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mid-race snapshot: Coca-Cola 600

May 25, 2014, Staff report,

A mid-race look at the leaders, cautions and story lines from the Coca-Cola 600

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Time elapsed as of Lap 200: 1:55:35

Lap leaders:

Jimmie Johnson: Polesitter
Brad Keselowski: Lap 1
Jimmie Johnson: Laps 2-47
Brad Keselowski: Laps 48-49
Jimmie Johnson: Laps 50-75
Kevin Harvick: Laps 76-95
Jimmie Johnson: Laps 96-97
Kevin Harvick: Laps 98-108
Jimmie Johnson: Lap 109
Kevin Harvick: Laps 110-149
Jimmie Johnson: Laps 150-164
Brad Keselowski: Laps 165-191
Kevin Harvick: Laps 192-200

Lead changes as of Lap 170: 12

Record at Charlotte Motor Speedway: 54


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Lap 107: Debris in Turn 3
Lap 147: Debris on the backstretch
Lap 163: David Gilliland accident in Turn 2

Least amount of cautions in Coca-Cola 600 history: 2 (1962, 1963, both when the race was known as the World 600)

Best lap: 

Jimmie Johnson, 28.388 seconds

What to watch for:

How is Gordon holding up: The points leader suffered from back spasms leading up to the race and skipped most of Saturday's final practice. However, he was feeling good enough to start the race and spent part of the first half in the top five so his back does not seem to be an issue as he looks for his second win of the season. Nationwide Series points leader Regan Smith is on standby if Gordon experiences any back trouble.

Busch's quest: After finishing sixth in the Indianapolis 500 earlier on Sunday, Kurt Busch is looking to at least match, if not one-up his Stewart-Haas Racing team co-owner Tony Stewart in 2001 when he completed all 1,100 miles of the double. (In 2001, Stewart finished sixth at Indy and third at Charlotte.) Thus far, Busch is on the lead lap. Should he complete all 1,100 miles of racing, Busch would join Stewart as the only drivers to complete all 1,100 miles of the double.

Winless in the top 10: Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Brian Vickers and Martin Truex Jr. have yet to notch a win this season, something that has become vital in the new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format. For Johnson and Kenseth in particular, that has resulted in loads of questions from the media about whether the veterans are nervous about making the 16-driver playoff. Will Charlotte add another new winner to the Chase grid?

First to three: Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano have spent much of the first half in the top 10, with Harvick leading for significant stretches as well. Both drivers already have a leg up on making the 16-driver Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with two wins, but a third victory would make it impossible for either driver to miss the playoffs.

Under the lights: As the track cools down, teams will see significant changes in how their cars handle during night racing. This race is unique in its day to night transition. With practices and most of qualifying occurring in daylight, crew chiefs who accurately predicted their car's handling will hold an advantage. Johnson and Harvick had the dominant cars in the sunlight, but will that remain the case in the nighttime? Working in Harvick's favor, is that he won a similar day to night transition race last month at Darlington and that he has won two of the last three Coca-Cola 600s.


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