Early Week Driver Rankings for Charlotte


The NASCAR Cup Series will have a home game this weekend when they honor the military at Charlotte Motor Speedway. No sport celebrates Memorial Day weekend the way NASCAR does. The Coca-Cola 600 is not only a special race because of its length, it is also cool because of the way NASCAR salutes the U.S. Armed Services. The racing has been pretty good on the 1.5-mile tracks this year too. I expect the same at Charlotte. The Coca-Cola 600 can be seen Sunday at 6 p.m. ET on FOX.

The Cup Series will be back to their intermediate track aero package this week. That means we need to look at the data from the two 1.5-mile track races (Las Vegas and Kansas) to try and handicap the race at Charlotte. I am also looking at the data from Darlington, since it is an intermediate track too.

The drivers from Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing and Ross Chastain from Trackhouse Racing have been the best drivers on the intermediate tracks this year. Bubba Wallace and Kyle Busch have had some success too. So does that mean the drivers from these teams will dominate Sunday? We will likely see a driver from HMS or JGR dominate the first half of the race, but the last Stage at the Coca-Cola 600 is where things get interesting. Engine failures, pit road penalties and wrecks typically shake up the field in this marathon race. That allows drivers who do not have the speed to run up front in the first half of the race, to finish up front when the checked flag is waived. Do not be surprised to see drivers like Austin Dillon, Brad Keselowski or the Team Penske drivers up front at the end of the race Sunday.

Here are my early week driver rankings for the Coca-Cola 600

1. Kyle Larson
2. William Byron
3. Ross Chastain
4. Denny Hamlin
5. Martin Truex Jr.
6. Chase Elliott
7. Tyler Reddick
8. Christopher Bell
9. Bubba Wallace
10. Kyle Busch
11. Alex Bowman
12. Ryan Blaney
13. Joey Logano
14. Kevin Harvick
15. Ty Gibbs
16. Brad Keselowski
17. Austin Dillon
18. Daniel Suarez
19. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
20. Chris Buescher
21. Aric Almirola
22. Erik Jones
23. Jimmie Johnson
24. Justin Haley
25. AJ Allmendinger
26. Chase Briscoe
27. Austin Cindric
28. Michael McDowell
29. Corey LaJoie
30. Todd Gilliland
31. Harrison Burton
32. Ty Dillon
33. Ryan Preece
34. Zane Smith
35. Noah Gragson
36. J.J. Yeley
37. BJ McLeod

Be sure to check back Saturday night for the updated Driver Rankings for the race Sunday at the Monster Mile.


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