Denny Hamlin won an attrition-filled Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday night.
Hamlin secured his first win in the crown jewel event in double overtime after two late crashes at the front of the field pushed the race late.
The final restart saw Hamlin fire off to the left of Ross Chastain‘s battered No. 1 Chevrolet. Hamlin shot to the lead while his teammate, Kyle Busch, charged to Hamlin’s right.
On the last lap, Hamlin cleared Busch in Turn 2 after forcing Busch high, sending the No. 11 Toyota to its second win of the year. Sam McAuley was atop the pit box serving as the team’s interim crew chief while Chris Gabehart served the first of a four-race suspension following a loose wheel that detached at Dover on May 2.
MORE: Coca-Cola 600 results, points
MORE: What drivers said
The first overtime period began when Chase Briscoe, running second to leader Kyle Larson‘, lost control of his No. 14 Ford, sliding through Turn 2 and bringing out the final caution.
On the penultimate restart, Austin Dillon rocketed from sixth at the start/finish line to Larson’s left for the lead in Turn 3. He slid high, both drivers lost momentum. Dillon crashed with Larson, Chastain and Joey Logano.
Hamlin scooted through with Busch in tow, putting themselves in prime position to capitalize on the final overtime.
Seventeen of 37 cars failed to finish, 16 due to crash damage. The yellow flag waved 18 times Sunday night, the most cautions at the Charlotte oval since a record 22 yellows in the 2005 rendition of the race.
A vicious crash at Lap 346 brought the race to a halt after Chris Buescher tumbled through the turf on the front straightaway in the 16th caution period of the night.
Daniel Suarez, the Stage 2 winner, was running fourth when he came up in front of Chase Briscoe at the exit of Turn 4. Contact sent Suarez spinning in front of the field. Rookie Todd Gilliland hit Suarez’s left rear. Buescher was hit from behind by rookie Harrison Burton, sending the right front of his No. 17 Ford into Suarez’s car.
The right front suspension broke on Buescher’s car as he slid through the turf and the wheel caught beneath his car, launching it. Both Buescher and Suarez exited their vehicles unharmed.
The 10th caution collected 12 cars. On a Lap 192 restart, Ryan Blaney entered Turn 1 too low and clipped the apron, sending his No. 12 spinning in the middle of traffic and collecting 11 other cars. Included were Kurt Busch, Bubba Wallace, Chase Elliott, William Byron, and Brad Keselowski. Each of those drivers retired from the race.
Green flag racing was dotted with frequent yellows. The longest span of racing lasted 48 laps between Lap 352 and Lap 400. Ryan Preece was the race’s first victim at Lap 18 when he spun with Buescher and Noah Gragson in Turns 3 and 4.
Josh Bilicki and Corey LaJoie, each driving for Spire Motorsports, suffered left rear tire failures and crashed early in Sunday’s race. LaJoie was driving a backup car and crashed nearly identically in Saturday’s practice session.
Other drivers involved in accidents Sunday were Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Austin Cindric, Cole Custer and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Completing the top five behind Hamlin and Busch were Harvick, Briscoe and Christopher Bell. Tyler Reddick, Stenhouse, Michael McDowell, Kyle Larson and Alex Bowman rounded out the top 10. Bell and Reddick also contacted the wall but rebounded for top-six finishes.
There were no issues in post-race inspection, confirming Hamlin as the race winner. The Nos. 4 (Harvick), 5 (Larson), 8 (Reddick) and 20 (Bell) cars will be taken to NASCAR’s R&D Center for further inspection.
Stage 1 winner: Chase Elliott
Stage 2 winner: Daniel Suarez
Stage 3 winner: Ross Chastain
Who had a good race: Chase Briscoe rallied to a fourth-place finish despite his spin with two laps to go in regulation. This marks Briscoe’s first top-10 finish since placing ninth at Martinsville in April and first top five since winning at Phoenix in March. … Kevin Harvick’s third-place finish is his second top five in the past three races. … Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s seventh-place finish was his fourth top 10 in a row, the longest streak for JTG Daugherty Racing.
Who had a bad race: The 16 drivers eliminated from Sunday’s race due to crashes. On-track calamity threw competitors into melees often not of their own doing, highlighted by Buescher’s late-race barrel roll. … Kyle Larson had a miserable first half of the race, including early wall contact, three pit-road penalties, and a Lap 167 spin. He escaped with a ninth-place finish but had two chances to win it late, leading 50 of the final 60 circuits.
Notable: At 619.5 miles, Sunday’s race was the longest race in NASCAR history. The previous mark was set in 2020 at 608 miles. … Kevin Harvick scored his 11th top-10 finish in the past 12 Coca-Cola 600s.
Next race: The series heads to Worldwide Technology Raceway at Gateway for its inaugural trip on June 5 (3:30 p.m., FS1).