The Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway takes place on May 29, providing drivers with the chance to win a coveted Cup Series Crown Jewel. If Kyle Larson wins his second consecutive Coca-Cola 600, he will join a historic list.
There are currently six drivers that have won back-to-back Coca-Cola 600s. This list includes Buddy Baker (1972-1973), Darrell Waltrip (1978-1979 and 1988-1989), Neil Bonnett (1982-1983), Dale Earnhardt (1992-1993), Jeff Gordon (1997-1998), and Jimmie Johnson (2003-2005). Johnson is the only driver to win three consecutive Coca-Cola 600s.
Along with the most consecutive wins in the Crown Jewel race, Johnson also has the second-most Coca-Cola 600 wins in NASCAR history. He captured four during his career. Waltrip has the most with his five trips to Victory Lane in the Crown Jewel race.
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Larson’s 2022 Season Has Followed a Similar Path
As the defending champion, Larson entered the 2022 Cup Series season with raised expectations. There was the belief that he would kick off the year with several wins, especially after he captured 10 points-paying races in 2021.
Larson has only won one race so far. He captured the checkered flag at Auto Club Speedway on February 27. He has not yet returned to Victory Lane, which has created conversations about an “up and down” season. However, Larson’s year has followed a very similar path as that of his championship season.
Larson has completed 13 of the Cup Series races so far. He has one win and seven top-10 finishes. This includes runner-ups at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway. Compare that to the first 13 races in 2021 when Larson had one win, eight total top-10 finishes, and three runner-ups.
Larson didn’t win his second race of the 2021 season until the Coca-Cola 600. He dominated the Crown Jewel race by leading 327 of the 400 laps. This win was the first of three straight, and it served as the turning point in a championship season.
Larson Faces Very Favorable Odds To Win
There are several past Coca-Cola 600 winners that will suit up and attempt to add another Crown Jewel to their collection. The list includes Larson, Brad Keselowski (2020), Martin Truex Jr. (2016, 2019), Kyle Busch (2018), Austin Dillon (2017), Kurt Busch (2010), and Kevin Harvick (2011, 2013).
Of these drivers, Larson and Kyle Busch have the best odds to win the Coca-Cola 600 once again. DraftKings has them listed in a tie for the top spot at 11-2. They are just ahead of Chase Elliott, who faces 6-1 odds to win his first Coca-Cola 600. Truex (10-1), Denny Hamlin (12-1), and Ryan Blaney (12-1) round out the top of the group.
Winning the pole would put one of these drivers in a position to build up an advantage early and put the rest of the field behind them. The younger Busch brother is the active leader in Charlotte poles with three. This includes the 2018 season when he led 377 of the 400 laps and took the M&M’s Toyota Camry to Victory Lane. Harvick and Hamlin each have two pole wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway.