Memorial Day weekend is a United States tradition, and every year, the holiday is accompanied by the amazing NASCAR racing of the Coca-Cola 600 from the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
While the ending of the race was spectacular and the day of racing overall couldn’t have been better, this event was far from perfect.
After Sunday’s wild race, this is the good, bad and ugly of the 2013 Coca-Cola 600.
The Good: Kevin Harvick’s Performance
For those who doubted just how much talent Kevin Harvick has, the Richard Childress Racing driver proved through his patience and ability to turn on the competitive juices when needed that he’s one of the best in the sport.
This is Harvick’s last year at RCR—he signed with Stewart-Haas Racing for 2014—but his performance Sunday proved that he is anything but a lame-duck driver.
Harvick and the No. 29 team are going for a championship.
While Harvick as a driver deserves immense credit for the way he drove the race at Charlotte, his entire crew dominated Sunday as well. Not only was the pit crew on point all day, the final decision to get two tires on the last stop made the difference on the restart.
Harvick won this race with pit strategy and on-track patience, and that’s usually a great sign for teams in the Sprint Cup championship hunt.
The Bad: Long Race Causes Plenty of Problems
When 43 drivers are forced to drive 600 miles—400 times around the Charlotte Motor Speedway—the likelihood that contact will be made and egos will be bruised is very high.
As expected, things got physical on the track, and there were plenty of cautions.
Not only was there the camera incident that caused a half-hour red-flag period (see: The Ugly), some of the biggest names in NASCAR were involved in wrecks that either ended their night completely or took them out of serious contention.
With bona fide stars like Dale Earnhardt Jr., Danica Patrick, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon and more having bad luck Sunday night, this was one of the most intense Coca-Cola 600s in a long time.
The Ugly: Fox’s Camera Screws Everything Up
On Lap 123, a caution came out for debris on the track, an event that is not uncommon at NASCAR races. What was abnormal about this situation was that the debris was a nylon rope from the Fox overhead camera that had broken.
Not only did the rope do serious damage to several cars on track and bring out the red flag—drivers like Kyle Busch and Marcos Ambrose were forced to do major work—10 fans were injured by the cord, according to Charlotte Motor Speedway (h/t ESPN).
NASCAR handled the situation beautifully by allowing the teams 15 minutes to fix their cars without penalization, but this is an occurrence that should have been avoided and one that can’t happen again.