Event: Coca-Cola 600 (Round 13 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 400 laps, broken into four stages (100 laps/100 laps/100/100 laps)
Start/Finish: 8th/24th (Running, completed 397 of 400 laps)
Point Standing: 9th (370 points, 149 out of first)
Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 3 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-100):
● Clint Bowyerstarted eighth, finished 25th.
● Bowyer told his crew his car was pushing in the opening laps.
● He reported other cars were just driving off from him and speculated he might have an engine or aerodynamic issue.
● On lap 90 Daniel Hemric drove into Bowyer off turn two, spinning his car and damaging the front of the No. 14.
● Bowyer made several pit stops to make repairs and fell to the back of the field.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 101-200):
● Bowyer started 30th, finished 13th.
● He climbed to 15th with new tires but told the crew his car still felt like it was “dragging a parachute.”
● Bowyer received a pit road speeding penalty when he stopped for repairs to the car from the earlier contact.
● He moved from 13th to eighth when he stayed on the track during a caution with 10 laps remaining in the stage.
● Bowyer couldn’t hang on to the points-paying positions on the older tires in the final laps and finished 13th.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 201-300):
● Bowyerstarted 14th, finished 12th.
● He told his crew his car wouldn’t turn in the corners as needed.
● Dropped to 18th halfway through the stage but climbed to 11th by lap 266.
● Bowyer returned to the top-10 on lap 273.
● Problems with tight handling dropped him back to 12th.
Stage 4 Recap (Laps 301-400):
● Bowyer started 12th, finished 24th.
● He told his crew he might have a flat tire as the field started the stage, but he moved from 12th to eighth in two laps before a caution.
● He restarted the race in seventh – his best position of the race.
● As he battled on the lap-316 restart, a near-accident in front of him forced drivers to take evasive measures.
● Despite avoiding the cars in front, Bowyer was hit by Kyle Larson, triggering a multicar accident.
● Bowyer’s car suffered heavy damage, but he was able to keep minimum speed.
● He lost three laps to the leaders, but he brought his wounded car to the finish in 24th.
● Martin Truex Jr. won the Coca-Cola 600 to score his 22nd career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his third of the season and his third at Charlotte. His margin of victory over second-place Joey Logano was .330 of a second.
● There were 16 caution periods for a total of 80 laps.
● Only 17 of the 40 drivers in the Coca-Cola 600 finished on the lead lap.
● Logano and Kyle Busch leave Charlotte tied for the championship lead with a 41-point advantage over third-place Kevin Harvick.
Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“That was a long night. We struggled with everything at some point. But you know, close at the end we were seventh, and it was looking like it was going to turn out OK. I think we were going to get a top-10. Two times tonight we were in the wrong place at the wrong time and got wrecked.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Pocono 400 on Sunday, June 2 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.