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The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup teams take on stock car racing’s longest race, the Coca-Cola 600, on one of the racing world’s longest days at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Of course all racing fans know the three I’m talking about are The Grand Prix of Monaco, The Indy 500 and The Coca-Cola 600 and it definitely makes for a full day with three different types of racing. Some call it a racing enthusiast’s dream day while others just shrug their shoulders, smile and say they’ll be watching one of them or at least checking in on all three during the day.
This weekend we also celebrate Memorial Day weekend and, of the three racing types and venues, it is this fan’s opinion NASCAR is the best at honoring our Troops. Also in my opinion, they do a fine job of recognizing the importance of those that serve in the Armed Services and those that gave their lives protecting our country and preserving the freedom we all enjoy and often take for granted. Not only do they support our troops and honor those that gave the supreme sacrifice serving and protecting our country and freedoms but also recognizing and supporting their families and the loss and sorrows they have experienced. My thanks go to those that were willing to make that supreme sacrifice for all of us and particularly for my family. God bless them and the USA.
The Coca-Cola 600 is always an interesting race. NASCAR has made this one a little more interesting by adding another stage to it (there will be four of 100 laps each) and more points to be gained by those that do well in the stages. So let’s see… there were already more laps in this race, more miles and more hours in the seat for the drivers and now there are more stages and more points. Naturally the extra points won’t matter until the playoffs but that hasn’t been something that has held any of them back. It appears all of them are pushing harder to qualify better, run better and get some of those stage points and wins to apply when they get to the playoffs.
Fortunately (or some may say, unfortunately) it appears at least one of the JGR teams showed up ready to make a statement and take home a 600 win. (Of course this fan is sure you know I’m talking about Kyle Bush.) Since he already took home a million dollars, it just stands to reason that he could be one to consider for taking the trip to Victory Lane when this one is over on Sunday night. A closer look at the lineup shows there are three JGR teams starting in the top ten and if you want to consider an associated team too, Martin Truex Jr. is right there also. Daniel Suarez starts from the twentieth position so I’ll let you draw your own conclusion of what kind of overall statement the JGR teams have made. They do look strong and that’s a pretty obvious fact.
So… we have Kyle Bush starting on the front row with pole winner, Kevin Harvick. Does that say even more about which teams to watch for the win when the checkered flag drops on the Coca-Cola 600? But wait a minute; isn’t that Chase Elliott with HMS starting third right behind them? Both the JGR and SHR teams are due for a win and either one of them could make the trip to Victory Lane but there is a whole lot more to it than that. Running strong in the practices and qualifying at, or near the front could always mean something good for a team but not necessarily for the whole 600 miles.
Chase Elliott is definitely due for a win when it comes down to it and he is another one this fan thinks could end up as the winner when all is said and done. Ryan Blaney and Eric Jones also enter into the conversation and it is good to see these young guns being talked about so often as ones to watch and possible winners. After all, these guys are definitely the future of the sport and they represent themselves and their families well.
The Coca-Cola 600 is a long race and goes from evening into the night. This fan has to admit that in the past, it usually didn’t really get interesting until the final 100 miles or even less and if someone has a night like Martin Truex Jr. had in last year’s, well, it can seem relatively uneventful. In fact, some have even gone so far as to call it boring; something this fan doesn’t necessarily agree with but does understand what they mean. It is the hope the addition of the Stages to the mix will add what they have added to the racing so far this season.
With the addition of the Stages the racing has been a bit more intense and it does break up the monotony of 600 miles with only one checkered flag and a long waiting game. The drivers have much more incentive to push a little harder and can gain points toward the playoffs for finishing near the front or winning one or all of the Stages. In the end, it still comes down to winning that final stage and that is usually when the cream rises to the top. It could be one of the young guns or one of the seasoned veterans. It could be someone completely unexpected or it could be, well… you know…
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© May 27, 2017 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated