Many cliches and/or objective lines can be used to describe what is considered NASCAR's marathon race. There's the simple "It's a long race," or the ever popular "Be patient." Even the "Patience is a virtue" line can be used at this race.
NASCAR's longest race lasts 100 miles more than any other on the circuit, testing the will of the teams and equipment to last those last crucial moments in hopes that they can survive to lay claim to victory. It's always been a test of endurance, with track changes happening from the moment the green flag waves right up to when the checkered flag is in the air. The mental preparation to get through such an event as well is just as difficult, meaning that the teams with experience in not only competing in this race, but also winning in this race, are always ones to watch.
From 2003 through 2005, no other driver at this race was more dominant than Jimmie Johnson. Sure, his first win in the race came due to Mother Nature, but the following year there was no one that could hold a candle to what he could do in the race.
The winningest driver at the track during the time it had his team's sponsor laid claim that it was "his house." But in recent years, no wins came, and questions arose as to if he still could do it. Even this year, 11 races in, no victories for the No. 48 group, and many wondered if the team had lost something, or if they just hadn't found the right combination yet.
Wait no more, because the six-time champion is back, and back in his yard.
Johnson had the best car in qualifying, the best car during the daylight, and had the best car when it mattered at night. He and the team got their mojo back, and are now victorious in 2014.
That win also paid dividends for writers, as three added yet another to their win total on the year. One of those writers took over the points lead, while another broke a tie in victories, giving him one more to use for Chase seeding. Here's where everyone now stands after the grueling Coca-Cola 600:
Dustin Parks (438) Jimmie Johnson WON - 2
Kara Martin (437) Kevin Harvick finished 2nd - 2
Ryan O'Hara (413) Joey Logano finished 12th - 3
Michael Hirshbein (408) Kyle Busch finished 9th - 1
Sal Sigala Jr (402) Jimmie Johnson WON - 4
Rob Tiongson (396) Jeff Gordon finished 7th - 2
Patti Rodisch (377) Jeff Gordon finished 7th - 1
Billy Fellin (371) Kevin Harvick finished 2nd - 0
Aaron Rosser (357) Kasey Kahne finished 14th - 1
Misan Akuya (338) Jamie McMurray finished 5th - 0
James Broomhead (327) Jimmie Johnson WON - 2
Next Race: It is getting close to where the seasons turn once again and the summer air arrives, but the spring season still has many more challenges ahead for the stars of the sport. The marathon at Charlotte has concluded, and now the attention turns to a track that is still tough on drivers, teams and equipment. It's so tough, that the mascot outside holds up a full-size car in it's palm.
The concrete marvel in the nation's first state awaits NASCAR as the next stop on the circuit is the "Monster Mile" in Dover, Delaware.
Writers, keep away from the grasp of Miles himself, and have your picks locked in by Thursday, May 29, at 10 p.m. ET for the FedEx 400 Benefitting Autism Speaks.