To quote a famous Oscar-winning film, “There’s no place like home.”
This Saturday, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Bank of America 500, the 30th race of the season, the fourth of the Chase and first of the Contender Round. I consider this to be the more interesting round with the track lineup of Charlotte, Kansas Speedway and the Alabama roulette wheel, Talladega Superspeedway.
Charlotte Motor Speedway is a 1.5 mile (2.4 km) intermediate quad-oval located in Concord, North Carolina. It’s the centerpiece of the soon to be NASCAR Hall of Fame member Bruton Smith’s Speedway Motorsports, Inc. empire, and by extension, the Performance Racing Network.
Being in the Metrolina area, it’s the home track for just about every NASCAR team. For Hendrick Motorsports, the hauler drive from the shop to the track is a long, grueling, oh so difficult five-minute drive. I don’t know if it’s exactly five minutes, but it’s close enough that you can see the shop from the track.
I don’t know if there’s a track out there more temperature sensitive than Charlotte. One moment, the ambient temperature could be 75 degrees and your car is driving loose. Then the temperature could drop one degree and the car becomes tight as hell.
There are several keys to winning at Charlotte. First is keeping up with the changes. This is a long race at 501 miles. Second is taking care of the car. While 500-mile races aren’t as grueling on cars as they were in the past, it still must endure everything thrown at it around the Beast of The Southeast. Finally, there’s fuel management. Back in May, it was Carl Edwards who played the fuel game correctly to win the Coca-Cola 600.
With as dominant as the No. 4 car has been as of late, it should come as no surprise that defending race winner Kevin Harvick is a 7/2 favorite to win Saturday night according to Vegas Insider. Kyle Busch, who finished 11th in the Coca-Cola 600 in his first race back from a broken leg, is 6/1. Personally, my money is on either of them to win.
Don’t miss the Bank of America 500 Saturday beginning at 6:30 p.m. on NBC. You can hear the radio broadcast for the race at 6:00 p.m. on PRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio. Doug Rice, Mark Garrow and Wendy Venturini will be in the booth. Rob Albright and Pat Patterson will be working the turns. Brad Gillie, Brett McMillan, Jim Noble and Steve Richards will work pit road.
I’ll leave you with this fact. Avocados are poisonous to birds.