led by David Pearson with 14. Ryan Newman and Jeff Gordon lead all active drivers in poles at CMS with nine.
–David Pearson and Ryan Newman are tied for the series most Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Sprint Cup Coors Light poles with six each; followed by Jeff Gordon with five.
–12 drivers have won consecutive Coors Light poles at Charlotte. David Pearson holds the record for most consecutive poles at Charlotte with 11; from the fall of 1973 through 1978.
–Jeff Gordon won five straight Coca-Cola 600 poles at Charlotte between 1994 and 1998.
–Four active drivers have posted their first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light pole at Charlotte Motor Speedway: Jeff Gordon (10/10/93), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (5/28/00), Ryan Newman (5/27/01) and Aric Almirola (5/27/12).
–15 of the 112 (13.3 percent) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Charlotte have been won from the Coors Light pole; the most recent was Jimmie Johnson in 2014 (Coca-Cola 600).
–The second-place starting position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (17) than any other starting position at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
–32 of the 112 (28.5 percent) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Charlotte have been won from the front row: 15 from the pole and 17 from second-place.
–85 of the 112 (75.8 percent) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Charlotte have been won from a top-10 starting position.
–Nine of the 112 (8.0 percent) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Charlotte have been won from a starting position outside the top 20.
–The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Charlotte is 37th, by Jimmie Johnson in the Coca-Cola 600 of 2003.
–Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Charlotte with a 7.630.
–Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway twice; the fall race of 2002 and the fall race of 2008.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Kevin Harvick expects more suspensions for Rodney Childers; unrepentant about penalty

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A postrace penalty after his victory at Texas Motor Speedway cost Kevin Harvick his crew chief for the final two races of the 2018 season.

But the punishment won’t be a deterrent: Harvick fully expects he will be thrust into a situation without Rodney Childers again.

“It better not be the last time that he gets suspended because I just don’t think you are pushing it hard enough if you’re not,” Harvick said Tuesday night during his “Happy Hours” show on SiriusXM’s NASCAR channel. “That’s part of racing. Not something I’m going to apologize for at any point in my career just because of the fact I want my crew chief doing what he has to do to make my car go as fast as he can. Try to work within the rules and find the gray area you can and win some and lose some.”

Childers was benched for mounting an illegal spoiler on the No. 4 Ford at Texas, which was the eighth and final win of a career season for Harvick. The infraction was discovered during a midweek inspection at the R&D Center in Concord, North Carolina, and NASCAR stripped the championship benefits of the win.

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver dominated NASCAR’s Loop Data statistics, finishing first in driver rating, fastest laps, fastest on restarts, laps led and green-flag speed.

Harvick also ranked first with 1,990 laps led — the third time in five seasons with Childers that he has topped that category.

During a 2017 episode of the NASCAR on NBC Podcast, Childers explained that had led to many trips to the R&D Center for extra scrutiny.

“It’s not going to be the last time my crew chief gets suspended,” he said. “That’s just part of what we do, and if you’re going to be one of the good teams, you’re going to have to push the limits. You’re going to have to be on the verge of getting in trouble all the time.  You have to push the envelope.”

Bump & Run panel selects superlatives of 2018 season

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Who is your driver of the year?

Nate Ryan: Kevin Harvick. It was his year in every way but the championship.

Dustin Long: Kyle Busch. While he won the same number of races (eight) as Kevin Harvick and had one less top five and top 10 than Harvick, the difference is that Busch won the Coca-Cola 600 of the sport’s four majors (Daytona 500, Coca-Cola 600, Southern 500 and Brickyard 400) and Harvick won none this year.

Daniel McFadin: Brett Moffitt. It’s hard not to choose the driver who piloted an underfunded team – that had never won in the Truck Series before 2018 – through sponsor struggles and bested the elite teams in the series to claim the title. All 13 of his top-10 finishes were top fives. Also, he did it with a rad mustache.

Dan Beaver: Joey Logano was one of the few drivers able to stand up to the Big 3 on and off the track. Throughout the season, the other contenders seemed comfortable in their role as challengers to the dominators, but by declaring himself the favorite for the championship and backing it up, Logano set himself apart.

What is your race of the year?

Nate Ryan: Chicagoland. Probably the best finish of the season but also the most start-to-finish compelling action. (Honorable mentions: Daytona 500, Watkins Glen, Roval, Homestead-Miami Speedway.)

Dustin Long: The Roval. The final laps of that race were amazing and the last lap was mesmerizing with the contact between Jimmie Johnson and Martin Truex Jr. allowing Ryan Blaney to win and then Kyle Larson’s dramatic effort by bouncing off the wall twice to beat Jeffrey Earnhardt’s stalled car to the finish line to gain the spot he needed to advance to the next round of the playoffs.

Daniel McFadin: The Cup race on the Charlotte Roval. It lived up to all the hype in a way a NASCAR race hasn’t (excluding the first Truck race at Eldora) since probably the 2011 finale with Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards. The last lap had everything — the contact and spins by Jimmie Johnson and Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Blaney stealing the win, Aric Almirola passing enough cars to advance to the next round on a tiebreaker and finally Kyle Larson somehow willing his demolished No. 42 Chevrolet across the finish line and into the Round of 12 after hitting the wall twice coming to the checkered flag.

Dan Beaver: Chicagoland. The level of physical aggression in the closing laps on the 1.5-mile track may well signal a change in how races on intermediate speedways will be contested in 2019.

What is your moment of the year?

Nate Ryan: The last lap of the Roval and its aftermath, which took several minutes for a full processing of everything that had just occurred and why.

Dustin Long: A number of fans booed Kyle Busch during his winner’s interview after his dramatic last-lap duel with Kyle Larson at Chicagoland Speedway. As the booing persisted, Busch told fans: “I don’t know what you all are whining about, but if you don’t like that kind of racing, don’t even watch.” As fans want drivers to show more personality, they got it there with Busch telling off the haters.

Daniel McFadin: Ross Chastain earning his first career Xfinity win at Las Vegas. The series got a much-needed shot in the arm two weeks before when he led 90 laps at Darlington in his debut with Chip Ganassi Racing but came up short after his run-in with Kevin Harvick. Chastain sealing the deal in Vegas provided a win for a sport that’s seen it become harder and harder for drivers to advance through the ranks on pure talent without thorough sponsor backing.

Dan Beaver: The ringing of the siren in Dawsonville, Georgia on August 5 following Chase Elliott’s Watkins Glen win. While it’s been rung before for Chase Elliott, this was the first time of many that it rang for a Cup victory. It took quite a while in 2018 for the young guns to make some noise, but they closed the season strong.

NASCAR America: Aric Almirola, Chase Elliott are among the ‘best of the rest’

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Much of the attention at Miami last weekend was focused on the Championship 4 as Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch battled for the Cup title.

There were points races throughout the field, however, and on Tuesday’s edition of NASCAR America Parker Kligerman and Dale Jarrett highlighted several drivers who made up the “best of the rest”.

“For (Chase Elliott) it goes back to the fact of it was always about getting that first win,” Kligerman said. “Once he could mentally – and the team could mentally – convince themselves they could win, the floodgates would open and that’s what we saw.”

Aric Almirola had the same average finish (8.6) as Logano during the playoffs and that contributed to his fifth-place position in the points.

“If you look at the first half of the season compared to what they did in the playoffs, it’s astonishing,” Kligerman said. “And Johnny Klausmeier, his crew chief, told me once we start going back to these tracks the second time and as young team really figuring out what we needed, we started to click.”

Erik Jones, Ryan Newman and AJ Allmendinger were also mentioned as notable drivers at various points during the season.

For more, watch the video above.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter

NASCAR America: Brad Keselowski computer data disproves intentional spin

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Soon after the conclusion of the Cup finale in Miami, Brad Keselowski took to Twitter to dispel any notion that he spun Daniel Suarez intentionally to create a short run to the finish that would benefit his Team Penske teammate Joey Logano.

On Tuesday’s edition of NASCAR America, Parker Kligerman analyzed the computer data to confirm that it was just hard racing.

“I just want to say it’s ridiculous,” Parker Kligerman said about the notion Keselowski intentionally caused the accident. “I’ve actually gone onto the SMT data, which is the data we can look at nowadays and see the steering, the braking, the throttle traces of these cars. And I compared Brad’s entry into Turn 1 of that lap compared to any other lap before. He didn’t do anything different other than it was kind of a low percentage move.”

On Lap 248, David Ragan was to Keselowski’s inside with Clint Bowyer below Ragan. Keselowski clipped Suarez when the four drivers ran out of room, sending the No. 19 into a spin that brought out the fateful caution.

“(Keselowski) would have to be a magician … to get hit in the left rear and get knocked into the 19,” Kligerman added.

For more, watch the video above.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter