Sunday, May 26, 2013

SPRINT CUP 2013: RACE 12: The Coca Cola 600 -- The Big One for Gen 6

The Coke 600 is one of the premium races on the years' calendar both representing the season's longest race and also one on home territory as the huge majority of teams are headquartered in close proximity to the team headquarters and homes of most of the racing teams. 

At this milestone point of the 2013 season, has anyone noticed the extent to which five time champ, Jimmie Johnson is leading the points standings?

Were the chase format not initiated, this would be about the earliest in the season talk would be speaking of an insurmountable lead. Johnson and Chad Knaus, his crew chief, seem to be up to any challenge not the least of which is adjusting to the new "Gen 6" car in much the same manner their mastery of the previous "Cat of Tomorrow" helped them become so dominant. Despite this, the buzz so far this year is making much of the success of the Joe Gibbs teams as Matt Kenseth taking on the #20 ride has proven to yield exactly what the team had hoped for, a consistent winner. Showing the Gibbs touch this year is tonight's poll sitter, Denny Hamlin, who, were it not for his wreck at the hands of Joey Logano at Fontana, would be right in the championship mix right now, sits on tonight's poll with a hot new track record.

Toyota tops tonight's qualifying results with the pole winner and four out of the top five positions after which Chevrolet takes control having Kurt Busch in the Furniture Row car on the outside poll and placing  nine cars in the top twenty once again making qualify an issue for Ford with only one top ten qualifier, Greg Biffle in 7th then Carl Edwards in 13th. Ford then has the final three top 20 spots with the two Petty rides, Almirola and and Ambrose. Defending champ, Brad Keselowski starts in 20th. 

Whose cars and drivers will hold up strongest in the marathon race?  One Hendricks engine blew up in practice forcing Danica Patrick to the back. Picking a favorite is no easy task given this is the Generation 6's first appearance in the Coke 600.

1 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Office  Toyota 195.624
2 78 Kurt Busch Furniture Row Racing / Sealy  Chevrolet 195.221
3 20 Matt Kenseth Home Depot / Husky  Toyota 195.094
4 55 Mark Martin Aaron's Dream Machine  Toyota 194.595
5 15 Clint Bowyer 5-hour Energy  Toyota 194.503
6 5 Kasey Kahne Time Warner Cable  Chevrolet 194.349
7 16 Greg Biffle Fastenal  Ford 194.238
8 18 Kyle Busch M&M's Red-White-Blue M-Prove America  Toyota 193.952
9 1 Jamie McMurray Bad Boy Buggies  Chevrolet 193.694
10 39 Ryan Newman Quicken Loans  Chevrolet 193.639
11 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. National Guard  Chevrolet 193.444
12 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Patriotic  Chevrolet 193.292
13 99 Carl Edwards Fastenal  Ford 193.271
14 24 Jeff Gordon Drive to End Hunger  Chevrolet 192.961
15 29 Kevin Harvick Budweiser Folds of Honor  Chevrolet 192.52
16 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Target  Chevrolet 192.287
17 56 Martin Truex Jr. NAPA Auto Parts  Toyota 192.191
18 43 Aric Almirola US Air Force  Ford 192.13
19 9 Marcos Ambrose DeWalt  Ford 192.123
20 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Lite  Ford 191.884
21 13 Casey Mears GEICO  Ford 191.884
22 27 Paul Menard Menards / Serta  Chevrolet 191.727
23 36 JJ Yeley World Trade Barter Solutions  Chevrolet 190.988
24 10 Danica Patrick #  Chevrolet 190.826
25 14 Tony Stewart Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1  Chevrolet 190.792
26 38 David Gilliland Long John Silver's  Ford 190.665
27 31 Jeff Burton Cheerios  Chevrolet 190.49
28 93 Travis Kvapil Burger King / Dr Pepper  Toyota 190.416
29 21 Trevor Bayne Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center  Ford 190.409
30 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. # Fastenal  Ford 190.241
31 22 Joey Logano Pennzoil Shell  Ford 190.047
32 98 Michael McDowell Hyde Park Storage Suites  Ford 189.967
33 7 Dave Blaney SANY  Chevrolet 189.793
34 47 Bobby Labonte Bush's Grillin' Beans  Toyota 189.401
35 34 David Ragan Dockside Logistics  Ford 189.049
36 51 Regan Smith(i)  Chevrolet 188.725
37-OP 83 David Reutimann Burger King / Dr Pepper  Toyota 188.383
38-OP 30 David Stremme Lean 1 / Swan Energy  Toyota 188.265
39-OP 32 Timmy Hill # OXY Water  Ford 188.114
40-OP 87 Joe Nemechek(i) NEMCO Motorsports  Toyota 188.081
41-OP 33 Landon Cassill(i) / Little Joe's Autos  Chevrolet 188.075
42-OP 35 Josh Wise(i) MDS Transport  Ford 186.406
43-OP 95 Scott Speed Leavine Family Racing  Ford 188.659
19 Mike Bliss(i) Gentry Plastics / Plinker Tactical  Toyota 188.219