RACE INFO: Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway | 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 26
BOWMAN AT CHARLOTTE: Sunday’s 600-mile race at Charlotte Motor Speedway will be Bowman’s seventh start at the 1.5-mile track. Last spring, Bowman and the No. 88 Nationwide team finished ninth after qualifying 27th for the 400-lap event. It was the driver’s best finish in a spring race at the track. Bowman has also competed in four events at Charlotte in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, including capturing his first career national series victory in 2017 after starting fourth. The Tucson, Arizona, native led 32 laps at the track in the Xfinity series and completed 100 percent of the total laps within those four starts.
SO CLOSE: For the past three weekends, Bowman and the No. 88 team have crossed the finish line at the conclusion of the race in second place. It is the first time a driver has finished second three times in a row before capturing his first win in the NASCAR Cup Series.
IVES AT CHARLOTTE: Crew chief Greg Ives has called the shots seven times for the No. 88 team at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The crew chief’s resume includes one top-five finish and three top-10 results. Last year, Ives led the No. 88 team to a ninth-place finish in the 600-mile event. The Michigan native was a crew chief in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for four events at Charlotte across two years for JR Motorsports. In 2014, Ives led driver Chase Elliott to the pole position in the fall event and the team led a total of 66 laps to finish eighth. Ives has two top-10 finishes in the series and his drivers led a total of 94 laps. Ives was a race engineer for the No. 48 team between 2006 and 2012. During that time, the team captured seven top-10 finishes and two pole awards in addition to winning the 2009 fall event after starting from the pole.
HOME SWEET HOME: Cutting his teeth in the racing world in Charlotte, North Carolina, Byron is one of only a handful of drivers who was born and raised in the “home of NASCAR.” After visiting U.S. Legend Cars International headquarters in Harrisburg, North Carolina with his father in 2012, Byron found himself behind the wheel for the first time the next year competing in the Young Lion Division. Winning 33 of the 69 legend car events he ran across the United States in 2013, Byron went on to lock up the U.S. Legend Young Lions National championship and the Thursday Thunder Young Lion championship at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Progressing to the Legend Car Pro Division the next season, Byron also signed with JR Motorsports’ developmental program at the same time. From that point on, Byron hasn’t slowed down any as he climbed the racing ranks before ultimately making it to the top level of NASCAR as a Cup Series rookie in 2018.
CHARLOTTE STATS: Byron has four national series starts at the 1.5-mile oval at Charlotte Motor Speedway, capturing the pole in the Gander Outdoor Truck Series race in 2016 before leading 25 laps and ultimately ending the night with a top-10 finish. In his two Xfinity Series starts at the track, Byron has a best qualifying effort of sixth in the fall of 2017 and has a top-15 finish coming in the spring of 2017. Last year marked his first Cup Series start at Charlotte and his first attempt at the 600-mile race, but an on-track incident ended his night early, leaving Byron looking for redemption during his sophomore attempt this weekend.
KNAUS KNOWS CHARLOTTE: Sitting on top of the box for 35 NASCAR Cup Series races at Charlotte Motor Speedway, crew chief Chad Knaus has eight wins at the 1.5-mile oval, including sweeping all four races in the 2004 and 2005 Cup seasons. Of his 35 starts as a Cup crew chief at Charlotte, 18 of those races have been the prestigious 600-mile race on Memorial Day weekend, and Knaus has won the crown jewel race four times.
TEAM HENDRICK AT CHARLOTTE: Hendrick Motorsports has 19 wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway, including 11 wins in the 600-mile race at the track, which ranks first all-time among teams. Jimmie Johnson has an all-time record eight career victories at Charlotte. The organization has 62 top-five finishes and 100 top 10s and has led 5,037 laps at the track since 1984.
FINDING VICTORY LANE: Hendrick Motorsports’ 19 wins at Charlotte are the organization’s third-most at a single track behind Martinsville Speedway (24) and Dover International Raceway (20). The Charlotte victories have come via seven different drivers – Johnson (eight), Jeff Gordon (five), Darrell Waltrip (two), Ken Schrader, Terry Labonte, Casey Mears and Kasey Kahne. The seven different winners are tied for the most all-time at a single track.
600-MILE WARRIORS: Hendrick Motorsports leads the way for all teams in the 600-mile event at Charlotte with 11 wins, and the victories have come via a record five different drivers. Two drivers from the organization have scored their first career NASCAR Cup Series win at Charlotte: Jeff Gordon (1994) and Casey Mears (2007).
TOP-FIVE STREAK: Hendrick Motorsports had two cars finish in the top five in each of the past three races, which is the longest active streak by a team. The last time it held a similar three-race streak was April 2016 at Texas, Bristol and Richmond. Hendrick Motorsports most recently put together a streak of four consecutive races with two cars finishing in the top five in spring 2009 at Bristol, Martinsville, Texas and ISM Raceway. In the past two races, the organization leads all teams with six top-10 finishes.