The Charlotte area is home to most National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) teams, most of whom received a two-week travel break during the All-Star race and Coca-Cola 600 events.
The time off proved troublesome for some—Kyle Busch was nabbed for a high-speed jaunt near his home in Charlotte, and is since remorseful for the incident—whereas most other drivers steered clear of similar drama, commenting primarily on the race at the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway on the quad-oval 24 degrees track. The Coca-Cola 600 revs up May 29 at 6:00 PM on FOX.
FYI WIRZ is the select presentation of motorsports topics by Dwight Drum at Racetake.com. The following quotes were derived from motorsports industry press releases:
Carl Edwards [No. 99 Ford]
“I’m coming off the best and biggest race and win of the year,” Edwards said. “Winning the Sprint All-Star race ranks right up there with winning the Daytona 500. I’ve been testing at Road Atlanta with my team and they are still pumped about the win too. We are all excited to go back to Charlotte this weekend and run a much longer race. This is the race that I train and work out for all year. This race is made for me; it’s a long, grueling marathon of a race.”
Jimmie Johnson [No. 48 Chevrolet]
“It’s a challenging track and a challenging event when you have such a fickle surface to race on,” Johnson said. “I enjoy that track. The old track, and how rough it was and abrasive it was, really fit my style. We had a great set-up for it and I knew how to drive the track. The rougher the track, the better in my opinion; I seem to do better at those tracks. So, in time, the track will get there.”
Kyle Busch [No. 18 Toyota]
“It depends on what kind of car you have,” Busch said. “I’ve been in races in the 600-mile race where it’s been really, really easy and short, or it’s been a long, drawn-out, knock ‘em, sock ‘em kind of day. I like running the 600 miles. I think it brings a new aspect to our sport—it’s longevity. People will say, ‘It’s too long. It’s boring.’ Well, it’s a part of the product and the history that we’ve had here on Memorial Day weekend for a long time that you run that extra 100 miles. Car preparation goes into that. Will your car make it? Will your engine last? Are the drivers fit enough to make it all the way?”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. [No. 88 Chevrolet]
“I like running here and I’m glad the track is fun, it is a fun race track,” Earnhardt said. “The two corners couldn’t be any more different from each other. (Turns) one and two seems like it’s a half mile longer than (turns) three and four. Three and four is real tight and tough to get through, the suns sort of bakes on that corner real bad. One and two is kind of long and fun and pretty drawn out for you. And there’s great racing here and the walls are yellow oddly enough. There are just all kinds of cool things about this place and neat things about it.”
Kevin Harvick [No. 29 Chevrolet]
“I've been a part of that race several times where you start the race really good and by the time its dark you are in big trouble,” Harvick said. “So, you definitely have to have some past history as far as what the race track does and that's one reason why the All-Star Race was so important.
“If your car is not doing something and it's getting dark rapidly, you are going to have to make a change on the fly without your car doing something. You are just going to have to trust it's the right change and just make it if the time is right as far as the sun going down and when the darkness is coming.
"You go into this race knowing it's an extra 100 miles, so it always just seems like it's longer. The race definitely feels longer to me."
The green flag will wave soon.
Photo credit: Dwight Drum at Racetake.com