C Bell Wins Coca-Cola 600 / Larson DNS, but points lead holds P1 in GFT AI Rankings

Bob Francis - Go Full Throttle
4 min readMay 29, 2024

27 May 2024
By Bob Francis, Managing Editor
Go Full Throttle Racing News

CONCORD, NC — Christopher Bell wins the Coca-Cola 600 as lightning and rain halts the race at lap 249 of 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Ty Gibbs started the 600 on the pole with Bell starting P3. Early it looked like the race would be a battle between the Toyotas and the 4 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets that all started in the top 10.

Advantage Chevy in Stage 1
As the first stage played out, Gibbs faded and Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron (№24 Chevrolet Camaro) took control of the race with a thrilling “pass in the grass” move under Gibbs and 23IX Racing driver Tyler Reddick:

William Byron takes the lead of the 600 with a thrilling 3-wide pass (Image Credit: NASCAR.com)

VIDEO LINK: https://www.nascar.com/videos/franchise/all-videos/hot-take-byrons-pass-in-the-grass-and-larsons-double-dreams-get-dashed-at-charlotte/

Byron went on to win the first stage, but during Stage 2, Bell’s car found the speed and the grip to take control of the race. The driver of the №20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota led a race-high 90 laps and held off Byron the win Stage 2.

Early in Stage 3, Corey LaJoie spun in Turn 2 brining out the caution on Lap 229. On the restart at Lap 236, Bell pulled out to a lead of roughly six car-lengths when NASCAR called a caution for lightning in the area.

During the Red flag, Kyle Larson arrived from his long day at the Indy 500, and he and his №5 Hendrick Motorsports team prepared for a driver swap. JRM driver Justin Algire had started the race at Charlotte because the Indy 500 rain delay. Allgaier was running 13th when the race was called, and Larson never had a chance to drive the car. “The Double” or as it was billed “Larson’s 1100” turned into 500 at Indy (finishing 18th) and a DNS with no points at the 600.

After the lightning came heavy rain, and though NASCAR attempted to dry the track when the rain subsided, heavy humidity thwarted efforts to do so in a timely manner. As a result, Bell collected his second victory of the season, his first on the 1.5-mile Charlotte oval and the eighth of his career.

Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 Mavis Tire Toyota, and Christopher Bell, driver of the #20 Rheem Toyota, race during the NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 26, 2024 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)
Christopher Bell, driver of the #20 Rheem Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning a weather-shortened NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 26, 2024 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Stage Points Help Larson hold P1 in the GFT NASCAR AI Driver Rankings

Go Full Throttle Top 25 NASCAR AI Driver Rankings following the Coca-Cola 600 on May 26, 2024 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (Image Credit: GFT Digital)

Thanks to his 2 wins and abondance of Stage points, Kyle Larson holds onto P1 in our ranking model even with the 34th place after crashing at Darlington and zero points/DNS at Charlotte. With his lead over Denny Hamlin reduced to roughly 27 points on our AI Score matrix, Larson has used up all his “mulligans” as the NASCAR Cup series heads to World Wide Technology Raceway for the Illinois 300 this coming Sunday.

No change in the top 4 this week: Larson, Hamlin, Truex Jr., Reddick. Byron’s 3rd place and Stage win moves him up 2 spots to P5. Brad Keselowski is on the move with another strong finish (2nd at Charlotte after his win at Darlington) and moves up 3 spots to P10. Also note SHR driver Josh Berry with a 10th place finish, moving him up 2 spots to P20.

Go Full Throttle NASCAR Box Scores after Charlotte Coke 600

Go Full Throttle NASCAR BOX SCORES following the Coca-Cola 600 on May 26, 2024 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (Image Credit: GFT Digital)

After 14 Races …
Manufactures Box Score:
Chevrolet = 7
Toyota = 6
Ford = 1

Team Box Score:
Hendrick Motorsports = 6

Driver Box Score:
William Byron and Denny Hamlin ties with 3 wins each

GFT AI NASCAR FANTASY LIVE RACE PREDICTION MODELS

Go Full Throttle player AI 1 NASCAR Fantasy LIVE Rankings following the Coca-Cola 600 on May 26, 2024 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (Image Credit: GFT Digital)

Tough week for our prediction models as we make updates for remaining starts in the 2nd half of the season. The “asset allocation” algorithm continues to “learn.”

Up Next:

ENJOY ILLINOIS 300 from WORLD WIDE TECHNOLOGY RACEWAY

SUNDAY, JUN. 2–3:30 PM ET

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Bob Francis - Go Full Throttle

Go Full Throttle editors and reporters bring you news & commentary on NASCAR, F1, IndyCar, and World of Outlaws. Member: National Motorsports Press Association