NASCAR Odds, Picks, Predictions for Charlotte: The Early Bet to Make for the Coca-Cola 600 (Sunday, May 28)
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: NASCAR Cup Series driver Daniel Suarez of Mexico
Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (6 p.m. ET, FOX) is the anchor leg of the Memorial Day weekend motorsports triple-header.
Long after the yachts have pulled out of Port Hercule and only a couple of hours after milk has been dumped on a driver’s head, 37 drivers will take the green flag for the longest NASCAR race of the year.
Barring a postponement for weather, cars will fire off in the early evening heat and wheel their cars for nearly four hours or more into the night.
Last year’s affair was the first 600-mile race (well, actually 619.5 miles) in the Next Gen car, and it produced a whopping 18 cautions and two red-flag periods. The changing weather conditions and a new tire combination for this track also make this an event where teams and drivers will need to adapt throughout the race.
As a result, I like locking in a few bets early so we don’t get misled by practice times that may not be representative of how the race ultimately shakes out.
To identify early possible speed, we definitely need to look at who was fast at this race last year, as well as at similar tracks this year. Las Vegas and Kansas are the two most similar tracks to Charlotte, as all three are 1.5-mile ovals using the intermediate package. It wouldn’t hurt to pull in Darlington, as well, as both Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 and the Goodyear 400 at Darlington use the same tire combination.
With all that in mind, I have an early bet I really like regardless of practice times.
NASCAR Odds, Picks for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte
Last year Daniel Suarez arguably had the car to beat in the Coca-Cola 600, leading four times for 36 laps and driving through the field several times. Suarez won Stage 2 in that race but was ultimately done in by a multi-car wreck on lap 346 on a restart while running fourth.
Fast forward to 2023, and Suarez has been a top-10 car at each of the similar tracks mentioned but, like last year, hasn’t quite had the results to show for it.
At Las Vegas, Suarez ranked 10th in my FLAGS metric and finished 10th. In Kansas just two points-paying races ago, Suarez was eighth in FLAGS but was undone by a late-race penalty for a tire violation on Lap 209 of 267, ultimately finishing 15th.
A week later at Darlington, the Trackhouse Racing driver was running inside the top five but grabbed a speeding penalty on lap 40. That left him behind the 8-ball all day, and he was eventually involved in a crash on lap 195 after clawing his way back into the top 20 from 30th.
Rolling all this info together, Suarez has had arguably a race-winning car at last year’s race, a top-10 car at the two most similar tracks this year, and arguably a strong car at the other race this year with the same tire package.
Bet365 has Suarez top-10 odds at +125, but he should be closer to a coin flip for a top-10 finish. I like betting this down to +110.
The Bet: Daniel Suarez top-10 finish (+125 at bet365) | Bet to: +110
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