Briscoe considers Xfinity win a miracle after heartbreaking week
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After a long awaited return to racing on Sunday, NASCAR doubled down at Darlington with the Toyota 500 just three days later.
Denny Hamlin won the first Cup Series race held on a Wednesday night since 1984.
However, his rain-shortened victory felt more like subtext to an otherwise wild night at the track.
By the time it was over, a fox sighting didn’t even feel like the strangest moment of the night.
🦊 We don't think this even cracked the top 5 of strange things that happened last night. pic.twitter.com/IwLYPd9tKG— NASCAR (@NASCAR) May 21, 2020
Kyle Busch inadvertently helped Hamlin when he wrecked Chase Elliott.
Elliott didn’t hold back afterwards, although Busch later made it clear the collision was unintentional.
I want to apologize again to Chase & his team. I made a mistake & misjudged the gap. I really hate that it happened for those guys. I have too much respect for Chase and Alan to do that maliciously.— Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) May 21, 2020
It was a cruel twist for anybody that had backed Elliott following his fourth-place finish at Darlington on Sunday.
The frenetic pace will continue with the NASCAR Cup Series set to make the short trip to Charlotte Motor Speedway for its third race in seven days with the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday night.
Busch and Elliott are once again among the betting favourites for Sunday’s event, along with some other familiar names like Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. and Hamlin.
Here is a closer look at the latest updated odds for the Coca-Cola 600.
Kyle Busch +450
The collision with Elliott dominated the conversation after the race.
However, it’s worth remembering Busch matched his best result of the year as the runner-up in Wednesday’s race.
The No. 18 Toyota is still looking for its first victory of the season.
However, Busch has already registered a pair of second-place finishes and has placed in the top-three in three of his last four starts overall.
Busch also won this race back in 2018.
He placed third here a year ago.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that Busch is the betting favourite to win the Coca-Cola 600.
Next In Line
Martin Truex Jr. +500
Truex has been absolutely dominant at this track in recent years.
The defending Coca-Cola 600 champion owns the highest driver rating over the last eight races at Charlotte.
He’s placed in the top-three in each of his last four starts here, winning both this race last year and the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte in 2017.
Coming off back-to-back top-10 results for the first time this season, Truex could be poised for his best start of the year this weekend.
Kevin Harvick +550
Just three days after he won The Real Heroes 400, Harvick was in contention at Darlington once again on Wednesday in third place when the Toyota 500 was called due to rain with 20 laps to go.
Harvick, who had started in the No. 20 position before navigating his way to the front of the pack to be the outright leader for 10 laps, ultimately settled for his sixth consecutive top-10 finish to start the season.
He’s the lone Cup Series driver to place in the top-10 in all six races.
In fact, the No. 4 Ford has averaged a runner-up finish over its last three starts.
Harvick has just one top-five result at Charlotte since 2016.
However, NASCAR’s hottest driver did win races here in each of 2011, 2013 and 2014.
If his current form is any indication, Harvick will contend for another outright victory at Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600.
Don’t Sleep On
Chase Elliott +750
If it weren’t for the incident with Busch, Elliott almost certainly would have pushed Hamlin for the outright win at Darlington on Wednesday.
Instead, the driver of the Hendrick Motorsports No. 9 Chevrolet has to put that disappointment behind him and focus on what’s next.
Fortunately for Elliott, he won’t have to wait long to get another crack at his first win of the season with just four days between Cup Series races.
Elliott has placed in the top-four in two of his last three starts at Charlotte, including a fourth-place finish in last year’s Coca-Cola 600.
Another top-five finish isn’t out of the question this weekend.
Denny Hamlin +900
Nobody should sleep on Hamlin following his second win of the year.
While we’ll never know what would have happened if Wednesday’s race weren’t called early due to rain, Hamlin now has two wins and four top-six finishes in six Cup Series starts to begin the 2020 season.
Plus, is there anything more terrifying than Denny Hamlin’s mask?
I’m sure he will want to show it off again on Sunday.
Jimmie Johnson +1400
Is this the weekend the No. 48 Chevrolet finally returns to Victory Lane?
The seven-time champion hasn’t won a race since 2017.
However, he’s flashed with top-10 finishes in three of his last five starts.
Johnson has also placed in the top-10 in five of his last six starts at Charlotte, which includes winning the Bank of America 500 in 2016.
He’s still a long shot at +1400.
However, considering his track history as well as his recent form, Johnson could surprise at the Coca-Cola 600 this Sunday.