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This is Memorial Day weekend and we remember and honor those that have selflessly given of themselves to make and keep our country free. Because of them and their sacrifices we are able to celebrate and enjoy this weekend in the way we choose. For some it will be a time of reflection and remembering while for others it will be a time to celebrate life with their loved ones. I am thankful for the men and women who have given of themselves, and the many that made the supreme sacrifice, that I can enjoy this weekend in a nation that is free because of them, even if I spend much of it watching fast cars run around in circles.
Now, if you’re just a motorsports fan in general, then this weekend is definitely for you. There is a lot of racing going on around the world, like the Monaco Grand Prix and right here in the USA there is the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600. Many will take advantage of the coverage of all three and be tuned in from early morning until late at night on Sunday. I know I will and I’m making room on my DVR so I won’t miss a minute of any of them. Of course, the 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway is most important to me but I have always enjoyed the Indy 500 since I used to listen to it with my dad on the radio more years ago than I wish to mention right now.
Speaking of that, one of my favorite memories was when my whole family went for a day at the beach for a picnic and just to spend time together. My dad brought his portable radio and while we enjoyed grilled burgers, hot dogs, potatoe salad and soft drinks and our time together, he and I listened to the Indy 500 and dreamed about the possibilities of our beginning to race.
Well admittedly, we were much more interested in stock car racing but we always enjoyed the 500. While my dad worked for Firestone, (I was very young and hardly remember much about that time), he got to go and I remember that somehow we ended up with some film of his trip to one of them. We used to pull it out and watch it at times.
Racing was big in our family and we frequented our local dirt tracks in my hometown of Marion, IL. My dad used to help with the sound at the Fairgrounds track when the electronics repair shop he worked for was part of providing the sound equipment, etc, and I got to tag along. Man, I have to tell you, those are some of my fondest memories as a kid. Years later, after we moved to Florida, we finally got to realize our dream of racing stock cars.
(Oh well, enough reminiscing and back to this weekend.)
This is one of the biggest racing weekends of the year and the Coca-Cola 600 is the longest of its type at all. It starts before the sun goes down and it ends close to midnight. The track goes through several changes as the race progresses and the teams have to keep up with those changes or watch their hopes for winning fade. The first change happens as the sun begins to sink below the horizon and the track begins to cool. The second is most noticeable after it is completely dark and the third is when the dampness settles in later in the night.
As a fan, the 600 hundred can be a bit humdrum in the middle because the drivers and teams are just trying to make laps until about the last 100 or so. That’s when the fun usually begins and it is the hope enough has been going on to keep us all motivated and interested in watching the end of the race.
Although those last one hundred laps will be the beginning of the press for victory, the competition won’t really get hot and heavy until around fifty laps to go. From that point on, I expect those that can make a charge for the lead will and those that can maintain track position by using strategy and taking chances will do so. By that time, there could be some short tempers and definitely some very fatigued drivers.
This is another one of those races that is very hard to pick the winner. 600 miles is a long race and a lot can happen even to those that look like they might simply walk a way with the victory long before the race is over. If you listen to the many voices, they think Carl Edwards has a chance to take the 600 as well as the All Star race he won last weekend. Although that is a possibility, there is no way anyone can say that with certainty. When it comes right down to it, it is still anyone’s race and it could be someone everyone expects, or… someone completely unexpected. I reckon we just won’t know until it’s over…
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© May 28, 2011 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman and Nascarfansview.com
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