After a solid start back to NASCAR we’re coming in on one of my favorite races of the year in the Coca-Cola 600. It’s such a long race but the end is always exciting, mainly because they almost always end in fuel milage anxiety.
I feel I’m in the minority here, but there is nothing better than when you’re watching an underdog feather the pedal around the track to try and save fuel while you have a hard-charging second-place car coming for blood in the water.
Now, if it’s not a fuel mileage race, generally it’ll be a dominant run by a common frontrunner. It’s a coin toss, but even if it is a blowout, the festivities of this historic race is always something to look forward to. Unfortunately that won’t be the case this year.
This is still something to help make everyone’s mind off the concerns around us and I want to thank the drivers and crew for taking even more risk in order to help ease our minds for 4-hours.
I’ll give three drivers names, and each will be classified differently. A Favorite, who is a big name driver who is my favorite to win. A Dark Horse, a driver who would be considered an underdog but has just as much chance as anyone to win. Lastly, a Longshot, a driver who nobody would ever guess would even be contending. Guys who are generally running in the twenties each week.
Favorite: Kyle Busch
Busch is always strong at Charlotte and despite struggling at Darlington this past week, I think that he has momentum heading into Charlotte. Finishing with a second-place finish and his JGR team as a whole looking strong bodes well for him.
Maybe it’s just me, but Busch always seems to do well coming out of a controversial race. After starting major beef with Chase Elliott in a questionable call on his part, Busch could be fueled by the hate. While there were no fans in the stands, the social media wave came crashing down on him, and his wife Samantha 10x harder.
Dark Horse: William Byron
I make this choice for one reason alone, Chad Knaus. A crew chief who knows this track and how to win at it better than any other crew chief and in this situation with lack of preparation, I know that he’ll be prepped to take on the challenge.
Byron showed flashes of speed this past week and I think Knaus will not only have his car ready to compete but also put his driver in the best position to win if it turns into a fuel mileage race.
Long Shot: Tyler Reddick
I loved how well Reddick handled himself at Darlington. He now goes to a track he won at last season in Xfinity with Charlotte. The Coca-Cola 600 can be one of those rare races that give rookies and underdogs a chance to shine and I think Reddick has the best shot of any rookie on Sunday.