The Coca-Cola 600 is one of the crown jewels of the NASCAR season and is the longest race of the year. All NASCAR drivers circle this race on their calendars as a race they want to win. All of their friends and family members will be at the race and winning the longest race of the year is a great achievement to have on your resume.
Going into this year’s race, Jimmie Johnson is the favorite after coming off an impressive All-Star win last weekend and winning at Darlington the week before. His success at Charlotte is amazing but his dominance has faded as of late with the competition catching up to him.
This season has been clean and green for the most part and that should carry into this weekend as well. The one thing that fans should look for this weekend is the engines. The extra 100 miles is a big toll on the engines which will have teams on edge throughout the race.
Drivers to watch
Jimmie Johnson- It was already mentioned that he would be a threat this weekend after his recent surge. Johnson is a threat no matter where he goes and can never be overlooked. He knows what it takes to win a 600-mile race and has the patience and the stamina to get through the race and put himself in position at the end.
Matt Kenseth- The Daytona 500 winner qualified 20th and will have to work his way to the front which shouldn’t be a problem for Kenseth. He is known for not being the best qualifier and has come from mid-pack and beyond plenty of times in his career. Kenseth was seventh in final practice and should be threat this weekend. He had a strong run at the All-Star Race before spinning his tires on the final restart.
Marcos Ambrose- The driver from down under is still looking for his first career win on an oval. After qualifying second to his RPM teammate Aric Almirola, Ambrose showed more speed by posting solid times in practice. Last season, Ambrose posted a sixth place finish in the Coca-Cola 600 and followed that up with a fifth place fun during the fall race. Look for Ambrose to take the lead early in the race.
The Roush-Fenway cars have been strong at the 1.5 mile tracks for the past couple years and this weekend’s race should be no different. He may not show his hand early, but I expect Matt Kenseth to take the victory tonight. The Yates engines have shown to be reliable, besides for last week when experiments were being tried, and he has the speed to get it done.
1. Matt Kenseth
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Greg Biffle
4. Mark Martin
5. Marcos Ambrose
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