It’s Memorial Day Weekend, and that means NASCAR is returning to Charlotte Motor Speedway, for the 2023 running of the Coca-Cola 600, the longest race in the sport. The sport as a whole is coming off back-to-back great weekends, as they celebrated their 75th season at Darlington on Mother’s Day weekend, and last weekend, they held their All-Star event at North Wilkesboro, the first time that Cup Series cars were on the track since 1997.
Like the Daytona 500, and the Southern 500, the Coke 600 is a crown jewel and is high on the list of races that every driver dreams of winning. From Jeff Gordon to Bobby Labonte, Matt Kenseth, and as recently in 2017 when Austin Dillon took the checkered flag, the 600 has delivered a handful of first-time winners and has been the jumpstart for guys like Gordon, and Kenseth to becoming championship drivers.
With that in mind, Gabe McDonald from Queen City News, and Charlotte Sports Live, joined the Wes & Walker Show earlier today on WFNZ, to talk about this weekend’s race as he identified a handful of drivers to keep an eye on, on Sunday. McDonald stated that Kyle Larson who won last week’s All-Star race, and the 600 back in 2021, Denny Hamlin who won here last year, and William Byron, the winner at Darlington a few weeks ago as the favorites to emerge from the 600-mile marathon.
When you look at Kyle Larson, arguably the most talented driver in the field, he’s as hot as any driver after dominating the All-Star race, a win this weekend, would tie him with teammate, William Byron, and firmly establish him as a championship favorite.
Denny Hamlin is no stranger to winning on NASCAR’s biggest stage, as he’s won multiple Daytona 500s, the Coke 600, and even the Southern 500. The one thing that Hamlin hasn’t achieved in this sport, is winning a championship, and while he can’t do that on Sunday, a win would serve as a reminder that he’s still a threat.
As for William Byron, who is experiencing his best season at the Cup level, a win on Sunday would validate his hot start to the 2023 season, and cement his status as a championship contender, and a driver to be reckoned with on a week-in, week-out basis. It would also be the first time that the #24 would be in Victory Lane at Charlotte, since Jeff Gordon’s last win all the way back in 1998.
These three drivers, along with the likes of Chase Elliott, Ross Chastain, and Jimmie Johnson’s return will dominate the headlines of what figures to be a great weekend of racing, at Charlotte Motor Speedway, America’s Home for Racing.
Coverage for Sunday’s race will start at 6:00 PM on FOX.
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