A little more to go on while waiting for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 start at Charlotte:
Just The Facts
WHAT: Coca-Cola 600.
WHERE: Lowe's Motor Speedway, Concord, N.C.
TRACK TYPE: 1.5-mile trioval (24 degrees of banking in the turns).
RACE DISTANCE: 600 miles (400 laps).
WHEN: 5:45 p.m. Sunday.
WEATHER: Sunny with temperature around 80 at race time.
RADIO: Performance Racing Network.
3 things to watch
1 - Kyle Busch is on the pole and he has been the hottest thing going in NASCAR. But he's never finished on the lead lap in the Coca-Cola 600. Not yet, that is.
2 - Kasey Kahne won the all-star race eight days ago but hasn't won a points race since Oct. 14, 2006, at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Can Kahne make it all the way back from a disappointing 2007?
3 - If fans, who voted Kahne into the all-star race, could elect a 600 winner, it'd be Dale Earnhardt Jr. He has come close to ending a two-year winless drought but hasn't closed the deal. If he wins Sunday night, he'd send a lot of folks home happy.
In the course of all that's gone on this past week it occurred to me I hadn't asked HumpyWheeler if his next job after leaving Lowe's Motor Speedway might be running the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte. Wheeler, who has always said the biggest parts of his job were "tickets, traffic and toilets," made me laugh out loud with his e-mailed reply. "No," he said, "not enough commodes."
You keep hearing people talk about how much they enjoy the all-star race because there are no points involved and everybody can just go all out to try to win. Shouldn't that be the point every week? If the points system is keeping racers from having that attitude week in and week out, doesn't that mean the points system is hurting the sport? And if it's hurting the sport, why is the championship the be-all and end-all to Sprint Cup racing? That whole thing seems illogical.
If I had any faith that Greg Biffle's car and his luck would hold up for 600 miles he would be my pick. But I just can't muster up the belief that something won't go wrong. So I will fall back on what has become the default pick. Winner: Jimmie Johnson
Boo him. Hate him. Get mad because he beats your favorite driver. But the bottom line is Kyle Busch is running up front and winning on a regular basis and even 600 miles isn't likely to stand in his way. Winner: Kyle Busch
Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs said "there's nothing new to report" involving Stewart's future with the team. Stewart's contract runs through next season, but the driver of the No. 20 Toyota has said he is looking at options for his future. Stewart, however, has said he has not asked for a release from JGR for next year. -- D.P.
Staff Sgt. Michael Gainey of the Army Reserve, who received the Bronze Star with Valor for actions in a sniper attack near Baghdad, Iraq, in October, will be a guest of the No. 8 team with driver Mark Martin today. Gainey lives in Albemarle and is a police officer in Mint Hill.