Saturday, May 27, 2017

Final Charlotte Driver Ratings: 2017 Coca-Cola 600

Brad Keselowski doesn't look capable of winning, but his car colors sure are sweet. Happy Memorial Day!
Micah Roberts' Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Driver Ratings
Coca-Cola 600
Charlotte Motor Speedway
Sunday, May 28, 2017 - 6:16 pm ET

RATED DRIVER     ODDS                  PRAC 1 START PRAC 2 PRAC 3
 1. Martin Truex Jr. 9/2         11th      8th      3rd    17th
 2. Kyle Larson 6/1                 3rd    39th     19th     1st
 3. Ryan Blaney 20/1               8th      7th      1st     2nd
 4. Matt Kenseth 25/1              6th      4th     15th     3rd
 5. Erik Jones 50/1                  1st      5th      2nd      5th
 6. Kevin Harvick 6/1               5th      1st      9th     20th
 7. Kyle Busch 7/1                   9th     2nd     18th    12th
 8. Jimmie Johnson 6/1           2nd    14th     13th      8th
 9. Kurt Busch 30/1                14th    12th      20th     4th 
10. Jamie McMurray 30/1       10th    11th     23rd    24th
11. Chase Elliott 15/1              17th     3rd      11th   21st
12. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 50/1    22nd    19th     14th     7th
13. Denny Hamlin 18/1            4th       6th     26th    11th
14. Brad Keselowski 6/1          7th     10th      8th     16th
15. Joey Logano 8/1               30th    23rd     29th    10th

Opening odds courtesy of Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

Micah Roberts, a former Las Vegas sports book director, has been setting auto racing odds in Las Vegas since 1994.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Erik Jones fastest in first Charlotte practice in qualifying trim

Eric Jones fastest again in practice.
Erik Jones was fastest in the first Cup Series practice session for the Coca-Cola 600 Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Jones and his No. 77 Toyota put up a top speed of 192.713 mph around the 1.5-mile track.

The top five was filled out by Jimmie Johnson (192.472), Kyle Larson (192.465), Denny Hamlin (192.465) and Kevin Harvick (192. 150.).

Larson got into the backstretch wall late in the session. It left a yellow streak on his car and minor body damage, but the No. 42 team has not yet determined if it go to a backup car.

Read More Here.....NBC Sports

Chase Elliott on Coca-Cola 600: "The extra 100 miles is real"

Chase Elliott is 15/1 to win Coca-Cola 600.
Chase Elliott on racing at Charlotte
“The extra 100 miles is real. I think it’s really more stress on the components, driveline, engine, rear-ends, hubs – an extra 100 miles on all the things and parts and pieces we have moving around is a lot. I think it really puts the stress on that stuff more than it does the drivers. It is 100 miles more, but it doesn’t seem much different or hasn’t my first two tries.”

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS, will visit the Charlotte Motor Speedway media center on Thursday, May 25, at 1 p.m. local time.

NO. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET SS: NAPA AUTO PARTS will return to the hood of the No. 24 Chevrolet SS this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The Atlanta-based company will serve as majority sponsor for Chase Elliott and the No. 24 team for 24 Cup Series races this year.

CHARLOTTE STATS: This weekend, Elliott is set to make his fourth start at the 1.5-mile quad oval. In his previous three starts, the 21-year-old driver collected one top-10 finish and led 103 laps. Elliott averages a starting position of 14.3 and finishing position of 19.7 at the track. Elliott has also made four starts at Charlotte in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, where he garnered three top-10s, led 66 laps and earned a pole award in October 2014.

600 MILES OF REMEMBRANCE: This weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Elliott's windshield will bear the name of U.S. Army Captain Todd Tyler Christmas as part of the NASCAR Salutes initiative. Christmas was born March 8, 1978, in Las Vegas, New Mexico. He graduated from the New Mexico Military Institute and Texas A&M University, where he was the distinguished military graduate in August 2001. After attending the United States Army Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia, where he was awarded the parachutists badge, he joined the 1st Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment. While in the battalion, Christmas served as an avenger platoon leader, linebacker platoon leader and battery executive officer while deployed in support of Iraqi Freedom. In June 2004, he was selected to serve as the aide de camp for Brigadier General Charles Allen, the assistant division commander (Support). Christmas passed away on Nov. 29, 2004 -- he was traveling in a Blackhawk helicopter when it collided with a guy wire near Waco, Texas, killing all aboard. Christmas’ parents, Becky and Brad, will both be in attendance this weekend at Charlotte.

HOME SWEET HOME: While all team members currently live in North Carolina, there are three members of the No. 24 team that hail from the Tar Heel State: gas man and engineer Travis Gordon (Richfield, North Carolina), tire carrier Jared Seate (Charlotte, North Carolina) and mechanic Ben Bowden (Julian, North Carolina).

THIS SEASON: So far this season, Elliott has averaged a starting position of 10.3 and finishing position of 13.3. The driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet has had 192 fastest laps, spent 2,962 laps in the top 15 and led 169 laps.

CHASE RACELOTT: In February, it was announced that Elliott would voice the character “Chase Racelott” in the upcoming Disney Pixar movie "Cars 3" and he would be among a few other familiar voices. Monday evening, the first image of Elliott’s "Cars 3" character was unveiled via NASCAR's social media. Like Elliott, in "Cars 3," Racelott is a second-generation Piston Cup racer. "Cars 3" is set to premiere in theaters on June 16.

2017 Season

  • 4th in standings
  • 11 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 2 stage wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 6 top-10 finishes
  • 169 laps led


  • 52 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 13 top-five finishes
  • 23 top-10 finishes
  • 527 laps led

Track Career 

  • 3 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 1 top-10 finish
  • 103 laps led

Kurt Busch: Coca-Cola 600 almost like a hometown race for every driver

Kurt Busch is 30/1 to win Coca-Cola 600.
KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 

What are your thoughts about the Coke 600 this weekend? 
“This weekend’s race is a big one and, being that it’s here in our backyard, it’s almost like a hometown race for everybody. All of the guys who work at the shop and don’t get to go to the track on a weekly basis usually get to come out and see all of their hard work on display. You want to really put the banner up for your team.” 

What do you do to get ready for what is the longest race of the year? 
“It’s just a marathon mentality. It’s the exact opposite of the All-Star Race. The race starts during the daytime and, even if you’re getting behind early in the race – although you can’t get too far behind – it’s difficult to find a setup that works well at both the beginning and end of the race because of how much the track changes from start to finish. It’s the end of the race, though, when they hand out the points and the check, so you hope your car will race the same way at the end as it did for the All-Star Race, provided you had a good All-Star Race. The mentality is that it’s just pit stop after pit stop with long sequence after long sequence. The All-Star Race is a 100-yard dash. The 600 is a marathon.” 

Talk about the 2010 Coca-Cola 600, when you had such a dominant car. 
“Well, to start, we just missed out on the pole. That’s one thing that sticks in my mind. You know how racers are – we want to win them all. That race, we were so good in the daytime that I was scared of what was going to happen when the sun went down and the track started to change and how the race would play out. I mean, you never really have a good car at the beginning and have it stay underneath you for the nighttime. It’s just the way you’ve always seen that race play out. But that car was that good. It was what we saw with it in the All-Star Race the week before. It was fast during both of those weekends. So it’s amazing how you can stumble across little things that make all of the difference in the world. Again, I was leading the beginning of the race just pacing myself. The car was so good in the daytime and I literally thought we would end up a lap down at night because cars never stay the same as the race goes on. But it worked out and we got the win in the 600.”

Chassis No. 003: Kurt Busch will pilot Chassis No. 003 in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Built new for 2017, Chassis No. 003 saw its first laps May 9 and 10 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, when Busch and the No. 41 team participated in a Goodyear tire test. It will see its first laps of competition in Sunday’s 600-mile race.

Charlotte is Kyle Busch's favorite track despite no Cup wins on it

Kyle Busch is 7/1 to win Coca-Cola 600.
KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Red, White, and Blue Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing: 

What are the challenges of racing at Charlotte? 
“I think the biggest challenge about Charlotte is how much the track changes from practice. You practice all during the day and then you go into night racing. You’ve got to know what kind of adjustments to make to your car and how well you can race at night. Typically, you go back to your night notes. For us, we’ve run well there in the past and like going there. It’s a fun place to race and adds to the excitement of spending some time at home. I’m also really excited about our Red, White, and Blue M&M’S Camry. For every special Red, White, and Blue M&M’s bag sold at Walmart, M&M’S will send one to our American troops who are protecting our freedom every day.” 

You have been able to win at all but two tracks where the Cup Series competes with Charlotte being one and Pocono being the other. Beyond just wanting to win the Coca-Cola 600, would simply winning at Charlotte also be a feather in your cap? 
“Winning at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which is my favorite track, was really special last weekend since I’ve tried for a long time. Now that we’ve done that in the All-Star Race, I’m hoping it carries over to the 600 and I can bring home my first Cup points race there. It’s certainly high on my list of what I want to accomplish in this sport. There’s only one other track where we also need to win, which is Pocono, but there’s no doubt winning the Coke 600 would be big.” 

You’ve always said that Charlotte is your favorite track. Is there any particular reason why? “Charlotte is my favorite racetrack for a lot of reasons. Just growing up watching races on TV, I loved watching the All-Star Race under the lights and the 600 with all the sparks flying and all the guys going after hard-fought, hard-racing wins. The Xfinity Series has been good to me there. The Truck Series has been pretty good to me there, too. In Cup, I’ve had a lot of good finishes, but haven’t won one until last weekend, but hoping that’s the beginning of good things for me there.” 

Does Sunday’s 600-mile race feel different than other events? 
“It depends on what kind of car you have. I’ve been in races in the 600-mile race where it’s felt really easy and short, and I’ve been in races where it’s been a long, drawn-out, knock ’em, sock ’em kind of day. Hopefully, Adam Stevens (crew chief) and the guys can bring a really good M&M’S Red, White, and Blue Camry for me this weekend and it will be a smooth race for us. I like running the 600 miles. I think it brings a new aspect to our sport – its longevity. People will say, ‘It’s too long. It’s boring. Whatever.’ Well, you know, it’s a part of the product and the history that we’ve had on Memorial Day weekend for a long time that you run that extra hundred miles. And car preparation goes into that. Will your car make it? Will your engine last? Are the drivers able to be competitive throughout the whole race? You’ll have fatigue, sometimes, even at a 500-mile race. So, if you don’t show signs of weakness, you should be pretty good.” 

If you’re saving your car for the end of the race, is it a struggle for you not to pass during the earlier stages of the long, 600-mile event? 
“Yeah, you want to race those guys who are around you all of the time. You think to yourself, ‘There’s a car in front of me. I want to pass that guy.’ That’s what’s in your blood to do. Sometimes, you’ve just got to back off a little bit and kind of let the race play out. You’ve got to get to the end of the final pit stop. Once you get to the final pit stop, then the race is on.”

Kevin Harvick using winning Kansas chassis in Coca-Cola 600

Kevin Harvick is 6/1 to win at Charlotte.
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 

What does it mean to honor and remember a military member on your No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Fusion this weekend? 
“There isn’t any sport that honors the military any better than NASCAR. I know a lot of sports do a lot of things for our military but, when you roll into this particular weekend with the Coke 600 and you are a part of the celebration and remembrance for all the things that have happened with our military, to see the support that NASCAR and everybody in our garage gives the military, especially on this particular weekend, is something that gives you goosebumps. We are honored to carry the names on our cars.” 

Is the Coca-Cola 600 more physically or mentally challenging? 
“It just depends on how hot it is, honestly. If it’s a good weekend and the weather is nice, then it’s more mentally challenging than physically challenging. Either way, it’s still challenging both mentally and physically in some way, shape or form. The hardest part mentally is just getting yourself to overcome those last hundred miles because you are used to the 400- or 500-mile races.” 

What do you think of Charlotte adding VHT to the racetrack in an attempt to build an outside groove? 
“I think that’s a good game plan. Adding VHT to the outside groove and the middle groove, the only groove that was there for the AllStar race was the bottom groove. I went up there and tried the middle and tried the top, and while you could go through there, you just couldn’t make any speed like you could on the bottom. You have to applaud NASCAR, Charlotte Motor Speedway and everybody for trying to make the racing better. I think it’s definitely going to do something. I think, as you look at it, it’s definitely going to make a difference and hopefully it widens the racetrack out and we can have grooves all over the track.”

Chassis Information: Chassis No. 4-995: 
Kevin Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Fusion built on Chassis No. 4-995 in the Coca-Cola 600 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race Sunday at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Built new in 2016, Chassis No. 4-995 made its NASCAR Cup Series debut in last year’s All-Star Race at Charlotte. Harvick started first, led 21 laps in the first segment and overcame a mechanical issue related to the car’s steering to finish 11th . It made its second appearance the very next week in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, where Harvick started eighth and finished second. Harvick started from the pole position at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway after rain cancelled Cup Series qualifying. He led 214 laps and scored a runner-up finish. Its final start of 2016 came in October at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, where Harvick started 11th, led 74 laps and crossed the finish line 1.183 seconds ahead of runner-up Carl Edwards to advance to the Round of 8 in the NASCAR playoffs. Its only start of 2017 came at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, where Harvick started seventh but received damage to the nose of the car coming to the green flag and battled to a 13th -place finish.

Charlotte NASCAR Cup Series Notes: 2017 Coca-Cola 600

Jimmie Johnson becoming best ever at Charlotte Motor speedway.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: Coca-Cola 600
The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway
The Date: Sunday, May 28
The Time: 6 p.m. ET
TV: FOX, 5:30 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 600 miles (400 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 100), Stage 2 (Ends on lap 200), Stage 3 (Ends on lap 300), Final Stage (Ends on lap 400)

Next Race: Hisense 4K TV 300
The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway
The Date: Saturday, May 27
The Time: 1 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 12:30 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 300 miles (200 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 45),
Stage 2 (Ends on lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on lap 200)

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Next Race: Bar Harbor 200 presented by Sea Watch International
The Place: Dover International Speedway
The Date: Friday, June 2
The Time: 5:30 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 5 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 200 miles (200 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 45), Stage 2 (Ends on lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on lap 200)

Busch Breaks Through At Charlotte With All-Star Win, Eyes Sweep In Coca-Cola 600Kyle Busch finally notched his first Charlotte Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win by speeding to victory in the final stage of the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race.

He’ll go for his first points-paying win at the 1.5-mile track and a sweep of the Charlotte May race weekends in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 (6 p.m. ET on FOX).

Seven drivers have won both the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600: Darrell Waltrip (1985), Davey Allison (1991), Dale Earnhardt (1993), Jeff Gordon (1997), Jimmie Johnson (2003), Kasey Kahne (2008) and Kurt Busch (2010).

It’s surprising Busch never won a Cup race at Charlotte until last Saturday. In his career, he boasts track records with eight NASCAR XFINITY Series wins and seven NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victories.

He’s performed well in the Queen City in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, but just hadn’t won. In points-paying Cup races at Charlotte, Busch owns 10 top fives and 15 top 10s in 26 starts. The No. 18 Toyota driver ranks second in Charlotte driver rating (104.8) and average running position (9.9).

Fourth Stage Implemented For Coca-Cola 600
Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway will feature a fourth stage. Each stage will last 100 laps. Stage 1 will end on Lap 100, Stage 2 on Lap 200, Stage 3 on Lap 300 and Stage 4 on Lap 400.

“The stage racing format is delivering more dramatic moments over an entire race, fueling tremendous racing action this season,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “With a fourth stage added to the Coca-Cola 600, the historic event will have another layer of strategy for teams, and even more excitement within the race for fans.”

Speedway Motorsports, Inc. President and Chief Operating Officer Marcus Smith offered similar commentary.

"For 58 years, the Coca-Cola 600 has been a crown jewel on the NASCAR circuit because it presents unique challenges that don't exist in any other race. The distance is greater. The test of endurance is greater. The challenge of adjusting to the track surface from hot to cool puts more pressure on crew chiefs and pit crews," he said. "It's only fitting that teams have an opportunity to be rewarded for the extra effort required to win at the 600. An additional stage win and that extra playoff point in May could be critical for playoff success in the fall."

Truex Ready To Follow Up Last Year’s Record-Setting Performance
Martin Truex Jr. rewrote the record books with his dominant performance on his way to the checkered flag in last year’s Coca-Cola 600.

The No. 78 Furniture Row Racing driver’s 588 miles led in a single race were the most in NASCAR history, besting Jim Paschal’s 502.5 miles led in the 1967 World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Truex’s 392 laps led were the most in Charlotte Motor Speedway history. Paschal owned the previous-high mark of 335 laps led (also in the 1967 World 600).

He also recorded the 17th perfect driver rating (150.0) – and first at Charlotte – since the inception of NASCAR loop data in 2005.
Truex tops the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in numerous statistical categories, including: wins (tied for first with 2), stage wins (5), playoff points (15), driver rating (110.8), laps in the top 15 (3,161, 90.3%) and laps led (536). He is second in total points (44 behind leader Kyle Larson), average running position (7.8) and fastest laps run (314).

In 23 Charlotte starts, Truex has one win, three top fives, seven top 10s and a 16.2 average finish.

Queen City King: Johnson Looks To Add To Wins Record
Jimmie Johnson will attempt to extend his track record with a ninth win at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600.

The No. 48 Chevrolet driver took the checkered flag in the latest points-paying race at Charlotte last October on his way to his record-tying seventh Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship.

Johnson has won the Coca-Cola 600 four times (2014, 2003-05).

In 31 starts at the 1.5-mile track, Johnson also claims 15 top fives 19 top 10s and a 12.6 average finish. The Californian leads the series in Charlotte driver rating (110.6) and average running position (8.1).

A win on Sunday would tie Johnson with NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough for sixth on the all-time wins list with 83 victories.
Right now, Johnson sits eighth in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points standings (152 markers behind leader Kyle Larson). He is tied with Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr. for the wins lead with two.

Larson Looks To Extend Points Lead
Kyle Larson will look to continue to pad his lead in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

He currently holds a 44-point advantage over second-place Martin Truex Jr. Brad Keselowski (67 points behind Larson) sits third, followed by Chase Elliott (-114) and Larson’s Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Jamie McMurray (-121).

Larson has built his lead on the strength of one win, five top fives, seven top 10s and a series-leading 6.9 average finish. He has four runner-ups this season, including a string of three straight the second through fourth races.

In seven career starts at Charlotte, Larson owns one top-five finish and two top-10 showings. His career-best finish at the 1.5-mile track was a fifth-place showing in last year’s fall race.

Blaney Gets Another Crack At An Intermediate Track
Ryan Blaney gets another chance to wheel his No. 21 Ford to victory at a 1.5-mile track in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The 23-year-old Wood Brothers Racing driver has performed well in his last two races at 1.5-mile tracks. He finished fourth at Kansas after winning Stage 2 and leading 83 laps. At Texas, he led a race-high 148 laps and won the contest’s first two stages.

Blaney is 11th in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points standings, 184 markers behind Kyle Larson. He has three playoff points via his three stage wins.

NASCAR joins IndyCar in support of John Andretti
NASCAR will join IndyCar in honoring former driver John Andretti this weekend, with its race cars carrying a decal emblazoned with the hashtag #checkit4andretti. In 1994, Andretti was the first driver to run the Indianapolis 500-Coca-Cola 600 double.

Earlier this year, Andretti announced that he is battling stage four colon cancer.

Andretti won two races during a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career that spanned 393 starts. His victories came at two of NASCAR most iconic tracks, Daytona International Speedway (July of 1997) and Martinsville Speedway (April of 1999).

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.
NASCAR Salutes Refreshed by Coca-Cola: Honoring and Remembering the U.S. Armed Forces –  During the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR will have its “600 Miles of Remembrance.” The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series cars will feature the names of fallen servicemen and women on windshield headers for the third consecutive year. This Memorial Day weekend, NASCAR also will host over 5,000 active military members as NASCAR Salutes Refreshed by Coca-Cola program kicks off its traditional summer industry-wide effort to honor and host members of the military over six race weekends.

Channing Tatum To Serve As Coca-Cola 600 Grand Marshal – Actor Channing Tatum will serve as the grand marshal for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming movie “Logan Lucky,” out Aug. 18, Tatum plays the lead character attempting to execute an elaborate robbery during the Coca-Cola 600 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Jimmie Johnson goes for ninth Charlotte win

Jimmie Johnson is 6/1 to win at Charlotte.
Jimmie Johnson on why the 600 is special to him
"This weekend is special to me for so many reasons. To have SPC Rodriguez’s name on the car, having spent time with his family last week, they will be at the race with us so I want to make them proud. Being at Fort Bragg for the car unveil was a reminder that life is so precious and the men and women who fight for our freedom are true heroes. We were pretty fast at the All-Star Race – it should be a great weekend all-around.”

Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Patriotic Chevrolet SS, will be in the media center at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday, May 25, at 1:15 p.m. local time.

RED, WHITE AND LOWE’S BLUE: For the first time this season, Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet SS will feature a patriotic theme. Longtime sponsor Lowe’s has a lengthy history of supporting the military. Currently, Lowe’s has more than 14,000 veterans, active military and Guard/Reserve employees.

IN HONOR OF: At Charlotte, the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet will carry the name of fallen Army Paratrooper SPC Michael Rodriguez. Last week, Johnson made the trek to Fort Bragg near Fayetteville, North Carolina, to unveil the special paint scheme as well as meet the family of SPC Rodriguez. A native of Sanford, North Carolina, and assigned to the 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, SPC Rodriguez was 20 when he was killed on April 23, 2007, while serving his country in Iraq. For his bravery and sacrifice, SPC Rodriguez earned the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge and Good Conduct Medals. For a recap of Johnson’s day at Fort Bragg, click here.

SERIES BEST AT CHARLOTTE: According to NASCAR’s loop data, Johnson has the series-best driver rating at Charlotte Motor Speedway with a score of 110.6. The driver rating is a formula that combines wins, top-15 finishes, average running position while on the lead lap, average speed under green, fastest lap, most laps led and lead-lap finishes. The maximum a driver can earn in each race is 150 points. Johnson also holds the series-best average running position with a score of 8.105.

NASCAR HALL OF FAME VOTE: As the defending NASCAR Cup Series champion, Johnson will join an elite group of voters on Wednesday afternoon at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Johnson will be among the panel responsible for nominating the 2018 class of inductees. It is the second time Johnson has been able to participate as a reigning champion, as he was part of the voting panel responsible for nominating the 2014 class as a result of winning the 2013 NASCAR Cup Series championship.

SEVEN-TIME IS ALL-TIME: Johnson has a total of eight Cup Series wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway, with four coming in the 600-mile event. He also leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series in laps led at Charlotte with 1,895 laps led in 31 starts. In 2016, Johnson won the October 500-mile event, which propelled him into the third round of the NASCAR playoffs.

JJ FIT FEST: Once Johnson completes 600 miles at Charlotte Motor Speedway, he will host his first Foundation Fit Fest on Monday, May 29, at Anne Springs Close Greenway in Fort Mill, South Carolina, beginning at 8 a.m. Events include a 5K, 8K, endurance mountain bike race and a kids Spartan event. There will be food trucks, live music and activities until 2 p.m. For more information or to register, go to

2017 Season

  • 8th in standings
  • 11 starts
  • 2 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 2 top-five finishes
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 130 laps led


  • 554 starts
  • 82 wins
  • 35 pole positions
  • 220 top-five finishes
  • 334 top-10 finishes
  • 18,576 laps led

Track Career 

  • 31 starts
  • 8 wins
  • 4 pole positions
  • 15 top-five finishes
  • 19 top-10 finishes
  • 1,895 laps led