2009 Coca-Cola 600 Predictions – Betting Preview + Picks + Odds
Race: Coca-Cola 600 – Lowe’s Motor Speedway
Date: Sunday, May 24, 2009
Time: 5:35 PM EST (scheduled green flag)
TV: 5:00 PM EST on SPEED
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Preview: Tony Stewart won his first race as owner/driver of Stewart-Haas
Racing in last week’s Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. This week, the cars are back on the same track, but for a much different race.While the All-Star Race was a short 100-lap, non-points-paying event, this Sunday’s race will be a day-to-night marathon, spanning at least four hours and 400 laps (600 miles). Stewart’s teammate Ryan Newman scored the pole Thursday night for SHR’s first-ever pole run.
1. Jimmie Johnson (+450): Though Johnson struggled in the All-Star Race, finishing 13th, his track record here is undeniable. He’s tied with Jeff Gordon for the most Lowe’s Motor Speedway wins with five and has the best average finish among active drivers with an 8.9. With a savvy crew chief like Chad Knaus on his side, look for Johnson’s performance to bounce back this Sunday. Knaus also excels at adjusting to changing track conditions over the course of long races.
2. Kyle Busch (+550): Although neither Busch nor Toyota has found Victory Lane at LMS yet, Busch had a strong showing in the All-Star race and sits on the outside pole for the Coca-Cola 600. He’s finished fourth or better in his last three Charlotte starts and will likely be a contender again on Sunday.
1. Kasey Kahne (+1500): Kahne has just two top-10 finishes in 11 starts this year, but one of those came in Atlanta (7th-place), often described as a sister track to Lowe’s. He has an amazing record here, winning three times including the sweep in 2006 and the spring race last year, and finished second in the fall. Kahne leads all drivers in points accumulated over the past five races at Lowe’s, though he finished a mediocre 14th in the All-Star Race.
Summary: Lowe’s has favored GM drivers for the past several years, and one of the Hendrick or HMS-affiliated teams will likely be in the winner’s circle Sunday night.
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Becca Gladden is a freelance writer and race handicapper specializing in NASCAR.