Jimmy Johnson took the checkered flag at tonight’s NASCAR Coca-Cola 600. Jimmy Johnson’s win in the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 broke a tie with Bobby Allison for most Sprint Cup wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Kevin Harvick finished second, Matt Kenseth took third, Carl Edwards finished fourth and Jamie McMurray rounded out the top five.
It was questionable whether Jeff Gordon would even be able to race tonight, as he was dealing with back spasms, but he had the lead coming out of the eighth caution with 17 laps to go and he battled down the stretch with Matt Kenseth and Jimmy Johnson. Kevin Harvick made things interesting, coming out of the restart in tenth, but making up ground quickly and moving into the second position. Gordon finished in seventh.
The major side story of the night story may have been Kurt Busch, who attempted to become only the second diver ever to finish “The Double,” finishing both the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. Kurt Busch drove well at Indy, finishing sixth. His night didn’t go quite as well at Charlotte. Busch missed a mandatory driver’s meeting two hours before the race and was penalized by having to start at the back of the pack.
Busch didn’t need to win to make it an historic night. He only needed to finish. He had moved up as far as 13th place, but his engine gave out and he was unable to finish the race. He completed only 271 of the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600’s 400 laps, leaving Tony Stewart – incidentally the owner of Busch’s car – as the only driver to complete the Indy 500 and the Coca Cola 600 on the same day. Kurt Busch ended the race in 40th place with a “did not finish.”
Danica Patrick started the day in the 4th position – her best start in a non-restrictor plate race. She slid up as far as the second position early in the race, but wasted little time falling back to the middle of the pack. Danica Patrick stayed near the middle, a lap behind the leaders until she crashed and later blew her engine on the 281st lap. Patrick ended up in 38th place with a “did not finish.”
Kurt Busch will make the Chase for the Cup because of a win at Martinville earlier this year. Danica Patrick has yet to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup race, though she has led the NASCAR pack in Twitter followers and endorsements. She had her best finish to date last week, but it isn’t likely to be enough to put her into the Chase for the Cup unless she can take a checkered flag next week.
Jimmy Johnson started the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 in the pole position and led much of the race, holding off late charges by Harvick and Kenseth to win the NASCAR Coca Cola 600 and secure a spot in the Chase for the Cup.
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