Kevin Harvick wins the 54th Annual Coca-Cola 600 over runner-up Kasey Kahne by 1.490 seconds; this is Harvick’s second victory of the season and his 21st victory in 442 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
”To win at Charlotte it is something we had to overcome in the past,” Harvick said. ”We won it on gas mileage last time. This time we just went out and won it.”
Harvick came from behind Dale Earnhardt Jr. to gain the victory two years ago, after Earnhardt Jr. ran out of fuel coming out of Turn 4.
The Coca-Cola 600 is boasted as the longest race of the season was a little bizarre this year as it included three red flag incidents, red flag one (10 minutes, 40 seconds) and red flag two (16 minutes, 22 seconds) also included the 15 minute car repair for the nylon rope that supported a Fox Sports overhead television camera fell from the grandstands and landed on the track surface, slicing and dicing some of the race cars.
Kyle Busch said, “Something fell apart and of course it fell apart on us.” The rope sliced open the right side of Busch’s car behind the wheel, obvious during the review of the race.
Crew Chief Dave Rogers replied, “This is crazy if a TV camera just took us out.”
Kyle Busch would later have an engine failure that would cause him to retire from the race early. Busch said that the earlier incident did not have an impact on the mechanical failure of his #18 M&M’s Red-White-Blue M-Prove America Toyota and gave credit to NASCAR for allowing his team to work on the car after it was damaged.
Charlotte Motor Speedway track officials issued a statement saying that, “Ten fans were injured when a nylon rope fell over the grandstands in Turn 4 on Lap 121 of tonight’s race. Seven fans were treated from minor cuts and scrapes at on-site care centers and released. Three people were transported to an area hospital for further evaluation.”
12 cars failed to finish the race due to engine problems and accidents including three of the four Hendrick cars, that of Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, who were both involved in separate accidents and Earnhardt Jr., whose engine failed the lap prior to Kyle Busch’s.
But the end of the race came down to a 10 lap dash for the victory, much like the All-Star race held at the Charlotte Motor Speedway the previous weekend. Kahne stayed out, after last pitting on Lap 363, while the field behind him cycled in for fresh tires, leaving Kahne a sitting duck, he was told to do what he could do with his car.
“We thought a couple of guys would stay out and that would be enough to get away,” Kahne said. “But the whole field pitted. We didn’t expect that.”
Kahne and Harvick lined up for the restart on Lap 389, Harvick drove by Kahne before the field got to the backstretch. Harvick made tracks leaving Kahne in his dust, while Kurt Busch battled with Kahne for second.
“Harvick started with two (fresh tires), he held it flat,” Kahne said. “I got a little free, had to back off the gas. When I went back down, he was in front of me. That was the end of our race. Just made sure we got second from there.”
Kahne finished second, Kurt Busch finished third, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano rounded out the top five, only 13 drivers finished on the lead lap.
The next NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race is at Dover International Speedway for the Fed-Ex 400 Benefitting Autism Speaks at 1 pm eastern time televised on Fox.