Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. The twelfth race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is the Coca Cola 600 held at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The longest race of the year is 400 laps around this 1.5 mile track for 600 miles. The race starts in daylight and continues on into the night and is a real test of endurance. Held on Memorial Day Weekend, many cars have paint schemes to honor our Armed Forces. The #1 car of Jamie McMurray honors his home town of Joplin, MO that was hit heavily by tornadoes.
Sitting on the pole is 2 Brad Keselowski with a speed of 192.089 mph and 28.112 seconds. 43 A. J. Allmendinger starts next to him on the front row. 2 leads from the pole. 21 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., filling in for Trevor Bayne, scrapes the wall. 11 Denny Hamlin drives under 00 David Reutimann for fifth. 60 Mike Skinner hits the wall in his back-up car and heads for the garage. 99 Carl Edwards takes the lead. 43 and 2 battle for second and 43 takes it. 16 Greg Biffle is having cool box issues. (He will be mighty hot in that car if the problem is not solved.)
31 Jeff Burton gets by 2 for third. Green Flag Pitting starts on lap 43. 16 is caught speeding. 43 leads after all the pitting. 99 takes the lead. 17 Matt Kenseth has a vibration. The first caution is for debris. 31 takes two tires to lead the way. 47 Bobby Labonte is too fast exiting. 11 drives under 99 for second and then takes the lead. Two tires didn’t work very well and 31 falls back.
The second caution comes out during the commercial when 47 gets sideways. 16 Greg Biffle gets back onto the lead lap. 17 takes the lead and runs away. 00 is extremely tight and makes a pit stop, starting another round of Green Flag Pitting. 17 is back in the lead after the pitting. 22 Kurt Busch has a loose right rear tire, pits and goes almost two laps down.
The third caution comes out on lap 172 for a beverage can on the track. 78 Regan Smith gets his lap back. 9 Marcos Ambrose leads and 1 takes the lead away. 1 and 17 battle side by side for the lead and 17 takes it. 1 blows up and the fourth caution comes out on lap 182. 16 pits before pit road is open to fix his cooling issues. 33 Clint Bowyer has the hood up to make a camber adjustment. 09 Landon Cassill and 13 Casey Mears get together at the restart and the fifth caution comes out for 13 leaving debris on the track. 20 Joey Logano gets his lap back.
9 and 17 battle for the lead and 17 runs away again. 29 Kevin Harvick starts another round of Green Flag Pitting. 11 leads when 17 pits. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. leads. 78 missed a lug nut and has to come back in. 16 leads. 14 Tony Stewart leads. The sixth caution comes out when 32 Mike Bliss runs out of fuel and gets stuck on the track. 22 is leading, having not pitted yet. Fifteen drivers get waved around. 16 gets his lap back.
The seventh caution comes out for spinning 27 Paul Menard. 83 Brian Vickers and 56 Martin Truex, Jr. get together and 56 gets turned. 34 David Gilliland gets back onto the lead lap. 18 Kyle Busch takes the lead. 9 starts another round of Green Flag Pitting with 124 laps to go. 17 leads. 4 Kasey Kahne leads, then pits. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya leads. The eighth caution comes out before the pitting is complete for 34 with 24 Jeff Gordon leading and 5 Mark Martin and 20 still on the track. 99 Carl Edwards gets back onto the lead lap.
The ninth caution comes out when 95 David Starr is going too slow and 4 bumps him into the wall. 18 leads and 17 gets by 9 for second. 48 Jimmie Johnson and 88 race side by side for position. The tenth caution comes out when 09 slides into the grass, gets airborne and smashes the front end into the grass. 11 comes in to replace the carburetor. The Green Flag comes out with 99 laps to go.
The eleventh caution comes out when 5 and 34 get together into the wall and 39 Ryan Newman has nowhere to go, getting his right side on top of 34. 5 and 34 are stuck together! 24 and 4 stay out, 99 makes it three wide. 20 gets loose and brushes the wall. 21 gets into the wall for the third time. The twelfth caution comes out when 18 gets sideways through the grass. 4 stays out to lead. 29 is second. 29 and 4 battle for the lead. 88 slides in front of 16 for third. 9 makes a pit stop with a bad vibration.
The thirteenth caution comes out for spinning 18. This time he takes himself out. (He’s such a great wheel man, don’t you think?) 9 Ambrose gets his lap back. 48 leaves his pit with an adjustment wrench still attached and has to come back in. 13 led a lap before pitting. 9 is caught speeding. 24 and 16 battle for the lead and 16 takes the lead. 4 drives around 24 for second. 6 David Ragan catches and passes 24 for third. 88 gets by 24 for fourth. 11 gets by 24 for fifth. 17 drives around 24 for sixth. (And FOX shows commercials side by side with racing.) 17 finally gets by 11 for fifth and then by 6 for fourth. 4 catches leader 16. 17 has to pit for a splash of fuel with seven laps to go.
The fourteenth caution comes out when 48 blows the engine. 17 Kenseth gets back onto the lead lap. The restart is the first attempt at a Green, White Checker finish. 16 pits for fuel. There is much mayhem at the restart with 31 spinning. But they go on and there is no caution. 88 takes the lead. On the final turn 88 runs out of fuel and 29 Kevin Harvick wins the Coca Cola 600! Another “where did he come from?” finish, his third this year. There were thirty-eight lead changes among eighteen different drivers. In this case it was the Coca Cola 603, going two extra laps. Harvick moves up three spots in points to second.
Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. I love NASCAR racing.