The 2021 Coca-Cola 600 At Charlotte

from a NASCAR Fan’s View

There are a few differences for the race this weekend at The Charlotte Motor Speedway. For starters, they got to practice and they get to qualify. For some, just the fact that they got to spend fifty minutes of practice and try some different setups may make a big difference when they take to the track late Sunday afternoon and into the night. For others, well…

As a NASCAR fan and having been an owner/driver at local tracks, I have not missed the hours of practice they used to get. Of course, I know many of you will say, “So what?!?! You were just small time and local. These are the best drivers in the world and they need the track time.”

Well… that is precisely my point in making the statement I just did. You see, I have enjoyed the racing quite a bit more since they have had that little-to-no track time before they hit it for the race. From my view, the lack of practice and qualifying has been somewhat of an equalizer. In some ways, it is just like local racing. We didn’t get hours of practice. We did get some time on race night but, for the most part, we did kinda have to run what we arrived with and really didn’t have much time to make major changes.

It has been interesting to see how some drivers and teams have adapted to the way things changed due to the “pandemic” and it also has become obvious which of them seemed to depend on that extra track time and how not having it has affected their performance. No matter though, they have risen to the challenge. Even though it might take a few pit stops, they usually get their cars tweaked to the way they need it to be more competitive. Personally, I think it just adds to the drama that unfolds during the race.

Okay, that’s enough of that for now.

Memorial Day weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway is one of the special weekends in a NASCAR season. It is a very patriotic weekend commemorating the men and women in the military that gave their lives for while in serving this country. Many cars will be sporting paint schemes specifically for this weekend and it will be a time of honoring and remembering those fallen heroes.

This year’s race will still be 600 miles but could have a different face show up in Victory Lane. Martin Truex Jr. has often been mentioned as one of the ones to watch this weekend and he does have outstanding stats for this track, especially in recent years. Truex has had a very decent year so far but, he has struggled at times. whether or not this weekend will be one of domination or struggle remains to be seen and, from this fan’s view, it could go either way.

Kyle Larson is another name that has been mentioned often for this weekend and for good reasons. He has had a number of second place finishes this season along with one win. It seems every weekend, they show up with a car and driver ready to run up front and, if things had gone his way, he could already have multiple wins. Yes, he is that fast and he could take the win when it’s done.

I’m not sure but, with the way the Hendrick teams have been running, there are three other possible winners from that camp. All of them have been running strong recently and Chase Elliott, William Byron or Alex Bowman could just as easily end up in Victory Lane at the end of the 600 miles. As usual, 600 miles is a long time and anything could happen but, the Hendrick teams have to be considered as possible winners of this one.

With the extra track time for practice, (uh, all fifty minutes of it), there could be some tighter competition from certain drivers and teams. A couple in particular, at least form my view, would be Denny Hamlin and Kyle Bush. In particular, I’m thinking the extra time to tweak on his car would benefit Kyle Bush since he has often mentioned how much he missed being able to practice. I’m not making any kind of statement here, just stating the facts as I understand them. As for Denny Hamlin, well, I’m just not sure if he will win, but he could. He has been running really well this season and, as many have stated over and over in recent weeks, he is due for a win. It may not happen this weekend, but…

When it comes to the Stewart/Haas and Richard Childress teams, I guess the best thing I can say is they do show promising speed so far this weekend so how could this fan discount their possibilities for a win Sunday night. There are also some smaller teams that could surprise all of us by taking a win Sunday night.

So, after all is said and done, the questions still remain. Will there be another first time winner in 2021 or will someone totally unexpected make the trip to Victory Lane and add to the ever-shrinking list of spots available to make the top sixteen for the playoffs? That my friends is a question I don’t have an answer for at this moment but, I’m sure it will be answered by the end of 600 miles in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© May 29, 2021 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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