Nascar Racing

Endurance Is The Key for the Coca Cola 600


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It’s Memorial Day weekend and between the Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, there will be 1100 miles of racing. Yeah, that’s right, it will be a full day of racing just on those two tracks alone. Many fan’s will enjoy both of the races on TV while many will enjoy them from the stands in both places. I would even veture a guess that many will watch one from the stands and the other on TV. Ah, the wonders of technology.

It’s a fact, the Cup teams will have to endure an extra 100 miles for Coca Cola 600 this weekend while most of us get to enjoy an extra day off and celebrate Memorial Day and remember those who died serving in the United States Armed Sevices. The two races are not easily confused simply because the cars are two completely different types of cars. The same can’t always be said for the Holiday though. It is often confused with Verterans Day.

The Cocal Cola 600 is the longest race in stock car racing and it is an endurance race for drivers, crews and equipment as well. It used to be a race that saw the drivers not really press to win until somewhere around the last 100 miles. Now, although this fan doesn’t think they drive flat out every lap, they do run harder than they used to for much of the race. I still think the real racing begins after they get close to the last 100 miles but I don’t know how many will actually admit to that.

I really think the Toyotas are looking awfully tough for tonight. From this fan’s view, it is still anyone’s race and they will have to drive all 600 miles to get the trophy. Although I expect track position to be very important (as it usually is) I don’t think it is something too many will worry much about until the latter part of the race. Well, that is unless someone is running away from most of the field and putting a lot of people down a lap or more. Depending on how the green flag runs go, it could happen that several do go a lap or laps down and never get the chance to catch up.

This race cannot be compared to last weekend at all simply because last week’s All Star race was a bunch of short runs, with everyone running every lap as fast as they could go. The race tonight will be about fuel mileage, tire management and not making any mistakes on pit road (especially near the end of the race) and trying to stay on the lead lap.

There has been a lot of talk lately about how much faster the Gen 6 has been than the previous car and I can’t disagree with that. This car is fast and many track records have fallen by the wayside this season. What I haven’t seen a lot of this year is some really close exciting racing on a regular basis. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the racing hasn’t been good. It’s just that its been relatively predictable, (except when those late race cautions come out.)

Am I the only one that has noticed one car seems to dominate a race? Just look at the way Matt Kenseth has been running. He has often been running up front this season and has also been walking away from the field. The same with Kyle Bush and others. One car seems to get out front in the “clean air” and it has been hard for others to catch and pass them. From my view, it hasn’t happened just once or twice this season but has happened often. It also seems to happen especially at the 1 ½ mile tracks with regularity. I would even go so far as to say, if it hadn’t been for yellow flags coming out at strategic times, some of the races would have ended without much excitement at all.

What I expect to see tonight is the usual stuff for a Coca Cola 600. There will be long green flag runs and probably a lot of follow the leader, at least to begin with. When it comes down to the final laps, I really expect to see the Hendrick Chevys and JGR Toyotas to be fighting it out at the front. It could be Kasey Kahne or Jimmie Johnson or it could be Matt Kenseth, Kyle Bush or Denny Hamlin.

Kurt Bush has been running awfully good and could actually pull off the win and Jamie McMurray could end the drought for the EGR teams. In fact, I don’t really expect to see the unexpected tonight but it very possibly could be a night where someone totally unexpected wins. (Now what do you suppose that means…?)

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© May 25, 2013 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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By Rusty Norman

Amateur writer, NASCAR Fan, musician and former local Stock Car racer.