Polesitter Denny Hamlin has won the longest Coca-Cola 600 in history over his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota teammate Kyle Busch.
Kevin Harvick, Chase Briscoe and Christopher Bell rounded out the top-5
Kyle Larson had taken the lead from Chase Briscoe with 3 laps to go and appeared headed to victory until Briscoe tried to re-pass Larson. But the less talented driver lost control of his Ford in turn 1 on the penultimate lap and spun like a wanker bringing out the caution and forcing an overtime win after Larson had it within his grasp.
Starting first with two laps to go but with only two new tires, Larson took the lead and appeared headed to victory, but along comes Austin Dillon charging like a wanker without a brain.
Dillon passed four cars and got alongside Larson, then like Briscoe, lost control of his #3 Chevy sending everyone spinning, including Larson and Hamlin found himself in the lead for the final restart with fresh tires.
From there Hamlin only had to hold off his teammate for two laps for the win.
Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota led just 15 of the 413 laps in NASCAR’s longest race, which went into double overtime. It was the 48th career Cup Series win of Hamlin’s distinguished career.
The race was slowed by 18 caution periods, the largest being a Lap 191 crack-up that snared 12 cars. The red flag was later displayed midway through the final stage after a collision between Daniel Suárez and Chris Buescher, an incident which sent Buescher’s No. 17 Ford flipping through the infield. Buescher would exit the car under his own power after the safety crew carefully flipped it back over.
Kyle Larson, last year’s race winner, finished ninth after an adventurous day in the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. He started next-to-last, scraped the wall, spun, absorbed multiple pit-road penalties and his car caught fire — all before the halfway point – yet still appeared to have the race won until less talented drivers ruined it all.
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 1st
Can you tell me what this win means to you?
“It’s so special. It’s the last big one that’s not on my résumé. It meant so much.
Man, I just can’t thank this whole FedEx team enough. Jordan Brand, Shady Rays, Toyota, Coco-Cola. 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. What a battle there.”
How does this win feel?
“So good. It’s a big one. It’s one of the three majors we’ve got in our sport and it’s one that I haven’t won. To be part of the Coke family for as long as I have, to finally win is awesome. My daughter was really excited about this Coke machine that we were going to win. Can’t thank my partners enough – FedEx, Toyota, Coca Cola, Sport Clips, TRD (Toyota Racing Development), the Jordan Brand, Logitech, Shady Rays – all those guys. We were just hanging around all day and then we had some good fortune there with other guys getting each other and finally had one go our way.”
How were you able to avoid the last wreck and what happened from your perspective?
“I knew that they were all going to drive in way too deep so I actually backed up the corner so I got a good run off because you just never know what can happen and it kind of just played out luckily how I was hoping. Those guys slid in there and they were going to drive in deep and they were on older left side tires. Man, that was a fortunate win for us.
What does this mean with a substitute crew chief tonight?
“It means a lot and something I was worried about all day. One thing I was worried about all day was just the communication with Sam (McCauley, substitute crew chief), I’m so used to Chris (Gabehart, crew chief) and then to have two very young and new guys over the wall for us, it worried me, but they did a fabulous job handling the race of knowing when to push and knowing when to have a smart stop and they honestly kept me in it and gave me a chance.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Red, White and Blue Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 2nd
Was there anything else you could have done?
“No, I don’t think so. We didn’t have a good enough day to be even in that position, so just a strong fight all night by this M&M’s team. I give honor to those we remember on Memorial Day weekend. I appreciate the opportunity and being able to do that. We had Sergeant Thiem on here with us this weekend. We tried to come with victory lane, and honor him, but unfortunately, one spot short.”
CHRISTOPHER BELL, No. 20 Yahoo! Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 5th
With everything you went through, how were you able to bounce back and finish inside the top-five?
“Really the only reason we got up there was because everyone crashed at the end of the race and gave us an opportunity, but this Yahoo Camry was every bit as capable as the guys that beat us. Disappointing day for sure because I feel like we had something that could contend for the win, but top-five is nothing to hang your head about.”
|7||47||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||1.572||413|
|11||21||Harrison Burton #||2.215||413|
|12||19||Martin Truex Jr.||2.302||413|
|16||38||Todd Gilliland #||7.176||413|
|23||50||* Kaz Grala(i)||-13||400|
|34||2||Austin Cindric #||-268||145|
(I) NOT ELIGIBLE FOR POINTS
(*) REQUIRED TO QUALIFY ON TIME