May is one of the busiest months in auto racing, and for the NASCAR drivers and teams, it means a chance to be at home for some of their biggest races of the season. The Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series both race in the sport’s backyard this weekend, with the History 300 Nationwide Series race on Saturday, May 25th and the Coca Cola 600 for the Cup Series on Sunday, May 26th at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Matt Kenseth, the hottest driver on the circuit so far with three wins, is the only JGR driver with a 600 win – two, in fact, both while with Roush Fenway Racing. The driver of the No. 20 Husky Tools Toyota Camry, who sits third in Cup Series points, has 14 top 10 finishes in 27 races at Charlotte, and earned the first Cup Series win of his career in the 600. He’ll also be driving the No. 18 Reser’s Toyota Camry in Saturday’s Nationwide Series race – he has three Charlotte wins in that series, the most recent in May 2011.
Kyle Busch put on a strong showing in last weekend’s Sprint All-Star Race, winning two of the first four segments and finishing fourth, and he also took home the checkered flag for Kyle Busch Motorsports in last Friday’s Camping World Truck Series race. Busch, driving the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota on Sunday, has 11 top 10 finishes in 18 races at Charlotte, but has yet to get a Cup Series win at the track. His Nationwide Series stats are even more impressive – six wins and 16 top 10 finishes in 19 starts there; he’ll be racing the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota on Saturday.
Denny Hamlin continues his return from a back injury this weekend, fresh off a sixth-place finish in the All-Star Race. The driver of the No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota is also still looking for his first Cup Series win at the 1.5-mile track, having eight top 10 finishes in 15 Cup Series races.
Joining Kenseth and Busch in the Nationwide Series race on Saturday are JGR Nationwide regulars Elliott Sadler and Brian Vickers. Sadler, in the No. 11 OneMain Financial Toyota, has finished in the top 10 at Charlotte in each of the last four races since joining the series full-time in 2011. Vickers, in the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota, has six top 10 finishes in 10 Nationwide Series starts at Charlotte.
The Sprint Cup Series qualifies for the Coca Cola 600 on Thursday night, May 23rd at 7:10 p.m. ET; the race goes green on Sunday, May 26th at 6 p.m. ET. Qualifying for the Nationwide Series History 300 takes place Saturday, May 25th at 11:05 a.m. ET, and the race takes the green flag at 2:45 p.m. ET. Keep up with the action at www.nascar.com and joegibbsracing.com.
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