Joey Logano ready for physical, mental challenge of Coke 600

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The Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway has many obstacles that can test even the toughest driver.

There’s the extended distance of 600 miles, the additional strain on themselves and their equipment, the pressure to perform on the home track for many in the stock car industry, and the track conditions that can change as race day becomes race night.

Put it all together and it doesn’t seem like there’s really a point in trying to determine which side of NASCAR’s longest race is tougher – the physical or the mental.

Either way, it’s going to take a lot of you.

“The way our cars are set up inside, you have your seat and headrest to help support you throughout these long races, so physically you don’t get very tired – hopefully,” Joey Logano explained in today’s NASCAR teleconference. “Obviously, mentally it’s very straining because you’re in there for four-plus hours running 600 miles at 200 miles an hour.

“It’s mentally straining and it’s very hot in these cars – especially when you’re going into the summer – so the heat takes a toll and it eventually mentally gets you, so you have to physically prepare to be mentally prepared during the race.

“It’s not just the driver, it’s the car and the motor, putting that extra 100 miles on that you typically don’t in a normal race weekend makes it a lot tougher.”

However, Logano appreciates the overall challenge of the 600 enough that he isn’t about to possibly help himself out by calling for it to go to a more standard 500-mile race.

“[600 miles is] the thing that makes it kind of our crown jewel event,” the Team Penske driver said. “That’s the longest race we have of the year – and it feels like it, believe me – but it definitely makes it very rewarding.

“Now if we had to run 600 miles every week, I may have a different answer for you, but the fact that it’s only once a year kind of makes it unique and makes it a fun race…A lot of people put a lot of effort into winning this race, just like they would at Daytona or Indy. I feel like this is next in line behind those two.”

Logano has never won at Charlotte in his Sprint Cup career, but if his 1.5-mile work so far this year is any indication, he’ll have a chance to correct that problem. In three 1.5-mile events this season, he’s earned one win at Texas and a pair of fourths at Las Vegas and Kansas.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway can have 10,000 fans for IndyCar races

Indianapolis Motor Speedway fans
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Indianapolis Motor Speedway will have crowds for its NTT IndyCar Series race weekend next month, the first time fans are allowed at the track this year.

The track announced Friday that up to 10,000 fans will be allowed in the grandstands daily from Oct. 1-4. The IndyCar Harvest GP race doubleheader will be held on the track’s road course Oct. 2-3.

IMS has played host to several events this year without fans, including the 104th Indianapolis 500 on Aug. 23 and a NASCAR-IndyCar weekend July 4-5 that included the Brickyard 400. Plans originally were made to have fans at the Indy 500 before reversing course a few weeks ahead of the race. In a letter last month, Roger Penske vowed that fans would return for the 2021 Indy 500.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS president Doug Boles said in a release. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

Fans will undergo temperature screenings upon entry and also be required to wear face coverings at all times on property. The track said each attendee will receive a mask and bottle of hand sanitizer.

The Friday, Oct. 2 race will be shown at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA, and NBC will broadcast the Saturday, Oct. 3 race at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Here’s the release from Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 – For the first time in 2020, Indianapolis Motor Speedway will welcome fans to the Racing Capital of the World for the INDYCAR Harvest GP presented by GMR weekend. Up to 10,000 spectators can be in the grandstands each day of racing action Oct. 1-4, per approval from the Marion County Public Health Department.

Tickets are available now via IMS.com and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

The massive facility, which holds more than 300,000 people, will provide two spectator zones with up to 5,000 fans in each. The zones will be located in Turns 1 and 4 of the oval, offering strong sightlines of the road course. Strict health and safety rules will be in place, including the following:

  • Face coverings must be worn throughout the property at all times;
  • All fans will receive temperature screenings before gate entry;
  • Grandstand seats will be marked for distancing;
  • Attendees must use pre-assigned gates and remain in their designated zones.

Global Medical Response, the world leader in compassionate, quality emergency medical and patient relocation services, will be the presenting sponsor of the penultimate weekend of INDYCAR racing this season.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

The plan, which includes each attendee receiving a mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer upon entering the track, was developed in consultation with state and local health officials.

This event weekend is highlighted by an NTT INDYCAR SERIES doubleheader, with races Friday, Oct. 2 and Saturday, Oct. 3. It will be the penultimate event of the series’ season as the field pursues the champion’s prestigious Astor Challenge Cup to be awarded Sunday, Oct. 25 at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The INDYCAR Harvest GP will pay tribute to a storied IMS event, the Harvest Classic in September 1916. The Harvest Classic was the only racing event held outside of May at IMS from 1911 through 1993. The event featured three races, all won by legendary driver Johnny Aitken.

Fans also will see a host of facility improvements during the event weekend, including more than 30 new LED video boards, refreshed concession stands and restrooms, and 5G wireless connectivity throughout the facility.

The first race will air at 3:30 p.m. (ET) Friday, Oct. 2 on the USA Network. NBC will broadcast the second race at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, Oct. 3, with WTHR-13 airing the action live in Central Indiana.

Also racing that weekend will be the first pairing of two major sports car series — the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli and its North American counterpart, GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS. Former Indianapolis 500 pole winner Ryan Briscoe is among the drivers in the Indianapolis 8 Hour event held Sunday, Oct. 4.

The event also will showcase drivers in SRO America’s Pirelli GT4 America, GT Sports Club America and the TC America series.

The full on-track schedule is available at IMS.com.