Chase Elliott was cruising to what would be a uniquely satisfying win in the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday night given what had happened a few days prior.
Until he wasn’t.
Elliott, who was wrecked by Kyle Busch in the closing laps at Darlington on Wednesday night, was leading with just a few laps to go at Charlotte Motor Speedway when his Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron spun out with a flat tire and brought out a caution. Elliott pitted under yellow, allowing Brad Keselowski to assume the lead and beat Jimmie Johnson to the checkered flag to win the Coca-Cola 600.
COCA-COLA 600: Complete highlights from Sunday night’s race
“That’s got to be a joke,” Elliott said on his radio when the caution came out for Byron’s spin. Added Elliott after the race regarding his team’s decision to pit before overtime: “You just try to make the best decision you can. Those guys are just going to do the opposite of whatever we do. That’s just a part of it. You make decisions and you live with them. It wasn’t the pit call — I think being on offense is fine.
“Like I said, those guys are going to do whatever’s the opposite of what you do.”
Who won the Coca-Cola 600?
Brad Keselowski pulled away from Jimmie Johnson in overtime to win the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway after Chase Elliott surrendered the lead by pitting.
“I feel like I’ve thrown this race away a couple of times, and I thought we were going to lose it today,” Keselowski said after the race. “I know we’ve lost it the way Chase lost it, and that really stinks, and today we finally won it that way (by staying out).
“It’s major. It’s the Coke 600. That only leaves one major for me, the Daytona 500. We’re checking ‘em off. We may not have been the fastest car today, but, whoa, did we grind this one out. The pit crew on the yellow before the last had a blazing stop to get us up front.”
NASCAR at Charlotte results
Below are the complete results from Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600, which became the longest race in NASCAR history when it reached overtime and a total of 405 laps.
Johnson’s car failed post-race inspection, so the No. 48 team was relegated to a last-place finish.
Average speed of race winner: 135.042 mph
Time of race: 4 Hrs, 29 Mins, 55 Secs. Margin of Victory: .293 Seconds.
Caution flags: 8 for 52 laps.
Lead changes: 20 among 11 drivers.
Lap Leaders: K. Busch 1-54; A. Bowman 55-159;J . Johnson 160-162; J. Nemechek 163; R. Preece 164; R. Stenhouse Jr. 165; A. Bowman 166-223; M. Truex Jr. 224-255; B. Keselowski 256-262; M. Truex Jr. 263-277; J. Logano 278-302; A. Bowman 303; M. DiBenedetto 304-306; J. Logano 307; M. Truex Jr. 308; M. DiBenedetto 309-311; M. Truex Jr. 312-350; J. Johnson 351-353; B. Keselowski 354-362; C. Elliott 363-400; B. Keselowski 401-405.
Leaders summary (driver, times lead, laps led): Alex Bowman 3 times for 164 laps; Martin Truex Jr. 4 times for 87 laps; Kurt Busch 1 time for 54 laps; Chase Elliott 1 time for 38 laps; Joey Logano 2 times for 26 laps; Brad Keselowski 3 times for 21 laps; Matt DiBenedetto 2 times for 6 laps; Jimmie Johnson 2 times for 6 laps; Ryan Preece 1 time for 1 lap; John Hunter Nemechek 1 time for 1 lap; Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 1 time for 1 lap.
Stage 1 top 10: 88, 19, 9, 8, 22, 18, 3, 48, 24, 1
Stage 2 top 10: 88,19,18,24,9,20,22,3,12,48
Stage 3 top 10: 22, 88, 12, 48, 19, 18, 20, 2, 3, 24
Material from the NASCAR Wire Service was used in this report.
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