|What||Alsco Uniforms 500 NASCAR Cup Series race|
|Where||Charlotte Motor Speedway|
|When||Thursday, May 28, 7 p.m. EST|
|How to watch||FS1|
From the longest race in NASCAR history, the Cup Series transitions to the shortest race ever on the 1.5-mile oval at Charlotte Motor Speedway—save for a couple of 100-mile qualifying events in 1961. Compared with the seven-course meal that is the Coca-Cola 600, Wednesday night’s Alsco Uniforms 500 is a dim sum, contested at 500 kilometers (312 miles), barely more than the first half of the 600.
Brad Keselowski took advantage of a late caution to win Sunday’s Coke 600 in overtime, making the event the longest NASCAR race in history at 607.5 miles. The midweek race at Charlotte will be a sprint, with stage lengths set at 55, 60 and 93 laps. The Alsco Uniforms 500 is the eighth event of the Cup Series season, with NASCAR devising a compressed schedule that will allow completion of a full slate of 36 points-paying events.
The odds for the Alsco Uniforms 500 are provided by bet365 NJ.
|Martin Truex Jr.||+550|
Odds from bet365 NJ Sportsbook
All four Hendrick Motorsports drivers have shown excellent speed since NASCAR’s re-opening, proof positive that the new Camaro is a vast improvement over the model that raced the last few years. Hendrick Motorsports drivers have led the way, leading laps and winning more than their share of stages. Only one problem: they haven’t been able to win a race after the break for the coronavirus pandemic.
The reasons are varied. Chase Elliott has been snakebit—wrecked by Kyle Busch while running second at Darlington and victimized by a late caution while leading the Coke 600 with two laps left. Jimmie Johnson wrecked himself on the final lap of the first stage in the May race at Darlington and saw his second-place finish in the Coke 600 nullified by a disqualification for a rear alignment that fell outside post-race tolerances.
Alex Bowman was runner-up May 17 at Darlington and won the first two stages and led 164 laps in the Coke 600. But Bowman hasn’t been able to capitalize on the speed in his car. The same is true of William Byron, whose spin on Lap 398 cost Elliott the chance to win NASCAR’s longest race. But Byron and Bowman start on the front row Wednesday night, and because of the shortness of the race, that track position will mean something.
Brad Keselowski’s victory in one of NASCAR’s crown-jewel events on Sunday broke a Ford drought in the Coke 600 that dated to Mark Martin’s win in 2002. Though Keselowski may not have had the fastest car at Charlotte, the win shouldn’t come as a surprise. Ford drivers have won four of the first seven Cup events this season, and three of those have come at the hands of Team Penske.
That should bode well for Keselowski, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney in Wednesday night’s dash at Charlotte. Though Ford drivers hadn’t won a 600 in 18 years before Keselowski took the checkered flag on Sunday, they had triumphed three times in the fall 500-miler at Charlotte. And all four of the most recent victories on the 1.5-mile Charlotte oval belong to Penske.
Why, then, are the Penske drivers installed at such long odds for Wednesday’s Race? Keselowski leads the way at +900, followed by Logano at +1000 and Blaney at +1400. At those odds, all three are worth considering.
For more than a moment, Monday’s Xfinity race at Charlotte looked like a replay of last Tuesday’s event at Darlington. In both cases, a young Ford-driving Xfinity regular wrested the lead from Kyle Busch in the final two laps. There was one major difference, though. At Darlington, Busch finished second to Chase Briscoe. At Charlotte, he made a convincing last-lap pass to retake the lead from Austin Cindric and won the 300-mile race.
After picking up a victory in his fifth national series start since NASCAR’s re-opening on May 17, Busch brings momentum to Wednesday’s Cup race, which is only 12 scheduled miles longer than the Xfinity race he won on Monday. Before he takes the green flag, Busch will have raced at least 1,112 miles in three days at Charlotte—far more than any other competitor.
Entering the Charlotte block of races, Busch had won eight times in the Xfinity Series, eight times in Truck Series, and once in the Cup Series (points-paying races only). Acutely aware of his own statistics, Busch would like nothing better than to add another Cup victory to his glittering resume.
Chase Elliott (+550)—The fastest car doesn’t always win races, as Elliott proved both at Darlington and Charlotte, but racing luck has to turn his way at some point. That’s why we’re picking the co-favorite to win on Wednesday night.
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Award-winning motorsports writer Reid Spencer has served as lead writer for the NASCAR Wire Service for 16 years, having also spent a four-year stint as NASCAR columnist and beat writer for Sporting News. He is currently serving as president of the National Motorsports Press Association. Email: [email protected]More info on Reid Spencer
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