Harvick wins Coke 600 as Ambrose scores solid result

Kevin Harvick celebrates in Charlotte

Kevin Harvick celebrates in Charlotte

It took five hours of racing, three red flags, 11 caution periods, but it was the final 11 lap run to the flag by Kevin Harvick which ultimately earned him the Coke 600 at Charlotte.

In what was a battle of survival Harvick scored his second Sprint Cup Series win of the season, his second victory in NASCAR’s longest race and 22nd of his career. The ‘Closer’ led only a total of 28 of the 400 laps, but as his nickname implies he was out front when it mattered.

After several long green-flag runs during the early stages of the marathon race, the intensity picked up for the final quarter. Defending series champion Brad Keselowski crashed after a three-wide battle with rookie Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., sending the No. 2 Penske Racing Ford to a 36th-place finish.

The last of the night’s three red flags came out after 326 laps, just after a five-car melee involving Jeff Gordon, Aric Almirola, Mark Martin, Stenhouse and Bobby Labonte.

In the 333rd lap, five-time Sprint Cup champ Jimmie Johnson looped his No. 48 Chevrolet, collecting Juan Pablo Montoya, Paul Menard, Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth, who had one of the race’s strongest cars in the early going. Kenseth led 115 laps but had just a 15th-place finish to show for it.

The race will be remembered for a stoppage due to a nylon cable falling from a TV camera on the track at quarter distance. The incident affected Kyle Busch and Australia’s Marcos Ambrose the most.

Busch’s night then ended on lap 251 of 400 laps when his car’s engine expired.

Just one lap later, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s engine failed in a major way, dropping fluid that swept Greg Biffle, Dave Blaney and Travis Kvapil into the third-turn wall.

Jimmy Stone (right) and Charlie Schwerkolt (centre) with Ambrose's crew

Jimmy Stone (right) and Charlie Schwerkolt (centre) with Ambrose’s crew

For Ambrose the broken brake line looked to have ended his hopes, but for the first time in many races luck seemed to be on his side. Accidents that have been in front of him all seemed to be behind him and adjustments that he called for brought the car to life over the final quarter of the race as he took his Ford home in 10th.

“I had so much fun I want to do another 600 miles,” said Ambrose.

“It felt like it took about 10 hours to complete, but I’m really proud of my DeWalt team this weekend.

“We’ve had a really tough couple weeks. We had a real good, hard look at ourselves and we’ve come back with a better package and a stronger team because of it. We’re proud of our top 10. We’re closer to getting back to the front and it was a good night for us, a crazy night. We missed about three crashes, so I’m pleased.”

Ambrose even had time to reflect on the TV cable incident.

“It was like getting attacked by a giant squid,” said the Tasmanian.

“It was just flapping and I didn’t know what was going on. I thought it was cords coming out of maybe one of the 55’s tyres or something, but I could just hear it flapping. And then it got caught up in the rear end and I lost my brakes, so it was a nightmare but we got through it.

“NASCAR did a great job of actually handling a crisis there because we were hard-done by and they gave us our laps back and we were able to stay in the race and duke it out.”

“We’ve had such an unlucky year and that’s just par for the course right there. That’s just the way it goes.”

Like the race at Darlington two weeks ago, Ambrose had plenty of Australian support in his pit box, including former Australian team boss Jimmy Stone and V8 team owner Charlie Schwerkolt, plus numerous other supercar identities still in the US after the Austin race.

RESULTS: COKE 600 – Charlotte 

POS

Driver 

Car # 

MFG 

Start

Laps

Laps Led 

Final Status

Points/Bonus

1

Kevin Harvick 29 Chevrolet 15 400 28 Running 47/4

2

Kasey Kahne 5 Chevrolet 6 400 161 Running 44/2

3

Kurt Busch 78 Chevrolet 2 400 8 Running 42/1

4

Denny Hamlin 11 Toyota 1 400 6 Running 41/1

5

Joey Logano 22 Ford 31 400 0 Running 39/0

6

Ryan Newman 39 Chevrolet 10 400 1 Running 39/1

7

Tony Stewart 14 Chevrolet 25 400 6 Running 38/1

8

Clint Bowyer 15 Toyota 5 400 0 Running 36/0

9

Martin Truex Jr 56 Toyota 17 400 0 Running 35/0

10

Marcos Ambrose 9 Ford 19 400 0 Running 34/0

11

Carl Edwards 99 Ford 13 400 7 Running 34/1

12

Jeff Burton 31 Chevrolet 27 400 0 Running 32/0

13

Paul Menard 27 Chevrolet 22 400 1 Running 32/1

14

Ricky Stenhouse Jr 17 Ford 30 398 0 Running 30/0

15

Matt Kenseth 20 Toyota 3 398 112 Running 30/1

16

Trevor Bayne 21 Ford 29 397 0 Running 0/0

17

Regan Smith 51 Chevrolet 36 397 0 Running 0/0

18

Juan Pablo Montoya 42 Chevrolet 16 397 0 Running 26/0

19

Jamie McMurray 1 Chevrolet 9 396 2 Running 26/1

20

David Gilliland 38 Ford 26 396 0 Running 24/0

21

David Reutimann 83 Toyota 38 396 0 Running 23/0

22

Jimmie Johnson 48 Chevrolet 12 395 0 Running 22/0

23

Casey Mears 13 Ford 21 394 0 Running 21/0

24

Bobby Labonte 47 Toyota 34 394 0 Running 20/0

25

David Ragan 34 Ford 35 394 0 Running 19/0

26

Josh Wise 35 Ford 43 393 0 Running 0/0

27

Timmy Hill 32 Ford 40 391 0 Running 17/0

28

J.J. Yeley 36 Chevrolet 23 390 0 Running 16/0

29

Danica Patrick 10 Chevrolet 24 385 0 Running 15/0

30

Dave Blaney 7 Chevrolet 33 339 0 Accident 14/0

31

Greg Biffle 16 Ford 7 335 0 Running 13/0

32

David Stremme 30 Toyota 39 326 0 Running 12/0

33

Aric Almirola 43 Ford 18 324 0 Accident 11/0

34

Mark Martin 55 Toyota 4 324 0 Accident 10/0

35

Jeff Gordon 24 Chevrolet 14 324 0 Accident 9/0

36

Brad Keselowski 2 Ford 20 317 3 Accident 9/1

37

Landon Cassill 33 Chevrolet 42 303 0 Accident 0/0

38

Kyle Busch 18 Toyota 8 257 65 Engine 7/1

39

Dale Earnhardt Jr 88 Chevrolet 11 256 0 Engine 5/0

40

Travis Kvapil 93 Toyota 28 253 0 Accident 4/0

41

Joe Nemechek 87 Toyota 41 213 0 Electrical 0/0

42

Michael McDowell 98 Ford 32 50 0 Brakes 2/0

43

Scott Speed 95 Ford 37 39 0 Transmission 1/0

 

STANDINGS 

Rank

Driver

Car # 

Points

Behind

Wins

Starts

Top 5 

Top 10 

DNF

1

Jimmie Johnson 48 445 0 2 12 6 8 0

2

Carl Edwards 99 413 32 1 12 5 7 0

3

Matt Kenseth 20 394 51 3 12 3 7 2

4

Clint Bowyer 15 385 60 0 12 4 6 1

5

Kasey Kahne 5 370 75 1 12 5 6 1

6

Dale Earnhardt Jr 88 364 81 0 12 3 7 1

7

Kevin Harvick 29 362 83 2 12 3 4 2

8

Paul Menard 27 347 98 0 12 0 4 0

9

Martin Truex Jr 56 336 109 0 12 2 5 0

10

Brad Keselowski 2 335 110 0 12 4 7 1

11

Kyle Busch 18 332 113 2 12 5 6 3

12

Aric Almirola 43 328 117 0 12 0 4 2

13

Greg Biffle 16 324 121 0 12 1 4 0

14

Jamie McMurray 1 321 124 0 12 0 3 0

15

Jeff Gordon 24 320 125 0 12 2 3 3

16

Ryan Newman 39 315 130 0 12 1 6 3

17

Ricky Stenhouse Jr 17 312 133 0 12 0 0 0

18

Kurt Busch 78 304 141 0 12 3 4 2

19

Joey Logano 22 298 147 0 12 4 4 2

20

Tony Stewart 14 291 154 0 12 0 2 0

21

Jeff Burton 31 290 155 0 12 1 2 1

22

Marcos Ambrose 9 269 176 0 12 0 2 1

23

Juan Pablo Montoya 42 264 181 0 12 1 2 0

24

Denny Hamlin 11 238 207 0 8 3 3 1

25

Mark Martin 55 236 209 0 10 1 3 1

 

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