2022 Coca-Cola 600 Race Predictions

By R. Boden

If Friday night was any indication, we’re in for a wild Memorial Day weekend. Heads up, Hocevar- that was a helluva race! But seriously, can we remember a season where we’ve had this much (overtime) drama? Keep your window nets up this weekend, fellas- gonna be a wild ride. As we know, a lot can happen in a 600-mile race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, so let’s get to it.

Photo Credit: https://myfox8.com/sports/big-race-daytona/ty-dillon-races-into-the-daytona-500-carrying-lee-pettys-number-i-hope-to-bring-honor-to-his-name/

Driver to Fade: Ty Dillon- I love rooting for this guy. And last week, he impressed with a 6th place finish in the All-Star Open Race. But I’m taking the driver of the #42 to fizzle out this week. Charlotte hasn’t been particularly kind to Dillon- he averages just a 25th place finish here and hasn’t made a ton of noise in 2022. There really isn’t too much to say for him this season- he’s remained consistently quiet almost all year long, and I look for much of the same this weekend.

Photo Credit: https://nascar.nbcsports.com/2022/05/02/ricky-stenhouse-jr-snags-much-needed-runner-up-finish-at-dover/

Dark Horse: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.- Wasn’t a pretty start for the driver of the #47 Chevrolet in 2022. But a string of Top 10 finishes in recent weeks gives me hope for a strong Top-12 finish from Stenhouse this weekend (and, no- I don’t count last week’s middle-of-the-pack finish as any indication that Stenhouse is slowing down in the coming weeks). If there are any drivers who are showing signs of figuring out this whole Next-Gen thing, it may very well be Stenhouse. Plus, look at his results in years’ past at Charlotte; he’s gotten progressively better over time. Be on the lookout for #47 this weekend. Last year, he finished 12th at this very race. At the very least, I look for a repeat performance this week.

Photo Credit: https://outsider.com/sports/nascar/nascar-martin-truex-jr-sees-richmond-p4-finish-big-step-right-direction/

Top 10: Martin Truex Jr.- A lot of drivers could hold this particular pick this week. But I’m going with the driver of the #19 to finish in the Top 10, hands down. I mean, let’s face it- he once put on what (in our lifetime) could have been the most dominating race of the last decade at this very track in 2016. But wait, let’s look at the bigger picture- he’s got three wins here since 2016, with 5 additional Top 10 finishes. 2022 has a soft spot for Truex- he’s hanging on to 6th in standings so far, and I look for him to move up in standings as the year goes on. Perhaps he should be my pick to win this week (and it wouldn’t surprise me if he does), but I’ve got my eyes on one other driver…

Photo Credit: https://www.sportskeeda.com/nascar/news-that-s-cool-ross-chastain-racing-front-ruoff-mortgage-500-phoenix-races

2022 Coca-Cola 600 Winner: Ross Chastain- He stole one on Friday night. Carson Hocevar learned the hard way of what it means to push a little too hard, which opened to door for the driver of the #41 Niece truck to pull a double OT victory out of his hat. But what can I say? Let’s look at his stats this season- a win at the Circuit of the Americas, a win at Talladega, a 2nd place finish-a-piece at Atlanta and Phoenix, and two 3rd places at Las Vegas and Dover. Yep, I’m gonna push my luck this week and say it… Chastain gets the win at the Coca-Cola 600. In his short history at Charlotte, his results have proven dismal. This week (much as he already has), Chastain changes the narrative at Charlotte and has a weekend for the ages. Chastain for the W!

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