Denny Hamlin Wins First Coca-Cola 600 in Double OT

Denny Hamlin held off Kyle Busch in double overtime to win his first Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the longest NASCAR race ever at a distance of 619.5 miles.

Hamlin and Ross Chastain started on the front row for the second overtime, with Busch following his teammate past the damaged car of Chastain and into a battle for the win. In turn two on the final lap, Busch tried to make the move stick on the high side but got loose, sealing the win for Hamlin.

“It’s so special,” Hamlin said post-race. “It’s the last big one that’s not on my résumé. It meant so much. … I’ve been a Coke family driver for 18 years. Never won the Coke 600 before. This means a lot. Man, we weren’t very good all day. Just got ourselves in the right place at the right time.

The first attempt at overtime ended with a crash involving the leaders. Austin Dillon got a huge run on leader Kyle Larson headed into turn four while Chastain tried to make a pass on the outside. Dillon and Larson lost control and crashed, collecting Chastain and Joey Logano while Hamlin and Busch snuck through to put themselves in position for the win.

Overtime was brought out when Chase Briscoe lost control of his Stewart Haas Racing Ford trying to pass low with two laps to go in regulation.

These were just a few of the 18 caution flags brought out, the most since the 2005 Coke 600 where a record-setting 22 yellow flags flew. There were many concerns over tyre durability, as many drivers dealt with cut tyres that led to cautions. The longest green flag run was only 48 laps.

When not thrown for cut tyres, some major wrecks collected many contenders. On a lap 192 restart, Ryan Blaney clipped the apron in turn one and collected eleven other cars, including Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch, Bubba Wallace, William Byron, and Brad Keselowski. A red flag was brought out for a spectacular crash on lap 346 when Chris Buescher was sent tumbling on front stretch, landing on his roof.

Daniel Suarez was running fourth when he made contact with Briscoe exiting turn four, sending him spinning across the field. Buescher was caught in the incident and sent sliding into the grass, when his right front tyre dug into the turf and launched his car into a roll. Thankfully, Buescher immediately put his window net down to signify that he was okay, and after a few minutes on his roof safety crews set the car back on all fours (threes?) and he was able to get out of the car. Rookies Todd Gilliland and Harrison Burton were also involved in the crash.

(Photo Credit: James Gilbert / Getty Images / Courtesy of NASCAR)

The Coke 600 is split into four stages of 100 laps each, with Elliott, Suarez and Chastain winning stages.

Kevin Harvick fought through the pack all night to finish third, with Briscoe recovering from his spin to finish fourth. Christopher Bell finished fifth, putting three of four Joe Gibbs Racing cars in the top five.

Tyler Reddick, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Michael McDowell, Larson, and Alex Bowman came back for top ten finishes. Larson had three separate pit lane penalties and spun all within the first 200 laps, and was fighting for the win until he got caught in accidents at the end of the race.

The next race on the calendar is Sunday 05 June, when the Cup Series makes their debut at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.

Coca-Cola 600 – Official Results

Position Start Number Driver Team Manufacturer Laps Status
1 1 11 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 413 Running
2 4 18 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 413 Running
3 18 4 Kevin Harvick Stewart Haas Racing Ford 413 Running
4 15 14 Chase Briscoe Stewart Haas Racing Ford 413 Running
5 3 20 Christopher Bell Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 413 Running
6 8 8 Tyler Reddick Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 413 Running
7 29 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 413 Running
8 10 34 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Ford 413 Running
9 36 5 Kyle Larson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 413 Running
10 9 48 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 413 Running
11 17 21 Harrison Burton Wood Brothers Racing Ford 413 Running
12 14 19 Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 413 Running
13 28 42 Ty Dillon Petty GMS Motorsports Chevrolet 413 Running
14 25 43 Erik Jones Petty GMS Motorsports Chevrolet 413 Running
15 22 1 Ross Chastain Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet 413 Running
16 30 38 Todd Gilliland Front Row Motorsports Ford 413 Running
17 24 10 Aric Almirola Stewart Haas Racing Ford 412 Running
18 33 51 Cody Ware Rick Ware Racing Ford 412 Running
19 31 78 B.J. McLeod* Live Fast Motorsports Ford 407 Running
20 23 22 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 405 Accident
21 21 41 Cole Custer Stewart Haas Racing Ford 405 Accident
22 16 3 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 405 Accident
23 34 50 Kaz Grala* The Money Team Racing Chevrolet 400 Running
24 27 16 Noah Gragson* Kaulig Racing Chevrolet 386 Throttle
25 12 99 Daniel Suarez Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet 346 Accident
26 19 17 Chris Buescher RFK Racing Ford 346 Accident
27 20 31 Justin Haley Kaulig Racing Chevrolet 343 Engine
28 7 23 Bubba Wallace 23XI Racing Toyota 200 DVP
29 11 12 Ryan Blaney Team Penske Ford 195 Accident
30 35 6 Brad Keselowski RFK Racing Ford 193 Accident
31 2 45 Kurt Busch 23XI Racing Toyota 191 Accident
32 5 24 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 191 Accident
33 13 9 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 188 DVP
34 6 2 Austin Cindric Team Penske Ford 145 Accident
35 37 7 Corey Lajoie Spire Motorsports Chevrolet 60 Accident
36 32 77 Josh Bilicki* Spire Motorsports Chevrolet 31 Accident
37 26 15 Ryan Preece* Rick Ware Racing Ford 16 DVP
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for Cup points

Source link