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.
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
|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|
* – Ineligible for Cup points