Martin Truex Jr. Breaks Records to Take NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 Victory at Charlotte
Something finally clicked for Martin Truex Jr. in Sunday’s NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Despite close, but no cigar races this past season in Texas, Kansas and Dover, Truex finished 2.572 seconds ahead of Kevin Harvick to clinch his victory, as well as a few new records. He led 392 of 400 laps, the most ever in NASCAR’s longest Sprint Cup Series race, and spent 588 of 600 miles at the front of the field, which is most laps in front in a single race in NASCAR history.
Truex, driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Toyota, edged out Harvick in part because the Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet developed tight handling conditions over the race, particularly during the final green-flag run. Harvick came in second ahead of Jimmy Johnson, with Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski finishing fourth and fifth respectively.
According to NASCAR, the 160.644 mph average race speed was a record for a Coca-Cola 600 that went the full distance, as was the duration of the race, 3 hours, 44 minutes, 8 seconds. Truex achieved a perfect driver rating of 150.0, the first of his career.
Denny Hamlin Squeals Into First on Fresh Tires at Hisense 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series
Tires have separated the winners and losers all season in the Xfinity playing field, and this week’s race was no exception. Denny Hamlin, who restarted after getting four fresh tires, was able to edge past Austin Dillon, Joey Logano, and Kyle Larson for the Xfinity win in Charlotte.
From the official race release, “Hamlin restarted sixth on Lap 205 after coming to pit road for four new tires under the eighth and final caution of the race, brought out when polesitter Erik Jones, Hamlin’s teammate, slammed the outside wall and performed the coup de grace on his already wounded No. 20 Toyota.”
It’s Hamlin’s first win of the year, although the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota he was manning has had a stellar season with five wins, the first four piloted by Kyle Busch.
It’s not quite accurate to just credit the tires however. On lap 199, polesitter Erik Jones slammed into the wall, causing the eighth caution of the race. This allowed Hamlin to start on the outside with the new tires, which helped him squeak into victory.
Austin Dillon and Joey Logano finished second and third.