Wednesday, May 25, 2022

With a win this weekend, Denny Hamlin could join elite club

Three major pillars within the NASCAR Cup Series schedule, some even refer to them as the ‘Crown Jewel events’ of the series – the Daytona 500, the Southern 500 and this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway – are all extremely difficult to win by themselves, but even more so, is conquering all three. In NASCAR Cup Series history only 11 drivers have won all three major events, and with a win this weekend, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin could be the 12th.

NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon leads the series in ‘Crown Jewel’ wins with a combined 12 victories across the three events – three Daytona 500 wins (1997, 1999, 2005), six Southern 500s (1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2007) and three Coca-Cola 600s (1994, 1997, 1998).

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick is the only active driver to already accomplish the feat with five combined victories across the three historic events – one Daytona 500 (2007), two Southern 500s (2014, 2020) and two Coca-Cola 600s (2011, 2013).

 

NASCAR Cup Series Drivers With Wins In All Three Events

Rank

Drivers

Daytona 500

Southern 500

Coca-Cola 600

Combined

1

Jeff Gordon

3

6

3

12

2

Richard Petty

7

1

2

10

3

Bobby Allison

3

4

3

10

4

Jimmie Johnson

2

2

4

8

5

Dale Earnhardt

1

3

3

7

6

Darrell Waltrip

1

1

5

7

7

David Pearson

1

3

3

7

8

Buddy Baker

1

1

3

5

9

Kevin Harvick

1

2

2

5

10

Matt Kenseth

2

1

1

4

11

LeeRoy Yarbrough

1

1

1

3

 

Denny Hamlin is one of 11 active drivers that have already won at least one of the three events – the Daytona 500, Southern 500 or Coca-Cola 600 – and leads all active drivers in combined wins of the races with six victories – three Daytona 500s (2016, 2019, 2020) and three Southern 500s (2010, 2017, 2021).

Active NASCAR Cup Series Drivers With Wins In At Least one Of The Three Events

Rank

Active Drivers

Daytona 500

Southern 500

Coca-Cola 600

Combined

1

Denny Hamlin

3

3

0

6

2

Martin Truex Jr

0

1

2

3

3

Austin Dillon

1

0

1

2

4

Kurt Busch

1

0

1

2

5

Brad Keselowski

0

1

1

2

6

Joey Logano

1

0

0

1

7

Michael McDowell

1

0

0

1

8

Erik Jones

0

1

0

1

9

Kyle Busch

0

0

1

1

10

Kyle Larson

0

0

1

1

11

Austin Cindric

1

0

0

1

 

Hamlin is joined by Team Penske’s Joey Logano and rookie Austin Cindric, Front Row Motorsport’s Michael McDowell, Hendrick Motorsport’s Kyle Larson, and Petty GMS Motorsport’s Erik Jones as the drivers with wins in at least one of the three events that are still looking for a Coca-Cola 600 win.

Hamlin has made 30 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway posting two poles, 10 top fives and 19 top 10s, including three runner-up finishes.

NASCAR Salutes the military and their families in Coca-Cola 600

NASCAR Salutes Together with Coca-Cola returns for its eighth season, celebrating the service and sacrifice of U.S. service members and their families. Tributes this season began at Dover Motor Speedway (May 2) and will conclude with the 600 Miles of Remembrance during the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Memorial Day weekend. Fans can follow and engage on social media using #NASCARSalutes.

“In partnership with NASCAR, Coca-Cola is proud to honor our nation’s Armed Forces during The Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend,” said Sue Lynne Cha, Vice President of Integrated Marketing Experiences for Coca-Cola North America. “The Coca-Cola 600 brings racing fans together to recognize the service and sacrifices made by our U.S. military members and their families.”

Unique to the program this year, the NASCAR Salutes Wall of Honor will make its debut at each NASCAR race weekend in May. The mural wall will be located in track midways and allow fans to write messages to the military on individual magnets. Each magnet will then be added to the mural to create a giant mosaic unique to each track that will later be donated to a military base.

“It’s always incredible to see the NASCAR industry and our fans unite to celebrate our military service members and their families through NASCAR Salutes Together with Coca-Cola,” said Michelle Byron, Vice President of Partnership Marketing, NASCAR. “Through the support of Coca-Cola, the month of May has become a time when together as an industry, we can reflect on our nation’s heroes and honor the sacrifices they make every day to keep our country and its communities safe.”

To conclude NASCAR Salutes Together with Coca-Cola, NASCAR and Coca-Cola will again host Gold Star Families during Memorial Day weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway with all 40 NASCAR Cup Series cars featuring the name of a fallen service member on the windshield during the Coca-Cola 600.

In addition, several other NASCAR Salutes activities will take place, including:

 

  • At each NASCAR event during the month of May, service members from local bases will have access to complimentary grandstand tickets and unique VIP experiences made possible by Vet Tix and the NASCAR Troops to the Track Program.
  • Charlotte Motor Speedway continues its annual Mission 600, pairing the Coca-Cola Racing Family and other drivers with military bases to educate the NASCAR community about the day-to-day lives of the men and women who serve.
  • Xfinity, a Proud Premier Partner, will display red, white and blue Xfinity windshield headers on their race cars during the NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco Uniforms 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway to showcase their company’s commitment to hiring 21,000 veterans, National Guard and reserve service members, and military spouses who bring unique skills and experiences to Comcast NBCUniversal.
  • Camping World will celebrate with red, white and blue windshield decals on all trucks racing in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Camping World is a strong supporter of all military branches and proudly displays 3,200 square foot American flags at its nationwide retail locations.
  • AMR, the “Official Emergency Medical Services Partner of NASCAR,” will feature the NASCAR Salutes Together with Coca-Cola branding on its NASCAR safety trucks and safety team helmets throughout the program.
  • For a fifth season, Mack Trucks, the “Official Hauler of NASCAR”, will wrap one of its NASCAR haulers in support of NASCAR Salutes leading into Memorial Day weekend. The final design was selected by fan votes with the voting period closing this week.
  • Continuing its tradition, Goodyear will replace its iconic “Eagle” sidewall design with “Honor and Remember” during the Coca-Cola 600 in recognition of the organization working closely with the industry to honor gold star families who have lost family members as a result of serving.
  • During the broadcast of the Coca-Cola 600, FOX will display the name of every U.S. Armed Forces member who lost his or her life since last year’s Memorial Day weekend race as part of a special tribute titled “FOX Sports Remembers,” an initiative begun in 2009. FOX’s scroll will begin running during its pre-race show at 5 p.m. ET.

Charlotte Motor Speedway is set for Memorial Day Weekend festivities

Charlotte Motor Speedway will host the NASCAR Cup Series for the 63rd running of the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday at 6 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, in a weekend filled with remembrance for the brave men and women who are serving or have served in our military. The annual event takes pride in honoring our service members and their families and this weekend is expected to be another great experience for all.

Charlotte Motor Speedway is one of the most historic venues on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule. The famous facility is a 1.5-mile, paved oval with 24 degrees of banking in the turns and is located just outside Charlotte, North Carolina.

Charlotte Motor Speedway has hosted 123 NASCAR Cup Series races all-time – the fourth most in series history behind Daytona (150), Martinsville (147) and Richmond (131). The first NASCAR Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway was on June 19, 1960 and the event was won by driver Joe Lee Johnson driving a Chevrolet for car owner Paul McDuffie.

Charlotte’s 123 Cup races have produced 48 different pole winners, led by NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson with 14 poles (1961, 1972, 1973, 1974 sweep, 1975 sweep, 1976 sweep, 1977 sweep, 1978 sweep, 1982). Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch leads all active drivers in NASCAR Cup Series poles at Charlotte Motor Speedway with three (2008, 2014, 2018). Hendrick Motorsport’s driver Kyle Larson is the most recent pole winner at Charlotte, winning the pole for last season’s Coca-Cola 600 with a speed of 180.282 mph. Nine of the 48 NASCAR Cup Series Charlotte Motor Speedway pole winners are active this weekend.

 

Active Charlotte Pole Winners

Poles

Seasons

Kyle Busch

3

2018, 2014, 2008

Kevin Harvick

2

2017, 2016

Denny Hamlin

2

2017, 2013

Kyle Larson

1

2021

Kurt Busch

1

2020

William Byron

1

2019

Martin Truex Jr

1

2016

Aric Almirola

1

2012

Brad Keselowski

1

2011

 


Charlotte Motor Speedway has also produced 53 different race winners in the 123 Cup Series races, led by Jimmie Johnson with eight victories (2003 summer, 2004 sweep, 2005 sweep, 2009 Playoffs, 2014 summer, 2016 Playoffs). Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. (2016, 2017, 2019) and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick (2011, 2013, 2014) lead all active drivers in Charlotte wins with three each. Nine of the 53 former Cup Series Charlotte Motor Speedway winners are entered this weekend, with four of the nine still looking for their first victory of the 2022 season – Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick, Austin Dillon and Brad Keselowski.
 

Active Charlotte Race Winners

Wins

Seasons

Kevin Harvick

3

2014, 2013, 2011

Martin Truex Jr

3

2019, 2017, 2016

Brad Keselowski

2

2020, 2013

Austin Dillon

1

2017

Chase Elliott

1

2020

Joey Logano

1

2015

Kurt Busch

1

2010

Kyle Busch

1

2018

Kyle Larson

1

2021

 

Hendrick Motorsport’s driver Kyle Larson is the defending winner of the 2021 Coca-Cola 600 and will look to become the seventh different driver to win back-to-back Coke 600s; joining Buddy Baker (1972-‘73), Darrell Waltrip (twice: 1978-’79 and 1988-’89), Neil Bonnett (1982-’83), Dale Earnhardt (1992-’93), Jeff Gordon (1997-‘98) and Jimmie Johnson (2003, ’04, ’05) – Johnson leads the series in consecutive Coca-Cola 600 wins with three straight.

All of the on-track action for the NASCAR Cup Series will begin with practice on Saturday night from 7 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. ET directly followed by Busch Light Pole Qualifying at 7:45 p.m. ET (both events on FS1).

Kevin Harvick is 30/1 to win 2022 Coca-Cola 600

 

KEVIN HARVICK

Charlotte Advance

No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing

 

 

Event Overview

 

●  Event:  Coca-Cola 600 (Round 14 of 36)

●  Time/Date:  6 p.m. EDT on Sunday, May 29

●  Location:  Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway

●  Layout:  1.5-mile oval

●  Laps/Miles:  400 laps/600 miles

●  Stage Lengths:  Stage 1: 100 laps / Stage 2: 100 laps / Stage 3: 100 laps / Final Stage: 100 laps

●  TV/Radio:  FOX / PRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

 

Notes of Interest

 

●  Kevin Harvick is a two-time winner of the Coca-Cola 600. He took the trophy in 2011 and 2013. Harvick beat David Ragan by .703 of a second in 2011 and he beat Kasey Kahne by 1.490 seconds in 2013. Harvick led only two laps in 2011 and just 28 laps in 2013, but each of those tallies contained the only lap that mattered most – the last one.

 

●  Harvick has three wins at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway’s 1.5-mile oval. In addition to his two Coca-Cola 600 triumphs, Harvick won the 2014 Bank of America 500 in the NASCAR Cup Series’ return to the track that October. Harvick dominated by leading a race-high 162 laps to beat four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon by .571 of a second.

 

●  Harvick has earned two poles at Charlotte. The first came in the 2016 Bank of America 500 (27.547 seconds at 196.029 mph) and the second came in the 2017 Coca-Cola 600 (27.918 seconds at 193.424 mph).

 

●  This year’s Coca-Cola 600 will mark Harvick’s 40th career NASCAR Cup Series start at Charlotte. The Bakersfield, California-native has nine top-fives and 20 top-10s in a career dating back to the 2001 Coca-Cola 600, which was Harvick’s first points-paying race at Charlotte. In that 4-hour and 20-minute affair, Harvick finished second to Jeff Burton and ahead of third-place Tony Stewart, the car owner of the No. 4 Mobil 1 team at Stewart-Haas Racing.

 

●  Harvick has finished in the top-10 in his last four races at Charlotte and 13 times in the last 15 races at the track. DNFs (Did Not Finish) thwarted Harvick in the 2016 Bank of America 500 (engine) and the 2018 Coca-Cola 600 (accident).

 

●  Harvick has shown strength at Charlotte outside of the NASCAR Cup Series. He has made 28 NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at the 1.5-mile oval, finishing among the top-10 18 times, with a best result of second, earned twice (October 2012 and May 2017). Harvick has also made three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at Charlotte, finishing among the top-five twice with a best result of fourth in May 2004.

 

●  As part of #NASCARSalutes and the 600 Miles of Remembrance initiative during the Coca-Cola 600, the No. 4 Mobil 1 team is honoring Lance Corporal Phillip G. West of the United States Marines Corps. West was based out of Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, California, where he served in the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force. The American Canyon, California-native served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and he was the first Napa County resident to die in the Iraq War, succumbing to injuries on Nov. 19, 2004 in Fallouja. That day, West was doing one of the many building sweeps in Al Anbar Province that he had done with precision and accuracy hundreds of times before. But upon entering a building, he was ambushed; shot several times and hit with two hand grenades. He crawled for cover and continued to fire his SAW machine gun despite suffering severe injuries to his legs, arms, chest and spine. After continuing to fire until his weapon was empty, his last act was to throw a grenade into the insurgents in an effort to try and save his fellow Marines who were advancing behind him. He died at a nearby hospital later that day. West was buried with full military honors, including a Purple Heart. In his hometown of American Canyon, the swimming complex where West worked as a lifeguard was named in his honor – the Phillip West Aquatic Center. West was deeply committed to his military service, often telling family and friends, “If we don’t do it, who’s going to do it?” West joined the Marine Corps delayed-entry program in August 2002 and after graduating from high school, he shipped off to boot camp in San Diego. He graduated from boot camp, then infantry school, and deployed to Iraq in June 2004. Once in Iraq, West achieved the rank of Lance Corporal.

 

●  The Mobil 1 branding on Harvick’s No. 4 Ford Mustang goes more than skin deep as the world’s leading synthetic motor oil brand gives Harvick an added advantage. Mobil 1 products are used throughout his racecar and they extend beyond just engine oil. Power steering fluid, transmission fluid, gear oil and driveline lubricants from Mobil 1 give Harvick a technical advantage over his counterparts by reducing friction, heat and rolling resistance.Mobil 1 is a sponsor whose technology makes Harvick’s No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang faster.

 

Kevin Harvick, Driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang 

 

Much is made about the Coca-Cola 600 being the series’ longest race. Because the race is so long, can it be a good thing where if you’re not where you want to be, you have time to make things right? Or is the other side of the coin being that it’s too long of a race to not be good?

“There’s just not a lot of room for error because somebody’s going to be good and you’ve got to put yourself in a position to stay on the lead lap. There are so many different areas of transition that you go through in that race because of the fact that the sun goes down after it starts hot and slick. Then as you transition into the night, you have to have something completely different in your car compared to what you had at the beginning of the race. So there’s a sacrifice you have to make at the beginning of the race to just basically try to keep yourself in a good position. Don’t make any mistakes, stay on the lead lap, and try and put yourself in a good position for the night because that’s when it really counts.”

 

The Coca-Cola 600 used to be about pushing drivers and their cars to the limit, as attrition was once a key factor. But today, drivers are fitter than ever and cars seem to be built better than ever before. Is that extra 100 miles noticeable anymore, be it from your perspective behind the wheel or from your team’s when it comes to building your racecar?

“I don’t think from a physical standpoint it’s noticeable anymore. I think the biggest thing about the Coke 600 is your mental state. When they tell you halfway, it’s like, ‘Oh, my God, that’s only halfway?’ That’s 200 laps, and it feels like you’ve run a whole race and you have the other half of the race still to run. So I think from a mental standpoint, it’s hard to wrap your arms around the lap count and all the things that come with a race being that long.”

 

The Coca-Cola 600 is considered one of NASCAR’s crown jewels because it is the only 600-mile race on the schedule. But in this short-attention span era, is a 600-mile race still needed?

“You can debate it. Looking at the 600, it’s a pretty historic race and, listening to people who’ve watched the race, they think it’s too long. But I think from the sport’s standpoint, you have to have different tests, and I think 600 miles still represents a test that you can relate to the past, and it just adds a different level of preparation.”

 

You’re a two-time winner of the Coca-Cola 600 (2011 and 2013). Forget the folks who say a four-plus hour race is too long. Do you take special satisfaction in each of those wins because it is a big deal to not only run 600 miles at Charlotte, but do it better than anyone else – twice?

“I don’t that that one sticks out any more than any of the rest of them as far as the marquee, crown-jewel races go, just because of the fact that those four races (Coca-Cola 600, Daytona 500, Southern 500 and Brickyard 400) are pretty unique, and having the opportunity to win any of those is pretty special. And I think winning at Charlotte, no matter what it is, whether it’s the 600 or at the end of the year, whatever it is – the All-Star Race used to be there – it’s definitely different because of all the people you have from the shop, and family and friends, and anything you can win at Charlotte is just special.”

 

You’ve got to be passionate to race at a high level. What made you want to race at this level, and what drives you to stay competitive at this level?

“I didn’t really know that I wanted to race at this level until I was probably 17 or 18 years old. In fact, I don’t think you’re actually qualified to know what you really want because of the fact that you don’t even really know how to live prior to that point. So for me, it’s the competitive side of it and being able to work with the guys that I have on my team in order to achieve something, and try and make our car faster than anybody else’s. To work as a group to do that is something I enjoy. I enjoy that as much as I do anything. I think being able to drive the car and do the things that you do inside it is just kind of a part of what you do anymore. But I enjoy that satisfaction of working with a group of guys toward a common goal.”

 

What does it mean to honor and remember a military member on your No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford this Memorial Day 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’re 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.”