Anthony Ballantoni

Mid-Pack Attack

print article archives RSS

Charlotte: Coca-Cola 600

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Track history: Bruton Smith and Curtis Turner built the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1959. On June 19, 1960, the first World 600 was held at the Concord, NC track. Over the years, thousands of grandstand seats and luxury suites were added. In 1984, Charlotte added 40 condominiums above turn one, and 12 more in 1991, offering year-round living at a modern racing facility. In 1992, at a cost of $1.7 million, a 1,200-fixture MUSCO lighting system was added. This system uses mirrors to simulate daylight without glare or light poles. Charlotte became the first superspeedway to hold a night-time auto race. A $1 million 20,000 square-foot Cup garage was opened in 1994. Besides the 1.5-mile quad oval, Charlotte has a 2.25-mile road course, a karting layout in the infield, a quarter-mile and fifth-mile layouts as well. Across the U.S. 29, a .4 mile dirt track opened in 2000 and the four-lane zMax Dragway opened in 2008.

New for 2011, CMS unveiled the world's largest video screen. It measures 80 by 200 foot and weighs 165,000 pounds.

June 19, 1960: After driving the John Hines owned No. 22 Pontiac to a 133.904 mph qualifying lap, Fireball Roberts started on the pole for the first NASCAR Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the 1960 World 600. After leading the first 191 laps of the 400 lap event, Roberts crashed and placed 35th. Joe Lee Johnson, in Paul McDuffie's No. 89 Chevrolet, started 20th and won the race in front of 35,462 fans. The average race speed for that event was 107.735 mph.

May 30, 2010: Kurt Busch won the Coca-Cola 600 from a 2nd place start. It was the No. 2 Dodge driver's 2nd victory in 2010. Drivers leading 5 or more laps: No. 17-Matt Kenseth (7 laps, finished 10th), 88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. (10 laps, 22nd), 39-Ryan Newman (11, 9th), 1-Jamie McMurray (29, 2nd), 48-Jimmie Johnson (36, 37th), 18-Kyle Busch (36, 3rd) and winner Kurt Busch led the most (252 laps).

October 16, 2010: Jamie McMurray won the Bank of America 500 from a 27th place start. It was the No. 1 Chevrolet driver's 3rd victory in 2010 and his 2nd at Charlotte. Drivers leading 5 or more laps: No. 43-AJ Allmendinger (5 laps, finished 25th), Pole-sitter No. 24-Jeff Gordon (7, finished 23rd), 5-Mark Martin (9, 14th), 48-Jimmie Johnson (15, 3rd), winner McMurray (65 laps) and 18-Kyle Busch led the most (217, finished 2nd).

Fantasy games won't allow you to pick all track favorites so Mid-Pack Attack is here to help. A mid-packer may not win the race but has as good a shot at a top 15 finish as track favorites Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth. There were 48 cars on the preliminary entry list for this weekend's Cup race. Here are our picks for Sunday night's Coca-Cola 600 in Concord, North Carolina.

Mid-Pack picks

Kasey Kahne is our 'gotta have' pick this week. Besides having three wins in 14 Charlotte starts (two in the 600-milers), Kahne has seven top-tens in the last ten races held at the Concord track. In those ten races, no other driver has scored more championship points. He finished 12th here in the 2010 Coca-Cola 600. In last October's race, he had to be replaced in the car after getting sick (exhaust fumes) and was credited with a 38th place. Kahne had the engine fail at Dover two weeks ago, but had finishes of 3rd at Richmond and 4th at Darlington. We think he's good for another Top 10 this week.

Jamie McMurray, the most recent winner at Charlotte, has two wins, five top-fives, eight top-tens and has led 233 laps in 17 Sprint Cup starts at CMS. He also finished in the runner-up position in the 2010 Coca-Cola 600 by a mere 0.737 seconds behind winner Kurt Busch. McMurray received his first career win at Charlotte (2002). He made 15 Nationwide Series starts at Charlotte, his best start being on pole in 2008. His best finish in the NNS at this track was in 2004 where he finished second. Give the No. 1 a look for another run at the checkers.

Joey Logano is rated tops in NASCAR Statistics 'Quality Passes' (passing while running in the top 15) category. He made 274 QP's in the last four CMS Cup races. His worst finish in those races was a 13th (averaged 8.5). He's pretty consistent in the Nationwide Series here as well (averaged an 8.0 in five races). In the 2010 600-miler, Logano qualified 8th, had an average running position of 11th and finished 13th. His chances of keeping his finishing average in the 8th place range are looking really good this week.

Another driver who knows how to find victory lane at Charlotte is Jeff Burton. In the 17 previous 600-milers, he has two wins (1999 and 2001), three top-fives and six top-ten finishes. Overall, in his 34 career Cup starts here, he has three wins, 15 top-tens and an average 15.2 finish. His last Charlotte win came in October 2008. Since then, Burton has struggled here in three of the last four starts (only one top 15), but we think he's worth looking at for a top 15 in deep leagues as a 5th driver.


Tony Ballantoni runs the NASCAR coverage at RotoWorld.com.
Email :Anthony Ballantoni



Highest Searched Drivers over the last 7 days



Video Center

  •  
    Braxton Miller NFL projection

    Braxton Miller NFL projection
  •  
    Levitan: Cameron vs. Witten

    Levitan: Cameron vs. Witten
  •  
    Levitan: Gerhart vs. Morris?

    Levitan: Gerhart vs. Morris?
  •  
    Levitan: Romo vs. Brady?

    Levitan: Romo vs. Brady?
  •  
    Levitan: Murray or Foster?

    Levitan: Murray or Foster?
  •  
    Levitan: Stacy or Ellington?

    Levitan: Stacy or Ellington?
  •  
    Levitan: A.J. Green or Dez?

    Levitan: A.J. Green or Dez?
  •  
    Levitan: Draft Ball or Bell?

    Levitan: Draft Ball or Bell?