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.

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Winners and losers from Las Vegas

Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
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WINNERS

Paul Wolfe — Great call to have Joey Logano not pit before the final restart. Of course it helped that six other cars stayed out. Still, the top two cars came down pit road and Logano, running third, stayed out and won.

Matt DiBenedettoFinishes second in his second race with the Wood Brothers.

Jimmie JohnsonScored his first top-five finish since last summer’s Daytona race.

Bubba Wallace Decision not to pit allowed him to finish sixth, giving him his best Cup finish on a 1.5-mile track.

LOSERS

Todd Gordon and Greg Ives— For every high, there is a low. Gordon apologized on the radio to Ryan Blaney for calling him to pit road while leading before the final restart. Blaney finished 11th. Ives called Bowman to pit road while running second before the final restart. Bowman finished 13th. Ives tweeted that he was “VERY frustrated with my call at the end not to game on old tires, especially in Vegas.”

19 pit crew — Martin Truex Jr.’s pit crew got him into the lead under caution after Stage 2 but he had to return to pit under that caution to tighten loose lug nuts. Said Truex after the race: “We just need to quit having mistakes on pit road.”

William ByronLined up second on the final restart but contact with Matt DiBenedetto led to a tire rub and Byron falling back before he was involved in the crash that ended race. He finished 22nd.

Ross Chastain says his finish ‘unacceptable’ in place of Newman

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He scored a 10th-place finish in the first stage and ran as high as fifth Sunday in a car he never raced before.

Ross Chastain still had a harsh evaluation of his 27th-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the No. 6 Ford, which he drove in place of an injured Ryan Newman.

Chastain finished two laps down after causing the final caution on a Lap 262 spin, which he judged “unacceptable,” along with his restart performance (“guys kind of ate me alive”) as a substitute for Roush Fenway Racing.

“It’s hard to get out of the car after you have a top-10 car, and you go and run into people and pick the wrong lanes on restarts and then spin it out at the end,” Chastain said. “That’s pretty silly. Just a lot of mistakes on my end and then at the end just overdriving and for one position to be the first car a lap down. That’s unacceptable.”

Chastain had an average running position of 16.87 over the 400-mile race, which went south after he pitted under green from 15th on Lap 217 of 267. The yellow flag flew five laps later, and Chastain took a wavearound to restart 21st.

(Photo by Will Lester/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

On the restart, he made contact with Kurt Busch and pitted under green to fix a tire rub, which left him a lap down when he spun with five laps remaining.

“There were a lot of small mistakes on my end, but I learned a ton,” he said. “The car deserved a lot better finish.  Obviously, we showed that early and I just didn’t have great restarts. I just have to be better.

“RFR and everybody puts so much into these cars, and ultimately I’m the one holding the wheel.  We had such a good first stage and had so much confidence and from there I just started making mistakes.”

Chastain, who finished 10th in Sunday night’s rain-delayed Xfinity race, will be driving the No. 6 for Roush while Newman recovers from his Daytona 500 crash. In a statement from the team Sunday morning, Newman indicated he plans to drive again this season, but no timetable has been provided for his return.

Chase Briscoe wins rain-delayed Xfinity race in Las Vegas

Chase Briscoe
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Chase Briscoe won Sunday’s rain-delayed Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, beating fellow Ford driver Austin Cindric by almost three seconds to claim his third career Xfinity win.

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver led 89 laps in the race, which began late Saturday afternoon but was red flagged on Lap 51 due to rain.

Briscoe and Cindric were the only Ford drivers in the field.

Ryan Sieg placed third to earn his sixth career top-five finish and his first on a 1.5-mile track.

The top five was completed by Daytona winner Noah Gragson and Harrison Burton.

“That was really a team win,” Briscoe told Fox Sports. “We were really good, then as soon as the sun went down when we were in dirty air, we just weren’t really good. In clean air, obviously there at the end we were really good. … This is something I feel we can do all year long.”

STAGE 1 WINNER: Chase Briscoe

STAGE 2 WINNER: Justin Allgaier

More: Click here for race results.

More: Click here for the point standings.

WHAT’S NEXT: Production Alliance Group 300 at Auto Club Speedway at 4 p.m. ET Feb. 29 on FS1.

Chevy drivers positive about new Camaro body after Las Vegas

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Positive reviews are in from a few Chevrolet Cup drivers after their first race on an intermediate track with the updated Camaro ZL1 1LE body, which was introduced this year in an effort to improve the manufacturer’s performance after two lackluster seasons.

Those reviews are backed by the final results for Sunday’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

After the chaos created by a last-lap crash, six Chevrolets finished in the top 10. They were led by Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Austin Dillon and Jimmie Johnson placing in the top five.

That followed Chase Elliott leading 70 laps and winning both stages before his one-car incident in the middle of the final stage.

In last year’s spring race on the 1.5-mile track, only two Chevys – Kurt Busch (fifth) and Elliott (ninth) – finished in the top 10. Three Chevy drivers combined to lead 23 of the race’s 267 laps.

“We’re trying to just understand this new Camaro body and the setup that needs to go with it,” said Johnson. “We’re close, but there’s still a little bit more work for us to do on our car to get the balance between the clean air and the traffic closer. But for the first try on a downforce track, the guys did a really nice job.”

Johnson earned his first top five since last July’s race at Daytona. He placed 19th in this race last year.

“It’s really rewarding to see,” Johnson said. “Last year when we left here, we had quite the opposite feeling and were pretty worried about what the year was going to hold for us. So, it’s really nice to have that change of perspective now. There’s a lot of Chevys up front, one of our Hendrick cars led for a while. So, we’re going the right way.”

Johnson’s teammate, Alex Bowman, was running in second when the final caution came out inside 10 laps to go. After his team chose to pit, Bowman placed 13th.

“This new Camaro, for its first time on a downforce track, I’m just really pleased with it so far,” Bowman said. “I think it’s going to be really good for us. Obviously, I’m bummed out to finish 13th after staring at a second place or a win. But it’s part of it; it’s how racing goes. We win as a team and lose as a team. It just didn’t go our way there at the end.”

Last year, Chevrolet only earned seven wins, with two coming on 1.5-mile tracks. Bowman claimed one of those at Chicagoland Speedway.

Added Bowman: “Compared to how we started the last two seasons, I think we’ve got something for them this year.”

One Chevrolet driver said it was “still early” for assessing the new bodies.

“I think the Hendrick cars were really good,” said Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson, who placed ninth. “I felt about the same as last year. So, we just have to continue to get better.”