It is NASCAR’s longest race, 600 miles and it is also considered one of the crown jewels of NASCAR. Sunday night under the light’s NASCAR will run the Coca Cola 600.
“I love this race,” said Jimmie Johnson, who has won the Coke 600 three times. “It’s such a challenge to all of us both mentally and physically. The 48 team does well here because it’s such a long race that you have the time to adjust on your car, make the changes from day to night and improve with each stop.”
The change over from day tonight is a big part of the challenge with this race. Maybe an even a bigger challenge, the extra 100 mile put on the car and the driver.
“The 600 is a long race for man and machine for sure,” said Brian Vickers. “The technology has come so far from what it used to be -- I notice that a lot more people finish it. I think it certainly tests your physical ability, but also your mental ability to stay focused and to not only be physically capable of running the full race, but to mentally stay with it too. It’s a long race.”
As if the day is not long enough, Kurt Busch is making the day even longer. He ran the Indy 500 earlier in the day, finishing sixth. If all goes well, Busch will run 1100 miles on Sunday.
“I hope we can go out and win (the 600),” said Busch’s crew chief Daniel Knost. “I think he’s been working a lot on fitness and that’s a real challenge, but I think he’ll be fine there. I think that the cars are really different, so it may take him a little while to get settled into our car.”
Kurt Busch is one of seven former Coke 600 winners in the field, having won this race in 2010. Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne each have three wins, Kevin Harvick two, Casey Mears and Matt Kenseth have a single victory.
The rest of the field is still chasing a win at this premier NASCAR event.
"To me, the Coca-Cola 600 is like the Southern 500,” said Ryan Newman. “It is one of the races I haven't won and it would mean a lot to me to win. Having won at Charlotte in a Nationwide car, as well as the Sprint All-Star Race, I know how to get the job done. “
Johnson will lead the field to the green at about 5:18 pm Central Time. He is still looking for his first win on the season. As is Kansas native Clint Bowyer, who will start 5th. Brad Kelselowski, Kahne and Danica Patrick makes up the rest of the top five.