Denny Hamlin earned his second victory of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season, claiming the Coca-Cola 600 in double overtime at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday.
It was a case of slow and steady winning the race, as Hamlin overcame some early setbacks and found himself in the right place at the right time. He held off a tough challenge from Kyle Busch.
CHECKERED FLAG: DENNY DOES IT!!! <a href="https://twitter.com/dennyhamlin?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@dennyhamlin</a> wins the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CocaCola600?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CocaCola600</a>!!! <a href="https://t.co/7b5fsihSqg">pic.twitter.com/7b5fsihSqg</a>
Kyle Larson and Chase Briscoe were engaged in a tight battle as the race neared its conclusion. With four laps to go, Briscoe briefly got on the inside and inched ahead of Larson. But the No. 5 car quickly catapulted himself back into the lead on the outside.
Briscoe got a bit too aggressive and spun out to watch his hopes for victory slip away.
The fight still wasn't over for Larson, though, as he needed to fend off the competition in overtime. He appeared to be free and clear to the finish line until Austin Dillon surged on the inside.
Larson got boxed in while the front row was running four-wide, and something had to give.
FOX: NASCAR @NASCARONFOX
FOUR WIDE ... BIG CRASH ...<br><br>We'll line 'em up again!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CocaCola600?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CocaCola600</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NASCAR?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NASCAR</a> <a href="https://t.co/aMUhuq0Khg">pic.twitter.com/aMUhuq0Khg</a>
Hamlin got through the wreck unscathed and began the second overtime period as the leader. He opted to start from the inside, with Ross Chastain running alongside him on the outside.
Chastain quickly gave way to Busch, who did everything he could to dislodge the No. 11 car from the top spot but couldn't complete the task.
Coca-Cola 600 Results
1. Denny Hamlin
2. Kyle Busch
3. Kevin Harvick
4. Chase Briscoe
5. Christopher Bell
6. Tyler Reddick
7. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
8. Michael McDowell
9. Kyle Larson
10. Alex Bowman
Full leaderboard available at NASCAR's official site
- Stage 1: Chase Elliott
- Stage 2: Daniel Suarez
- Stage 3: Ross Chastain
- Final Stage: Denny Hamlin
There was a scary moment in the final stage when Chris Buescher made contact with Daniel Suarez. As No. 17 was sliding in the infield, the right front wheel got lodged underneath the undercarriage and caused the car to flip and roll multiple times.
Track workers spent a lengthy amount of time tending to Buescher and getting his car turned over so he could exit. He climbed out under his own power and was released from the infield care center.
That was one of many notable wrecks that altered the course of events Sunday.
Busch got off to a strong start and was running a close second behind Suarez on the 46th lap when he got loose on the outside. The No. 18 car avoided any major damage but fell down the leaderboard.
Busch was at least able to quickly get back on the lead lap following a wreck by Corey LaJoie. He had fallen to 35th prior to receiving the free pass.
Bubba Wallace had a similar reversal of fortune when he was running fourth in the second stage. He spun out while rounding Turn 4, and the front right tire of the No. 23 car blew out as the vehicle was skidding to a stop.
Wallace was less than 50 feet away from his pit stall when he came to a halt, though. That allowed his crew to replace his tire and get him back on the track in relatively short order.
Lee Spencer @CandiceSpencer
"No worries, we have no damage," Bootie Barker tells <a href="https://twitter.com/BubbaWallace?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BubbaWallace</a> then reassures the driver that despite being a lap down, it's a long race and there's plenty of time <a href="https://twitter.com/23XIRacing?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@23XIRacing</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/CLTMotorSpdwy?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CLTMotorSpdwy</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NASCAR?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NASCAR</a> P33
Sticking with the theme, Austin Cindric was ninth with 54 laps to go in Stage 2 when his left rear tire blew, sending him into the outside wall.
Unlike Busch and Wallace, he was unable to continue.
Austin Cindric is OK and was released from the <a href="https://twitter.com/BlueEmu1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BlueEmu1</a><br>care center. <br><br>"We just cut a left rear tire. No warning, but that was the lap I decided to run the bottom, so it was a pretty hard hit," he told <a href="https://twitter.com/AlanCavanna?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AlanCavanna</a>. "We had a fast car."
While there had already been nine cautions to that point, the race had yet to see as the second stage drew to a close any significant disruptions that impacted multiple cars. The "Big One" finally arrived on Lap 192.
Ryan Blaney lost control and set off a massive chain reaction. When the dust settled, 12 drivers took some level of damage.
Big trouble in Turns 1 and 2! <a href="https://twitter.com/Blaney?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Blaney</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/KurtBusch?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KurtBusch</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/keselowski?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@keselowski</a> are among those collected! <a href="https://t.co/fTV2NNJSIV">pic.twitter.com/fTV2NNJSIV</a>
Blaney, Chase Elliott and William Byron didn't return, ending strong runs from the latter two. Elliot had claimed the first stage and was poised to be a threat down the stretch.
Instead, the 2020 series champion will look to rebound when he's back on the track on June 5.
The World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois, will stage the next race in the NASCAR Cup Series, the Enjoy Illinois 300. This is the very first event at the track.