This week: The Coca-Cola 600
The race is one of those day-into-night affairs that will see the track conditions shift as the night drags on. Any team with a chance at victory will be able to adapt as the track changes.
This race is, aside from Daytona, the biggest in terms of importance for drivers and teams. Lowe's Motor Speedway is minutes away from downtown Charlotte, which is the home of the bulk of teams and sponsors. The race has added pressure for the folks who make a living down-North Carolina way.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Ok, here's the thing... Junior has made our "Who to watch" section for every race since February. Fans seem to like the guy and he is generally quick at most tracks. But, he doesn't win anymore. Ever. He rolls off from the sixth position and is sitting third in the points. He has never never won at Charlotte, but does have four top-fives. Will he win? No. But watch him anyway (he has a new bar in Charlotte, for god sakes).
Mark Martin: The old man will start from the seventh position and has amassed quite a career at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Two wins and 14 top-10 finishes, plus an average finish of 10.8 From 1996 through 2005 he never had a DNF at Lowe's. Can you say contender? Me too.
David Ragan: Ragan happens to be driving the old Martin Martin Ford-mount, and has been on quite a tear of late. He has three top-10 finishes this season, and starts Sunday's event inside the top-five (OK, fifth). He has squeaked his way into the top-12 in points and has secured his spot on top of the "horse" this week. Enjoy David.
*For those heading to the track:
Here is your tailgating info. Notice your cooler restrictions... (14 inches on all sides, bastards!). As noted above, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has a new bar in downtown Charlotte. Maybe you should check it out... We imagine it is like the place in Urban Cowboy.
1 KYLE BUSCH
2 JEFF BURTON
3 DALE EARNHARDT, JR
4 DENNY HAMLIN
5 CLINT BOWYER
6 JIMMIE JOHNSON
7 CARL EDWARDS
8 TONY STEWART
9 KEVIN HARVICK
10 JEFF GORDON
11 GREG BIFFLE
12 DAVID RAGAN