The Nascar endurance race called the Coca Cola 600 this weekend will be an endurance race for the competitors and the fans. The extra 100 miles means the real racing won’t begin until after most races are already over.(Click play below to hear the audio version of this article)
Hi, everyone and welcome to Just a Fan’s view for this week. While the drivers will try to conserve their energy and preserve their cars for the finish, the fans will have a similar test to endure the race as much the competitors will. If it is a typical 600 miler, it is sure to be filled with long green flag runs and more than a few drivers stepping out to a long leads over those behind them while others simply fade away into the “start and park” category even though they may not have meant for it to be that way.
Along with the battle to be in position to win at the end of the race, the possibility of being more than 2 laps down is very high for some while others will play the waiting game until the laps wind down to around 50-60 laps to go. Suddenly, it may appear the last set of adjustments that were made on some cars somehow fixed all of their problems and this could add to the drama of who will actually win.
If qualifying shows anything for how this week’s race will go, any of the Hendrick equipment should prove to be in contention for the victory. Although Dale Jr starts way back in the 14th row along with Tony Stewart, I don’t think it necessarily bodes a bad omen for either one of them. This is the type race that can go either way. There’s plenty of time to make up starting in the middle to the back of the field, but, if your car isn’t at least somewhat competitive from the get-go, it will prove to be a long night no matter how you look at it. Starting in the middle of the pack with an ill-handling race car just means you get lapped that much faster.
From “just a fan’s view”, this could be the week of the dark horse winner. Yeah, I know past winners are the likely choices but I can’t help but think there could be someone totally unexpected taking the trophy home this weekend.
I’m not just trying to fill up space here. There are some that can definitely pull off the upset. Without sounding like I’m way out in left field, I would like to point out some teams have been performing well and, with a couple of good breaks near the end of the race, one of them could totally surprise everybody. People like Bryan Vickers, David Reutimann, Kasey Kahne, Juan Montoya, Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton could pull off the victory even though they aren’t heavily favored.
Any of the Roush teams like, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle and Jamie McMurray could find themselves in victory lane although they have all been struggling to find speed so far this weekend. Considering their qualifying speeds, not too many put a lot of stock in their chances of winning, but we all know Matt Kenseth, in particular, hardly ever qualifies well but usually turns up somewhere close to the front at the end of a race. Jamie McMurray could turn out to be the winner if he can just stay out of trouble all the way to the end of the 600 miles, (we all know he’s capable of winning at Lowe’s). (Myself, I would be surprised to see a Roush car in victory lane at the end of the race simply because of all the problems they’ve had lately.
Okay, all of that aside, who IS going to win this weekend?
I’m glad you asked that question but I don’t have a good answer for you. In reality, we have to look at the strongest performers of the year as possibilities. Kyle Bush, Ryan Newman, Jimmy Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin have definitely proven they can take it to the front all season long. Any one of them could be the owner of the trophy by the end of the night, but, not one of them stands out as having a clear advantage over the rest by any stretch of the imagination.
I really think the one that goes to victory lane at the end of the night will be the one that outlasts the rest and has a little something left for them at the end. It will be the one that has the best position after the last pit stop and it will depend on which lane they restart in after the final caution. If it starts in single file after that caution look for a runaway victory from the one that got out first with at least 2 fresh tires. It will be the one that can go low in turns 3 and 4 and come out the strongest with someone on the outside of them.
So which one of them is my choice for the win??? It’s a tough call but I do think it’s going to come down to being between at least four of them and possibly a fifth. Ryan Newman, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Bush, Jeff Gordon and, yep… Matt Kenseth.
So which one is going to win?
I was afraid you’d ask that…
Hey…this is Russ and …
I’ll see you next time…
(Oh, by the way… the winner is going to be …Jeff Gordon…)
(all views are strictly the opinion of the writer)
© May 2009 – all rights reserved
Just A Fan’s View and Rusty Norman