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Race Preview and Fantasy Picks: Coca-Cola 600

By admin | May 20, 2009

By Richard Allen


Track and Location:
Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, NC.

Track Layout:
1.5 mile quad-oval with 24 degrees of banking in the turns

Race Distance:
600 miles/400 laps

Date of Race:
Sunday(May 24, 2009)

Radio Coverage:
PRN(4:30pm Eastern)

Television Coverage:
Fox(5:00pm Eastern)

Start Time:
6:00pm Eastern

Last Year’s Winner:
Kasey Kahne

The Coca-Cola 600 holds the distinction of causing drivers to cover the most distance of any race on the NASCAR schedule. To put it in perspective, 600 miles is roughly the driving distance from Charlotte to Memphis. Endurance and perseverance have often proven to be more valuable than raw speed in this race.

Aside from the race’s length there is the additional complication of having this race start during the daylight hours and end in the dark of night. This creates quite a challenge for drivers and crews in regard to keeping up with the changes necessary for the car to run well all race.

One thing fantasy players should consider carefully is that there was a race on this very same track last week. And last year, that did prove to be a good indicator. However, the Sprint All Star Challenge is a race of short segments while this race will not feature any half-time breaks.

Much of the fantasy information shown below applies to the ESPN Fantasy Stock Car Challenge. However, the thoughts below can be applied to most NASCAR fantasy games.

Here are some thoughts for the Coca-Cola 600:

Drivers who should do well:
Drivers who have exhibited the ability to keep their crews informed as to the handling of the car should do well in this race due to the number of changes required in a race of 600 miles which at the same time transitions from day to night. Patience is often rewarded here.

Matt Kenseth-
He has won this race before and few drivers have more patience. He is also one of the best at keeping his team up to date as to the handling of his car. In the all star race his car seemed better on longer runs which bodes well for a 600 mile race.

Tony Stewart-
He won here last week in the all star race. His car seemed to run better the longer the race went on.

Mark Martin-
This guy’s picture is in the dictionary beside the word ‘patience’. And he has certainly demonstrated that he can tough it out over 600 miles, no matter what his age. With two wins in the last four points races, he is the hottest driver on the circuit right now.

Kasey Kahne-
He won here last year and has scored more points on this track than any other driver over the last seven races held here.

Jimmie Johnson-
The Lowe’s driver used to be Mr. Lowe’s Motor Speedway. He still may well be. His car was very fast last week until he got off sequence on pit stops and eventually spun. He has a crew chief who can make the needed adjustments.

Jamie McMurray-
This could be the best value pick. His car was strong in the qualifying race last week and he has run well here in the past, including his first win.

Drivers to avoid:
Stay away from drivers who make mistakes of impatience.

Richard Childress Racing-
Each of the RCR drivers has the potential to do well here but they were not very fast throughout most of the all star weekend. This organization seems to struggle to get more than one car running well at a time.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr.-
If Mark Martin has his picture in the dictionary beside the word ‘patience’ then Junior may well be the poster child for making silly mistakes. In a 600 mile race there are too many opportunities for such mistakes. And, this crew has not demonstrated the ability to keep up with changes.

Carl Edwards-
This is his type track and he is probably the best conditioned driver out there. However, he has had some bad luck this year and it might be best to avoid him until that passes.

Winner of the Coca-Cola 600: Matt Kenseth

These are only suggestions. Do your own research and enjoy the Coca-Cola 600.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

Topics: Articles |

One Response to “Race Preview and Fantasy Picks: Coca-Cola 600”

  1. Jimbo Says:
    May 21st, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    I like your thinking on this one.

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