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What You Need to Know for the 2015 Coca Cola 600

Coca Cola 600Charlotte Motor Speedway Theme Week continues today at the CRO Blog. This week we looked back at the recent Spring AutoFair, we got to see what it’s like at the track from “The King” Richard Petty’s point of view and the greatest race in Charlotte Motor Speedway history. Today we preview the upcoming Coca Cola 600.

This Memorial Day weekend, Charlotte Motor Speedway will be hosting the 56th Annual Coca Cola 600. The race itself takes place on Sunday May 24th. This race pits NASCAR Sprint Cup racers against each other in a 600-mile race. Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano may be out in front, but there’s no denying Jimmie Johnson has a knack for this track. If he wins again this year, he’ll tie Darrell Waltrip’s record of five victories at Charlotte.

 

The Venue: Charlotte Motor Speedway

When movie studios want to shoot at a track, they generally choose Charlotte. The Speedway has been used in several movies including “Days of Thunder” and “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Rickey Bobby.”

The Coca Cola 600 is held on the 1.5-mile Super Speedway oval. That’s just one of the tracks at this facility. The Speedway is also home to a 2.25-mile road course, the zMAX Dragway and a karting course. Across the street, The Dirt Track at Charlotte has a 0.4-mile dirt oval that hosts a range of races including the World of Outlaws World Finals.

The stands can seat 135,000 people, while camping spaces along the track give spectators a chance to stay close to the action all weekend. A 16,000-square foot television, once the largest HDTV in the world, gives fans a close view of the racing.

The track’s standout feature is a mirror-based lighting system that gives drivers a glare-free view without shadows from poles. This allowed the speedway to be the first to host races at night. The 600 starts at 6 p.m, and with 400 laps and more than four hours of racing, drivers and pit crews have to contend with drastic temperature changes as the track cools through the night.

 

The Memorial Day Double

Originally, the Coca Cola 600 competed directly with the Indianapolis 500, but changes in scheduling allow drivers to do “The Double,” driving both races covering 1,100 miles in one day. Only John Andretti, Robby Gordon, Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch have tried this feat, and of those, only Stewart completed both races. Busch is rumored to be planning a second attempt this year.

 

One Weekend, Many Events

The Coca Cola 600 is just one of four races that weekend. The Hisense 300 pits XFINITY Series and Sprint Cup Series racers against each other in a 300-mile race, and the LiftMaster Pole Night lets fans watch drivers qualify for the 600. The Circle–K Nos Energy Outlaw Showdown will be held at The Dirt Track, while the Little 600 pits NASCAR racers against each other on the kart track.

For those who can’t attend, Fox is broadcasting the event this year both on television and online. Races will be shown on Fox, Fox Sports and Fox Sports Go. Because the schedule could change due to weather, times won’t be announced until shortly before the races.

 

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