CONCORD, N.C. (WGHP) — The Coca-Cola 600 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Sunday night was a race for the ages. It was the longest Coke 600 in history, running 413 laps and 620 miles, and it had the most cautions since the 2005 race.
It all happened in front of a sold-out crowd of fans who rarely sat down because there was so much action.
Denny Hamlin started on the pole but had what he described as about a 10th place car for most of the race.
“We weren’t the best car by any means. We just kind of hung around the backside of the top 10 most of the day and just kept working on the car and got it better,” Denny said after the race, “We were fourth place car at best, and we were pretty content that that’s where we were gonna finish.”
Kyle Busch also didn’t have a car to battle up front, even spinning out while trying to pass early leader Daniel Suarez. Kyle had to fight his way through the traffic and mayhem all race long and gave a specific reason for being able to finish second.
“Everybody crashed in front of me. Did you watch?” Kyle said.
That was the theme of the race. A race more like Talladega or Daytona than Charlotte.
“Everybody runs really hard the whole time, but I don’t think anybody’s being like crazy,” said Kyle Larson after the race.
It was another real world test for NASCAR’s new NextGen car in the season’s longest race. From durability to safety, this race threw it all at the new car including a huge crash that saw Chris Buescher doing barrel rolls through the front straightaway infield. Buescher’s car came to a rest upside down but the driver was uninjured and remained in the car until safety crews could upright the car.
“Haven’t been upside down a really long time…it’s just a, just a big bummer. Our team did a really nice job,” Buescher said.
Almost all of the top contenders had trouble. Daniel Suarez, Ross Chastain, Chase Briscoe and Kyle Larson all led big chunks of the race but all came up short.
“To me, that was the most fun Charlotte race I’ve ever ran,” Briscoe said. “The racetrack was awesome..,there’s a hundred different things I’d do different those last 30, 40 laps. I just was running 110%. I probably should have been running 95.”
Denny Hamlin avoided all the carnage and was able to beat Kyle Busch back to the checkered flag in a second overtime attempt.
“You have to be aggressive to try to make passes because it is so difficult to make passes. So it’s worked out to where we’ve had some pretty exciting finishes for sure,” Denny said in Victory Lane.