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Drivers to watch at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Jeff Burton, Dale Jarrett and Kyle Petty recap the weekend at North Wilkesboro and evaluate the venue's future viability for NASCAR events.

After a short All-Star Race dominated by Kyle Larson, the NASCAR Cup Series moves on to its longest race of the season -- Sunday’s 600-miler at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Last year’s race was extended to two overtimes and ended as the longest race in miles -- 619.5 -- in NASCAR history. Denny Hamlin was the winner.

MORE: Long: Don’t judge North Wilkesboro’s future by All-Star Race

Twelve cars failed to finish last year’s marathon, and the 18 caution flags that extended the time of the race were the second most all-time in the 600 (there were 22 cautions in 2005).

A look at drivers to watch in Sunday’s race:


Kyle Larson

  • Points position: 10th
  • Best season finish: 1st (Richmond 1, Martinsville 1)
  • Past at Charlotte: Four top 10s in past five oval races, including a win

Larson rolls into Charlotte after an All-Star Race win that embarrassed the rest of the field. He has led 378 laps in eight starts in the 600, and all those laps were led in the past two races.

William Byron

  • Points position: 5th
  • Best season finish: 1st (Las Vegas 1, Phoenix 1, Darlington 1)
  • Past at Charlotte: Best career finish in the 600 is fourth

Byron won two weeks ago at Darlington to become the season’s first three-time winner. He has four straight finishes of seventh or better.

Martin Truex Jr.

  • Points position: 6th
  • Best season finish: 1st (Dover)
  • Past at Charlotte: Wins in the 600 in 2016, 2019

Truex is a perpetual threat in the year’s longest race. In four of the past eight 600s, he has led the most laps.


Kevin Harvick

  • Points position: 3rd
  • Best season finish: 2nd (Darlington 1)
  • Past at Charlotte: Wins in the 600 in 2011, 2013

Harvick has four straight top-10 finishes in the 600 and has led a total of 216 laps in the past 12 races. Halfway through the Cup regular season, he continues to search for his first win.

Bubba Wallace

  • Points position: 15th
  • Best season finish: 4th (Las Vegas 1, Kansas 1)
  • Past at Charlotte: Best finish of 14th

Wallace has scored two straight top-five runs and finished second in the All-Star Race, but he has struggled in the 600, leading only one lap across five starts. He finished 28th last year.

Jimmie Johnson

  • Points position: 39th (not racing for points)
  • Best season finish: 31st (Daytona 1)
  • Past at Charlotte: Four wins in the 600

Johnson is back for his third start in the Legacy Motor Club No. 84. He has failed to finish in his two starts this season -- a 31st at Daytona and a 38th at Circuit of the Americas. He has eight career wins at Charlotte, the most all-time.