Race: Coca-Cola 600
Date: Sunday May 27, 2012
Track: Charlotte Motor Speedway
Time: 5:30 pm ET
by Virginia Vroom, NASCAR Betting Handicapper, Predictem.com
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As predicted, Jimmie Johnson won the All-Star with Dale Jr. not too far behind. The shootout that Jr. won put him in contention, and with a strong car and a heck of a lot of motivation, Jr. almost took home his first win in quite a while. But, in the “House of Jimmie”, it’s going to be hard to put away the Lowe’s car.
That is going to be the same case scenario this weekend as we head back to Charlotte for the Coca-Cola 600, this time being a points race. This is the longest race of the year for the drivers and ultimately the most taxing. It is also a difficult race in terms of equipment because of the length of the race. The engines, brake systems, and fuel systems all have to endure this strenuous 600 miles and make it to the end. More often than not, several drivers have catastrophic failures resulting in the premature end to their day and their hopes of victory.
This 1.5 mile quad-oval is the protg of an intermediate track. It has 25 degree banking in the turns and 5 degrees on the straights. The frontstretch boasts 1980 feet while the backstretch boasts slightly less at 1500. This track is awesome to watch because the speeds are so high and the drivers are going 3 wide throughout much of the track. What the guys are going to have to battle is maintaining track position but also taking care of their cars. Because of the speed and size of this track, aerodynamics play a large role here, much like that at the super speedways. While we don’t see the drafting lines that we would see at Talladega, we do see the quick drafts here and there throughout the traffic, most notably among pairs of cars pushing each other to the front.
I really think that we are going to see a repeat of the All-Star race. Jimmie Johnson is who I am expecting to see in victory lane once again. I’m sure this is what he is hoping because as nice as the million was that he won last weekend, I’m sure he’d appreciate the bump in points . Dale Jr. is definitely going to be another one to watch. He’s been consistent through almost every race this season and his win in the shootout proved that he is s force to be reckoned with this weekend. Here is the rundown for the winners this weekend:
My Pick to Win: Jimmie Johnson
Middle of the Road Prediction: Jamie McMurray
Dark Horse Pick: Regan Smith
Regan Smith is the best of the worst. By worst, I mean that he just doesn’t have the same opportunities that many of the guys have out there, but he has talent. He’s come through adversity to come up with some pretty decent finishes. Jamie McMurray is always very promising on these types of tracks. Because of its tendency to act like a super speedway, McMurray has a real shot at victory this weekend if he can keep his nose and fenders clean.
Look for this weekend to be one of endurance and patience. These drivers are going to need all of the patience possible to deal with the length of this race. Additionally, we are going to hope for cool weather so that we don’t see anyone get overheated, as that can happen extremely quickly in this race.
Here’s a rundown of your current top 10 in the points:
1. Greg Biffle
2. Matt Kenseth
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4. Denny Hamlin
5. Jimmie Johnson
6. Martin Truex Jr.
7. Tony Stewart
8. Kevin Harvick
9. Kyle Busch
10. Carl Edwards
Although we will expect to see Johnson up front, you should also not be surprised to see Stewart and Kyle Busch joining him. They both have a good shot here as well. Stay tuned for an awesome race this Memorial Day weekend as we stay put in Charlotte for the longest race of the year!
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