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Ford Performance – Charlotte 1 Advance


Friday, May 26 – NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, 8:30 p.m. ET (FS1)

Saturday, May 27 – NASCAR XFINITY Series, 1 p.m. ET (FS1)

Sunday, May 28 – NASCAR Cup Series, 6 p.m. ET (FOX)

The three major NASCAR series will gather this Memorial Day weekend for races, including the iconic Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday. Brad Keselowski, recently named one of NASCAR’s 75 Greatest Drivers, has helped Ford to its most recent successes at CMS, posting a 2018 Xfinity victory and a 2020 Coca-Cola 600 triumph over the past five years.

Kevin Harvick: “The 600-mile thing in itself is just unique because of the fact that it’s just 600 miles. The engine guys freak out because you have to go an extra 100 miles, but the parts and stuff on the car are a lot more durable than they used to be. I remember when I started racing the 600 it was all about pacing yourself until it got dark. Now, there’s really no pacing yourself. You go as hard as you can go and still have the same goal of keeping yourself on the lead lap and doing the things you need to do until it’s dark, but back in the day it was take care of the motor.”

Chase Briscoe: “I don’t think you save your stuff, but you save your car a little bit. You don’t want to get it tore up the first 200-300 miles. You try to really make sure you’re there at the end, but you don’t save tires. You’re not trying to wait and wait to go. You’re really gonna run 600 miles of almost qualifying laps there, so that race is hard just because you have to get to the end.”

Harrison Burton: “That was the first race I ever got hungry. That was the one thing I noticed. I didn’t really think it would be that different, to be honest. I always heard that it was tough and it’s long. I figured it’s only 100 more miles than 500 and we do that fairly frequently and didn’t think it would be that different, but for whatever reason when that fourth stage starts it’s definitely daunting. That was also the worst my back has ever hurt the day after. I found some things that didn’t fit as good as I wanted in my seat, so that and getting hungry were firsts for me last year.”


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.


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.


Brad Keselowski became the first Ford driver since Mark Martin in 2002 to win the Coca-Cola 600 when he held off Jimmie Johnson in an overtime finish to take the checkered flag in 2020. The race ended up going five laps past the advertised distance and ended with Keselowski adding another crown jewel victory with Ford to go with his wins in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis (2018) and Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway (2018).


1962 – Nelson Stacy

1963 – Fred Lorenzen

1965 – Fred Lorenzeon

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

2020 – Brad Keselowski


1992 – Jeff Gordon (Sweep)

1993 – Mark Martin (2)

1995 – Chad Little (1) and Mark Martin (2)

1996 – Mark Martin (Sweep)

1998 – Mark Martin (1)

1999 – Mark Martin (1)

2000 – Jeff Burton (1)

2001 – Jeff Green (1) and Greg Biffle (2)

2003 – Matt Kenseth (1)

2006 – Carl Edwards (1)

2011 – Matt Kenseth (1) and Carl Edwards (2)

2014 – Brad Keselowski (2)

2016 – Joey Logano (2)

2017 – Ryan Blaney (1)

2018 – Brad Keselowski

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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