Charlotte Motor Speedway

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The Bank of America 500

The Bank of America 500

by Matt Taliaferro

Location: Concord, N.C.
Distance: 1.5-mile quad oval
Banking/Turns: 24 degrees; Banking/Straightaways: 5 degrees
Race Dates: May 22 (All-Star Race), May 30 (Coca-Cola 600), October 16 (Bank of America 500)


From the Spotter’s Stand
Blame it on the rain. David Reutimann earned his first career Cup win at Charlotte with a Milli Vanilli move. After storms delayed the May 2009 race from Sunday to Monday, NASCAR ended the show with only 227 of 400 laps completed. As a result, Reutimann — who was in 14th place when the showers started on Lap 221 and led only five laps, all under the sixth and final caution — stole his first Cup win, which was also the first victory for Michael Waltrip Racing. Thanks to the fourth red flag, what should have been the longest race of the season, a 600-mile marathon, ended after only 341 miles.

All was right with the world in October, however, as Lowe’s primary pitchman Jimmie Johnson led 92 of the 334 (scheduled and completed) laps, cruising to a 2.303-second victory over runner-up Matt Kenseth. The King of Concord, Johnson has six wins — including four straight in 2004-05 — nine top 5s and 13 top-10 finishes in 18 career Cup races at the 1.5-mile quad-oval.

Kurt Busch decimated the field in this season’s Memorial Day Classic, leading 252 of 400 laps en route to capturing his first points-paying win in Charlotte. The elder Busch also took home a cool mil the week prior in the All-Star Race. It marked the seventh time a driver has won the All-Star and 600 races since 1985.

Active drivers beside Johnson with multiple wins at Charlotte include Jeff Gordon (5), Mark Martin (4), Jeff Burton (3), Kasey Kahne (3), Bill Elliott (2) and Bobby labonte (2).


Crew Chief’s Take
"Charlotte is probably the most weather-sensitive track we race on. Slight changes — cloud cover, sunshine, temperature — make almost an unbelievable difference. The challenge becomes adapting, and particularly in the case of the Coca-Cola 600, the races are really long there. The key is survive the early stages, when the sun is out, and be in position to battle for the win at night. The moisture in the air makes the track change, too. It makes it very difficult for a driver and crew chief to stay on top of it."


Fantasy Stall
Looking at Checkers:
With finishes of first, second and third thus far in the Chase and six points-paying wins at Charlotte in his career, are you willing to bet against Jimmie Johnson?
Pretty Solid Pick: Regardless of equipment, Kasey Kahne can light this place up.
Good Sleeper Pick: Joey Logano has career finishes of ninth, fifth and 13th in points-paying runs in Charlotte.
Runs on Seven Cylinders: Juan Pablo Montoya has only one finish better than 28th in Concord, and that was an eighth-place showing in the 2009 Coke 600.
Insider Tip: The 600 has a history of first-time winners — the October event Ö not so much. Stick to the usual Chase subjects.


Classic Moments at Charlotte
The Sprint Cup All-Star Race has gone by many monikers, run under many formats and has seen more than its fair share of classic finishes. In 1985’s The Winston, the all-star event’s first running, a legendary field dubbed "The Dashing Dozen," kicked things off in style.

Terry Labonte sits on the pole by virtue of being the series’ defending champion, but Harry Gant inherits the lead after pit stops. Darrell Waltrip elects to wait to take tires, and when he does, he runs down Gant, passing him on the final lap.

Upon crossing the finish line, Waltrip’s engine blows, leading to speculation that the No. 11 Budweiser Chevy is running a big engine and that Waltrip was instructed by car owner Junior Johnson ìclutchî the car to avoid being penalized by NASCAR upon inspection of the powerplant.


May 2010 Race Winners
All-Star Race: Kurt Busch
Coca-Cola 600: Kurt Busch

Coca-Cola 600 Top 10
  1.  Kurt Busch
  2.  Jamie McMurray
  3.  Kyle Busch
  4.  Mark Martin
  5.  David Reutimann
  6.  Jeff Gordon
  7.  Clint Bowyer
  8.  Paul Menard
  9.  Ryan Newman
10.  Matt Kenseth

Coca-Cola 600 Laps Led
Kurt Busch — 252
Kyle Busch — 36
Jimmie Johnson — 36
Jamie McMurray — 29
Ryan Newman — 11
Dale Earnhardt Jr. — 10
Matt Kenseth — 7
Clint Bowyer — 3
Jeff Gordon — 3
David Reutimann — 3
Brad Keselowski — 2
Five drivers led one lap

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Taxonomy upgrade extras: 
Race No. 4 of the 2010 Chase for the Sprint Cup takes the traveling circus of NASCAR back home to Charlotte.