The Coke Zero 400 couldn’t come at a better time than actually falling on the fourth of July. That it will be a great race and it will be followed by a great fireworks show goes without saying. This race, that used to be called the Firecracker 400 (amongst other distances), definitely won’t be one thing … predictable.
As everyone knows even slightly familiar with the way Nascar works, the field once again lines up according to points with the rain-out of qualifying on Friday afternoon. That’s the second week in a row and it should prove to be and interesting beginning to what could prove to be a completely unexpected ending. Lining up according to points could mean one of two things at the beginning:
- 1 – everybody stays in line for a longer period of time at the start or,
- 2 – an early “big one” wipes out half the field
I guess a third possibility could be that everybody remains patient and we just see some ducking and dodging for about the first half of the race. Somehow, that just doesn’t sound like Nascar Sprint Cup racers to me.
I don’t know how you feel about restrictor plate racing, but I enjoy it. I like the close, door-to-door, bumper-to-bumper, running close to 200 mph traffic jam competition that breeds excitement. I know there are those that would rather just, let ’em loose and see what they can do, but it is my opinion, without the restrictor plates, the races could once again become somewhat boring. My hope is that this one doesn’t take out a bunch of competitors before it has a chance to really become interesting.
Just looking at the starting lineup shows the top 6 rows being pretty strong contenders for the race. Tony Stewart on pole, Jeff Gordon outside pole with Jimmy Johnson right behind Tony Stewart and Kurt Bush right behind Jeff Gordon. That in itself is a pretty hefty starting front four. Right behind these four are Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman and Kyle Bush. If that doesn’t look like a possible breakaway I don’t know what does. These are all tough restrictor plate competitors and there isn’t a one of them that couldn’t pull off the victory by the end of the night.
If I ever thought picking a winner was hard at other times this year, I would have to say that tonight is going to be one of the toughest calls of all. There are at least twenty some cars that could win.
I really think there is going to be a wild scramble at the end of the race and anything could happen. Unfortunately, I think tonight is going to be a night where the “Big One” takes out some very strong contenders. It is all going to come down to how and when the yellow flags fly and what strategy is used to get somebody out front during one of them.
If by some chance, we see mostly green flag runs, look out because the field is going to be totally mixed up and that is when the trouble could start. There is a little uncertainty about tires and that could figure into the mix of when the “Big One” happens and who it affects.
Along with all of this, there are some that may not have their cars the way they want them because of it being an impound race. That means if they were in qualifying trim when they were impounded, that is the way they will start the race. Once again, I don’t like being negative, but that could spell trouble and be another possible cause of disaster for several or even many.
I am sure the start and park cars will pull out once they lose contact with the first draft, so I don’t think they will be around that long so they shouldn’t be much of a problem.
There are way to many possible winners for tonight’s race so I won’t drag this out. I think it will be close finish between 5 or 6 cars and I do think it will be won on the last lap. One thing I know for sure, if you like exciting races, you don’t want to miss the end of this one. There will be fireworks in more ways than one …
Oh, by the way, just in case you don’t know who is going to win tonight, let me give you a hint … there will be a 4 in their number. (Or maybe a 2, an 8 or a 9 …) It won’t really matter that much if it is an exciting finish, right?
See ya next time …
(all views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer)
© July 2009 – all rights reserved
Just A Fan’s View and Rusty Norman