Event: Coca-Cola 600 When: Sun., May 28 at 6:15 p.m. EDT on TBS Where: Lowe's Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval) Together, Jimmy Makar, Larry McReynolds, Todd Parrott, Robin Pemberton, Tommy Baldwin, Jimmy Elledge, Ryan Pemberton and...
Event: Coca-Cola 600 When: Sun., May 28 at 6:15 p.m. EDT on TBS
Where: Lowe's Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Together, Jimmy Makar, Larry McReynolds, Todd Parrott, Robin Pemberton, Tommy Baldwin, Jimmy Elledge, Ryan Pemberton and Greg Zipadelli have led their drivers to 82 wins, 459 top-five finishes, 750 top-10 finishes and 88 poles prior to this Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
On May 30, 1999, Zipadelli's driver, Tony Stewart, pulled double duty. He ran the Indianapolis 500 and finished ninth, before flying to Charlotte to compete in the Coca-Cola 600 where he finished fourth.
Makar and Bobby Labonte hold the race record in the Coca-Cola 600. They finished the race in 3 hours, 56 minutes and 55 seconds at an average speed of 151.952 mph on May 28, 1995 enroute to Labonte's first Winston Cup win.
Makar and Labonte are also the defending pole winners of the Coca-Cola 600. They toured the 1.5-mile oval in 29.153 seconds at an average speed of 185.230 mph.
In last year's Coca-Cola 600, the Crew Chief Club finished in the following order: Makar/Labonte Start: 6th Finish: 3rd Status: Running Zipadelli/Stewart Start: 27th Finish: 4th Status: Running Parrott/Jarrett Start: 10th Finish: 5th Status: Running Baldwin/Burton Start: 12th Finish: 8th Status: Running McReynolds/Skinner Start: 11th Finish: 9th Status: Running Elledge/K. Wallace Start: 3rd Finish: 12th Status: Running Ro. Pemberton/R. Wallace Start: 19th Finish: 31st Status: Running Ry. Pemberton/Irvan Start: 20th Finish: 36th Status: Engine </pre> THE COCA-COLA 600 IS THE LONGEST RACE ON THE NASCAR WINSTON CUP SCHEDULE. DOES THE EXTRA 100 MILES REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN KEEPING THE ENGINE TOGETHER FOR THE ENTIRE RACE?
Jimmy Makar - Interstate Batteries Pontiac of Bobby Labonte - "It's not as big a deal as it was five years ago, but that extra 100 miles is still a big deal. You know that's typically when you'll see people fall out of the race. That's traditionally been a segment when motors fail. That's a hard 100 miles. When you build every motor to last 500 miles, you're really looking at a 600-700 mile motor by the time you're finished practicing. You add that 100 miles and it gets you into that gray area, and lots of guys don't do their homework and get more aggressive than they probably should be. We really work hard on achieving dependability and reliability when we go to Charlotte. We may just de-tune the engine a hair more than normal because of the extra 100 miles."
Larry McReynolds - Lowe's Home Improvement Chevrolet of Mike Skinner - "There's always been a lot of press about the extra 100 miles, and certainly, if you look at the attrition rate between a 500 mile race and a 600 mile race, you see more attrition. But I can't say our guys build engines and say, 'Okay this engine has to go another 100 miles.' I just don't think the extra 100 miles makes much of a difference. As far as approaching the 600, the biggest thing is we'll try not to put that many miles on the engine in practice, because we know it's going to run an extra 100 miles on Sunday."
Todd Parrott - Ford Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Ford of Dale Jarrett - "We just need to be easier during the first 500 miles. The guys try do make all the engines last a lifetime, but obviously with the 600, we try to be just a little more careful."
Robin Pemberton - Miller Lite Ford of Rusty Wallace - "It's up to the engine guys. Generally, today's motors could be run for 700-800 miles. You shouldn't have any trouble with them. But they do take a little extra care in the valve springs they choose and some other things when it comes to the 600. It's something they do every week, but I think they look over the engine with a magnifying glass for the 600."
FROM A CHASSIS STANDPOINT, WITH THE RACE STARTING IN THE DAYTIME BUT ENDING UNDER THE LIGHTS, WHAT KIND OF ADJUSTMENTS DO YOU NEED TO MAKE TO STAY COMPETITIVE THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE RACE?
Jimmy Makar: "We sort of give up the first half of the race - the daytime segment - because we need to be good enough to stay near the front of the pack and not get lapped. The checkered flag falls at night, so we work hard on the nighttime stuff. You can do some small things to adjust the car for the daytime, but I don't think you can be great in that segment, especially if somebody else is really tuned for the daytime. Most guys will tune for the nighttime segment, and that tends to put everybody on an even playing field."
Larry McReynolds: "The key is to have a plan of adjustments ready. We'll maybe put rubber wraps in the springs, or we can yank them out to make the car softer, as we try to find a neutral zone on wedge. The big key is not just being able to make adjustments, but being able to make as many adjustments as you can because we certainly know that Charlotte is well-known for changing track conditions as the weather gets cooler and the sun goes down."
Todd Parrott: "You need to have a pretty adjustable car, one with spring rubbers in it that you can adjust during the race. When the sun goes down the track gets tighter, so you want to stay on the tight side when the sun's out and have the car setup to where you can free it up when it gets dark."
Robin Pemberton: "You have to keep in mind that when the track temperature changes and the sun goes down, the track tends to get a bit tighter, it's a little more forgiving on the chassis. So, you have to chase that quite a bit into the night."