NASCAR: Coca-Cola 600 the toughest race of the season
Sunday at 5 p.m. on Fox NASCAR drivers, crews, and their cars will face the toughest test of the entire Sprint Cup series when they race the Coca – Cola 600 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The race is 100 miles longer than any other race during the season and it poses a number of challenges.
The Fox Sports Broadcast team of Chris Myers, Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds, Michael Waltrip, Jeff Hammond, Steve Byrnes, Matt Yocum and Krista Voda will be on hand to handle the race duties. McRenolds shared his thoughts on the race with Sports Talk Florida.
MCREYNOLDS SAYS A STRONG SHOWING AT CHARLOTTE IS IMPORTANT FOR JIMMIE JOHNSON & THE NO. 48 TEAM: “We see them stumbling a bit each week. We are one race away from being one-third of the way through the season, and when you see Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team run sixth in the All-Star Race at Charlotte without any true issues, it definitely raises concern. Johnson said on the radio that he feels like he’s trying to solve a puzzle every time he’s behind the wheel. That is so uncharacteristic of that team. Five Hendrick-related teams have wins this year, while he sits winless. And of the Hendrick Motorsports cars in the All-Star Race, the No. 48 team probably was the weakest. These next three tracks – Charlotte, Dover and Pocono – where 16 or 17 of his 66 wins have come – will be very important for that team. If they haven’t won by then, then I think we can say something really is up with them.”
MCREYNOLDS SAYS THE IMPACT ON EQUIPMENT OF THE EXTRA 100 MILES IN THE COKE 600 HAS CHANGED OVER THE YEARS:“We probably make more out of those extra 100 miles now than really is there. For the majority of my crew chief career, we sat on pins and needles those final 100 miles. We knew we were on borrowed time because we were in a zone with the cars we were only in once a year. Those extra 100 miles still are a concern today, but not nearly as much as 500 miles were back in my day.”
MCREYNOLDS EXPECTS POTENTIAL FOR MORE MECHANICAL ISSUES IN THE COKE 600 GIVEN INCREASED SPEEDS THIS YEAR:“Speeds are up, and they will increase as we race into the night because the track will gain grip, get cooler and generate more horsepower. Teams are concerned for 600 miles no matter the pace, but it goes to reason that a faster pace is harder on everything, especially the engines because RPMs are up. Engine guys are nervous about engines anyway and will be all over their teams to keep the mileage down on Thursday and Saturday in practice. The extra speed is in the corners, which increases the load. You get a little concerned about suspension parts because corner speeds are so much higher. But the biggest thing in the Coke 600 is the strain on engines.”