Three things to watch for during the Coca-Cola 600
By Zachary Lange
May 28, 2017
CONCORD, N.C.—As the greatest day for motorsport approaches, the evening’s signature event will have a track undergoing drastic changes and a driver and team walking away victorious after the longest race of the season.
Here are some things to keep in mind…
Beginner’s luck, or beginner’s skill?
Furniture Row Racing’s Erik Jones has been awfully impressive this season even if the results don’t show, and this weekend is no different. Jones finished runner-up in second practice and claimed the fifth spot in happy hour.
Jones’ rookie season has had some turbulence. He currently sits 19th in points after DNF’s at Richmond and Talladega ruined promising runs. Consistently, he has shown great speed by running in the top half of the field.
It’s only a matter of time before Jones and crew chief Chris Gayle piece things together and Sunday may be the start of an impressive summer stretch.
Will Kyle Busch claim his first Coca-Cola 600 victory?
Despite 38 career victories and 13 full-time seasons in the Cup Series, Busch has never claimed victory in the Coca-Cola 600. But after a victory in last week’s Monster Energy All-Star Race, the streak may finally be snapped.
Busch, who finished 12th in happy hour practice, will start on the opposite of Kevin Harvick on row one Sunday.
“I thought we had some speed there to fire off in practice,” Busch said after first practice. “We’ve got to gain a little bit more to be where we need to.”
If the team can gain that little bit, the rest of the field will be forced to take notice.
Can Joey Logano rebound Sunday?
This weekend has been an unusual search for speed for Team Penske and the No. 22 car of Joey Logano. After making round two of qualifying, Logano fizzled and will take the green flag in the 23rd position.
Second practice did not fare well for the 27-year-old either as he finished 29th. However, he was able to gain in happy hour, cracking the top ten by finishing 10th on the leaderboard.
The past five races for Logano at Charlotte have been mostly consistent. Overall, he possesses an average finish of 13th (12.6) and a victory in October of 2015 with one outlier of 36th in the fall race last year.
If Logano can run as well as his body of work, there should be no issue for the man who sits ninth in points heading into Sunday.
Green flag for the Coca-Cola 600 is set for 6 p.m. on FOX.
Daniel Courson/The Racing Experts
Ryan Willard/The Racing Experts
DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.