Upon Further Review: Coca-Cola 600

Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

So how to explain why a week after the Sprint All-Star Race was praised for its racing could the Coca-Cola 600 not have similar racing at the front?

Kevin Harvick, who finished second to Martin Truex Jr. in Sunday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, suggests that one shouldn’t be quick to judgement.

“The All‑Star Race is just so much different,’’ Harvick said. “I don’t know if it’s a fair assessment of was it better or was it worse. I think both nights we’ve seen good racing.

“We were able to pass tonight with our car once we got the handling better and make up ground, so I don’t know what the racing was like with the rest of the pack, but I think as you look at what’s coming down the road, I think that the cars were already sliding around a fair amount. They seemed like they slid around more (Sunday) than they did actually at the All‑Star Race. But my car had some different balance characteristics tonight than it had at the All‑Star Race.

“I think compared to last year, we’re light years ahead of where we were, and I think we’re headed in a great direction with the new package.’’

Two of the next five Sprint Cup races — Michigan on June 12 and Kentucky on July 9 — will feature rule changes NASCAR is looking to incorporate next season. The changes are intended to reduce downforce and sideforce, lowering corner speeds and making it easier for drivers to run closer together.

One of those changes is a rear-toe alignment change that reduces the amount of “skew,” or how much the car can be slanted at speed. That change was in place at the All-Star Race but not in the Coke 600, and some drivers said the return of skew seemed to increase their cars’ stability, making it easier to keep competitors at bay and fend off passes.

Sunday, few got close enough to Truex, who led a record 392 of the 400 laps. Truex and Jimmie Johnson briefly dueled for the lead with less than 60 laps to go, but Truex quickly pulled away.

“He wasn’t going to be denied, there was no way around that,’’ Johnson said.

— Each race, NASCAR takes at least two Sprint Cup cars back to its R&D Center for further inspection.

The winner of each races goes except for the Daytona 500 winner  (inspection is completed at the track because the winning car remains in Daytona for a year after that race). The runner-up also goes to the R&D Center. At times, NASCAR selects a random car as well.

Here’s how many times each car has gone to the R&D Center.

Kyle Busch — 5 times (Kansas, Talladega, Richmond, Texas, Martinsville)

Kevin Harvick — 5 times (Coke 600, Kansas, Auto Club, Phoenix, Daytona 500

Joey Logano — 3 times (All-Star, Las Vegas, Daytona 500)

Brad Keselowski — 3 times (All-Star, Talladega, Las Vegas)

Carl Edwards — 3 times (Richmond, Bristol, Phoenix)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. — 3 times (Bristol, Texas, Atlanta)

Martin Truex Jr. — 2 times (Coke 600, Daytona 500)

Jimmie Johnson — 2 times (Auto Club, Atlanta)

Kasey Kahne — 2 times (Dover, Las Vegas)

Greg Biffle — 1 time (Coke 600)

A.J. Allmendinger — 1 time (Martinsville)

Matt Kenseth — 1 time (Dover)

Kyle Larson — 1 time (Dover)

So that’s a tally of 14 Chevrolets, 11 Toyotas and 8 Fords since the Daytona 500.

— All five cars in the Joe Gibbs Racing/Furniture Row Racing alliance now have won a race, all but putting each in the Chase.

— The last Sprint Cup victory by a Chevrolet team was by Jimmie Johnson on March 20 at Auto Club Speedway.

NASCAR suspends Chase Elliott one race for incident with Denny Hamlin


NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one Cup race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600, the sanctioning body announced Tuesday.

“We take this very seriously,” Elton Sawyer, senior vice president of competition, said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “The incident that happened off Turn 4, again after looking at all the available resources — in-car camera, data, SMT, which basically gives us (a car’s) steering, throttle, gives us braking — it was an intentional act by Chase in our opinion.”

Hendrick Motorsports stated that it would not appeal the penalty. Corey LaJoie will drive the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports this weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway. Carson Hocevar will drive LaJoie’s car this weekend.

Hendrick Motorsports also stated that it would submit a waiver request for Elliott to remain eligible for the playoffs. Sawyer said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “I don’t see any reason at this point in time why wouldn’t (grant the waiver) when that request comes across our desk.”

This weekend will mark the seventh race in the first 15 that Elliott will have missed. He missed six races after breaking his leg in a snowboarding accident in early March. Elliott, who is winless this season, is 29th in points.

Elliott and Hamlin got together shortly before the halfway mark in Monday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

As they ran together, Hamlin forced Elliott toward the wall. Elliott’s car slapped the wall. Elliott then made contact with the right rear of Hamlin’s car, sending Hamlin into the wall.

“I got right-rear hooked in the middle of the straightway,” Hamlin said after the incident. “Yes, it was a tantrum. He shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

Said Sawyer on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio: “In the heat of the battle, things happen, but they have to learn to react in a different way. … Our drivers need to understand that you have to handle that in a completely different way than hooking someone in the right rear and putting them in harm’s way, not only with just a major head-on collision like Denny had, but also other competitors.”

Sawyer also said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “nothing gave us the indication that on that particular contact with the fourth-turn wall … that anything was broke” on Elliott’s car and could have caused him to come down and hit Hamlin’s car in the right rear.

NASCAR also announced that Scott Brzozowski and Adam Lewis, crew members on Michael McDowell‘s team, had each been suspended two races after McDowell’s car lost a tire in Monday’s race.

Winners and losers at Charlotte Motor Speedway


A look at winners and losers from Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway:


Ryan Blaney — Blaney stopped his winless streak at 59 races and gave team owner Roger Penske his second major race victory in two days. Blaney had the best car but had to fight through restarts late in the race to win.

William Byron — Byron, the winningest driver this season, barely missed getting victory No. 4. He finished second and scored his fifth straight top 10.

Martin Truex Jr. — Truex logged his third top five of the season.

23XI RacingBubba Wallace was fourth and Tyler Reddick fifth, giving 23XI Racing a pair of top-five finishes for the first time in a points race.


Jimmie Johnson — The seven-time champion admitted having problems adjusting to the Next Gen car on a 1.5-mile track. He crashed early and finished last.

Legacy Motor Club — It was a bad night for Jimmie Johnson and his team’s drivers. Johnson finished last in the 37-car field. Noah Gragson was 36th. Erik Jones placed 32nd.

Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin — Two drivers who had strong cars didn’t make it to the finish after crashing near the halfway point. Hamlin said Elliott “shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

NASCAR Xfinity Series results: Justin Allgaier wins at Charlotte


CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier finally broke through for his first win of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season Monday night.

Allgaier stretched his last fuel load over the final laps to finish in front of John Hunter Nemechek. Cole Custer was third, Austin Hill fourth and Ty Gibbs fifth. Gibbs ran both races Monday, completing 900 miles.

The win also was the first of the season for JR Motorsports.

Charlotte Xfinity results

Xfinity points after Charlotte

Justin Allgaier wins NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway


CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier won a fuel-mileage gamble to win Monday night’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Allgaier stretched his fuel to outlast second-place John Hunter Nemechek. Following in the top five were Cole Custer, Austin Hill and Ty Gibbs.

The victory was Allgaier’s first of the year and the first of the season for JR Motorsports. He has 20 career wins.

MORE: Charlotte Xfinity results

After a long day at CMS, the race ended at 11:25 p.m. The race started Monday morning but was stopped twice because of weather before it was halted with 48 of 200 laps completed so that the Coca-Cola 600 Cup Series race could be run.

When the race was stopped, Gibbs, Nemechek and Allgaier were in the top three positions.

Gibbs won the first two stages.

Stage 1 winner: Ty Gibbs

Stage 2 winner: Ty Gibbs

Who had a good race: Justin Allgaier has had good cars in previous races but finally cashed in with a win Monday. He led 83 laps. … John Hunter Nemechek, in second, scored his fifth top-two run of the season. … Cole Custer scored his sixth straight top-10 finish. … Ty Gibbs lasted 900 miles for the day and led 52 laps in the Xfinity race.

Who had a bad race: Sam Mayer was running 10th when he spun off Turn 2. He finished 35th. … Sheldon Creed finished three laps down in 28th.

Next: The series moves on to Portland International Raceway in Oregon for a 4:30 p.m. ET race June 3.