Take a look at the winners and losers following a wild Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway:
Denny Hamlin — After miserable luck to start the season, Hamlin escaped the multiple melees Sunday night to score his first win in the crown jewel event and second victory of the season. His No. 11 Toyota was on the bottom of a four-wide battle for the lead coming to the white flag in the first overtime. And while the other three drivers crashed, Hamlin scooted away and held on for the victory. Suddenly, Hamlin joins Ross Chastain and William Byron as the only multi-time winners in 2022. There remain 11 different winners after 14 points-paying races this year. Hamlin now has two straight top-five finishes following a fourth-place finish at Kansas.
Kyle Busch — Another driver who avoided chaos — despite a Lap 47 spin — was Busch, who barely avoided the crashing leaders in that first overtime session. Busch lined up behind Hamlin on the final restart and drove to Hamlin’s outside, but Hamlin’s charge into Turn 1 pinned Busch back in second place. Busch notched his third top-three finish in the past five races and fourth top 10 following a third-place finish two weeks ago in Kansas.
Kevin Harvick — Harvick scored his second top five in the past three races with a third-place finish at Charlotte. The day began as a struggle for the No. 4 team, which went under the hood for an adjustment early in the race and saw its car bring out the caution at Lap 221. His winless streak extends to 57 races, but the 2014 champion is starting to post better results again, meaning a trip to victory lane may be coming soon.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — The top-10 finishes keep rolling in for Stenhouse, who scored his fourth consecutive top 10 Sunday night by finishing seventh. JTG Daugherty Racing never strung four straight top-10 results together before this span by Stenhouse and crew chief Brian Pattie. Stenhouse has five top-10 finishes on the year, his most since scoring five in 2018 at what was then called Roush Fenway Racing.
Cliff Daniels — The defending Cup champion crew chief for Kyle Larson gave perhaps the best in-race speech a crew chief could deliver after a miserable start to Larson’s race. The team’s first 300 miles included three pit-road penalties, wall contact, a spin at Lap 167 and a fire at the fuel receptor that quickly extinguished itself. With his driver lamenting his performance, Daniels chimed in and put any worries to rest:
Kyle Larson — While his crew chief kept him in the game, Larson left Charlotte a loser with a ninth-place finish. Larson, the defending race winner did a phenomenal job to recover from his earlier woes and led 50 of the final 60 circuits around the 1.5-mile oval. But Briscoe’s late pass attempt sent the race into overtime, which led to another crash that wiped Larson from winning contention. The No. 5 team has five top 10s in its last six starts, including Sunday’s performance, but a win that could have been — and perhaps should have been — was wiped away instead.
Bubba Wallace — A bizarre series of events led to the elimination of Wallace’s No. 23 team in the Coca-Cola 600. Wallace was involved in the Lap 193 pileup that collected 12 cars in Turns 1 and 2 after running inside the top 10 for most of the opening half of Sunday’s race. But the team elected to put scuffed tires on for the final dash to end Stage 2 and failed to meet minimum speed over the course of three laps. Because their time on the damaged vehicle policy clock expired, NASCAR forced Wallace to retire from the race. He finished 28th with 200 laps completed.
Daniel Suarez — What a night Suarez had going. The Stage 2 winner, Suarez led four times for 36 total laps and was running fourth inside of the final 60 scheduled laps. But on a restart with 55 laps remaining, Suarez thought he was clear for fourth ahead of Chase Briscoe. He wasn’t and was instead sent spinning in front of the field, getting clobbered by Todd Gilliland and Chris Buescher, who tumbled down the frontstretch after his impact. Suarez had the speed but not the result, finishing 25th. The No. 99 car has finished 25th or worse in three of the last five races
Chase Briscoe — Briscoe finished fourth for his best finish since Martinsville (ninth), but that still felt like a disappointment after contending for the win late with Kyle Larson. Briscoe hunted down Larson on a 48-lap green flag stretch to fight for the lead. But his move to Larson’s left with two laps left in regulation sent the No. 14 Ford sideways and spinning, watching a crown jewel win slip out of his grasp. He already scored his first win this year at Phoenix, but Charlotte now joins Bristol dirt as races Briscoe could have finished second at worst and instead wiped out.
Chris Buescher — It’s hard to flip side over side multiple times down the Charlotte front straightaway without feeling like you lost the day. Buescher’s crash was violent as his No. 17 Ford tumbled quickly and viciously down the turf and pavement at pit exit. Buescher was trying to salvage a long day and appeared en route to his fourth straight top 10 in the Coca-Cola 600. Instead, he was forced to settle for his second straight finish outside the top 25 this year with a 26th-place finish.
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