As the longest race on the Cup Series schedule, the Coca-Cola 600 is tough on both man and machine. Not only does such a lengthy race test drivers’ stamina and endurance, but the 600-miler requires teams to stay on top of adjustments to their cars since the track tends to change considerably from day to night as the sun sets and the track cools.
“It’s a hundred miles longer than any other race we run, which provides a challenge in and of itself,” driver Aric Almirola said. “The cars have less grip when the sun is out and they tend to slip and slide a lot more. As the sun goes down, the track gets more grip and we start going faster. That’s one of the very unique things about this race. What you have from a driveability and balance standpoint from the race car at the beginning of the race is not what you have at the end. You’re trying to figure out what it takes to get your car to win at the end, and you have to be good at all facets.”
As much as this race pushes the cars to the limit, Tyler Reddick believes it tests drivers and crew members even more. “It’s more of can the drivers, can the teams endure it,” he said. “Us as drivers in the car, when it’s not driving great, it’s really difficult to manage at times, especially if you’re on the looser side of things. It’s going to be important to survive those rough patches of the race and hopefully not lose too much track position. Even more importantly, it’s about not making a mistake and crashing. Six hundred miles is a lot of opportunities to do that, so it’ll be a very difficult race, but that car is up for that challenge. The car can handle it.”