By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
CONCORD, N.C. – An extra element of difficulty will face Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers in next weekend’s Coca-Cola 600. After Joey Logano and other drivers adjusted to the new Monster Energy All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway aero package, they will have to get reacclimated to the package used in all other races at 1.5-mile tracks this year.
Logano won the Monster Energy All-Star Race in 2016 but has yet to win one of NASCAR’s Crown Jewels, the Coca-Cola 600. The 27-year-old’s best finish in the longest race on NASCAR’s schedule was a third-place finish in 2011. Logano has four top-10 finishes in eight attempts at 600 glory.
“I think the biggest challenge will be when I get in that car on Thursday and realize how fast I am going,” Logano explained. “When I go into turn one and I have to lift it is going to feel really fast. For that race, obviously 600 miles and a unique event. That is what makes the Coke 600 so special to try to win. It is a crown jewel event, one of the top-three races in my opinion to try to win. I would love to do that, especially as a Coca-Cola driver. That would be really a big accomplishment for me and for our race team. The challenges we have tonightwill be completely different than what we have there and the way the handling will come into play and the length of the race.”
Logano qualified 10thin qualifying for the Monster Energy All-Star Race. In the combined practice session his No. 22 Shell / Pennzoil Ford Fusion was 16thfastest. Logano ran 49-laps in the session as he and other drivers attempted to learn how to drive this aero package, before returning to the normal aero package next weekend.
Heading into next weekend’s Coca-Cola 600, Logano sits second in the Championship Standings, 12-points behind Points Leader Kyle Busch.