LEGACY MOTOR CLUB Race Preview: Coca-Cola 600

Race Information

  • Race: Coca-Cola 600
  • Track: Charlotte Motor Speedway – Concord, North Carolina

-Round: NASCAR Cup Series Race No. 14 of 36

  • Broadcast: Sunday, May 28 at 6 PM ET live on FOX (TV), PRN (Radio) Sirius XM NASCAR Ch. 90
  • Team Entrants:

No. 42 | Noah Gragson & Luke Lambert – Black Rifle Coffee Company Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
No. 43 | Erik Jones & Dave Elenz – United States Air Force Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
No. 84 | Jimmie Johnson & Todd Gordon – Club Wyndham Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Noah Gragson, No. 42 Black Rifle Coffee Company Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Charlotte Motor Speedway Stats

Truck Series: Starts: 2; Best start: 2nd; Best finish: 8th; Top 5s: 0; Top 10s: 0; Laps led: 13

Xfinity Series: Starts: 4; Best start: 7th; Best finish: 4th; Top 5s: 2; Top 10s: 2; Laps led: 39

Cup Series: Starts: 1; Best start: 27th; Best finish: 24th

2023 Season Stats

Starts: 13; Best start: 10th; Best finish: 12th (Atlanta); Top 10s: 0, Laps led: 2; Points: 32nd

About Black Rifle Coffee Company: Black Rifle Coffee Company (BRCC) is a Veteran-founded coffee company serving premium coffee to people who love America. Founded in 2014 by Green Beret Evan Hafer, Black Rifle develops their explosive roast profiles with the same mission focus they learned while serving in the military. BRCC is committed to supporting Veterans, active-duty military, first responders and the American way of life. To learn more about BRCC and save 25% off your first-time purchase or subscription, visit Black Rifle Coffee Company and use the code “BRCCMOTOR” at checkout. Follow on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or subscribe to the “Coffee or Die” daily newsletter for updates.

Marine Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Menusa: This weekend for NASCAR Salutes and the 600 Miles of Remembrance, Noah Gragson will have a fallen United States Marine honored on the No. 42 Black Rifle Coffee Chevrolet. A native of San Jose, California, GySgt. Menusa was a United States Marine assigned to 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton. Menusa had been stationed in Japan, Cuba, Hawaii and the San Francisco area and had previously served in the Persian Gulf before leaving for the Middle East on Feb. 5, 2003. He had intended to join the Air Force after graduating high school, but changed his mind, joining the Marine Corps instead and later became a Marine recruiter. The Philippines-born Marine immigrated to the United States when he was 10, was posthumously awarded U.S. citizenship. He was killed on March 27, 2003 while ambushed in Iraq serving Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was the first casualty of war in Iraq or Afghanistan with ties to the Bay Area and is survived by wife Stacy and son Joshua GySgt. Menusa was a 14-year military veteran who loved the Marines and served wholeheartedly.

NG Appearance: Gragson will sign autographs for fans at 2:45 pm on Sunday, May 28 at the LEGACY MOTOR CLUB trackside merchandise rig at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Veterans on the 42: The No. 42 team has two veterans on the team. Longtime NASCAR spotter Earl Barban served in the Marine Corps reserves from 1982 to 1988. Mechanic Zach Casada served in the U.S. Army from June 2008 to April 2016.

From the Drivers Seat: “This is a special weekend for everyone. The Coca-Cola 600 is a great race for the fans and it’s a ‘home’ race for the team. We have a special tribute on the car with Gunnery Sgt. Menusa which has special meaning to everyone at Black Rifle Coffee Company. I am thankful to all who have served and to meet the Gold Star families who are guests of our team this weekend. My family will be in town too, so I’m looking forward to the 600. We have had great cars on these type of tracks – it’s a long race and we plan to go the distance.”

Erik Jones, No. 43 United States Air Force Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Charlotte Motor Speedway Stats

Truck Series: Starts: 1; Best start: 2nd; Best finish: 2nd; Top 5s:1; Top 10s: 1: Laps led: 88

Xfinity Series: Starts: 5; Best start: 1st; Best finish: 2nd; Top 5s: 2; Top 10s: 2; Laps led: 42

Cup Series: Starts: 8; Best start: 4th; Best finish: 7th; Top 10s: 1

2023 Season Stats

Starts: 13; Best start: 10th; Best finish: 8th (Atlanta); Top 10s: 1, Laps led: 17; Points: 25th

About the United States Air Force: The mission of the United States Air Force is to fly, fight and win – airpower anytime, anywhere. Whether full time, part time, in or out of uniform, everyone who serves plays a critical role in helping us achieve mission success. For 2023, the Air Force Recruiting Service is hiring over 26,000 new Airmen. An emphasis is on recruiting people with no prior military service into one of over 130 enlisted career opportunities. The Air Force recruits to retain, to recruit the brightest candidates possible, and provide them with tough, highly technical training that gives them the right skills to sustain the combat capability of America’s Air Force. For more information, visit AirForce.com .

The Ultimate Sacrifice: This weekend for NASCAR Salutes and the 600 Miles of Remembrance, the No. 43 US Air Force Chevrolet – designed as a tribute to the Air Force Thunderbirds – will recognize one of their own. Major Stephen “Cajun” Del Bagno, a native of Santa Clarita, California, earned his pilot’s license before graduating from Saugus High School in 2001. He joined the Air Force and commissioned from Officer Training School, Maxwell AFB, Alabama in 2007. He attended Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training at Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Florida and Vance AFB, Oklahoma. After completing Pilot Training as a distinguished graduate, recipient of the Air Education and Training Center (AETC) Commander’s Trophy, and Flying Training Award in 2009, he served across multiple Major Commands and two major weapons systems. Major Del Bagno went on to serve as an F-35A Evaluator Pilot and Chief of Standardization and Evaluation for the 58th Fighter Squadron at Eglin AFB, Florida and served as the 58th Fighter Squadron Chief of Training, and the Executive Officer to the 33rd Operations Group Commander. In 2017, Major Del Bagno was selected to serve as the Slot pilot for the United States Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. He was the first F-35A pilot to serve as a Thunderbird. During his transition to this new assignment in 2018 Stephen also obtained his Master of Aeronautical Science, Aviation Aerospace Management Degree from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida. In addition to the slot position, he was also the squadron’s Chief of Scheduling. Prior to his death, he was one of the enlisted Air Force personnel who consulted on the film “Captain Marvel”. On April 4, 2018, Thunderbird #4, Major Stephen “Cajun” Del Bagno, perished when his aircraft crashed during a routine training mission over the Nevada Test and Training Range. He was laid to rest during a public funeral service at 4:44 P.M., on April 15, 2018, at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California where he received full military honors.

Honoring His Papa: Jones will replace his own name on the No. 43 United States Air Force Chevrolet with “Papa” to honor his grandfather, Robert “Bob” Wayne Jones who recently passed away at the age of 90. The elder Jones served in the as a Staff Sargent in United States Air Force Fire Department (Fire Brigade) both in the U.S. and abroad. During his four years of service, Jones earned a National Defense Service Medal and was also a Good Conduct Medal recipient. Upon retirement from the Air Force, Jones returned to Michigan and worked for General Motors for 30 years.

Veteran on the 43: Richard “Carl” Garcia, a longtime mechanic on the No. 43, served in the U.S. Army 3rd Battalion 325 Airborne Infantry regiment 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg from October 1997 to June 2000.

Erik Jones Raceday Appearances: Fans will have two opportunities this weekend to meet the driver of the No. 43 Chevrolet as Jones will make two appearances on race day at Charlotte Motor Speedway. At 12:45 pm (local time), Jones will join Kenny Wallace at the Circle K Fan Stage for a question-and-answer session, and then will sign autographs for approximately 100 fans at the United States Air Force activation in the fan midway at 2:30 pm. The Erik Jones Foundation will also hand out sunscreen samples to fans throughout the day to encourage skin checks and sun safety.

May is Melanoma Awareness Month: The month of May is Melanoma and Skin Care awareness – a cause very dear to the Jones family, as early cancer detection and care is one of the three pillars of the Erik Jones Foundation (EJF). Cancer detection and care have been a priority for Jones since his father, Dave, succumbed to the disease in 2016. Last October, Jones and his family attended the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) Gala in New York City, where Jones accepted the 2022 Courage Award on behalf of his late father. For more information visit: www.erikjonesracing.com/foundation/

From the Driver’s Seat: “Charlotte will be fun, the Coca-Cola 600 is one of my favorite races of the year for a couple of reasons, honoring the troops on Memorial Day weekend and to be able to represent the life of Major Del Bagno is something that is hard to put into words. Having a sponsor as important as the United States Air Force represented on our racecar is something that not a lot of people have the opportunity to do. I have been very appreciative of the relationships we have developed over the years and hope to continue that. The 600-mile endurance race is fun and always a good time, we ran well last year, and we usually run well in Charlotte, but this is considered one of the ‘crown jewels’ for drivers, last year was intense and was over a five-hour race, it was one of, if not the longest 600 in history. I am excited for that whole week, Memorial Day weekend is one of my favorite parts of the year and I am honored to have legacy of Major Del Bagno on our Chevy Camaro.”

Jimmie Johnson, No. 84 Club Wyndham Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Johnson Charlotte Motor Speedway Stats

Cup Series: Starts: 37; Wins: 8; Top 5s: 16; Top 10s: 22; Laps led: 1,936

About Club Wyndham: This year, Club Wyndham is offering racing fans 15% off on a bucket list NASCAR vacation. Save on resort stays during race weeks in destinations near select races by booking through Extra Holidays, Club Wyndham’s rental platform. To learn more: http://www.extraholidays.com/legacy.

*Travel offer details: Book by December 31, 2023. Travel by December 31, 2023. Two-night minimum length of stay required. Valid for new reservations only. Reservations are subject to availability. Reservations may be limited during certain holidays. Cannot be combined with any other offer. All monetary amounts are noted in U.S. dollars unless otherwise noted.

Sgt. Frederick: Sgt. Kendell Kioma Frederick was originally from Trinidad, and at the age of 15 relocated to Maryland. Though not yet a United States citizen, Frederick joined the US Army Reserve as a mechanical engineer with the 983rd Engineer Battalion. While in Iraq, he continued his pursuit of becoming a naturalized citizen. On Oct. 19, 2005, Sgt. Frederick’s HUMV encountered an improvised explosive device (IED) and he died as a result. His death motivated not only his family, but politicians and the US government to make a change. On June 26, 2008, the Kendell Frederick Citizenship Assistance Act was enacted. Although his life was lost at age 21, Sgt. Frederick’s name and story will forever live on, not only through his family and friends, but through the thousands of military citizenship applicants who benefit from his Act.

Record Holder at CMS: Johnson has 12 total victories at Charlotte Motor Speedway and is the winningest driver at the 1.5-mile track. Over his storied career, Johnson tallied four wins in the Bank of America 500 (2004, 2005, 2009, 2016), four NASCAR All-Star Race wins held at the track (2003, 2006, 2012, 2013) and four wins in one of NASCAR’s crown jewels, the Coca-Cola 600 (2003, 2004, 2005, 2014).

Au Revoir: Hours after Johnson crosses the finish line after 600-miles at Charlotte Motor Speedway, he will head to Paris, France to begin the events leading into the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Johnson will spend time in the simulator, participate in parades, team meetings, media sessions and eventually he and the Garage 56 team of Hendrick Motorsports and NASCAR will make history at the prestigious endurance race.

A Legacy Gift: One of Johnson’s greatest legacies has been the charitable influences through the Jimmie Johnson Foundation (JJF). When Johnson stepped away from full-time NASCAR Cup Series competition, and to mirror the JJF’s support of public education, Charlotte Motor Speedway established a $48,000 Jimmie Johnson Scholarship Fund to benefit deserving Cabarrus County high school seniors. For 10 years, a $4,800 scholarship will be awarded to deserving student with career pursuits in fitness, nutrition or exercise science, passions that Johnson has championed as much as he has racing.

Last Time Out: The last time Johnson raced in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, he started second and finished second, but the car did not pass post-race inspection and the finishing position was disqualified.

One Year Ago: One year ago, this weekend, Johnson was fulfilling his childhood dream of racing in the Indianapolis 500. Johnson started the race 12th, led two laps, but had an unfortunate crash with seven laps remaining in the race, finishing 28th. He received the 2022 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Award which was presented to the driver who has performed with the most distinction among first-year drivers in the Indianapolis 500. The award is determined by a vote, based on a culmination of on-track performance in practice, qualifying, the race, media and fan interaction, sportsmanship and positive influence on the Indy 500.

Next up, 84: Johnson is the owner of 83 NASCAR Cup Series points wins and is tied with NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough for sixth on the all-time NASCAR Cup Series winners list. If he breaks through with a win during his limited racing schedule in 2023, he will be tied for fifth with two other NASCAR Hall of Fame members Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip who have 84 wins each.

From the Driver’s Seat: “It is great being back in Charlotte, it’s been a while. I’ve had so much success over the years at this track, it’s so special to me. This weekend is so important to so many, and I always treasure the time we get to spend with the families of the fallen soldiers who are on our race cars. I hope to have a good solid race this weekend, as last time out (COTA) I didn’t even get to take a lap. Happy to have Club Wyndham on the car this weekend and as soon as we are finished in Charlotte I will be heading to France and fulfilling another bucket list item – the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”


LEGACY MOTOR CLUB is a professional motor racing team that competes full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series, owned by Maury Gallagher and Jimmie Johnson. LEGACY MOTOR CLUB operates two full-time entries, the No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 of Noah Gragson and the No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 of Erik Jones. The team also fields a third part-time entry, the No. 84 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, for Johnson’s limited racing schedule in 2023.

Based in Statesville, N.C., LEGACY MOTOR CLUB operates alongside GMS Racing, which fields three full-time entries in the NASCAR Truck Series. Since the formation of GMS Racing in 2012, Gallagher, along with one of the NASCAR garage’s most accomplished figures, Team President, Mike Beam, built a victorious organization, capturing the 2016 and 2020 NASCAR Truck Series championships, the 2015 ARCA Racing Series championship, as well as the 2019 & 2020 ARCA East championships, accumulating over 65 wins across six national racing circuits.

Our mission at LEGACY MOTOR CLUB is to create an inclusive environment for auto-racing enthusiasts, celebrate the past and future legacies of our partners and team members, and to compete for race wins and championships at NASCAR’s elite level. To keep up-to-date with the latest news, information and exclusive content, follow LEGACY MOTOR CLUB on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and at www.LEGACYMOTORCLUB.com.

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


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