FYI WIRZ: NASCAR's Longest Race Got Longer but Teams and Drivers Persevered
After NASCAR’s longest race, the Coca-Cola 600, was made longer by a snapped TV cable, drivers and fans had reason to grumble about a freak technical delay. But none more than Kyle Busch and his team as the fallen cable damaged his No. 18 Toyota so severely that it ultimately ended up in the garage for the night.
Rolling out of Charlotte, Jimmie Johnson and team are still riding at the top of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings with a 32-point buffer.
Kasey Kahne nearly won at Charlotte, which places him back in the Top Five.
Kevin Harvick keeps kicking his lame duck scenario at Richard Childress Racing with good finishes and wins, like this most recent victory at Charlotte. Wherever he goes next year, he might want to sign a lame duck contract.
Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer and Carl Edwards have performed well this season and shared their comments about Charlotte going forward.
Kevin Harvick knew what to expect from the Coca-Cola 600, about 400 fast laps. He explained.
“This is one of those nights you just know going into it you got to grind away lap after lap, just keep yourself on the lead lap, not make any mistakes. As you get towards the end of the race, you want to be more aggressive as you get onto pit road, get into your pit box.”
Harvick never expected an errant cable on the CMS track and shared his thoughts and emotions about the experience.
“I saw this streak go by me. What in the hell was that?
“I always have this thing with my eyes. It's one of the biggest things we have as drivers. You got to believe in your eyes. I tell myself, You got to believe what you saw.
“I got to the start/finish line, I eased off the gas, I knew what I had seen the lap before, I was hoping it wasn't my last race, I was hoping what I saw was right. I let off at the start/finish line, there was that black streak again. I was looking for it. You could see the cable hanging down.”
Like many drivers and team members, Clint Bowyer and the No.15 Toyota team adjusted to the rare cable failure and drove on to the best finish possible.
“I think we were on the splitter most of the night. It just took too long to get an opportunity to get off of it. Once we got off of it, we had been working so hard trying to get the thing to turn while it was dragging the splitter that once we got off of it then it got loose. We just chased our tail all night long. For everything that we battled through to end up with a top-10 is good, but certainly not what we wanted.”
Carl Edwards has one win this season and many top finishes. Good results have helped him to cling to second place.
“We struggled all night and I think we were doing everything we could to get the most spots we could. I think if we would have played the game a little bit differently there with two tires, four tires, pit stops, not stopping and all that we could have maybe finished sixth or seventh, but that was about the best we were gonna have. We’re missing something here. We started out a week ago with the pole and we thought everything was gonna be great, but there’s something about the way this track drives in race trim that we just missed this time around. We’ll hopefully get it fixed for the fall.”
Kurt Busch has had some strong finishes this year with his new team, Furniture Row Racing, and looks to follow up. Busch shared some of his racing philosophy.
“You don't get paid by driver ratings, you get paid by where you finish.
“To be up front, to lead laps, that's what it's all about. So we'll get these little hiccups polished up and continue plugging forward. That's the only thing we can do, is learn from what exactly happened
“To show our strength tonight, to finish third, we'll take it. I think that's what needs to be said.”
Kasey Kahne is one of seven drivers to win a NSCS race this year and shared his thoughts after getting another second place finish.
“I feel really confident with my team after a performance like tonight. They were just on it the entire time. The calls that Kenny made, the adjustments, the way the car was balanced throughout the race, that came from yesterday's practice. I feel great about all that stuff, I have all year.
“The car was so much better tonight. The guys did an awesome job to get it where it was. It drove basically perfect for 600 miles. That's tough to do.”
These five drivers take solid momentum going forward, but five-time NSCS champion Jimmie Johnson is as cool and calm as ever—ready to ignore distractions and work towards perfection with crew chief Chad Knaus and team.
FYI WIRZ is the select presentation of topics by Dwight Drum at Racetake.com. Unless otherwise noted, information and all quotes were obtained from personal interviews or official release materials provided by sanction and team representatives.
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