By Zach Richter

Stock cars are geared and ready for action as the NASCAR Cup Series continues at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday, May 27. Once again, we’ll see empty grandstands as the sport is still taking heavy precautions amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The eighth event of the Cup Series season, the Alsco Uniforms 500 replaces a race that was scheduled for Sonoma Raceway in Northern California. But the fluidity of the situation forced a recalibration in the NASCAR Cup schedule. Engines are set to fire up at 8 p.m. ET on FS1.

The race marks the second of a two-race event at the legendary track about 30 miles outside Charlotte. The course includes a 1.5-mile oval with an asphalt surface that includes 24 degrees of banking in the turns and 5 degrees of banking on the straightaways.

Coming off a monumental win in the Coca-Cola 600, Brad Keselowski will take the track with momentum. Keselowski fought off Jimmie Johnson with milliseconds to spare in a race that was the longest in Cup Series history.

For Johnson, Alex Bowman and Chase Elliott, who all had a legitimate shot to earn the checkered flag on Sunday, they’ll be looking to get over the hump at Charlotte. With just a few laps remaining in the Coca-Cola 600, Elliott hit pit row, leaving the door open for Keselowski to take the victory.

The Alsco Uniforms 500 is geared for 208 laps and 310 miles, and William Byron from Hendrick Motorsports will have the pole position. The team has done well at Charlotte, earning the most wins out of any team at the historic track.

As the Coca-Cola 600 returned to qualifying runs to determine starting positions, the Alsco Uniforms 500 will go back to the format used previously. The starting order will be based on the finishing positions from the last race. This way of qualifying is due to the health precautions taken by NASCAR amid the global pandemic.

The leading 20 spots for Wednesday’s race are based on the reverse order of Sunday’s event. So, Keselowski will start from the 20th spot, while 20th-place finisher Byron will earn the pole position.

The latter positions are based on the final results from Sunday night. For example, 21st-place finisher Ross Chastain will start from the 21st position.

Johnson, who almost came away with the victory in the Coca-Cola 600, with start from the 40th spot. He should start the Alsco Uniforms 500 from the 19th position, but his last-place positioning is due to a failed inspection following Sunday’s race.

His No. 48 Chevrolet underwent a post-race inspection and failed the alignment at the optical scanning station. Although Johnson’s team, Hendrick Motorsports, can appeal the decision, the issue puts Johnson in a tough spot for Wednesday night’s race.

Hendrick Motorsports’ crew chief, Cliff Daniels, tweeted Monday, claiming the team would investigate the issue. “Disappointed about our post-race OSS. We think something must’ve broken but won’t know until we get it back to the shop tomorrow and can diagnose,” Daniels wrote. “Tough news after a strong night. This team is getting stronger. We are focused forward. We’ll be back Wednesday with another great car.”

The disqualification made Elliott the runner-up for the Coca-Cola 600.

The starting lineup for Wednesday’s race, assuming the same 40 drivers are back in action:

1. William Byron

2. Alex Bowman

3. Michael McDowell

4. Matt DiBenedetto

5. John Hunter Nemechek

6. Aric Almirola

7. Austin Dillon

8. Joey Logano

9. Cole Custer

10. Erik Jones

11. Chris Buescher

12. Christopher Bell

13. Tyler Reddick

14. Kurt Busch

15. Martin Truex Jr.

16. Kevin Harvick

17. Kyle Busch

18. Ryan Blaney

19. Chase Elliott

20. Brad Keselowski

21. Ross Chastain

22. Ryan Preece

23. Corey LaJoie

24. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

25. Ty Dillon

26. Matt Kenseth

27. Ryan Newman

28. Daniel Suarez

29. Denny Hamlin

30. Brennan Poole

31. Grey Gaulding

32. B.J. McLeod

33. Garrett Smithley

34. Timmy Hill

35. Quin Houff

36. Joey Gase

37. J.J. Yeley

38. Bubba Wallace

39. Clint Bowyer

40. Jimmie Johnson

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About Founder

My name is Robert Wilson. NASCAR is my true passion. I grew up on the East End of Long Island, New York, at a time when Long Island was home to six racetracks. I became interested in race cars at a young age. My grandparents owned a restaurant in Southampton, New York, near the Bridgehampton Race Circuit on the South Fork of Long Island. Often after a race, teams with their stock cars in tow would stop to eat at the restaurant. I was always in awe of the race cars. On one occasion, I had the opportunity to meet NASCAR Hall-of-Famer, Ned Jarrett, who let me sit in his race car. That was it. I was a NASCAR fan for life! It became my passion and my dream to become a professional in the sport of stock car racing. At the age of 14, my uncle, an auto mechanic and repair shop owner, introduced me to his friend who owned a stock car. My Uncle’s friend, Carl Zeh, invited me to work with him on his race team. I worked and toured with the team for 12 championship wins, cementing my lifelong dedication to racing. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, I attended college at the University of New Haven in Connecticut and earned a bachelor’s degree in Sports Management as well as a master’s degree in Finance. I am currently working on a Doctorate in Entrepreneurship. Given my educational background, firsthand knowledge, and interest in the sport, I had the opportunity to do some consulting work with NASCAR teams locally and nationally on the business side of their operations. In continuing to follow the sport, its demographics, research studies, and statistics for years, I developed ideas that I believe can help the sport gain new momentum. In 2019, I founded SCFN.

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