Due primarily to its standing as the only 600-mile race on the Cup Series schedule and all the pageantry that comes with racing on Memorial Day weekend, the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte is considered one of NASCAR’s “crown jewel” races and is second only to the Daytona 500 in prestige and name recognition. Therefore, winning the 600 is high on the bucket list of most drivers and teams — especially those who’ve never done so before.
Among the more accomplished drivers still in search of their first 600 triumph are 2018 series champ Joey Logano, 2020 champ Chase Elliott, three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin, two-time 2022 race winner William Byron and last weekend’s race winner, Ryan Blaney. The Team Penske Ford of Blaney and the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Hamlin finished 1-2, respectively, in Sunday’s All-Star Race at Texas, so those two drivers will come into Charlotte feeling at least fairly good about where they stand. Elliott, Byron and Logano, meanwhile, have all gone to Victory Lane in recent weeks, so each of those drivers has reason for optimism as well.
Elliott and Logano are actually both former winners on the Charlotte quad-oval, but their victories came in a 500-miler and not the 600. If any of the drivers still searching for their first 600 triumph manages to break into Victory Lane this weekend, expect a memorable celebration to ensue, because this is a race that drivers often dream about winning, but — like the Daytona 500 — many never do.