5 questions ahead of the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway

The NASCAR Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series head back to the track today for a rare Thursday afternoon of practice and qualifying in advance of Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (FOX, 5:30 p.m. ET).

NASCAR’s longest race follows on the heels of a wild and confusing Sprint All-Star Race last weekend that was swept by Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski.

With Cup practice running from 2 p.m.-3:25 p.m. and qualifying at 7:15 p.m. (both on FS1) here are five questions we’ll look at on track today:

CAN JIMMIE JOHNSON PICK IT UP? –€” The six-time Sprint Cup champion leads active drivers with seven victories at Charlotte, which is the home track for his Hendrick Motorsports team. But the No. 48 didn’t show much speed at all in the All-Star Race.

WILL MARTIN TRUEX JR.’S LUCK IMPROVE? –€” All four Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas have won already this year, and Truex and Furniture Row Racing should have won a couple, too. Truex is at his best on 1.5-mile tracks like Charlotte and this might be the weekend his luck turns from awful to good.

ARE YOUNG GUNS READY? — Kyle Larson has come close to winning in each of the last two weekends, while rookies Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney have been strong lately. Do not be shocked to see one of the three of them in victory lane this weekend.

IS PENSKE FOR REAL? — Yes, Logano and Keselowski finished 1-2 in the All-Star Race. But that event had strange rules and a big scoring snafu, so it’s tough to say if their Team Penske Fords are that good or if they just were in the right place at the right time. Sunday’s 600-mile race will be a more accurate test.

CAN THE TOYOTAS BE STOPPED? –€” So far, JGR Toyotas have won seven of 12 points races, and Edwards captured this event last year. They come into the Coca-Cola 600 as the favorite team again, but the competition is closing in on them. Sunday night, we’ll know if anyone else can step up and slow them down.