Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Why Should You Care? - The Coca-Cola 600

John Marine | 5/24/2011 10:36:00 PM |
Why should you care about the Coca-Cola 600? NASCAR's answer to the Indy 500 since 1959 has been the race formerly known as The World 600. Charlotte Motor Speedway is the Circus Maximus for which tubeframe horses with 700 to 800 horsepower contest for speed. Rather than really light mid-engine formula cars with outstanding handling at Indy, it's all about big and heavy stock cars with heavy horsepower at Charlotte. This is my own look at the Coca-Cola 600 and why you should care about this race.

Time to set the mood:
Coca-Cola 600
^ from: tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com - Feel the roar and the excitement as 43 stock cars from the world's greatest stock car racers are turned loose for 600 miles around Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The Coca-Cola/World 600 is what I usually like thinking of as NASCAR's version of the 24 Hours of Le Mans as being the longest race of the year as well as the most grueling race. Charlotte Motor Speedway is home for many NASCAR teams and drivers, so winning any race at Charlotte is almost as gratifying as winning the Daytona 500. Many races last 500 miles in NASCAR Cup. At Charlotte for the 600, however, you have to last 500 miles... plus 100 more. The race mostly lasts for about 400 laps on the very fast Charlotte oval. It is a great racing occasion on a holiday weekend where American honor the proud men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedoms and liberties of the United States. NASCAR is the great American motorsport, and so this great American race is the finest race for American racing fans.

I can still recall that Coca-Cola 600 a few years ago that had as many as 23 caution periods. The endurance aspect of this race is why I often call the Coca-Cola 600 as NASCAR's version of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The race may last for much less hours and much less miles/kilometers, but it is still a grueling and punishing

For those trying to take on the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 do the Indy-Charlotte double, they mostly like doing the Indy 500 followed by a plane or jet ride to Charlotte Motor Speedway. That's 1,100 miles of racing in JUST ONE DAY! You have to credit the physical conditioning of these racers and their unconditional love of racing to do the Indy-Charlotte double.

Many see the Coca-Cola 600 strategically as a three-segment race. This event begins in the late afternoon or early evening timeframe. The sun goes down and gives way to the darkness of night. As darkness fills the air, this is that stretch run all the way to the checkered flag. So you can think of the Coca-Cola 600 as three 200-mile stages. The ultimate goal at the end of the night is to last 600 miles while making it to the checkered flag before anybody else. Of course, there may be the possibility of a green-white-checker (or "Overdrive," NASCAR's version of Overtime) in the late stages. There is no doubt that this is one of NASCAR's best races. It's up there with the Southern 500, Brickyard 400, and a NASCAR event called... the Daytona 500.

Speaking as a native Texan, here is a fact I found out on Wikipedia: only one Texan has ever won the Coca-Cola 600- Bobby LaBonte in 1995.

Here is a preview of the insanity the Coca-Cola 600 can provide (you may need to turn up the volume):

^ courtesy of: "Mikey2448" (YouTube) and FOX Sports

Good luck to all drivers and teams competing in this year's Coca-Cola 600!

Thank you for reading!

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