With the All-Star race being moved to Texas it really takes away from the festivities that always came hand in hand with the Coca-Cola 600. This crow jewel event can sometimes be a snooze fest, but it makes it so much better when you have all the pageantry that comes along with it. This year the fan base is missing that extra layer of excitement heading into the weekend, but I’m sure it will come back once the green flag waves.
I want to take a minute to talk about the guy that I think a lot of people will be interested in picking as their favorite this week, and why I’m hesitant to do so. When I first started to think about my favorites at Charlotte, naturally Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr. were at the top of the list. While MTJ is still well worth the pick, Larson is the one I question.
Kyle Larson is very fast on 1.5-mile tracks, but his issues are with endurance so far this season. Outside of Vegas he always seems to have race length outlast him. It’s issues like this that make me wonder about him winning the longest race of the year. All that being said, I will not be the least bit surprised to see him take it.
Favorite: Ryan Blaney
In the same way that Larson has been bitten by the race being too long, Blaney has been bitten by them being too short. He outlasted Larson at Atlanta for a win and has been running up front at 1.5-mile tracks all season but has had horrible luck.
His car all year long has been much better on long runs which is what the 600 almost always has. He finished 3rd here twice last season, and I think that this is going to end up being his second win of the season.
Dark Horse: Austin Dillon
All he does Is win crown jewel races. It’s not the worst “stigma” to have on your name. Dillon has already won this race, but that was on fuel mileage. He could repeat that luck, but I think he has shown the speed this year to be able to win on his speed.
Dillon has been putting up consistent top ten numbers at 1.5-mile tracks this season. He has been flirting with the idea of winning this season, and this could be the breakthrough point.
Ryan Blaney – $9000
Martin Truex Jr. – $11,100
Kyle Larson – $11,300
William Byron – $9,200
Chase Elliott – $10,500
Joey Logano – $8,800
Austin Dillon – $7,700
Tyler Reddick – $8,200
Christopher Bell – $8,600
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – $7,400
Ross Chastain – $6,900
Chris Buescher – $6,700
Michael McDowell – $5,800
Daniel Suarez – $6,500
Ryan Newman – $6,400
This week try to take advantage of Joey Logano’ slow price. While he’s been hit or miss on 1.5-mile tracks, he’s too good to doubt for a win on Sunday. If you can pair him with a mix of either Truex and Larson then you’re going to be sitting pretty.
Fillers like Dillon or Reddick will be really great bets this week. I would also not be too afraid of Ricky Stenhouse. He is either going to get a top ten or wreck, but he runs really well at Charlotte. If he can use some of that speed they’ve found this week and hold the wheel straight then he has a chance at a really good finish.