NASCAR Cup Series

Denny Hamlin Wins First Coca-Cola 600 in Double OT

3 Mins read
(Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images / Courtesy of NASCAR)

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

PositionStartNumberDriverTeamManufacturerLapsStatus
1111Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs RacingToyota413Running
2418Kyle BuschJoe Gibbs RacingToyota413Running
3184Kevin HarvickStewart Haas RacingFord413Running
41514Chase BriscoeStewart Haas RacingFord413Running
5320Christopher BellJoe Gibbs RacingToyota413Running
688Tyler ReddickRichard Childress RacingChevrolet413Running
72947Ricky Stenhouse Jr.JTG Daugherty RacingChevrolet413Running
81034Michael McDowellFront Row MotorsportsFord413Running
9365Kyle LarsonHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet413Running
10948Alex BowmanHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet413Running
111721Harrison BurtonWood Brothers RacingFord413Running
121419Martin Truex Jr.Joe Gibbs RacingToyota413Running
132842Ty DillonPetty GMS MotorsportsChevrolet413Running
142543Erik JonesPetty GMS MotorsportsChevrolet413Running
15221Ross ChastainTrackhouse RacingChevrolet413Running
163038Todd GillilandFront Row MotorsportsFord413Running
172410Aric AlmirolaStewart Haas RacingFord412Running
183351Cody WareRick Ware RacingFord412Running
193178B.J. McLeod*Live Fast MotorsportsFord407Running
202322Joey LoganoTeam PenskeFord405Accident
212141Cole CusterStewart Haas RacingFord405Accident
22163Austin DillonRichard Childress RacingChevrolet405Accident
233450Kaz Grala*The Money Team RacingChevrolet400Running
242716Noah Gragson*Kaulig RacingChevrolet386Throttle
251299Daniel SuarezTrackhouse RacingChevrolet346Accident
261917Chris BuescherRFK RacingFord346Accident
272031Justin HaleyKaulig RacingChevrolet343Engine
28723Bubba Wallace23XI RacingToyota200DVP
291112Ryan BlaneyTeam PenskeFord195Accident
30356Brad KeselowskiRFK RacingFord193Accident
31245Kurt Busch23XI RacingToyota191Accident
32524William ByronHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet191Accident
33139Chase ElliottHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet188DVP
3462Austin CindricTeam PenskeFord145Accident
35377Corey LajoieSpire MotorsportsChevrolet60Accident
363277Josh Bilicki*Spire MotorsportsChevrolet31Accident
372615Ryan Preece*Rick Ware RacingFord16DVP
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for Cup points
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Lifelong sports junkie, currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Hofstra University. Lead writer for Indycar at The Checkered Flag.
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