Nascar Racing

600 Miles at Charlotte from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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The Cup teams take on the longest race at Charlotte Sunday afternoon into the night and that means 600 miles of driving, thinking, planning and enduring to the end. Well… that is if one of the 40 Teams that will start want to have a chance to end up in Victory Lane. Otherwise it’s just a long way to the finish.

After the way the All Star race went last weekend, this fan wonders if the 600 miles will go with similar action or the usual running of laps, counting them down until the last 50 – 100 miles or so. Since the weather may become part of the strategy for the race, it could be a race that is quite a bit more intense than the normal 600. It could be the only thing missing would be a full moon.

Speaking of the All Star race, Kyle Larson had another great race to follow up his performance and intense finish with Matt Kenseth at Dover and he is one of the ones I am choosing to be there at the end possibly contending once again for the checkered flag; but I get ahead of myself just a little…

Many have commented on the latest running of the All Star race and there was a mixture of positive and negative comments, at least within earshot of me (and of course, on social media.) It seemed some didn’t like the way things panned out as the race progressed and, for some reason, many were blaming NASCAR for some of the decisions and rulings made during the race. Of course there were some very interesting situations that arose, at least in this fan’s opinion and several of them were just because of the way things happened at strategic moments in the race. (There was also that full moon thing going on.. at least that was the opinion of some.)

The All Star race is a very unique race and always has interesting rules and scenarios mostly to make it one of the most interesting races of the year. After all, these are supposed to be the All Stars and no one really wants to see just another race on a Saturday night.

Actually, I found the race this year to hold my interest right down to the last couple of laps. I lost interest at that point simply because this fan is not a Joey Logano fan and I would have much rather have seen Kyle Larson and his team take home the million dollars. I’m sure that may raise the ire of certain fans, but really, I’m just being honest. There are only about two or three drivers I am just not that impressed with and, no matter what his level of success, I’m just not a Logano fan. That doesn’t mean he’s not a talented driver, it just means something about him rubs me the wrong way and always has. I won’t try to explain it by any other means other than that’s just the way it is. (Okay… so call me biased and opinionated… it’s okay, I can take it; and by the way, you wouldn’t be the first to do so either…)

There’s just something about the 600 that brings out differences of opinion when it comes down to the actual race. Some say it is too long and others say the middle is uneventful. In this fan’s opinion, it can go either way but it isn’t that much different than the usual restrictor plate race. Though the 600 isn’t a restrictor plate race, at times it can seem as though it is dragging on a long time. Understandably the drivers don’t want to expend themselves or their cars before it gets close to the end but there are moments when they are just clicking off the laps and trying not to get too far behind or go a lap or two down.

Something that could add to the drama might be the weather. If it looks like the race might be called after the halfway point but rain hasn’t begun to fall, we will all be treated to some very exciting racing while the drivers try to position themselves to be out front if the rain begins to fall. If it doesn’t look like rain, I expect it will be the usual 600 mile race with a lot of excitement happening in the last 100 or so miles.

Most of the Chevys qualified outside the top ten but this fan isn’t so sure that means they won’t be a factor when it comes down to crunch time. What it tells me is it is likely they are more focused on the end of the race rather than where they will be starting. Of course the Toyotas will probably flex their muscles as they usually do but to this fan’s surprise, the Fords have four starting in the top six. They have been looking a little better in the last several weeks but it still remains to be seen if they will be pressing anyone for the win near the end.

Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick are the only two Chevys that qualified in the top ten and, from this fan’s view and barring the unforeseen, either one or both of them could be battling for the lead when comes down to the end of however many laps and miles the race actually runs. As I write this, I’ve heard there could be interruptions for rain during the normal race (at least nearer to the end) and it could shorten the race substantially. If it looks like the race will be rain shortened, I expect more of the field will be pressing to get to the front and staying there.

So will it be pole-sitter, Martin Truex Jr. turning his luck around for a win or maybe a Kyle Larson taking the win instead of battling to win and then losing it in the final laps again? I really don’t know for sure. What I’m really hoping for is a really interesting race with a mixture of drama and emotion and lots of action. In a longer race like the 600 there is the tendency for it to be a bit humdrum, especially in the middle laps. If there is the threat of rain shortening the race it will definitely make for quite a bit more tension and drama and that might be just what it needs. I just hope it doesn’t turn out that a shortened race allows one of those few I don’t want to win to win. After spending all that time watching a long race like the 600, it would be such a letdown to see a yellow car with red numbers or a black and purple one with white numbers win. (I’m sure you know which drivers I’m talking about…)

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© May 28, 2016 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
All audio productions by and PodCastNorm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

By Rusty Norman

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