NASCAR stays close to home for a second straight week as the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series converge on Charlotte Motor Speedway. And with Memorial Day weekend comes one of the premier races of the season: the Coca-Cola 600.
Last week's All-Star Race gave us a taste of what's to come this weekend. But the 600 is a different animal. Not only is it the longest race on the Cup schedule, but it starts in the day and ends under the lights. Crew chiefs will have to account for changing track conditions when making their adjustments. With a race this long, a good-handling racecar is essential. Fuel mileage could also be a factor, as we saw in 2007 with Casey Mears' victory.
Last year's Coca-Cola 600 was postponed a day due to rain. On Memorial Day, David Reutimann played strategy and emerged the winner of the rain-shortened race. Charlotte Motor Speedway's fall race was won by Jimmie Johnson.
In the Nationwide Series, Mike Bliss won the 2009 rain-shortened spring race. Kyle Busch is the defending fall race winner.
The Camping World Truck Series is off this weekend.
The following is a schedule of track events and television coverage this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway (all times in Eastern Standard Time):
Thursday, May 27:
2:00 p.m. Nationwide practice, SPEED
3:30 p.m. Sprint Cup practice, SPEED
5:00 p.m. Nationwide final practice, SPEED
6:30 p.m. NASCAR Race Hub, SPEED
7:00 p.m. Sprint Cup qualifying, SPEED
1:30 a.m. NASCAR Now, ESPN2
Friday, May 28:
7:00 p.m. Trackside, SPEED. Guests: Greg Biffle, Brad Keselowski and Richard Childress. (reruns at 11 p.m.)
Saturday, May 29:
9:30 a.m. Nationwide qualifying, SPEED
11:30 a.m. Sprint Cup practice, SPEED
12:30 p.m. Sprint Cup final practice, SPEED
2:00 p.m. Nationwide Countdown, ABC
2:30 p.m. Nationwide race: TECH-NET Auto Services 300 Powered by CARQUEST, ABC. Green flag: 2:46 p.m. (reruns at 2:30 a.m. on ESPN2)
9:00 p.m. NASCAR Performance, SPEED
9:30 p.m. NASCAR Smarts, SPEED
Sunday, May 30:
9:00 a.m. NASCAR Now, ESPN2
1:30 p.m. NASCAR Performance, SPEED
2:00 p.m. NASCAR Smarts, SPEED
2:30 p.m. NASCAR in a Hurry, SPEED
3:00 p.m. NASCAR RaceDay, SPEED
5:00 p.m. Sprint Cup Pre-Race Show, FOX
6:00 p.m. Sprint Cup race: Coca-Cola 600, FOX. Green flag: 6:16 p.m.
11:00 p.m. NASCAR Victory Lane, SPEED (reruns at 2 a.m. and 9 a.m. Monday)
Photo: The Coca-Cola 600 trophy at Charlotte Motor Speedway. (Used with permission of Brian Heddon from Carolina Lifestyles)