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.
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).
May 29, 2011: Kevin Harvick won the Coca-Cola 600 from a 28th place start. It was the No. 29 Chevrolet driver’s 3rd victory of 2011 and his 1st at Charlotte. Drivers leading 10 or more laps: No. 9-Marcos Ambrose (18 laps, finished 6th), 24-Jeff Gordon (19, 20th), 11-Denny Hamlin (24, 10th), 4-Kasey Kahne (28, 22nd), 16-Greg Biffle (50, 13th), 18-Kyle Busch (55, 32nd), 99-Carl Edwards (61, 16th) and 17-Matt Kenseth led the most (103 laps) and finished 14th. Pole-sitter, 2-Brad Keselowski led 7 laps and finished 19th. Winner, Harvick, only led two laps.
Active drivers who made their Cup series debut at Charlotte: Michael Waltrip on 5/26/85, Dale Earnhardt Jr. on 5/30/99, Jimmie Johnson on 10/7/01, Brian Vickers on 10/11/03 and David Reutimann on 10/15/05.
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 Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 in Concord, North Carolina.
David Reutimann won the rain-shortened 2009 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. To prove it was not just a fluke, he came back and finished 15th in October 2009, 5th and 9th in the two 2010 Charlotte races and 9th in the May 2011 600-miler. In those 5 races, only track favorite Kyle Busch, has scored more points than Reutimann. NASCAR Statistics ranks him 2nd among ‘Closers’ (improving positions in the last 10 percent of the race). He holds a 14.7 average finish for 9 CMS starts. Looking at the last five only; he's averaged a 7.8 finish. This is one of the best weeks to give Reutimann a legitimate look.
Joey Logano is rated tops in NASCAR Statistics ‘Quality Passes’ (passing while running in the top 15) category. He made 327 QP’s in the last five CMS Cup races. He only has one finish outside the top 10 (a 13th) in those 5 races and he averaged a 7.4 finish. In the 2011 Coca-Cola 600, Logano qualified 23rd, had an average running position of 23rd but managed a 3rd place finish. In six starts in the Nationwide Series, Logano finished no worse than 14th. His chances of keeping his finishing average in the 7th place range are looking really good this week.
Kasey Kahne can be a pretty decent pick this week. Besides having three wins in 15 Charlotte starts, he has seven top-tens in the last eleven races held at the Concord track. In ten of those races, he scored the 2nd-best number of 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. The May 2011 600-miler turned into a fuel economy run. Kahne was leading with about 3 laps to go when he ran out of fuel and ended up with a 22nd place finish. This is not a 600-miler so we may see him close the deal again at Charlotte.
We're going really deep this week with Regan Smith. He started 20th in the May Coca-Cola 600, averaged a 24th running position during the race and finished 8th. His finishes here in the prior two races were a 19th and 13th. Currently, his string of four straight top 20 finishes was broken at Kansas last week due to a pit road penalty (finished 24th). "No argument from me, I messed up on pit road last week," said Smith. "We need to get that momentum back and I can't think of a better track than Charlotte for our Furniture Row Chevrolet to begin a string of successful runs." We're taking a chance that he may not score another 8th place at Charlotte but a top 15 looks very possible.