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By Zach Richter

Brad Keselowski took the checkered flag Sunday night in a race that was the longest in NASCAR Cup Series history.

The grandstands sat empty again, this time at Charlotte Motor Speedway as NASCAR’s best took center stage in the Coca-Cola 600. The race went into overtime, lasting 405 laps instead of the scheduled 400. After countless lead changes, Keselowski outran the field and held off Jimmie Johnson in a final, two-lap showdown. Johnson was neck-and-neck with Keselowski in the final moments, just missing the top spot by 0.293 seconds.

But the question following the race involved what happened with Chase Elliott. When the eighth and final caution came, due to a spin-out by William Bryon, Elliott was the leader. He elected to hit pit row for a fresh set of tires — a decision he might regret.

Before to the caution, Elliott had a comfortable lead and seemed to be cruising to a win. But things took a turn when Byron, his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, encountered a tire issue that sent him spinning. “That’s got to be a joke,” Elliott said over his radio after the accident. Elliott was involved in a wreck on Wednesday at Darlington Raceway that was caused by Kyle Busch, knocking him out of the race and a shot at victory in the closing laps.

During the final caution Sunday, Elliott’s team urged him to hit pit row before the restart, a choice that pushed him from first place to 11th with just two laps remaining.

As Keselowski took the gamble and elected not to pit, he led a pack of eight cars as the others hit pit row. Sitting just ahead of Alex Bowman and Johnson, Keselowski slightly pulled away and edged Johnson with milliseconds to spare.

Celebrating as he usually does, Keselowski waved a giant American flag outside his No. 2 Ford Mustang as he fired donuts around Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“We might not have been the fastest car today, but wow did we just grind this one out,” the 36-year-old Keselowski said after winning his first race of the season. “I’m so happy for my team. I’m tickled to death. It’s a little overwhelming to be honest.”

Someone who probably feels not so tickled is Clint Bowyer. With just three laps remaining in the first stage, Bowyer experienced a hard crash that kicked him out of the competition. And after dealing with this incident, and his disappointing finish Wednesday at Darlington, he wasn’t too pleased. “It knocked the wind out of me there. I mean, we’re 100 laps into a 400-lap race and to be out already, you talk about a helpless feeling,” Bowyer said. “We’ll get ready for next Wednesday and we’ll be back at it. I’m gonna go somewhere and take this thing off and find somewhere where I can find a cold beer.”

Another driver who wasn’t too pleased with Sunday’s events was Wednesday’s Toyota 500 winner, Denny Hamlin. He approached the day looking for another win, but that was stripped away before the green flag at Charlotte. While running in pace laps, Hamlin had a small piece of tungsten fly off his ride, leaving debris on the track.

Due to the incident, he was eight laps down when he joined the race, leading to a disappointing 30th-place finish. But the costly delay wasn’t the

only problem for Hamlin and his team, Joe Gibbs Racing. Their crew chief was suspended for four races due to the tungsten falling off the vehicle.

NASCAR’s next Cup Series event, the Alsco Uniforms 500, is geared for Wednesday, May 27, at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The action is set to begin at 8 p.m. ET. It will last 205 laps and 310.6 miles. The event marks the eighth race of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season.

Coca-Cola 600 results:

1. Brad Keselowski

2. Jimmie Johnson

3. Chase Elliott

4. Ryan Blaney

5. Kyle Busch

6. Kevin Harvick

7. Martin Truex Jr

8. Kurt Busch

9. Tyler Reddick

10. Christopher Bell

11. Erik Jones

12. Chris Buescher

13. Cole Custer

14. Joey Logano

15. Austin Dillon

16. Aric Almirola

17. John Hunter Nemechek

18. Matt DiBenedetto

19. Michael McDowell

20. Alex Bowman

21. William Byron

22. Ross Chastain

23. Ryan Preece

24. Corey LaJoie

25. Ricky Stenhouse Jr

26. Ty Dillon

27. Matt Kenseth

28. Ryan Newman

29. Daniel Suarez

30. Denny Hamlin

31. Brennan Poole

32. Gray Gaulding

33. BJ McLeod

34. Garrett Smithley

35. Timmy Hill

36. Quin Houff

37. Joey Gase

38. JJ Yeley

39. Bubba Wallace

40. Clint Bowyer

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Stock Car Scene Daily, Uncategorized
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About Founder

My name is Robert Wilson. NASCAR is my true passion. I grew up on the East End of Long Island, New York, at a time when Long Island was home to six racetracks. I became interested in race cars at a young age. My grandparents owned a restaurant in Southampton, New York, near the Bridgehampton Race Circuit on the South Fork of Long Island. Often after a race, teams with their stock cars in tow would stop to eat at the restaurant. I was always in awe of the race cars. On one occasion, I had the opportunity to meet NASCAR Hall-of-Famer, Ned Jarrett, who let me sit in his race car. That was it. I was a NASCAR fan for life! It became my passion and my dream to become a professional in the sport of stock car racing. At the age of 14, my uncle, an auto mechanic and repair shop owner, introduced me to his friend who owned a stock car. My Uncle’s friend, Carl Zeh, invited me to work with him on his race team. I worked and toured with the team for 12 championship wins, cementing my lifelong dedication to racing. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, I attended college at the University of New Haven in Connecticut and earned a bachelor’s degree in Sports Management as well as a master’s degree in Finance. I am currently working on a Doctorate in Entrepreneurship. Given my educational background, firsthand knowledge, and interest in the sport, I had the opportunity to do some consulting work with NASCAR teams locally and nationally on the business side of their operations. In continuing to follow the sport, its demographics, research studies, and statistics for years, I developed ideas that I believe can help the sport gain new momentum. In 2019, I founded SCFN.

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