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CONCORD, N.C. -- For the average American, the nation's most solemn of holidays on Memorial Day Weekend is a time to honor those members of the military who gave their lives in service to the United States. And for many, the commemoration and celebration of Memorial Day Weekend involves witnessing some of the most daring of Americans do something that is anything but average.

The Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend has come to be known as racing's greatest day, headlined by two of the biggest and most prestigious races on the entire U.S. racing calendar. One is IndyCar's signature event, the Indianapolis 500, and the other is one of the crown jewels of NASCAR racing, the Coca-Cola 600 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

By far the longest race on the NASCAR Cup Series calendar, the Coke 600 has long presented the sport's most demanding test of endurance for both car and driver alike. And to win this race, just like winning the Daytona 500 or to win the Southern 500, is to have conquered one of NASCAR's signature events and to have truly accomplished something as a stock car racer.

How to Watch the Coca-Cola 600

Date: Sun., May 26
Location: Charlotte Motor Speedway -- Concord, N.C.
Time: 6 p.m. ET
TV: Fox
Stream: fubo (try for free)

What to Watch

The top storylines of this year's Coca-Cola 600 are twofold. One concerns one of NASCAR's biggest stars crossing over into another part of auto racing's greatest day, and another concerns the fallout of last weekend's All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro.

Kyle Larson will try and become the fifth driver in history to complete the Indy-Charlotte Double, racing in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coke 600 on the same day, joining a list of drivers that currently includes John Andretti, Robby Gordon, Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch. Last weekend, Larson impressed everyone in Speedway, Ind. by qualifying fifth for his first Indy 500, then made his way back to North Wilkesboro and finished fourth in the NASCAR All-Star Race.

Normally, there would be no real issue with the logistics of travel from Indianapolis to Charlotte, but there is a variable present that could outright ruin Larson's ambitions: The forecast calls for rain in Indianapolis on Sunday, and any delays could potentially put Larson in the unenviable position of having to choose one race or the other.

NASCAR has said that they will try to accommodate Larson's travel as best as possible, as they did last Sunday when they moved up the start time of the race by 16 minutes after Larson wound up making the Fast 12 and competing for the Indy 500 pole.

"We're gonna work closely with the folks at Speedway Motorsports, our TV broadcast partners, the folks at (Hendrick Motorsports) and do everything we can to make sure Kyle can get there -- within reason," NASCAR senior vice president of competition Elton Sawyer told SiriusXM. "We've got some minute-by-minute (schedules), when we do our command and when the green flag (is), but we're gonna work closely together to make sure that our fans get to see one of the best drivers ever in our sport to be able to participate in our Coke 600 Sunday night."

In the event that Larson is not able to start the Coke 600 for whatever reason, Hendrick Motorsports will have NASCAR Xfinity Series competitor Justin Allgaier on standby should he be needed to take the wheel of Larson's car.

The other major story concerns the fallout from the post-race brawl between Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kyle Busch at North Wilkesboro, which saw NASCAR come down hard on Stenhouse and his JTG Daugherty Racing team. Stenhouse was fined $75,000 after punching Busch, and three different people associated with Stenhouse's team were suspended for their actions: JTG Daugherty Racing tuner Keith Matthews was suspended for four races, mechanic Clint Myrick was suspended for eight races, and Richard Stenhouse -- Ricky's father and a non-competitor -- was indefinitely suspended after he pursued Busch to engage in close quarters combat.

Much of Stenhouse's week has centered around having to quell the flames of the fight, which were briefly ignited on Tuesday evening when Busch's car owner RIchard Childress -- speaking at an event at Childress Vineyards -- popped off by saying that Stenhouse would be in for a "rough ass-beating" if he got into one of Childress' cars at Charlotte. Stenhouse told SiriusXM that he and Childress have since talked, with Stenhouse assuring Childress that he won't wreck his cars in retaliation over Busch putting him in the wall on lap 2 of last weekend.

The undercurrent of the incident between Stenhouse and Busch is that neither driver has run particularly well this season, but both have good histories at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Stenhouse has finished seventh in the Coke 600 in both of the last two seasons, while Busch won this race in 2018.

News of the Week

  • The NASCAR Hall of Fame voted on and announced its new class on Tuesday evening, naming Ricky Rudd, Carl Edwards and Ralph Moody to the Class of 2025. The three will be inducted into the Hall of Fame next February along with Dr. Dean Sicking, the inventor of the SAFER Barrier, who was named the recipient of the Hall of Fame's Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR.
  • Uncertainty concerning the status of Stewart-Haas Racing has continued to intensify, with the latest news cycle painting a grim picture of the team's future that could imminently come into focus. Sports Business Journal reported that announcements on the sale of Stewart-Haas Racing charters could come within the next several weeks, and The Athletic has reported that the likelihood is that the team divests itself of all four of its charters. Should the sale of Stewart-Haas' charters be realized, it would create a windfall that affects all four of the team's current drivers, with some or all of them likely looking for new teams in 2025. One landing spot for SHR's current drivers could be Front Row Motorsports, which The Athletic reports is the leading candidate to purchase an SHR charter and also has an opening in the No. 34 Ford being vacated by Michael McDowell for next year.
  • A new team will make its Cup Series debut this weekend, as Team AmeriVet has entered their No. 50 Chevrolet into the field with Ty Dillon behind the wheel. The team is a re-brand of The Money Team Racing, which had competed part-time over the past two years and had been associated with boxer Floyd Mayweather. According to Sports Business Journal, sponsorship had not been materializing under the TMT banner.
  • Joe Gibbs Racing has been busy adding drivers to its lineup for the No. 19 Toyota in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, which includes two drivers with some extensive Cup experience. Josh Bilicki will run multiple races for JGR beginning at Portland, while 2015 Cup Rookie of the Year and 2018 Craftsman Truck Series champion Brett Moffitt will take the wheel at Iowa next month. The announcement of Bilicki and Moffitt's races in the No. 19 follows the announcement that three-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Justin Bonsignore will make his Xfinity Series debut for the team at New Hampshire.

Pick to Win

William Byron (+1000) – William Byron ran well in last year's Coca-Cola 600, but it was his pit crew who put on a performance for the ages: Byron's team gained him a total of 19 positions on pit road, and they were able to get their driver the lead on six different occasions thanks to their quick work. That would help Byron lead 91 laps on his way to finishing second, and Byron has had two top five finishes in his last three Coke 600 starts (he led one lap in 2022 before a DNF due to a crash).

Byron has a solid chance of becoming the sixth driver in history to win both the Daytona 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in the same season, a rare feat only accomplished before by Fred Lorenzen (1965), LeeRoy Yarbrough (1969), David Pearson (1976), Darrell Waltrip (1989) and Jeff Gordon (1997). And the last two to do so, Waltrip and Gordon, were both driving Hendrick Motorsports cars like Byron is now.