Sunday, May 29, 2011

Drivers to watch for at the Coca-Cola 600

Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
The Coca-Cola 600 is considered one of the premier races in NASCAR. Six hundred miles takes a great car, teamwork and stellar driving. These are some drivers I think you should be watching for in tonight's Coca-Cola 600:


Brad Keselowski won his second career pole on Thursday and said afterward, “I know it sounds cliché, but it’s awesome!” when he responded to a question asking about how feels about the pole. Keselowski has a sense of humor - when he was asked why he’s suddenly faster, he answered that his crew chief “does live on Perth Road so he probably got some secrets.” (Kyle Busch was cited for speeding this week on Perth Road in Iredell County, N.C.)

Last weekend, Keselowski did race his way into the All-Star Race with a second-place finish in the Showdown. He managed to finish 18th, one lap down.

Although he scored the pole position for Sunday, he did finish in 25th during the first practice on Saturday and in final practice he finished in 22nd.

A.J. Allmendinger driving the No. 43 US Air Force Ford has eight starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway and will start second on Sunday. Previously his best career finish at the Coca-Cola 600 was last year with a 14th-place finish. Thursday he qualified second, while finishing in 24th in his final practice run. At the moment, Allmendinger is 16th in points. Allmendinger is looking for his first career win in NASCAR'S Sprint Cup Series.

The talk of the weekend happens to be about Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who became the first Nationwide driver to win a series race this season after Sprint Cup drivers have been dominating all season. Stenhouse Jr. had the fastest lap time in practice on Thursday. Following that up, on Saturday he won the pole for the Nationwide race and finished in fourth. On Sunday, he will make his debut in ninth position to drive in his longest race to date. (Ricky is driving the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford in place of Trevor Bayne.)

Carl Edwards won last weekend's All Star Race and is looking to pull off the Charlotte double and win both the All Star and the Coca-Cola 600. Carl Edwards goes into the race as the current points leader with 24 points over Jimmie Johnson. Edwards has ended a long winless streak and is now, along with his Roush Fenway teammates, one of the fastest cars on the track. To date, Edwards has 19 career wins, with one of them coming at Las Vegas this season.

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