Written by Chris Kubala
With the holiday weekend looming, that puts the turning and burning on full display coming to you from Charlotte Sunday night. The Coca-Cola 600 marks the third race since NASCAR back on the track since returning from their pause for the COVID-19 pandemic. We saw a pair of terrific races at Darlington Raceway over the past week and now we’ll get the first of two NASCAR Cup races here at Charlotte Motor Speedway. With that said, we’ve given you some background on the track already. Today, we take a look at what some of the best bet options are for this race. Read on to find out what we think are the top options to cash in. All odds were current as of Friday afternoon according to DraftKings:
Martin Truex Jr. To Win (+600) or Finish in the Top Three (+165): Truex Jr. has had his struggles this season as he has led just 31 laps in seven races (six starts) on the year. For that matter, he has an average finish of 19th in those races and has been running on the lead lap in just four of those races this year. He crashed at Daytona and Phoenix, finishing 32nd in both races, but seems to have bounced back with two solid runs at Darlington. Truex Jr. was sixth in the Real Heroes 400 on Sunday and followed that up with a 10th-place finish in Wednesday’s race. When it comes to racing at Charlotte, Truex Jr. is the man to beat. He’s won three of the last six races here, including last year’s Coca-Cola 600. In addition, he has finished in the top three in five of the last six races at Charlotte. He’s a safe bet to cash in here.
Erik Jones to Finish in the Top Ten (+100): Jones got off to a slow start in 2020, finishing 18th at Daytona, 23rd at Las Vegas and 28th at Phoenix before the pause. In the two races at Darlington, though, Jones seemed to find himself, similar to Truex Jr. He finished eighth in the Real Heroes 400 and then followed that up with a fifth-place finish at the Toyota 500 Wednesday. His best run here was seventh in the 2017 Coca-Cola 600 but with the momentum he has from back to back good showings, he should carry that over to a top ten run in this one.
Toyota to be Manufacturer of Winning Car (+170): In recent years, Toyota has had a very solid run at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Toyota has won the last three races at the track, four of the last six and five of the last eight dating back to the 2015 Coca-Cola 600. With Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch leading the way driving Toyotas, you have to give them the edge if you’re taking a flier on this particular wager.
Matt Kenseth to Finish in Top Ten (+175): Kenseth only got back behind the wheel when Kyle Larson was let go by Chip Ganassi Racing last month for uttering a racial slur during an iRacing event. He had been retired for nearly a year and a half but didn’t seem to show much in the way of rust coming back. Kenseth turned in a 10th-place finish in his first race, which was the Real Heroes 400 at Darlington, before struggling to finish 30th in Wednesday’s race. With that said, he has had some success at Charlotte in his career. In his 38 races, Kenseth has won twice while recording 12 top-five finishes and 20 top-10 finishes here. When you finish in the top 10 in more than half your starts, that makes for a pretty sound option to wager on in my book.
Kevin Harvick to Finish in Top Five (-112): Harvick leads the NASCAR Cup Series in points and he turned in a pair of solid outings at Darlington coming off the pause. He won the Real Heroes 400 Sunday and logged a third-place finish in Wednesday’s Toyota 500. Harvick has raced well at Charlotte in his career, winning three times and finishing in the top five in eight of his 36 races on the track. That includes finishing in the top 10 in 10 of the last 12 races here at Charlotte. He’s finished in the top three six times in that span. With two top-five runs at Darlington, he has momentum on his side for another strong showing here.
Jimmie Johnson to Record Top Finish in Group D (+215): Alex Bowman has been solid this season and stands third in the NASCAR Cup standings entering this race, 39 points behind Harvick and five back of second-place Joey Logano. However, he has sputtered at Charlotte with just two top-10 finishes in seven races at Charlotte and an average finish of 25.1 in those races, even with ninth and seventh-place showings in his last two races. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has just one top-10 finish this season while finishing 40th and 25th at Darlington last week. He has two top-10 finishes in 14 races at Charlotte with an average finish of 17.9 at the track. William Byron has an average finish of 22.3 this season and he’s been at opposite ends of the finish in his two starts at Charlotte. He was 39th in the Coca-Cola 600 in 2018 and won the pole en route to a ninth-place finish last year.
Meanwhile, Johnson is a warrior on this track. He has eight wins on the track in 35 career starts. In addition, he has 16 top-five finishes and 22 top-10 spins around Charlotte. Those eight wins are the most of any driver on the track in the history of the circuit. Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip, who won a record five Coca-Cola 600s, each have six. Based on his performances here, he has to be the favorite to pull out the best finish of the group.
There you go, our top picks for how things may unfold this weekend at Charlotte. Qualifying will be held Sunday afternoon at 2:05 pm ET with the race expected to go with the green flag at 6:18 ET.