Sprint Cup Recap — Kevin Harvick Wins Coca-Cola 600
Kevin Harvick outlasted the field to take his second win of the year in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway Sunday.
The 600-mile race is the longest on the Sprint Cup Series schedule, and with the extra length comes added opportunity for failures.
For example, engine failure cost Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Kyle Busch chances at the win.
A tire could fail, and send your car crashing into the outside wall at any moment. Just ask Landon Cassil about it.
Just like in your street car, a battery can fail. Kurt Busch had just taken the lead when he seemed to lose power in his #78 Furniture Row Chevrolet, taking him out of contention. After a pit stop, Busch managed to battle back to a 3rd place finish on the night.
Heck, even camera equipment can fail catastrophically. The guide rope for the overhead television camera failed, falling down onto the track just after the one-quarter race mark, injuring 10 fans and causing damage to three different cars.
And of course, drivers can fail. A three-wide battle cost Danica Patrick and defending Sprint Cup champ Brad Keselowski their chance at a solid finish. Another three-wide fight through the tri-oval sent Mark Martin, Aric Almirola, Jeff Gordon, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. & Bobby Labonte to the garage. Jimmie Johnson spun and collected Matt Kenseth & Juan Pablo Montoya.
And while Kasey Kahne seemed to have the fastest car throughout the event, he failed to pick up the victory after a decision to not pit during the last caution of the night left the #5 car as the only one without fresh tires.
“It was a good strategy call,” Harvick said in victory lane. “The #5 stayed out and we were able to have a little bit fresher tires and get in front of him on the restart.”
“For us to win at Charlotte is something we’ve had to overcome,” he said. “We won it on gas millage last time…we just went out and won it this time.”
It was business as usual for Kevin “The Closer” Harvick. Not a factor the majority of the day, but coming on late to seal the deal for the win.
Here’s what else we learned during the Coca-Cola 600 Sunday.
Cables break. Think of all the sporting events that feature an overhead camera, and this is the first incident you can probably recall. Ten people were injured, with three sent to the hospital.
Kurt Busch will win a race this year. He will get one in 2013. Single car teams just don’t win in Sprint Cup anymore, but they’ve been too fast to not have a victory yet. Luck wasn’t on their side (again) Sunday, but the #78 car will grab a checkered flag before all is said and done, and it will be a big deal.
Danica & Ricky might have some problems. A three-wide battle between lovebirds Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Danica Patrick caused a wreck that took out the #10 and Brad Keselowski. This is the first time on the year that one of them might’ve wrecked the other, and I’m anxious to see how this one plays out…on and off the track.
Tommy Joe Martins is a former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver & a weekly racer at the historic Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. A graduate of the University of Mississippi, he’s been a sports columnist for The Daily Mississippian, a radio host & a life-long NASCAR fan.