FORD PERFORMANCE NASCAR: CHARLOTTE COCA-COLA 600 ADVANCE
The NASCAR Cup Series will host its third race in seven days on Sunday when the annual Coca-Cola 600 takes place at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Ford has won three of the first six races this season with Kevin Harvick being the latest victor after taking the checkered flag last weekend at Darlington Raceway. Here’s a look at some Ford Coca-Cola 600 highlights.
FORD IN THE NASCAR CUP SERIES AT CMS
· Ford has 31 all-time series wins at CMS.
· Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski have oval wins at CMS with Ford while Ryan Blaney won the inaugural Roval event in 2018.
· The last Ford driver to win the Coca-Cola 600 was Mark Martin in 2002.
COCA-COLA 600 HIGHLIGHTS
HOLMAN & MOODY CONQUER THE WORLD
Ford won the Coca-Cola 600 for the first time on May 27, 1962 when the race was still referred to as the World 600. This marked the third running of NASCAR’s longest race and in the end it was Nelson Stacy, behind the wheel of a 1962 Holman & Moody Ford, that ended up in victory lane. Stacy passed David Pearson, who developed engine trouble with eight laps to go, and went on to beat Joe Weatherly to the finish line by 32 seconds in posting the third of his four career victories. Fellow Holman & Moody teammate Fred Lorenzen finished third. The win was Stacy’s second straight after he took the checkered flag two weeks earlier in Darlington.
THREE JEWELS FOR DJ
Dale Jarrett won his share of major races during a sterling career in the NASCAR Cup Series, but no season may have been better than his first year driving at Robert Yates Racing in 1996. After winning the season-opening Daytona 500, his second of three triumphs in that event, Jarrett came to Charlotte in search of winning the Coca-Cola 600 for the first time. Jarrett, who qualified 15th, wasn’t much of a factor when the race started, but when the sun went down his No. 88 Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Ford Taurus came to life. He took the lead for the first time on lap 175 and ended up leading 199 of the final 226 laps for RYR to win going away. Jarrett eventually went on to win the Brickyard 400 a couple of months later to give him three of the sports biggest victories in one season.
Matt Kenseth joined an exclusive club when he made the Coca-Cola 600 his first NASCAR Cup Series victory in 2000. Kenseth, who was in his rookie season driving for car owner Jack Roush, joined David Pearson (1961), Jeff Gordon (1994) and Bobby Labonte (1995) as drivers who made the marquee event their first series win. Kenseth, who nearly won in Fontana (CA) a couple weeks earlier before settling for third, left no doubt on this night as he led the final 26 laps and beat Bobby Labonte to the finish line by half-a-second.
The last time Ford took the checkered flag in the Coca-Cola 600 was in 2002 when Mark Martin won the event and extended Jack Roush’s win streak in the event to four. Jeff Burton started the streak by winning in 1999 and then Matt Kenseth posted the first win of his NASCAR Cup Series career as a rookie the following season in 2000. Burton followed that with his second win in three years before Martin, who led the final 40 laps, was able to keep that streak going in 2002. The win was Martin’s 33rd career triumph, but it wasn’t easy as he had to hold off Kenseth down the stretch. The race ended with Ford sweeping the top four positions as Martin and Kenseth were followed across the finish line by Ricky Craven and Ricky Rudd, who was making his record 656th consecutive series start.
FORD COCA-COLA 600 WINNERS
1962 – Nelson Stacy
1963 – Fred Lorenzen
1965 – Fred Lorenzen
1970 – Donnie Allison
1982 – Neil Bonnett
1987 – Kyle Petty
1991 – Davey Allison
1996 – Dale Jarrett
1999 – Jeff Burton
2000 – Matt Kenseth
2001 – Jeff Burton
2002 – Mark Martin