When looking at the Coca-Cola 600, one of the most notable moments is when Denny Busch loses the lead to Denny Hamlin on the last lap. Busch has been a Coca-Cola driver his entire career, but that year he had a bit of luck on his side because he was not behind Hamlin for the entire race. Denny Hamlin won the Coca-Cola 600 on Monday night. Here are some of the highlights from the race.
Denny Hamlin’s First Win
In his 48th start at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Denny Hamlin won the Coca-Cola 600 on Monday night, his first win in NASCAR’s crown jewel race. Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota led 15 of the 413 laps, winning the race in double overtime. He was able to pull off his first pole finish in NASCAR, while teammate Kyle Busch finished second.
In the final laps of the race, Hamlin cleared Kyle Busch, forcing him high and out of the race. With the victory, Hamlin took his second win of 2022. The race was shortened by 18 caution periods, including a red flag on Lap 191. In addition, the No. 11 Toyota of Hamlin was led by Sam McAuley, who served as his interim crew chief. However, Chris Gabehart, who had served a four-race suspension due to a loose wheel, was not able to continue the race because of a loose tire. Chase Briscoe, the No. 14 Ford of Jimmie Johnson, also lost control and slid through the infield.
The race was dominated by a series of accidents. In the first overtime, Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin were leading, followed by Austin Dillon and Matt Chastain. In the second overtime, the Toyotas of Elliott, Suarez, and Chastain were the front-runners. But Hamlin’s car spun out of control on the final lap, and Austin Dillon was able to get by. The Toyota lineup capitalized on the race’s attrition to take a win and a championship for Joe Gibbs Racing.
The saga of Hamlin’s Coca-Cola 600 win demonstrates the power of teamwork. In the 2022 Coca-Cola 600, Hamlin’s team was comprised of an interim crew chief, an assistant crew chief, and a regular crew chief. The resulting changes led to the team’s unprecedented success. The team is ranked No. 5 in NASCAR’s World Series of Drag Racing, but the results are still far from ideal.
In addition to Hamlin’s victory in the Coca-Cola 600, Kevin Harvick finished second and was just 0.119 seconds behind him in the last lap. Denny Busch, the reigning Cup champion, finished third in the race, while Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, and Christopher Bell completed the top five. The Coca-Cola 600 was the longest in NASCAR history.
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