2022 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte NASCAR Predictions and Pick

| May 26, 2022 2:27 pm PDT

Last week’s All-Star Race at Texas didn’t sit well with fans. The racing was lackluster and a controversial finish had many people criticizing NASCAR. However, we’re putting that in the rearview for one of the season’s biggest races.

The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600. The 600-mile race is the longest on the Cup Series schedule. NASCAR has conducted this race on Memorial Day weekend since 1974.

Which driver will score a marquee victory in one of NASCAR’s crown jewel races?

Kyle Busch (+700)

Kyle Busch was my top pick in the All-Star Race. It was looking good after he won the pole and led the first 47 laps. Unfortunately, he cut a tire and saw his race end after a big crash with Ross Chastain.

Thankfully, that wasn’t a points race, so Busch should be able to put it behind him. Busch will start his weekend by racing in the Truck Series race. Busch is among my top picks for the NC Education Lottery 200.

He has dominated Charlotte in the Truck Series. We haven’t seen the same dominance in the Cup Series, but he has been in contention in the last five Coca-Cola 600s.

  • 2017: 2nd
  • 2018: 1st
  • 2019: 3rd
  • 2020: 4th
  • 2021: 3rd

Busch had one of the most dominant performances in NASCAR history in the 2018 Coca-Cola 600. He started on the pole, leading 377 of 400 laps en route to the victory. He led over 60 laps in the 2017 and 2019 races.

Busch nearly won both 1.5-mile races in 2022. Combine that with his Charlotte numbers, and he should be in contention for his second victory of the season.

Martin Truex Jr. (+900)

It seems like everyone is waiting for Martin Truex Jr. to have a breakout performance. He hasn’t been bad this season, but Richmond is the only race he was in contention for the win. Perhaps his first victory of the season will come at Charlotte.

Truex failed to score a top-five finish in his first 19 starts at Charlotte. However, he turned the corner in 2015. Check out his numbers in his last 11 Charlotte starts.

  • 3 wins
  • 7 top-five finishes
  • 9 top 10 finishes
  • 1,050 laps led
  • 6.6 average finish

I know I said Kyle Busch had a dominant performance at Charlotte, but he has nothing on Truex in the 2016 Coca-Cola 600. Truex started on the pole and led 392 laps. It doesn’t get much better than that.

It’s not often we see Truex make aggressive moves, but he made a daring four-wide pass for the lead on the final restart to win the 2019 Coca-Cola 600.

Truex has been good at the 1.5-mile tracks in 2022, but he is a little off Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson. If he finds a little more speed, he could be in victory lane on Sunday.

Denny Hamlin (+1200)

We’re starting my top picks with three Joe Gibbs Racing drivers. We’ll find out if that’s the right strategy, but it’s hard to argue with the Toyota’s on 1.5-mile tracks.

There has been much talk about Denny Hamlin’s disappointing season. He remains 20th in the standings, but we’re starting to see more speed. He led 40+ laps before crashes led to a disappointing finish at Dover and Darlington. Hamlin is coming off back-to-back top-five finishes.

There aren’t many tracks that Hamlin has yet to find victory lane, but Charlotte is one of them. Hamlin has 10 top-five finishes and 19 top 10 finishes at Charlotte but zero wins in 30 starts.

Hamlin has one finish worse than seventh in his last seven starts in the Coca-Cola 600. We’ve seen him lead laps, but there are always a few drivers with more speed. Hopefully, that won’t be the case on Sunday.

In terms of total speed on 1.5-mile tracks this season, Hamlin has been the second-best driver. He was No. 1 at Kansas, scoring a fourth-place finish. Can he find the same speed in the Coca-Cola 600?

Alex Bowman (+1400)

We often consider Alex Bowman the fourth wheel at Hendrick Motorsports, but he is quietly having a consistent season. Bowman is eighth in the standings with three top-five finishes and eight top 10 finishes.

If you take out a crash at Darlington, Bowman has one finish worse than 10th in his last eight races. Bowman is one of six drivers to finish top 10 at both 1.5-mile races in 2022.

He finished outside the top 20 in his first five Charlotte starts. Check out his last five results at the track.

  • 2018: 9th
  • 2019: 7th
  • 2020: 19th (164 laps led)
  • 2020: 31st (51 laps led)
  • 2021: 5th

His 2020 finishes aren’t indicative of his speed. Bowman led a race-high 164 laps and won the first two stages in the 2020 Coca-Cola 600. He was third when a late-race caution ruined his chances of a great finish.

In the following race, he won stage two but hit the wall while running second. Without those instances, we’re at least talking about five straight top 10 finishes at the track.

Bowman’s lone victory of 2022 was at a 1.5-mile track. Can he do it again at Charlotte?

2022 Coca-Cola 600 Race Props

Kyle Busch and Christopher Bell’s crashes in the All-Star Race ruined two of my three race props. Let’s see what we have cooking for the 2022 Coca-Cola 600.

Christopher Bell to Win the Pole (+1800)

My first prop for the Coca-Cola 600 will have a resolution before the start of the race. It features Christopher Bell qualifying on the pole. Bell entered the 2022 season with zero poles, but he captured three in the first 13 races.

The Talladega pole doesn’t mean much for Charlotte, but what about his qualifying efforts at Las Vegas and Kansas.

  • Las Vegas: 1st
  • Kansas: 1st

Why are Las Vegas and Kansas important for Charlotte? Because those are the two 1.5-mile races in 2022. I’ve been using those races to make my top picks for the Coca-Cola 600. I have to value them for qualifying.

There is much value behind this prop. No one was close to Bell’s pole time at Kansas. It’s surprising that the best NASCAR betting sites haven’t adjusted this price. Feel free to wager on Bell scoring his fourth pole of the 2022 season.

Chase Elliott to Win Group A (+260)

Motorsports betting typically thinks outside the box with their race props. There are four groups with four drivers. Bettors simply need to pick the highest finisher in a certain group. I’m taking Chase Elliott to win Group A.

Group A featured heavy hitters, with Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, and Martin Truex Jr. We’ve talked about Busch and Truex, and Larson dominated last year’s Coca-Cola 600.

Elliott is the lone driver in this group without a Coca-Cola 600 victory, but his Charlotte numbers suggest he’s one of the top contenders.

  Finishing Position Laps Led
2019 4th 43
2020 2nd 38
2020 1st 28
2021 2nd 22

Elliott would’ve won the 2020 Coca-Cola 600, but he lost the lead on the final pit stop. He bounced back to win the following race, but it wasn’t the 600-mile race. It wouldn’t surprise me if he finished ahead of Larson, Busch, and Truex.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. for Top 10 Finish (+175)

Ricky Stenhouse Jr’s 2022 turnaround is one of the most surprising things of the season. Stenhouse had one top 20 finish in the first ten races. He was near the bottom of the standings.

Over the last three weeks, Stenhouse has been a surprise contender. He has three straight top 10 finishes, including a runner-up finish at Dover. Could he pull off a surprise victory in the Coca-Cola 600? I wouldn’t go that far, but another top 10 finish is within reason.

Stenhouse has three top 10 finishes in his last five Charlotte starts. Last season, he finished 12th after qualifying second. If he replicates that qualifying effort, he could stay near the front.

This turnaround is not something you typically see in the Cup Series. Stenhouse’s team has managed to find enough speed to compete for top 10 finishes. Hopefully, they’ll extend that streak at Charlotte.

Who Will Win the 2022 Coca-Cola 600?

My Pick: Kyle Busch (+700)Bet on NASCAR at Bovada

I felt pretty good about picking Kyle Busch last week, but an unfortunate crash ended his chances of winning. I believe he’ll bounce back with his second career win in the Coca-Cola 600.

Busch has been among the best drivers at 1.5-mile tracks. He led in the final 30 laps at Las Vegas and Kansas, scoring a pair of top-five finishes. He should be a strong contender for the Coca-Cola 600.

FOX will have coverage of Sunday’s race at 6 p.m. ET. This isn’t the only big motorsports race on Sunday. Check out our betting preview for the 2022 Indy 500.

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Nicholas Sterling
Nicholas Sterling

Nicholas has been a Sports Writer with GamblingSites.com since May 2021. He has a rich sports background, writing about NASCAR, NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, Golf, etc. Nick is always ready for a new challenge.

He enjoys rooting on D.C. sports teams, including the Commanders, Wizards, and Capitals.

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