Track Talk: Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte

Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 honors the brave men and women who gave all to serve our country.

Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 honors the brave men and women who gave all to serve our country.

Each weekend, our panel provides their thoughts on the latest stories in NASCAR while predicting the winner of the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the upcoming Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race!

This weekend, our panelists Ashley Hobbs, Ashley Hull, Christina Bowman, Cody ShoppeKathleen CassidyJose Acero Jr, Katie Copple, and Kayla Sturm weigh in on the seemingly successful aero configuration from the All-Star Race and the possibility of an entity or individual purchasing NASCAR.

Question 1
Despite the slower speeds, last weekend's Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race saw exciting action at Charlotte.

Despite the slower speeds, last weekend’s Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race saw exciting action at Charlotte.

NASCAR implemented a unique aero package that produced exciting racing for the Monster Energy NASCAR All Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Overall, what was your impression of the package and should this be further explored in future races, or for intermediate tracks in 2019?

Acero :  That package made for some great side by side racing.  Implement that ASAP! Never a dull moment!

Bowman :  High speed doesn’t always translate to great racing and I think last weekend’s All-Star Race demonstrated that. While I don’t think the package is perfect, I do think that it’s a marked improvement! We didn’t have the long stretches of green flag, single file racing that we normally see there.

While there was more passing and side by side racing, I’d love to see it just be a little more competitive at the front of the field. Although, I can’t decide if I think that has more to do with the racing package or Harvick just being so dominant this year.

Cassidy :  After attending races at Charlotte Motor Speedway for a few years now, this new aero package gave life to a dull track. For years, fans have been complaining about the lack of true racing in NASCAR’s hometown, but the All Star Race finally matched the excitement of the atmosphere.

Copple : I only caught the highlights from the All-Star race but, from what I’ve heard from fans during and since the race, it was some of the best we’ve seen this season. That alone should alert NASCAR that something needs to change!

Hobbs : Kind of a mixed feeling thing here. While the package did the job of closer racing, more passing, etc., it did mean slowing the cars down. While the package restricted the leader checking out too much, it was still a struggle for the pack to catch up. Clean air is king.

Testing this at other intermediate tracks I would hold off on; I would look at intermediate tracks that act like super speedways though. A track like Texas might benefit from this package and Auto Club Speedway.

Hull :  I loved the aero package! I think it made for one of the best All Star Races in a long time. No aero package is perfect, but I think if it is tweaked a bit, it would be great for future races!

Shoppe :  This aero package was certainly a great improvement! The racing through the field in last weekend’s All-Star race was some of the best in years, maybe ever! We don’t often see that exciting racing at the Charlotte Motor Speedway these days. So, I applaud NASCAR for making a big push to improve the racing at this oh so important home-track for our sport. I would like to see this package return for some similar tracks later this year.    

Sturm : I absolutely loved the package. Of course it could use a few tweaks here and there. But overall, I think it was a great decision by NASCAR. It’s no secret that the racing at Charlotte is not very exciting, but this package definitely changed that.

I do believe they should explore further into implementing it for other races. I know some people say that “restrictor plate racing isn’t real racing” but it’s either that, or dull races. And I’d definitely pick the restrictor plate over dull races.   

Question 2
Jimmie Johnson and his competitors may face an uncertain but possibly exciting times ahead for NASCAR's future. (Photo Credit: Jeremy Thompson/TPF)

Jimmie Johnson and his competitors may face an uncertain but possibly exciting times ahead for NASCAR’s future. (Photo Credit: Jeremy Thompson/TPF)

Recently, there have been rumblings about NASCAR potentially going up for sale.  In terms of a future buyer, who do you believe will purchase the sport, and might the purchase include International Speedway Corporation (ISC)?

Acero :  Whoever decides to pull out the checkbook and purchase NASCAR should at least have some motorsports common sense to make the sport better and not drive it to ground! Hopefully ISC is kept away from the deal. No need to throw Daytona or ‘Dega in the mix and possibly alter them!

Bowman :  Honestly, I don’t even know that I feel comfortable speculating on potential buyers and terms of sale. I just hope that whoever comes in has the best of intentions for the sport. Someone who will make changes it in a way that pairs tradition with modern marketing to bring in more spectators and more investors.

Cassidy :  To pinpoint the potential ownership of NASCAR to just one new person/group is hard. I hope, whoever is interested in owning NASCAR looks towards a brighter future while remember the past success. On this note, I believe it is important for the new owner to understand the needs of the drivers, fans and other parties who make the sport go round.

Copple : I don’t think we will see NASCAR sold off to a single person/family like it has been with the France Family. I think, if and when it’s sold, a big company or corporation will take over the sport. Frankly, I think it’s time for a change at the top.

Hobbs : I think a single group/person will not come out on top. I think the purchase would come from a few different parties wanting to take part. Who those people/groups are is as random as picking a Talladega or Daytona winner.

Hull :  I have no idea what the future holds for this sport and who will buy it, but whoever buys it has a lot of work to do to make the sport appealing to everyone, not just a select few. I want them to connect with the fans more and listen to what they want instead of what lines their pockets.

Shoppe :  No idea what is going to happen but we can just hope it will end in an improvement for the sport. It’s no secret that Nascar has gone in the wrong direction in terms of viewership and attendance. Let’s hope a potential new owner will bring new life into the sport and knows what they are doing.

Sturm :   That’s hard to say. What I do hope is that whoever buys the sport next does so because they love racing and are committed to getting it on the upswing again. It would be a shame if it was purchased by a person/organization who knows nothing about NASCAR, its past, its drivers, etc.

That’s two laps around this tricky Charlotte Motor Speedway! Before we drop the hammer with our Coca-Cola 600 picks, let’s review Round 12 of the season at Kansas Speedway!
A trio of our panelists correctly chose Kevin Harvick.

A trio of our panelists correctly chose Kevin Harvick.

Meanwhile, Hobbs continues to lead the way heading into Charlotte.

Meanwhile, Hobbs continues to lead the way heading into Charlotte.

Friends, it’s about time on Track Talk! Let’s reveal our picks to win Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte!
Can one of these five find their way to Victory Lane for Sunday night's Coca-Cola 600?

Can one of these five find their way to Victory Lane for Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600?

Tiongson :  It’s foolish to bet against Kevin Harvick, the most dominant driver heading into Charlotte. Winning nearly half of the races in 2018, and with this race having four stages, it’s time for “The Dominator” to showcase his prowess.

Hull :  Kevin Harvick, the man who has been on fire this year!

Shoppe :  Kevin Harvick again!

Sturm :    I’m just going to go with Kevin Harvick, who wouldn’t?

TPF Stats : He’s won 5 races this season (whopping 42% of the race) and he won the All-Star race. Look for Kevin Harvick to continue his dominating ways in the longest race of the season.

Copple : Harvick… because it’s better to bet on him than against him at this point.

Acero :  At this point in the season on 1.5 mile tracks, it’s foolish to not pick Harvick. But, as I see it and being from the gambling capital of the world, “you can’t win them all.” I’m gonna have to go with Kyle Larson and the 42 bunch!

Bowman :  Jimmie Johnson has a solid history in Charlotte. I’ll look for this veteran in Victory Lane.

Cassidy :  Joey Logano, Team Penske, and the 22.

Hobbs : Denny Hamlin has finished in the top 10 the past 3 years, and 5 times in the past 6 years. I’d like to see him continue this hot streak.

That wraps this week’s preview, race fans!  Thanks for joining us for another edition of Track Talk!

We’re ready for some racing. How about you? What do you think are the biggest storylines heading into Sunday night’s race and who is your favorite to win?  Tweet us now @ThePodiumFinish and tell us now!

Thanks as always to the TPF team for their amazing efforts this week!  We hope to see you at the races this season. Also, we’d like to take a moment to honor and remember the brave men and women who gave all not only for the United States, but for our world.

The opinions and thoughts expressed in Track Talk are solely of the authors. They do not reflect any organizations affiliated with the participants and author outside of TPF. This weekly feature is strictly for entertainment purposes and are not indicative of TPF, the organization, and its staff.

Rob Tiongson

30-something motorsports journalist who enjoys sports like baseball, basketball, football, soccer, track and field, and hockey. A Boston native turned Austinite, racing was the first sport that caught my eye. From interviews to retrospective articles, if it's about anything with an engine and four wheels, it'll be here on TPF, by me or by one of my talented columnists who absolutely have a passion for racing.

Currently seeking a sports writing, public relations, or sports marketing career, particularly in motorsports. I enjoy editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography.

Graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. Proud to be from Massachusetts, just as happy to be a Texan.

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