COCA-COLA 600

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Somewhere Terrell Owens is smiling.

Charlotte is a track where you better get your popcorn ready. The Coca-Cola 600 is NASCAR’S longest race, starting in the evening and ending at night.

The race length will stress engines that run a little longer, tires that wear a little more, crew chiefs worried about fuel and drivers who have to be patient when it’s easy to amp on the gas.

Strategy will be the word of the day Sunday night. Crews will choose between two, four or maybe no tires on some stops. Fuel mileage can come into play. Weather has been a factor in the past.

As for the track itself, drivers like it because it’s close to home. Most will have spent two straight weeks at home, sleeping in their own beds and getting recharged mentally and physically.

The track doesn’t offer any gimmicks. The racing and structure are pretty no-nonsense. Track position was a big factor in the All-Star race last week. That led most race stategy.

With so many families in the stands, suites and infield, drivers and teams have extra motivation to win NASCAR’s longest race of the year. Now some random facts from the track’s website you can use to impress your friends with Saturday night.
 
  • 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.
  • Kevin Harvick is the defending race winner. Matt Kenseth won the second race at Charlotte.
  • Joey Logano has the highest average finish at the track.
  • David Reutimman, Jimmie Johnson (who has six wins at Charlotte) Carl Edwards and  Tony Stewart round out the top five.
  • Jeff Gordon won here five times. Mark Martin has entered Victory Lane four times. Kasey Kahne, Kenseth, Jeff Burton, 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 even 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.