What I saw last Saturday night in the All-Star Race was that there are some cars that can really dominate this track come the Coca-Cola 600 this Sunday. Conversely, I also saw a lot of cars that have some serious work to do. That's going to be the challenge.
This is going to be a 600-mile marathon. Not only do you have the durability challenge or the transition of the track from daylight to dark, but also the challenge of being able stay consistent over those 600 miles. Whoever does that will come out smelling like a rose Sunday night.
There really were some ill-handling race cars last Saturday night in the Showdown and All-Star races. Hopefully, the teams battling those will come back with some better packages. They really have their work ahead of them.
I talked to Kurt Busch and he told me that they learned some things Saturday night. He said they need to work even harder for the 600 to understand and learn what the car and spoiler combined went through in the transition from daylight to dark. Kurt admitted to me that his car went from being the most ill-driving race car he has ever sat in to the best car he has driven in two years.
He says he and his Penske Racing team have to maximize their effort and the opportunity they were given to learn from what happened to the car Saturday night and apply it to Sunday's Coke 600. He said he and the team were looking at all aspects of that, including what hitting the wall might have done to turn that car into a rocket ship.
Now a lot has been made of the Denny Hamlin-Kyle Busch dust-up Saturday night. For a driver to get mad, when they know the score and know that it's $1 million at stake with no points in the All-Star Race, is somewhat narrow minded in my book. It doesn't matter whether it is your teammate or not, you just know that no one is going to cut you any slack, especially when there is a cool million dollars on the line. You can get sideways about this all you want, but you might as well get over it. Everyone needs to understand it's nothing personal - it's business.
We aren't out there square dancing folks - it's for keeps.