Martin Truex Jr. scored his third win of 2019 at Charlotte on Sunday night, as he won his second Coca-Cola 600 by .330 of a second over Joey Logano. Truex had the dominant car of the evening, leading 116 laps after starting 14th, although he had to overcome a cut tire and contact with the wall on lap 75 when he brought out the caution while leading.
Truex had his hands full on the last restart with five laps left, when he restarted third behind David Ragan and Ryan Newman after pitting for fresh tires. Third-place finisher Kyle Busch restarted fourth, and after a strong restart, Busch appeared to be in position to take the lead until Truex made a four-wide pass for the lead on the backstretch and didn’t look back. Chase Elliott and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. rounded out the top-five.
“What a hell of a team,” Truex said. “We never gave up on it. I thought we were done. We blew a tire and hit the wall. We never gave up on it. I thought we were done. Just kept fighting, just kept fighting. What a race there at the end. That was pretty wild.”
Logano was disappointed with second place but proud of his team’s efforts.
“The Coke 600 is such a big deal to win,” he said, “especially as a Coke driver you want to make it happen and we were close, but we’ll just have to wait again to next year and go at it.
“I thought we had a good shot when that caution came back out. That was another chance and just didn’t quite get it, but overall, like I said, very proud of it. As far as Memorial Day Weekend and getting to race is a privilege, so for me to complain about second sounds pretty dumb. I’m proud to live in this country and I’m happy that I just get to race.”
Busch, who earned his seventh top five of the season, said, “I thought that through much of the race we had a fast car. We were there. We led some laps, we ran around. The 4 (Harvick) was fast, the 19 (Truex) was fast. The 19 was the fastest car, so I’m not sure what they had different than us, but obviously we were just off a little bit, otherwise I felt like we had a race-winning car capable of at least running second, I guess, but overall the red, white and blue M&M’s Camry was fast, and we brought it home where we should have – or close anyway, I think.”
The race had 16 cautions for 80 laps, the majority of which were due to tire issues, leading to several drivers like Truex, Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones, Matt DiBenedetto, and Brad Keselowski all making contact with the wall after tire failure. However, the race’s biggest caution happened on lap 317 when Clint Bowyer and Kyle Larson made contact that collected Austin and Ty Dillon as well as Ryan Preece. Larson’s and Austin Dillon’s days were ended after the incident.
“I just got in there and lost grip and slid up into Clint,” said Larson. “I just hate that I caused the wreck there. I didn’t do a good job on the restart. Just put myself in a bad spot and got sideways.”
The race saw 30 lead changes among 11 drivers, with many on social media proclaiming positive reviews on the event, further enforcing the that the current aero package is a step in the right direction, especially after two of the previous three Coke 600s were won by drivers who led over 375 of the 400 laps (Busch won in ’18 after leading 377 laps and Truex won in ’16 after leading 392 laps).
Chris Buescher, Alex Bowman, Jimmie Johnson, William Byron, and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-10. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series stops at Pocono Raceway next on June 2 at 2 p.m. ET on FS1.