5 Questions Before ... Subway Fresh Fit 600

It seems like it’s been forever since the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has been on track. The series was off last weekend for Easter Sunday, but now it’s back to work for all the drivers and teams! The series returns with a bang, as the first night race of the season will be held at Phoenix International Raceway for some good old fashioned Saturday night racing! With an extra hundred kilometers added on for good measure, the weekend is shaping up to be exciting and memorable!

How much of a difference will the extra laps make? … PIR added an extra 63 laps, or 100 kilometers, to their spring race earlier this season. The extension was due to the more consistent start times NASCAR implemented for the 2010 season, which would have prevented the race from finishing under the lights as it always had. The extra laps may cause the race to get more strung out for longer periods of time, and it might change the fuel strategy more so than in the past. One thing is for sure: It might end up causing Denny Hamlin some added discomfort due to his knee surgery last week. Speaking of which …

How long will Denny Hamlin last in the car on Saturday? … Hamlin had surgery a couple days after his Martinsville win two weeks ago to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered in the offseason … playing pickup basketball of all things. (Hey, Denny! At least it wasn’t Frisbee!) Many doctors have said it’s going to be how well Hamlin tolerates the pain that determines how long he stays in the car. Casey Mears will be standing by for Hamlin if he can’t continue in the race. It will definitely be something to keep an eye on.

Who will “have at it” this weekend? … Boys will be boys! At Atlanta it was Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski. At Martinsville it was Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth. Even with the Cup Series off, the NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers featured a scuffle between James Buescher and Jason Leffler. These drivers have been very cranky lately, and NASCAR continues to let things slide with no more than a mere slap on the wrist. Rarely do we leave a racetrack anymore without someone angry at someone else. It’s always been that way in NASCAR, but recently it’s been promoted more than years past after Ramsey Poston’s,” Boy’s, have at it” line in January. Let’s get ready to rumble!

What will race fans do on Sunday? … Last week was Easter Sunday, and many race fans were probably too busy with family and friends to miss the race. This week, however, there’s no holiday. While Saturday night racing is a favorite by many race fans, it leaves us scratching our heads wondering what to do the next day. One thing race fans, especially the sentimental ones, can look forward to on Sunday is Jeff Gordon’s appearance on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The show airs at 8PM ET on ABC. Grab some tissues and a shoulder to cry on and you’re good to go.

What will attendance be like this weekend? … It’s been an ongoing topic of discussion for several weeks now. Attendance has been spotty at best at several of the tracks we’ve already raced on. It’s not as if Phoenix is a marquee event in NASCAR or anything, but attendance has almost become a hotter topic than the race winner itself. Expect the worst, hope for the best at the track this weekend.

Bonus questions: How will Casey Mears do if he has to sub for Denny? … What is the over/under on how many times we’ll hear about the “dog leg”? … How many drivers played around on the sand dunes in their buggies this week?

Photo courtesy of NASCARMedia. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
5 Questions Before ... Subway Fresh Fit 600 5 Questions Before ... Subway Fresh Fit 600 Reviewed by Summer Dreyer on Thursday, April 08, 2010 Rating: 5