This is the second full week that drivers and crew get to stay at home instead of staying at the track. They get to sleep in their own beds, spend more time with family and friends, and frankly, stay a little more relaxed this weekend as they gear up for the longest race of the season. The question on everyone’s mind is who will come out on top at the end of the Coke 600? Well, here are my predictions.
Kasey Kahne: Kahne has been running strong this season in his No.5 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports. With 1 win and 4 Top-5 finishes this season, Kahne is consistently up front and was racing for the win last weekend in the Sprint All-Star Race against teammate and eventual winner, Jimmie Johnson. Kahne got his first win for Hendrick Motorsports during the Coke 600 last season and Charlotte Motor Speedway is clearly one of his best tracks. Look for Kahne to run strong and up front on Sunday and is a definitely favorite to take the checkered flag at the end of the night.
Jimmie Johnson: Like his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Johnson has been on fire this season. With two point’s wins and an All-Star win under his best, Johnson is a clear favorite to make it two in a row at home with the Coke 600. Johnson’s average finish this season is 6.7 with his just three finishes outside the Top-10. He seems more determined than ever to get his 6th Championship and if continues to run strong, he will be well on his way. Keep an eye on his this weekend for the Coca-Cola 600.
Matt Kenseth: Who would have thought that switching teams would have treated this man so well? He has three wins already this season including the last point’s race at Darlington. He took home the win at Charlotte during the fall race in 2011 and looking at the way he has been running this season, he is a clear favorite. Kenseth might just be Johnson’s biggest competition for the Sprint Cup Championship this season.
Kurt Busch: He and his brother were dominant during the All-Star Race last weekend and Kurt won this race back in 2010. Busch and the No.78 team have had some unfortunate luck this season but have been running strong. He will definitely make it to Victory Lane this season and taking home the win at the longest race of the season would be just Kurt Busch’s style.
Denny Hamlin: After missing half of the season so far with a fractured vertebrae in his back, Hamlin is back and back with a vengeance. His first full race back at Darlington, Hamlin finished second to teammate Matt Kenseth. Thanks to the points system in place for the Chase, Hamlin isn’t out of the running for a wild card spot just yet. In order to make the Chase, Hamlin needs to get into the Top-20 in points and needs to secure himself a few wins. If he plans on doing that, he needs to start now and standing in Victory Lane at the end of the Coke 600 would be great for Hamlin.
Well, there you go; those are my predictions for the Coca-Cola 600. This has to be one of the most exciting race weekends in the season with the Indy 500 and the Coke 600 on the same day; it makes for the perfect day for race fans. So sit back, grab some food, gather up some friends, and enjoy a day filled with the best drivers the world has to offer and see if my Coke 600 predictions come true.