I wrote entering this weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway how Toyota’s had the be the ones to beat for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600. They’ve just been so dominant on the 1.5-mile track lately. While they looked heading in to be the ones to beat, early on, it looked like the Goodyear tires would derail them.
On Lap 22, Erik Jones cut a tire and crashed his No. 20 Toyota. He’d finish last in 40th. Then, on Lap 47 a JGR satellite car in Matt DiBenedetto cut a tire on his No. 95 Toyota and crashed. He’d finish 39th. 26 laps later, Martin Truex Jr. cut a tire on his No. 19 Toyota.
That’s three in the first 73 laps. Luckily for Truex, he’d continue on. So much so, took over the lead on the final restart with six laps-to-go in Sunday night’s race and never look back in leading the final five laps en route to his third win of the season, his third victory at Charlotte and his 22nd of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career.
All three of Truex’s wins have come in the last five races on the year as he looks like a legitimate title contender. JGR has won eight of the 13 races run this season already.
But, the tire issues didn’t stop there. Denny Hamlin blew a right front tire too on his No. 11 Toyota on Lap 160. He’d have a rough night in spinning on Lap 359 and crashing on the final lap too.
Kyle Busch had his fair share of problems but he rebounded after two incidents for a third place finish in his No. 18 Toyota. Busch, has 17 top 10 finishes in his last 23 Charlotte starts to go along with his last three results on the North Carolina race track being second, first and third respectively. He led 377 laps in his win last year.
Truex, led a race-high 119 of 400 laps run as he led 393 laps in his win in 2016, 233 more in his third place finish in 2017 and now over 100 more laps tonight.
Joey Logano nearly gave Penske a sweep of Memorial Day races here in the United States as he brought his No. 22 Ford home runner-up to Truex. Logano, earned his first top five finish at Charlotte since his playoff win in 2016. He now has four top seven finishes in his last five starts on the season.
Chase Elliott finished fourth in his No. 9 Chevrolet for his fourth straight top five finish on the year while Ricky Stenhouse Jr. rebounded from a spin with Busch on Lap 85 to finish fifth.
Hendrick Motorsports had a great day overall putting all four drivers in the top 10.
Alex Bowman brought his No. 88 Chevrolet home seventh. It ends his three races runner-up streak but to take four straight top 10 finishes is great for him. He finished ninth in this race last year.
Jimmie Johnson came away with his fifth top 10 finish in his last six Charlotte starts in finishing eighth in his No. 48 Chevrolet.
Pole sitter William Byron finished ninth in his No. 24 Chevrolet too.
The longest race of the season saw 18 cautions fly on Sunday.
Coca-Cola 600 Results
19 Truex Jr.
17 Stenhouse Jr.
41 Suarez -1
2 Keselowski -2
36 Tifft R -2
8 Hemric R -2
34 McDowell -2
13 TyDillon -3
14 Bowyer -3
43 Walace Jr. -4
96 Kligerman -4
1 KuBusch -4
77 Houff -4
53 McLeod -5
27 Sorenson -11
47 Preece R OUT
66 Gase -66
42 Larson OUT
3 ADillon OUT
52 Currey OUT
15 Chastian OUT
00 Cassill OUT
51 Ware OUT
95 DiBenedetto OUT
20 Jones OUT