The by NASCAR 2020 Coca-Cola 600, the 61st running of the event, is an upcoming NASCAR Cup Series race held on May 24, 2020 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. Contested over 400 laps on the 1.5 mile asphalt speedway, it will be the seventh race of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season.
Date: Monday, May 25, 2020
Location: Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, North Carolina, United States
Announcers: Mike Joy, Jeff Gordon
Live Broadcast: 2020 Coca-Cola 600
As part of NASCAR’s revised 2020 schedule in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, NASCAR has made the following schedule changes to events at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
For auto racing fans, the day before Memorial Day is annually celebrated as the greatest day in motorsports with showcase events in Formula One, IndyCar and NASCAR.
The day would normally begin in the French Riviera with the F1 Monaco Grand Prix, move to Indianapolis for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” otherwise known as the Indy 500, and conclude in Charlotte, North Carolina for NASCAR’s longest race of the year.
Instead, the Coca-Cola 600 will stand alone on Sunday, with Monaco’s cancelation and Indy’s postponement.
Here is all the information you need to get ready for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway
START TIME: 6 p.m. ET.
TV: Fox. Pre-race broadcast begins at 5:30 p.m. ET.
RADIO: Performance Racing Network. STREAMING: Fox Sports Go.
RACE DISTANCE: 400 laps around the 1.5-mile track for a total of 600 miles.
STAGE LENGTHS (laps per stage): Stage 1: 100, Stage 2: 100, Stage 3: 100. Stage 4: 100.
QUALIFYING: Sunday, 2 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1.
LAST RACE: Denny Hamlin won Wednesday night’s race at Darlington Raceway — the Cup Series’ second race since returning from a 10-week shutdown — after it was called with 20 laps remaining because of rain. The red flag came minutes after Chase Elliott’s crash when he was spun by Kyle Busch while they were fighting for second place.
LAST YEAR: Martin Truex Jr. led 116 laps to win the Coca-Cola 600 for the second time in four years following his victory in 2016. Truex also finished second in 2018 and third in 2017.
Live Broadcast: 2020 Coca-Cola 600
ENTRY LIST: Forty cars are entered in Sunday’s race (with car number, driver, manufacturer and organization):
(00) Quin Houff, Chevrolet, StarCom Racing
(1) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing
(2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, Team Penske
(3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing
(4) Kevin Harvick, Ford, Stewart-Haas Racing
(6) Ryan Newman, Ford, Roush Fenway Racing
(7) JJ Yeley, Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing
(8) Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing
(9) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports
(10) Aric Almirola, Ford, Stewart-Haas Racing
(11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing
(12) Ryan Blaney, Ford, Team Penske
(13) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, Germain Racing
(14) Clint Bowyer, Ford, Stewart-Haas Racing
(15) Brennan Poole, Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports
(17) Chris Buescher, Ford, Roush Fenway Racing
(18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing
(19) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing
(20) Erik Jones, Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing
(21) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, Wood Brothers Racing
(22) Joey Logano, Ford, Team Penske
(24) William Byron, Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports
(27) Gray Gaulding, Ford, Rick Ware Racing
(32) Corey LaJoie, Ford, Go Fas Racing
(34) Michael McDowell, Ford, Front Row Motorsports
(37) Ryan Preece, Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing
(38) John Hunter Nemechek, Ford, Front Row Motorsports
(41) Cole Custer, Ford, Stewart-Haas Racing
(42) Matt Kenseth, Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing
(43) Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, Richard Petty Motorsports
(47) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing
(48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports
(51) Joey Gase, Ford, Petty Ware Racing
(52) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, Rick Ware Racing
(66) Timmy Hill, Toyota, MBM Motorsports
(77) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, Spire Motorsports
(78) BJ McLeod, Chevrolet, BJ McLeod Motorsports
(88) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports
(95) Christopher Bell, Toyota, Leavine Family Racing
(96) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, Gaunt Brothers Racing
What does it take to win NASCAR’s longest race? Drivers share their Coca-Cola 600 advice
Jamie Little has been covering NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 race for FOX Sports since 2015, but this is the first year the pit reporter will wear a face mask with an American flag printed on it while on-air.
“I actually went to an alterations lady and asked her to make (the mask) for me,” Little said. “Obviously I have a lot of pride and it’s an important, special weekend, and I think there’s nothing better than stars and stripes.”
Like Little, 40 drivers will place their hands over their hearts and masks over their faces before hitting the track for their seventh official race of the Cup Series season on Memorial Day weekend. Despite uncertainty last month over whether the race would run in its traditional slot due to the coronavirus pandemic, NASCAR is primed to put on the annual race honoring military members and their families as scheduled at Charlotte Motor Speedway this Sunday at 6 p.m. The race will run without fans in attendance.
“We are the home of NASCAR,” North Carolina governor Roy Cooper said in April. “And I’m so grateful for this amazing sport that is in our state, that not only provides people with entertainment, but also is an amazing economic engine for our state.”
While the new COVID-19 protocols have altered event access for fans, the 600-mile race will also be a change for drivers since most are coming off just two official races last week at Darlington Raceway following the sport’s two-month postponement due to the pandemic (some Cup drivers were also entered in an Xfinity race last week). As the longest race of the season, it’ll be a test of endurance, but it’s one drivers said they are excited for now more than ever.
“I know for us in the sport and drivers especially, it’s a big one,” said No. 19 driver Martin Truex Jr., who won last year’s Coke 600. “And it’s one we all want to win and just feel like it means a lot to all of us.”
“The schedule that we’ve been on so far, having two months off and getting back into racing is something that’s been different from what we’ve really ever had before.” Truex Jr. continued. “I don’t know if 600 miles is going to feel the same as it normally does because of that.”
Drivers have said that physical fitness and hydration is key to their preparation plans. On Saturday, there was a 50 percent chance of rain and a projected high of 86 degrees near the Concord-based track, according to the National Weather Service. That high heat and humidity has typically been a factor on the 1.5-mile asphalt track.
“Usually when that heat comes out, you can really find guys that probably aren’t in the best of shape struggling at the end of the race and you can gain a couple more positions because of that,” No. 3 driver Austin Dillon said. “So trying to take advantage of everything you can out on the track.”
Dillon said he won the 2017 Coca-Cola 600 off a fuel mile play that his team implemented at the start of the race and was able to ride through to Victory Lane.
“There’s different strategies you can pull,” Dillon said. “You can take two tires. You can run long on fuel. Many different opportunities in this race.”
“I think that’s why you see some first time winners happen from this race,” Dillon continued. “I’d love to go do it again and give ourselves that chance to go back into the playoffs.”
While Dillon and Truex Jr. will be seeking a repeat on Sunday, two-time 2020 race winners Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano are looking for a first-time win in the crown jewel event.
“It’s the highest priority race for me to win for my personal accomplishments,” Hamlin said. “It’s the next biggest race to the Daytona 500, in my opinion, so it’s one that we’ve geared up for, prepared for, and we don’t know what’s going to happen without practice.”
Hamlin said the race will be one of how well teams can prepare from the get-go and that he liked his Toyota’s chances.
No. 24 driver and Charlotte native William Byron also provided insight into how the track runs. He said that as the race progresses, the asphalt can get slick with rubber sticking to it, making it more difficult to pass. That’s why cars typically run three and four wide.
“It’s a constant battle with that stuff on the racetrack of trying to figure out what your car needs to do and how to set up passes because a lot of guys can maintain lap time up there,” Byron said. “So it makes it twice as hard to complete the pass. You can run side-by-side pretty easily.”
Byron described the race as a “constant evolution throughout 600 miles.”
Regardless of whether new fans tune in to all 600 of those miles, Little said it’s still a race worth watching.
“It is the Coke 600,” Little said. “It is at home. There’s a lot on the line these guys want to win that race to show their stamina, the stamina of the car and that everything can hold up.”
“It’s a really big deal for the manufacturers, for drivers, for teams, for everyone,” Little continued.
Even for those unfamiliar with NASCAR, there is another reason to tune into racing while the world is lacking most of its live sports. During commercial breaks, fans are guaranteed to be reminded of ‘uncertain times,’ but when racing returns to the screen, so will some consistency.
“I just feel proud of the company I work for,” Little said of her FOX Sports broadcast crew. “That they were able to put something on the air like they have, and do it with such ease, and (proud of) NASCAR for being the first to be bold and go for it and do it the right way to show that we can do this.”
“I think it brings hope to people watching that we will get back to normalcy.”
Distance: 400 laps, or 600 miles
Stage breaks: Laps 100, 200, 300, 400
Where: Charlotte Motor Speedway
When: 6 p.m. Sunday
TV: FOX (5:30 p.m. broadcast start time)
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
2019 winner: Martin Truex Jr.
NASCAR’s Steve Phelps on Coca-Cola 600 honoring fallen US service members: ‘A really special time for us’
NASCAR President Steve Phelps appeared on “Fox Report” Saturday to preview Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina and to discuss how the motor sport will honor fallen U.S. service members during the event.
“The Coca-Cola 600, which starts at 6 p.m. on FOX, is it’s just a special race. We have no other race like it,” Phelps said. “Not only is it our longest race, but as you said this, you know, the fallen soldiers, and the name of the fallen soldiers on top of the windshield in honoring the Gold Star families… it’s just a really special time for us.”
HOW TO WATCH NASCAR’S COCA-COLA 600 AT CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Live Broadcast: 2020 Coca-Cola 600
Each car on Sunday will carry the name of a fallen service member above its windshield, and the field will pull into the pits mid-race for a moment of remembrance.
Giving the command to fire things up at the race will reportedly be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.
Anchor Jon Scott asked Phelps why NASCAR fans have such a huge appreciation for the military.
“I think part of it is… a fan is twice as likely to have served in the military in NASCAR than any other sport. And so there’s just a natural connection between NASCAR and the military,” Phelps explained. “There are other opportunities that we have to celebrate, obviously, wrapping ourselves in the flag or honoring our servicemen tomorrow is particularly special, just given that it’s Memorial Day or the day before Memorial Day.”
Scott asked Phelps about organization holding races during the coronavirus pandemic after it restarted the season last week with no fans. Phelps said that despite the empty grandstands and the safety measures, there is normalcy in having races resume.
“[In] between the green and the checkered, it feels very normal. So that part’s fantastic. The protocols and procedures that we have in place for our competitors to keep them safe, we [developed] a fantastic plan, [worked] with local, state and federal health officials to make sure it was rock solid,” Phelps said. “And it worked very well in Darlington. We expect the same thing in Charlotte tomorrow night.”
Coca-Cola 600 race weekend scheduled for May 22-24, 2020
May 22 ARCA General Tire 150 has been postponed to a yet-to-be determined date.
May 23 United Rentals Patriot Nationals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte has been postponed to a yet-to-be determined date.
May 23 Alsco 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series Race has been postponed to May 25 and will take place without spectators. The race will be broadcast live on FS1 at 7:30 p.m. and on PRN affiliate radio networks.
May 24 Coca-Cola 600 will take place as scheduled but without spectators. The race will be broadcast live on FOX at 6 p.m. and across PRN affiliate radio networks.