The Coca-Cola 600 caps off a day full of awesome racing, as Monaco Grand Prix finished this morning and the Indy 500 is going on as I type this. Charlotte Motor Speedway is the home of this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series race, and teams always bring their best to this race, which lately has resulted in absolute domination; Kyle Busch led 377 of the 400 laps in last year’s Coca-Cola 600 and won from the pole, while Martin Truex, Jr. led 392 of the 400 laps en route to victory (also from the pole) in the 2016 event. Truex also led a race-high 233 laps in the 2017 event, although it was Austin Dillon that went to victory lane that night thanks to other drivers running out of fuel.
It’s been a while since we had a “Favorite Bets” article–Richmond back in the middle of April to be exact. Unfortunately that’s just how it is sometimes depending on weekend schedules and everything else. Anyway, my Best Bets are now 8-4 on the year, so let’s get to my picks for the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday night.
My Favorite Bets for Charlotte
Chase Elliott (+125) over Martin Truex, Jr. (-155) – It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me why Martin Truex, Jr. is so heavily favored in this matchup. Yes, his track history here at Charlotte Motor Speedway is damn impressive, but his performance with this 550hp rules package is weak–at least compared to Truex standards. Excluding Atlanta, Martin has an average finish of 13th on the 1.5-mile tracks with this package with an average running position of 13.7. Chase Elliott, on the other hand, has an average finish of 8.7 and an average running position of 8th. Chase’s average finish here at Charlotte leaves a lot to be desired (18.3 over six starts) but don’t forget he finished 2nd here in the fall 2017 race and led 103 laps in the fall 2016 race before he experienced mechanical issues.
Brad Keselowski (+130) over Martin Truex, Jr. (-160) – Vegas loves Truex tonight. I don’t. Here’s the thing about Truex’s team: they rarely adjust on the car once it gets off the truck, so if they’re not blazing fast at the start of the weekend, they usually don’t have a chance at winning on race day. This weekend, Keselowski had a poor qualifying effort on Sunday, but Brad seems confident about his car heading into the Coca-Cola 600. Oh, and looking at similar tracks this year for Kez? A win at Atlanta, 2nd-place at Las Vegas, a win at Kansas, and a 3rd-place finish at Fontana. I like this H2H bet even more than the previous one.
Under 8.5 Cautions (-120) – If we’ve learned one thing with NASCAR’s new package this year, it’s that you shouldn’t expect many cautions on the 1.5-mile speedways. Yes, we have a longer race than usual with 600 miles at Charlotte tonight, but let’s take a look at the caution totals at similar tracks this year: 5 cautions at Atlanta, 2 cautions at Las Vegas, 4 cautions at Fontana, 5 cautions at Texas, and, most recently, 7 cautions at Kansas. For tonight’s Coca-Cola 600, we have 3 guaranteed cautions due to Stage breaks, but that still leaves us with 5 non-artificial yellows to play with. I will say that the last two Coca-Cola 600s have ended with 11 and 9 cautions, but that’s not enough to sway me to the over by any means.