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Good news, bad news for NASCAR Cup teams ahead of Coca-Cola 600 weekend

Now that the All-Star weekend is past, the NASCAR Cup Series begins the second half of the regular season with Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Eight different drivers have won in the first 13 races of the season: Denny Hamlin (three wins), William Byron (three), Kyle Larson (two), Chase Elliott (one), Tyler Reddick (one), Brad Keselowski (one), Christopher Bell (one) and Daniel Suarez (one).

Also, points leader Kyle Larson will seek to run in both the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in the same day.

Here’s a look at where things stand for each Cup organization heading into the 14th race of the season:

23XI Racing — Good news: In four starts in the Coke 600, Reddick has finished eighth, ninth, sixth and fifth for an average finish of 7.0. That ranks as the second-best average finish for that race (with more than two starts) in NASCAR history. Only Rex White’s average finish of 5.2 in five starts is better. Bad news: Bubba Wallace has one finish better than 14th in seven career starts on the Charlotte oval.

Front Row Motorsports — Good news: Todd Gilliland has moved from 26th to 22nd in the points in the last two races after finishes of 14th and 15th. Bad News: Michael McDowell has one top-10 finish (eighth in 2022) in 15 starts in the Coke 600.

Hendrick Motorsports — Good news: Organization has won the past three races on 1.5-mile speedways. Chase Elliott won at Texas. Kyle Larson won at Las Vegas and Kansas. … Larson has led 322 of the 811 laps (39.7%) run in the last three races on 1.5-mile tracks. … Larson has scored more points (143) than any other driver at those three tracks. … Larson has scored at least one playoff point in six of the last seven races. … William Byron and Alex Bowman both have eight top-10 finishes this season, best in the series. Bad news: Chase Elliott has finished 33rd and 34th in his last two starts in the Coke 600.

Rick Hendrick and others could be mulling those questions depending on the weather Sunday and how Kyle Larson is running in the Indianapolis 500.

Joe Gibbs Racing — Good news: Martin Truex Jr. has finished all 32 races he’s run on the Charlotte Motor Speedway oval in his Cup career. No driver has gone longer without a DNF at that oval. … Truex and teammate Ty Gibbs rank first and third respectively in laps completed this year. Truex has completed all but one of the 3,854 laps run this and is tied with Chase Elliott. Gibbs has run all but three laps this year. … Denny Hamlin has 17 top 10s, including one win, in his last 22 starts on the Charlotte oval. Bad news: Christopher Bell has fallen from 10th to 15th in the points in the last four races.

JTG Daugherty Racing — Good news: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. made his Cup debut at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the 2011 Coke 600, finishing 11th. Bad news: Last weekend’s All-Star Race experience.

Stenhouse Jr, Busch get into it post All-Star Race
Steve Letarte and Jeff Burton unpack a full slate of NASCAR and IndyCar action, Joey Logano’s All-Star win, a fight between Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kyle Busch, and Kyle Larson splitting his time between the two series.

Kaulig Racing — Good news: Shane van Gisbergen makes his fifth career Cup starts. Bad news: After scoring a pair of ninth-place finishes, which moved Daniel Hemric to 25th in the points, he has had back-to-back finishes of 30th or worse and dropped to 30th in the points.

Legacy Motor Club — Good news: Jimmie Johnson is back in the No. 84 car this weekend, giving him starts in three of the last four points races: Dover, Kansas and Charlotte. Bad news: Erik Jones has not had a top-10 finish since placing eighth in the Daytona 500.

Richard Childress Racing — Good news: Kyle Busch has seven consecutive top-10 finishes in the Coke 600, tying the all-time record for that race. … Busch ranks third all-time in laps led in the Coke 600 at 1,061, trailing only David Pearson (1,252 laps led) and Bobby Allison (1,176). … Busch is making his 50th start with RCR this weekend. … Austin Dillon’s first Cup win came in the 2017 Coke 600 at Charlotte. Bad news: It has been 34 races (nearly a full season) since the organization’s last win, which came at World Wide Technology Raceway last June with Busch.

Richard Childress was involved in Robby Gordon’s effort in competing in the 2002 Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600.

Rick Ware Racing — Good news: Justin Haley is coming off his first top-10 finish in a points race this season with his ninth-place result at Darlington. … He finished 15th in last year’s Coke 600 with Kaulig Racing, his best finish in that event. … Haley ranks seventh in the series (and first among Ford drivers) in percentage of laps completed this year at 99.6%. He’s run all but 15 laps this year. … Kaz Grala is coming off an 18th-place finish at Darlington, second only to his 14th-place result at Atlanta for his best finish of the season. Bad News: Haley is 32nd in points. He’s ahead of only two drivers (Harrison Burton and Zane Smith) who have run all 13 points races this season.

RFK Racing — Good news: One of the organization’s cars has finished first or second in four of the last five points races. … Chris Buescher has four top 10s in the last five Coke 600s. Bad news: Both Brad Keselowski (11th) and Buescher (12th) are outside the top 10 in points at the midway point of the regular season.

Spire Motorsports — Good news: The organization has had a car finish in the top 20 in four of the last six races, including a 16th-place finish by Corey LaJoie at Darlington, the most recent points race. Bad news: Carson Hocevar, Zane Smith and LaJoie have combined to score 507 points this season. Series leader Kyle Larson has 486 points.

Stewart-Haas Racing — Good news: Noah Gragson has seven consecutive top-20 finishes, including three top 10s, and has climbed to 19th in the points. … Chase Briscoe has five top-10 finishes this year. He had eight last season. … Josh Berry is coming off a third-place finish at Darlington in the most recent points race. Bad news: Ryan Preece has gone 18 races without leading a lap. That’s tied with Austin Dillon for the longest active drought in that category. Preece also has yet to finish in the top 10 in 44 starts on a 1.5-mile track.

Twenty-three races remain in the Cup schedule. NBC Sports will broadcast 20 of these races.

Team Penske — Good news: Ryan Blaney won last year’s Coca-Cola 600 to complete the Indy 500-Coke 600 sweep for the organization after Josef Newgarden won last year’s Indianapolis 500 earlier that day. … Joey Logano is coming off a victory in the All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro. Bad news: Austin Cindric has finished 18th or worse in 11 of the 13 points races this season.

Trackhouse Racing — Good news: Daniel Suarez’s pit crew has had three of the 10 fastest four-tire pit stops this season, according to Racing Insights. Bad news: Ross Chastain has an average finish of 26th in the Coke 600. … Chastain has one top-10 finish in the last nine races. … Organization has not had a car finish in the top 10 in six of the last seven races.

Wood Brothers Racing — Good news: Harrison Burton has earned stage points in two of the last five points races. Bad news: Burton has finished 28th or worse in the last three races on 1.5-mile tracks this season.