Kevin Harvick came out the winner of Sunday evening’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The race was filled with cautions and three red flags.
Harvick bested Kasey Kahne, the race’s dominant driver, in a 10-lap shootout. But, despite coming out on top after NASCAR’s longest race, the victory was overshadowed by the crazy events that unfolded during the race.
The first happened when 10 fans were injured after a nylon rope from a Fox Sports cable fell over the grandstands. The incident red-flagged the race. Three of the fans injured were transported to the hospital.
CMS spokesman Scott Cooper announced that the three fans were treated at the hospital and then released. Because of privacy laws, Cooper did not explain their injuries. Seven other fans stayed at the track and were treated for minor cuts and scrapes.
The first red flag lasted for almost 30 minutes as workers worked to remove pieces of the rope from the track. They also allowed teams to repair damage from the incident for 15 minutes in their pit stalls. The move was incredibly rare, as NASCAR usually doesn’t let crews touch their cars under a red flag.
Later, as crews fought with their setups and night fell on Charlotte, Kahne’s car was clearly the winner. But a debris caution was called with 14 laps to go. Kahne gambled and stayed out, while almost everyone else pitted. On the restart, Kahne took his preferred high line, while Harvick took the lower.
Harvick won the restart, leaving Kahne to battle Kurt Busch for second place. Harvick, who also won the race in 2011, commented about the victory:
“Charlotte is something we had to overcome for a long time. We had to win it on gas mileage before. We just went out and won it this time. You know, we had a good strategy call. The No. 5 stayed out. We had fresher tires and were able to beat him on the restart.”
While Kevin Harvick celebrated his Coca-Cola 600 win, Kasey Kahne congratulated his team on a job well done. After all, second place after the series’ longest race isn’t bad at all.