Coca Cola 600: Win, Lose or Draw


This sure feels like the day after Christmas.

Instead of returning an ugly sweater and wondering what to do with a microwave quesadilla maker, Sprint Cup fans are wondering what to make of another dominant run by Jimmie Johnson in Charlotte. Here’s a breakdown: Win: Kurt Busch

In his first IRL start, Busch finished sixth and got to Charlotte in plenty of time to run the 600.  Moreover, he was the story on major networks covering Sunday’s action and received overwhelming support from his Sprint Cup colleagues.

There’s no reason for Busch not to try this double again next year. Busch’s success also opens the doors for other Sprint Cup drivers make the attempt. Finally, if you’re a Sprint Cup driver who can’t get a competitive ride, competing in IRL looks like quite the viable option right now.

Lose: Hendrick Motorsports

Jimmie Johnson won his seventh race at Charlotte. That’s a record. If Johnson woke up as the announcers said after the race, it’s bad news for the rest of the Sprint Cup teams.

How can this be a loss? It wasn’t a matter of if Johnson would wake up, it’s when. The ominous issue is the three Hendrick engines with issues. Two didn’t finish. It’s not a surprise for teams to have engine issues at Nascar’s longest race. It is when that team is Hendrick Motorsports, who supplies engines to more than nearly 40% of the garage. And with win or go home consequences heading into the Chase, it’s important for this to be an anomaly, not a trend. Just ask Joe Gibbs Racing how tough that can be.

Draw: Roush Fenway Racing

The good news is Trevor Bayne, who is one of the nicest drivers I ever met, has a full-time sponsored ride for 2014. It’s also in the #6 which hasn’t run in more than two years.

The bad news there’s no guarantee Roush Fenway Racing will run four teams. The Carl Edwards to JGR rumors continue to simmer, and Greg Biffle said we wants to extend his deal with RFR but has options. Keep in mind, both sponsors have expiring contracts with RFR as well. This Silly Season is bound to distract at some point if it already hasn’t.

Fortunately, Sprint Cup fans don’t have to wait 364 days for the next race. Take time to remember why this is a holiday, and insert a random catchphrase here.