The Bank of America 500 is the final respite of the year for many Sprint Cup teams.
Even though there is no week off for teams between now and the end of the season, crews will have a chance to spend about twelve consecutive days in their own beds. It’s the longest stretch they get in the fall.
This race is moderately different than the Memorial Day race at Charlotte. The Coca-Cola 600 is NASCAR’S longest race, starting in the evening and ending at night. Saturday’s race will begin in the dark and is 100 miles shorter. In May, teams have more time to prepare because of the All Star race the previous week. There will be no such down time for crews this weekend.
Still, a 500 mile race will stress engines that run a little longer and drivers who have to be patient when it’s easy to pump the pedal. Teams will need to rely on strategy. Crews will get to choose between two, four or maybe no tires on some stops. Fuel mileage has come into play here more than once.
As for the track itself, it doesn’t offer any gimmicks. The racing and structure are pretty no-nonsense. That said, there isn’t a lot of straightaway space. Drivers will spend most of their evening turning. Tight cars will lose ground. Loose cars will cause a ruckus. Cars will get close together looking for the right lines.
With so many families in the stands, suites and infield, drivers and teams have extra motivation to win. Add it all together, and it should be a great event Saturday night. Now some random facts from the track’s website to impress your friends while eating bean dip and making awkward noises during ESPN coverage.
- The 1.5 mile track has 24 degrees of banking in the corner and five degrees of banking in the straighaways.
- The frontstretch is 1,952 feet. The backstretch is 1,360 feet.
- Kasey Kahne won won the Coke 600 Memorial Day weekend.
- Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick won here last year.
- Joey Logano has the highest average finish at the track.
- The previous sentence does not include a typo.
- Jimmie Johnson has six wins but only the third highest average finish at Charlotte..
- David Reutimann is second…I know.
- Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth are fourth and fifth in terms of average finish at Charlotte.
- Jeff Gordon won here five times. Mark Martin has entered Victory Lane four times. Kahne, Jeff Burton, Kurt Busch, Bobby Labonte and Bill Eliott are multiple race winners at Charlotte
- Days of Thunder and Stroker Ace were filmed at this track
- Next time you think resurfacing the track isn’t a big deal, consider this: More than 20 million pounds of asphalt was used to repave the racing surface in 2006.
- There are more than 100 flagpoles at the track.
- George Washington ate at a house that was on the property.
- Talk about going back to your roots, there are designated smoking areas at the track.
- The track doesn’t allow horns, whistles or other loud items, except race cars that top 100 decibels.