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Coca-Cola 600

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The Coca-Cola 600 (formerly World 600) is a 600-mile (966 km) stock car race held annually at Charlotte Motor Speedway (Formerly Lowe's Motor Speedway) in Charlotte, North Carolina on Memorial Day weekend. It is the longest Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race and in fact is the longest regularly-scheduled automobile race conducted on an oval track anywhere in the world, and just 21 miles shorter than major sports car endurance 1,000 kilometer races.

The event was begun as an attempt by NASCAR to stage a Memorial Day weekend event that would rival the open-wheel Indianapolis 500 in fan interest and it has succeeded to some degree, gaining larger TV ratings than the Indianapolis race from 2002-2004. It was not until 1974, however, that both races competed head-to-head on the same day. Prior to 1974, the two races were held on different days of the week, and on a few occasions, some drivers drove in both; this continued even after the 600 was moved to the same day, albeit to a smaller degree.

With the installation of lights in 1992, fans complained to circuit management because of the notorious North Carolina heat and humidity, and the forced early starts to beat sunset, they wanted to follow The Winston's popularity the previous week and switch the race to a nighttime finish to create cooler temperatures for spectators. The start time was moved back several times throughout the 1990s, but finally settled at 5:30PM in 2001, in order to have the race finish by 10 p.m. ET, to allow the race to precede local news on Fox affiliates.

The nighttime portion of the race lit with a system that uses parabolic reflectors so that dangerous glare that would otherwise be in the drivers' eyes is minimized. The move of the race to the early evening made it possible for drivers to participate in both the 600 and the Indianapolis 500 by flying from Indianapolis to Charlotte as soon as the Indianapolis race was over. Experts disagree over whether, for health and safety reasons, anyone should be allowed to race 1100 miles in one day, but no regulation has been passed yet by any governing body to prevent it. Beginning with the 2005 races, the issue became moot as the start time for the Indianapolis 500 was moved back one hour to in an effort to gain higher TV ratings. This resulted in only about a one hour span between the end of the Indianapolis race and the start of the Charlotte race.

Until the Ferko lawsuit settlement took effect, the race was considered the third leg of the grand slam, and was once part of the Winston Million.

See also: List of current NASCAR races

Past racesEdit

On Sunday, May 29, 2005, a new record for the most cautions of any NASCAR race was set at 22 cautions. In addition, there was one red flag. During that race Jimmie Johnson slid past Bobby Labonte in turn four on the final lap, claiming the checkered flag. In doing so he became the first driver to win 3 consecutive Coca-Cola 600 races. He would finish a distant second to Kasey Kahne the following year.

Past winnersEdit

List of Coca-Cola 600 winnersEdit

Year Driver Started Car # Owner Make Notes
1960 Joe Lee Johnson 20 89 Paul McDuffie Chevrolet -
1961 David Pearson 3 3 John Masoni Pontiac -
1962 Nelson Stacy 18 29 Holman-Moody Ford -
1963 Fred Lorenzen 2 28 Holman-Moody Ford -
1964 Jim Paschal 12 41 Petty Enterprises Plymouth -
1965 Fred Lorenzen 1 28 Holman-Moody Ford -
1966 Marvin Panch 7 42 Petty Enterprises Plymouth -
1967 Jim Paschal 10 14 Tom Friedkin Plymouth -
1968 Buddy Baker 12 3 Ray Fox Dodge (race shortened to 255 laps/382.5 miles due to rain)
1969 LeeRoy Yarbrough 2 98 Junior Johnson Mercury -
1970 Donnie Allison 9 27 Banjo Matthews Ford -
1971 Bobby Allison 2 12 Holman-Moody Mercury -
1972 Buddy Baker 6 11 Petty Enterprises Dodge -
1973 Buddy Baker 1 71 Nord Krauskopf Dodge -
1974 David Pearson 1 21 Wood Brothers Racing Mercury (race scheduled for 360 laps/540 miles due to energy crisis)
1975 Richard Petty 3 43 Petty Enterprises Dodge -
1976 David Pearson 1 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford -
1977 Richard Petty 2 43 Petty Enterprises Dodge -
1978 Darrell Waltrip 17 88 DiGard Chevrolet -
1979 Darrell Waltrip 3 88 DiGard Chevrolet -
1980 Benny Parsons 6 27 M.C. Anderson Chevrolet -
1981 Bobby Allison 7 28 Harry Ranier Buick -
1982 Neil Bonnett 13 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford -
1983 Neil Bonnett 5 75 RahMoc Enterprises Chevrolet -
1984 Bobby Allison 16 22 DiGard Buick -
1985 Darrell Waltrip 4 11 Junior Johnson Chevrolet -
1986 Dale Earnhardt 3 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet -
1987 Kyle Petty 7 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford -
1988 Darrell Waltrip 5 17 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet -
1989 Darrell Waltrip 4 17 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet -
1990 Rusty Wallace 9 27 Raymond Beadle Pontiac -
1991 Davey Allison 10 28 Yates Racing Ford -
1992 Dale Earnhardt 13 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet -
1993 Dale Earnhardt 14 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet (race changed to an evening/night race)
1994 Jeff Gordon 1 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet -
1995 Bobby Labonte 2 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Pontiac -
1996 Dale Jarrett 15 88 Yates Racing Ford -
1997 Jeff Gordon 1 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet (race shortened to 333 laps/499.5 miles due to lateness caused by a rain delay and a 1 a.m. curfew)
1998 Jeff Gordon 1 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet -
1999 Jeff Burton 2 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford -
2000 Matt Kenseth 21 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford -
2001 Jeff Burton 18 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford -
2002 Mark Martin 25 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford -
2003 Jimmie Johnson 37 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet (race shortened to 276 laps/414 miles due to rain)
2004 Jimmie Johnson 1 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet -
2005 Jimmie Johnson 5 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet -
2006 Kasey Kahne 9 9 Ray Evernham Dodge -
2006 Casey Mears 16 25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet -
2008 Kasey Kahne 9 9 Gillett Evernham Motorsports Dodge -
2009 David Reutimann 21 00 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota (race shortened to 227 laps due to rain)
2010 Kurt Busch 2 2 Penske Racing Dodge
2011 Kevin Harvick 28 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet

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