NASCAR Cup Series results: Ryan Blaney wins at Charlotte


CONCORD, N.C. — Ryan Blaney outran William Byron over the final miles and through several restarts to win Monday’s 600-mile NASCAR Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Blaney thus ended a 59-race winless streak and qualified for the Cup playoffs.

Following in the top five were Byron, Martin Truex Jr., Bubba Wallace and Tyler Reddick.

Charlotte Cup results

Charlotte Cup driver points

Dr. Diandra: Charlotte’s 600 miles test man more than machine


This weekend’s 600-mile outing at Charlotte Motor Speedway is NASCAR’s longest race. It’s the ultimate stock car challenge: not just making a car fast but making it fast for a long time.

Although 600 miles is nowhere near the 3,300-plus miles in the 24 Hours of LeMans, the pace is similar. Most of NASCAR’s 600-mile races run between four and five hours.

The 1960 World 600 set the record for this race, requiring five hours, 34 minutes, and six seconds to complete — and it had only eight cautions. The second longest race, the very next year, ran 12 minutes shorter than the previous year’s outing.

The longest race in the modern era (1972 to present) happened in 2005. That race took five hours, 13 minutes, and 52 seconds to complete and set a record for cautions with 22.

Last year’s event was the second-longest modern-era race. With four fewer cautions than 2005, the 2022 race took just 44 seconds less to complete.

The field for the 1960 race included 60 cars. Only 18 of those cars (30%) crossed the finish line.

NASCAR disqualified six drivers for making illegal entrances to pit road. The reasons for the remaining 36 DNFs reads like an inventory of car parts, from “A-frame” to “valve.”

The number of cars failing to finish the race decreased significantly over the years. In the 1960s and early 1970s, it was not uncommon for 50-70% of the field to drop out of the race before its end. As the graph below shows, the DNF rate is now in the range of 10-30%.

A bar chart shows how DNFs have decreased over time and turned the the 600-mile Charlotte race inot more a test of man than machine

Last year — the first year of the Next Gen car — had an abnormally high 46% DNF rate. That doesn’t signify a problem with car reliability.

Quite the contrary, in fact.

Increased car reliability makes people more important

Racecar evolution has changed the nature of NASCAR’s longest race. The car have become so reliable that Charlotte’s 600-mile race is now more a test of drivers than their cars.

“All of the components in the car are pretty standard,” Chase Elliott’s crew chief Alan Gustafson said. “So you just want to make sure you have it all in good condition and dot all your I’s and cross your T’s.”

That wasn’t how it used to be. Kevin Harvick remembers that drivers used to be warned to take care of their equipment early so it would last until the end.

“The engine guys freak out because you have to go an extra 100 miles, but the parts and stuff on the car are a lot more durable than they used to be,” Harvick said. “Back in the day, it was ‘take care of the motor.’ ”

Drivers worry much less about their car’s engine today. The graph below shows how DNFs due to engine failure have decreased since NASCAR started running 600-mile races.

A bar chart shows that engine failures have gone from 50-70% to 10-30%, turning the 600-mile Charlotte race inot more a test of man than machine

In 1966, more than half the field lost an engine during the race. Only six cars have retired due to engine failure in the last five years.

While cars are more reliable, their drivers are still human. Crash-related DNFs (crashes, failure to beat the DVP clock and inability to meet maximum speed) show no clear trend over time.

A bar chart shows how the number of DNFs due to crashes doesn't show any overall trend with time

Typically, between five to 10% of the cars starting a race will fail to finish due to an accident rather than a mechanical failure. Last year’s race was an exception, setting a record for the largest fraction of the field taken out by crashes since the 600-miler began.

It’s only one data point as far as 600-mile races are concerned. It is, however, indicative of a trend observed since the Next Gen car debuted. The car is so sturdy that contact is no longer the deterrent it used to be.

Man versus machine

NASCAR’s only 600-mile outing has become an endurance race for humans. Drivers draw upon research in hydration, nutrition and fitness, hoping to create an advantage by preparation and conditioning.

“As a driver,” Daniel Suárez said, “your goal is to be as fresh at the end of the race as you are at the beginning. It isn’t about making it to the end of the race. It’s about being at your best at the end and taking advantage of other drivers who are tired.”

Harrison Burton, who ran his first 600-mile race last year, was surprised by how taxing that extra stage was.

“I figured it’s only 100 more miles than 500 and we do that fairly frequently and didn’t think it would be that different,” Burton said, “but for whatever reason when that fourth stage starts it’s definitely daunting.

Burton also noted that last year’s Coca-Cola 600 was the first time he got hungry during a race.

“It’s actually a really important race to have something to snack on in the car during the race,” Ross Chastain said. “I typically have some sort of protein bar that I can eat during a stage break just to try and keep my stamina up.”

The driver isn’t the only one whose mental acumen gets tested during the Coca-Cola 600. Crew chiefs and pit crews must work at peak form for a longer time.

“There’s more pit stops, there’s more restarts, there’s more strategy calls and there’s more laps,” Gustafson said. “There’s more everything.”

That means more opportunities to make mistakes or lose focus — or to take advantage of other drivers who do.

Winners and losers at North Wilkesboro Speedway


Winners and losers at the NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race Sunday at North Wilkesboro Speedway:


Kyle LarsonLarson turned in one of the most dominant performances in the history of the All-Star Race. He led 145 of the 200 laps, including the final 96, and breezed to a 4.5-second win.

Bubba Wallace — Wallace was best in class, coming home second after the runaway express that was Kyle Larson.

Daniel Suarez — Suarez finished seventh and was the only driver other than winner Kyle Larson to lead a lap. He led 55.

North Wilkesboro Speedway — The track’s new/old face was a hit with fans and competitors. Kyle Larson’s runaway win took away some excitement from the Cup Series’ first visit to North Wilkesboro since 1996, but the revitalized track likely will play a role in the sport for years to come.


Kyle Busch — Going into the race, Busch had led 324 laps in All-Star competition. He was a non-factor Sunday, finishing 22nd, two laps down.

William Byron — The Cup Series’ victory leader this year with three, Byron had a tough Sunday, finishing 20th, two laps behind.

Brad Keselowski — Keselowski’s struggles in All-Star competition continued. He finished 19th Sunday and remains winless in All-Star events.


NASCAR All-Star results: Kyle Larson wins at North Wilkesboro


Kyle Larson ran away with the victory in Sunday’s NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway, leading the final 96 laps and winning by 4.5 seconds.

Larson, who won the sport’s all-star event for the third time, led 145 of the 200 laps in pocketing the $1 million winner’s purse.

Larson became the first driver in all-star race history to win the event at three tracks — Charlotte Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and North Wilkesboro, which was hosting NASCAR for the first time since 1996.

Following Larson in the top five were Bubba Wallace, Tyler Reddick, Chase Briscoe and Chase Elliott.

North Wilkesboro All-Star results

Kyle Larson wins NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro in runaway


Kyle Larson turned the North Wilkesboro Speedway revival into the equivalent of a very quiet church service.

Larson was clearly the top dog in Sunday’s NASCAR All-Star Race at the revitalized short track, leaving the rest of the field to race among themselves for most of the evening.

Larson pocketed the $1 million winner’s prize like a thief in the night, one no one could catch. He led 145 laps, including the final 96. Daniel Suarez, out front for 55 laps, was the race’s only other leader. He finished seventh.

MORE: North Wilkesboro All-Star results

MORE: What drivers said at North Wilkesboro

Larson’s victory gave team owner Rick Hendrick his 11th win in the All-Star Race.

“So much fun there,” Larson told Fox Sports. “That was old-school ass whipping, for sure. We had a great car on the long run there and was just thinking for sure there was going to be a caution. I got out to a big lead and I could see everybody’s cars were driving like crap in front of me, but I cannot thank this 5 team enough. We were God-awful all weekend. Practice I was like the worst on 30-lap average, went backwards in a heat race yesterday. You obviously had some strategy work out there in the beginning, but we drove from dead last to the lead and checked out by 12 or 13 seconds. Then just could pace myself there that last run.”

Larson won by 4.5 seconds. Following in the top five were Bubba Wallace, Tyler Reddick, Chase Briscoe and Chase Elliott.

The race was the first full-length Cup competition at North Wilkesboro since 1996.  The track underwent an extensive — and expensive — renovation in preparation for NASCAR’s return.

Larson charged to the lead with 90 laps to go after a caution period and methodically built his lead.

Larson took control late in the first half and had a 12-second lead on second-place Wallace when NASCAR called a competition caution at Lap 101. Larson had been pushed to the rear of the field for speeding on pit road earlier but marched through the field with newer tires.

The race’s first caution flew on Lap 17 because of Turn 4 contact between Erik Jones and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Josh Berry and Ty Gibbs finished one-two in the preliminary All-Star Open to advance to the feature. Noah Gragson won the fan vote and also was added to the All-Star field.

Who had a good race: Kyle Larson was easily the star of stars in taking his third All-Star win. … Bubba Wallace ran near the front most of the night. … Joey Logano rallied from a pit-road penalty to finish in the top 10. … Daniel Suarez led 55 laps.

Who had a bad race: Brad Keselowski, William Byron and Kyle Busch were non-factors, finishing near the back of the field. Keselowski was 19th, Byron 20th and Busch 22nd.

Next: The series moves on to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the season’s longest race at 600 miles May 28 at 6 p.m. ET.