Race: Coca-Cola 600
Date: Sunday May 29th, 2011
Track: Charlotte Motor Speedway
Time: 6 pm ET
by Virginia Vroom, NASCAR Betting Handicapper, Predictem.com
This weekend, we are headed to one of the biggest races of the season. Memorial day weekend brings us cookouts, good friends, and, of course, the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This race is just an icon of the sport and one that brings so much excitement to both the drivers and the fans. The All-Star race showed us that these guys are ready to bring it on the track. The Showdown, though, which was the qualifier for the All-Star, was much more of the show in my opinion. There were quite a few risks taken by the field, which was larger than the All-Star to being with.
That being said, the Coca-Cola 600 never ceases to be an amazing show. This is the one race of the year held on a Sunday night because supposedly most people (me not included) have Memorial Day off. Sunday night with a holiday following makes for a great atmosphere for the racing party. As we head into this upcoming holiday weekend, we can relate back to what happened during the races here at Charlotte on Saturday night. From what I saw, tires are going to play a pretty large role. There were a lot of tires cut during the race and also a lot of strategy on pit road regarding 2 or 4 tire stops. Fuel will probably be an issue, but not nearly as significant as tire wear. This is one of those tracks where 4 tires can mean the difference between 1st and 10th place.
Charlotte Motor Speedway is a 1.5 mile quad-oval with 24 degree banking in the turns and 5 degrees in the turns. The straights are 1980 feet on the front and 1500 on the back. There’s plenty of room to get up to speed here.
What I think were are going to see here is almost a repeat of the All-Star race. Carl Edwards, winner of the All-Star race, excels at intermediate tracks. What I see happening, though, is Kyle Busch taking him down at the middle to end of the race. I predicted Kyle to win the All-Star, and he fell short to Carl Edwards. Had the race been longer, though, I think Kyle would’ve taken him. That is what is going to happen this weekend. I think that Kyle has a better shot at victory lane on a longer run. Carl will do well and compete for the win, but he’s going to have to maintain that dominance to the end of this long race.
This race is truly a race of endurance. This is one where we are going to see the stars shine. Jimmie Johnson will be strong and hard to beat, but Kyle Busch has the fight to bring it to the end. Carl Edwards will need to concentrate on maintaining consistency through pit road this weekend. Some other names to watch will be Jr. and Hamlin. They have the potential to be field up-setters in my opinion.
Here’s a recap of your current top 10. Remember that the All-Star did not touch the points!
1. Carl Edwards
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Kyle Busch
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
5. Kevin Harvick
6. Matt Kenseth
7. Ryan Newman
8. Clint Bowyer
9. Kurt Busch
10. Tony Stewart
Remember that this race is one of endurance. Six hundred miles is nothing to sneeze at. This race is not only going to be a test for the drivers, but it will be a test for the crews from the crew chief to the pit crew in making sure that they are hitting their marks on the stops. This is one of the best races of the season in my opinion. There’s something about a night race and a Sunday night race at that. It’s going to be a great night of racing where we will see how well these guys can behave after some pretty heated battles recently. Can Harvick and Busch manage to go the distance without wrecking each other? Will Newman and Montoya try to settle their differences on the track? This weekend is going to give us a good idea of just how much everyone can stand in 600 miles. Stay tuned for action-packed Sunday night of racing!
Virginia’s Pick to Win the Coca-Cola 600: Kyle Busch.