Charlotte’s the Place for NASCAR’s Longest Race

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Memorial Day is a day we remember the men and women that made the supreme sacrifice while serving in active military service. It is celebrated in several ways by people across the United States but probably two of the best known ways are the Indianapolis 500 in Indiana and the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Of course there are those that don’t even think these two items have anything at all to do with Memorial Day and remembering our fallen military heroes and they may have a point; but it is a day that both places take time to remember and honor them and that is a good thing.

For Kurt Busch, this Memorial Day will be quite possibly “The Longest Day.” He intends to run in both the Indianapolis 500 and in the Coca-Cola 600 and that means if he runs every mile in both races he will have driven 1100 miles before the day is done. I don’t know about you but from this fan’s you that’s covering a lot of miles in a very short period of time.

Danica Patrick has been drawing attention to herself lately for her performance on the track at Kansas and her performance in qualifying at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. I’m not saying she’s going to win the race on Sunday afternoon and evening at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but it is good to see her showing some improvement in areas. Constant, steady improvement is what she’s been showing but I don’t think anyone expects her to run off a string of victories anytime soon.

Dale Junior is looking to put many years of frustration behind him at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend and would like nothing better than to beat his teammate, Jimmy Johnson, and take his first cup victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Honestly, from this fan’s view it is awfully hard to believe that Dale Junior has never won at CMS in the cup series. I don’t know what the future holds but I do know that barring any unforeseen circumstances Dale Junior will make a good showing Sunday evening when it comes down to the last laps.

Jeff Gordon is another one that hasn’t really had all that good of luck at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Even though it is the place that he had his first Sprint Cup Victory, if my recollection is correct, he hasn’t won there since 1998. If anyone is due to win again at CMS in this fan’s opinion it would be Jeff Gordon.

Jeff has been having a stellar year even though he has had some bad finishes. It’s been a good season so far with mostly top fives and top tens. It has been interesting to say the least, to see him not only get a victory but also sitting in the top spot of the points for The Chase this year. Until he had a victory it was almost imperative that he stay on top of the points if he wanted to make the Chase.

Fortunately for him (and his fans) Jeff is a force to be reckoned with this year and a very strong contender for winning the Cup Championship as well as possibly making this the year he takes his fifth. Of course I do have to mention that he has a lot of work to do with his 27th starting position in the Coca Cola 600.

This fan also finds it interesting how much talk has been going around about how long it’s been since Jimmie Johnson won his last race. Sometimes, it just becomes completely wearying to listen to people go on and on about how long it’s been since somebody won a race. In Jimmie Johnson’s case, he may silence all those voices this weekend since he is starting on the pole. I guess it just remains to be seen if he will be at the front when the end of the race comes around and the checkered flag drops.

Kevin Harvick is one that might make it difficult for Jimmy Johnson to come home with the trophy this weekend. There is no doubt that Kevin Harvick likes Hendrick horse power and his new place of employment at Stewart/Haas racing. He is another that is been having a stellar year so far in 2014 and I expect he will be a contender for the Cup Championship also. It still remains to be seen if after traveling 600 miles he can take home his third Coca-Cola 600.

In fact, I’m sure you’ve noticed that much of the talk this week has been about the strength of the Hendrick power plants. They have definitely been a force to be dealt with almost on a weekly basis in this 2014 season. I really don’t expect that to change much this weekend but I do have to admit the Fords and the Toyotas have also been showing a little bit more muscle especially from the Michael Waltrip camp and Clint Bowyer.

I guess this is the place where I should mention the Joe Gibbs camp also. Kyle Busch has a very good chance of ending up In Victory Lane, Sunday evening and possibly even Matt Kenseth.

The Coca-Cola 600 is a long race. That extra 100 miles does seem to add to the fatigue from a rigorous race such as the Coca-Cola 600. As for which of the forty three drivers will end up in Victory Lane… that’s a good question and not one I’m ready to answer at this very moment even though I do have a few favorite choices. I think it’s pretty obvious that those that have shown strength so far this year will show that strength once again Sunday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It could be that we all get to witness history being made as a driver might win the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day, but then again… well … probably not…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© May 24, 2014 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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Published by Rusty Norman

Rusty Norman is a writer, Big NASCAR Fan, Jesus believer, musician and former local Stock Car racer. singer, songwriter, author and blogger. He was born in Southern Illinois and moved to Florida with his parents in 1962. His first story was published in the 1968 school literary magazine when he was a junior at Cypress Lake High School in Fort Myers, FL. Although he didn't venture into writing immedately, he did begin writing regularly over twenty-five years ago. He has also been a sound technician over the last 40 plus years and produces, almost weekly blogcasts during the racing season on his Nascar websites as well as being involved in the media ministry at First Assembly of God in Fort Myers, FL. He maintains several websites, each with a different focus, and continues writing songs, poetry and short stories along with articles like those found in his "Living Life Notes" series. He has just released the first of three planned books in the Living Life Notes series. The second is expected to be released in the middle to late September of this year and the third is planned to be released sometime in 2015. He also has several other books and stories in the works as well,