NASCAR is back home on May 26-28 for a packed weekend of racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The schedule features three days of action with all three national series and the ARCA Menards Series.
The weekend begins on Friday, May 26, with two races. The ARCA Menards Series will kick off the schedule with the General Tire 150 at 6 p.m. ET (FS1). This event will follow the Craftsman Truck Series practice and qualifying (1:35 p.m. and 2:05 p.m. ET, FS1) and Xfinity Series practice and qualifying (3:35 p.m. and 4:05 p.m. ET, FS1). The Truck Series will then cap off the night with the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at 8:30 p.m. ET (FS1).
The action continues on Saturday, May 27, with the Alsco Uniforms 300 Xfinity Series race. The event takes place at 1 p.m. ET (FS1). The Cup Series drivers will then take to the track for the first time for practice at 7:05 p.m. ET (FS1) and qualifying at 7:50 p.m. ET (FS1).
There is only one event on the Cup Series schedule on Sunday, May 28, but it is the most important. The drivers will take on the Coca-Cola 600, the longest race on the schedule, while they complete 600 Miles of Remembrance in honor of military members that gave their lives in service of their country. This Crown Jewel race will take place at 6 p.m. ET (FOX).
A Special Guest Returns for the Cup Series Race
The Coca-Cola 600 will feature the drivers of the 36 chartered entries competing on the intermediate track located outside of Charlotte. It will also have a special guest in a returning champion.
Jimmie Johnson will be back in action for the Coca-Cola 600. He will make his 38th start at Charlotte Motor Speedway while driving the No. 84 Legacy Motor Club Chevrolet Camaro for the third time in 2023.
Johnson will use the race to pursue his ninth career win at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and his first trip to Victory Lane since the 2017 season. He will also try to rebound from crashes in the first two starts of 2023.
Johnson finished 31st in the season-opening Daytona 500 after a late incident and then he finished 38th at Circuit of the Americas after getting collected in a crash on the opening lap. Now he will return to the No. 84 Chevrolet with the goal of delivering a strong finish.
Guest Appearances Will Be Limited
The race weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway has featured some guest drivers in past seasons. The Truck Series race in 2022, for example, had Kyle Busch, Ryan Preece, and Ross Chastain in the lineup. The Xfinity Series race had Preece, Trevor Bayne, and Austin Dillon in the lineup.
This will not be as prevalent during the 2023 season. The reason is that the Truck Series race kicks off the Triple Truck Challenge. Full-time Cup Series and full-time Xfinity Series drivers can not compete in these events, so there won’t be prominent names pulling double duty while trying to win a $50,000 bonus.
The Xfinity Series race will have two championship-winning drivers making a return in pursuit of another win. Kyle Busch will join Kaulig Racing once again as he drives the No. 10 Chevrolet Camaro for the third time while Ty Gibbs will drive the No. 19 Toyota GR Supra for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Busch made his return to the Xfinity Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after a one-year retirement. He joined forces with Kaulig Racing for the first time, and he finished fourth overall. One week later, he drove the entry again at Phoenix Raceway and finished ninth after late contact with teammate Chandler Smith disrupted his finish.
Busch now has the opportunity to compete once again at a track where he has been dominant. Rowdy has one Coca-Cola 600 win in his Cup Series career. He also has secured nine Xfinity Series wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway while leading a total of 1,475 laps in 26 total starts.
Gibbs, for comparison, has a win of his own at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He captured the Xfinity Series race during the 2021 season as he competed part-time for Joe Gibbs Racing.