CONCORD, N.C.— In a race that was dominated by Martin Truex, Jr., it was Austin Dillon who made it to victory lane at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Coca-Cola 600 after pushing the limits in the gas tank.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet. I can’t believe it. I was just really focused on those last laps. My fiancé wrote in the car, ‘When you keep God in the first place, he will take you places you never imagined.’ And, I never imagined to be here at the 600 Victory Lane,” said Dillon. “Praise the Lord and all these guys who work so hard; and my pit crew is the best on pit road. I love it for them. We’re in the Chase. It’s awesome.”
This is Dillon’s first career victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. This is Dillon’s first race with crew chief, Justin Alexander, on top of the pit-box. This is his first victory in 133 races. Dillon becomes the 10th driver to score his first career victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
When many drivers were hitting pit road for tires and fuel, Dillon, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman, and Joey Logano stayed out in an effort to conserve fuel and make it to the end. Johnson had the race in the bag, but ran out of fuel going down the backstretch on lap 398. Dillon was able to conserve enough fuel to score the victory. Dillon ran out of fuel right as the checkered flag fell. Dillon was able to make it back around for one victory spin.
After running towards the front for majority of the night, Kyle Busch finished in the second position. Busch was able to get out front in the opening stage of the race to score the one playoff and 10 championship points. Busch led 63 laps, but fell short of victory to finish second at Charlotte.
“This M&M’s Camry was awesome tonight. It was just super fast. I mean we had one of the fastest cars all night long and then the 78 (Martin Truex Jr.) was probably the fastest car. There at the end, somehow we ran him down. You know he got a straightaway out on us, but there that last 100 laps we were able to get back to him and pass him so you know that was promising for us there at the end in order to get a second-place finish, but man just so so disappointed,” said Busch. “I don’t know. We ran our own race. We did what we needed to do and it wasn’t – it wasn’t the right game. We come up short and finish second.”
After dominating majority of the race, Truex Jr was unable to catch Dillon on fresh tires. On his final march to the lead, Truex used up his tires quickly and was unable to catch Ky. Busch and A. Dillon. Truex was able to finish in the third position after leading 233 of the 400 laps. With his performance tonight, Truex was able to snag the points lead from Kyle Larson.
“That stings a little bit, but can’t say enough about the guys on the team and everybody in Denver. Everybody on this Bass Pro Toyota did a heck of a job today. We just – we missed it a little bit on our last adjustment. I think if not for that we probably could’ve gotten the 3 (Austin Dillon), said Truex. “And then lapped traffic is just so tough here. There’s a few guys out there that you don’t ever know where they’re going to be when you get to the corner and it cost you so much time trying to pass them, ultimately that’s what got us. It is what it is. Like I said, we’re proud of everybody at TRD, at Toyota, Bass Pro and all the partners. Just came up a little short tonight.”
Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Erik Jones, Kevin Harvick, Newman, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. rounded out the top-10.
The Coca-Cola 600 was stopped shortly after lap 143 due to a brief rain shower. The red flag lasted one hour, 36 minutes, and 59 seconds for track drying operation. The caution flew a total of nine times for 53 laps. There were 23 lead changes among 10 different drivers.
Truex assumed a five point lead over Larson. Keselowski sits in the third position 82 points behind Truex. Kevin Harvick sits fourth in points only 103 points behind Truex. Ky. Busch rounds out the top-five in points only 105 points behind Truex.
Next up for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams is a trip to Dover International Speedway for the AAA 400 Driver For Autism. The race will be broadcasted on Fox Sports 1 and Motor Racing Network beginning at 1:00 p.m. EST.
CONCORD, N.C-- After a daring move to go three-wide on the start of the final 10 lap shootout, Kyle Busch went victorious in the Monster Energy All Star Race. Busch was able to sweep the weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway by winning tonight and the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 last night.
“It’s the All-Star race for one and for two, we’ve never won at Charlotte in a Cup car so we finally achieved that goal tonight and won the All-Star race and won a million bucks, so there’s reason to celebrate and to celebrate big. I can’t say enough about this team, everybody on this M&M’s Camry, this M&M’s Caramel Camry this week. First race, first win for those guys. Being a whole new product and being on the shelves here in May, it’s a whole new launch and a whole new program and it’s here to stay, so everybody pick up your caramel,” said Busch. “Can’t say enough about Adam Stevens (crew chief). You have Adam Stevens and these guys in the pit box and you can rely on them all day long. I had to do that tonight. You know we weren’t quite the fastest car, but we made the right changes when it mattered most. We made the right moves when it mattered most and we got the most out of our night tonight and got here to victory lane. Feel so relieved, alluded, proud and excited all in the same time.”
This was Busch’s 12th attempt to score an All-Star victory, and his first victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway in a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race.
After dominating the first two stages, Kyle Larson was able to finish in the second position after losing some track position in the third stage by going to the “option” tires.
“My pit crew has been awesome all year and I don’t want to take anything away from them. We came down pit road the leader and three people passed us, that was pretty much the difference there. But, in ten laps, track position is huge. We just didn’t have it there at the end,” said Larson. “We had the best car out there, for sure. In traffic I thought it was really good. I thought we had it most of the race but that’s how racing goes. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. But I think we had a really fast car today. We’ll go onto the 600, that’s a long race, and try it again.”
Being a silent contender for most of the night, Jimmie Johnson was able to win the third stage and finish third overall in the All-Star race.
“When you’re the second place car, you can’t jump the leader. But everybody in the second, third, and fourth row is going to jump and do what they can to roll-up on the situation. So, I was really hopeful of old tires and being on the bottom. They’d be able to hold that lane back, especially Kyle (Busch) and how good he is on race starts. And it just didn’t happen. He got in there. I had a decent start. They weren’t able to push me and get me going. And I had a couple of shots at him,” said Johnson. “He wasn’t handling too well at the start of the run, but I just drove too hard. I could see a million dollars out the windshield and I just drove this Lowe’s Chevy way too hard in the corner a couple of times and gave up some ground. We learned a little bit tonight and we’ll come back next week and have some more fun.”
Drivers will return to Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday to begin preparations for the Coca-Cola 600, the sports longest race. FOX and Performance Racing Network will have the coverage on May 28th beginning at 6:00 p.m. EST.
CONCORD, N.C— Clint Bowyer, Ryan Blaney, and Daniel Suarez will transfer into the Monster Energy All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway based on their victories in the stages.
After starting from the pole position, Bowyer led all 20 laps in the opening stage. He had a 3.653 second lead over Blaney at the start-finish line.
In the second stage, Blaney led the field to the green to led all 20 laps. Blaney beat Chase Elliott by 0.203 seconds.
In the final 10 lap stage, Landon Cassill was the race leader, but was punted by Elliott before the first turn. Daniel Suarez assumed the race lead, but Elliott was pass Suarez with four laps remaining. The caution flew as Erik Jones went through the grass in an effort to pass Suarez and Elliott. Suarez won the final stage by 1.039 seconds over Austin Dillon
The winner of the fan vote was Chase Elliott.
The Monster Energy All-Star Race is set to go green shortly after 8:00 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 1 and Motor Racing Network.
TALLADEGA, Al.— Although he had a strong third place run going, Kyle Busch was critical of his teammates and their help during the GEICO 500.
When it comes to restrictor plate racing at Daytona and Talladega, Joe Gibbs Racing and Furniture Row Racing form a pact to draft together in an effort to work their way to the front for a potential victory at Talladega.
Busch was able to show the strength of Joe Gibbs Racing, but his teammates were nowhere to be found to help him score the potential victory after leading the race when the white flag fell.
“Everybody was all kind of mixed up – there was a Ford, there was a Chevy – so it was just all over the place. Certainly myself and the 78 (Martin Truex Jr.) and the 11 (Denny Hamlin), we all worked really well together today and it was fun to have comradery today with teammates, but they weren’t there for us at the end,” Busch explained post-race.
Busch led a race high go 48 laps. Had the final caution not fell, sending the race into overtime, due to an accident involving Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, and Chris Buescher on the backstretch, Busch would have been the victor in the GEICO 500. But due to the drafting help Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. received from Jamie McMurray, Busch lost the lead to finish in the third position.
“When they have too big of a run and you can’t do anything about it,” Busch explained. “Stenhouse got a really good run and a good push and got by us there and then it was just about retaliation to get back on him and I just never had enough help from behind and just never got together.”
Busch was able to get the jump on restarts in the closing stages of the race, and explained how he was able to get the advantage.
“Maybe it was everybody sleeping,” he answered. “ I don't know. But it certainly was working, and that was sort of my strategy was to get it where I was single file and I could choose a lane and see which one had the momentum behind me. If I was stuck side by side with the bottom line, I never had that opportunity in order to protect both lanes. I seem to be able to do a good job at that, I just don't know how it all fell apart there in the last lap or two for us that we couldn't get to where we needed to be.”
Busch settled for third, but remains confident heading into Kansas.
“We did all we could here today and it’s all circumstantial on how you win these things,” he said. “Unfortunately our circumstances didn’t quite go our way, but we go to a real race track next week and we’ll try to win there.”
TALLADEGA, Al— For the first time of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. was victorious in the GEICO 500 from Talladega Superspeedway after a late race charge to the front in a green, white, checkered scenario. Stenhouse Jr. was able to hold off Kyle Busch in the final two laps to head towards victory. This is Roush-Fenway’s first victory since Carl Edwards went to victory lane in 2014 at Sonoma. This is Ford’s fifth win in a row on restrictor plate tracks.
“This is for all the guys at the shop. We’ve been terrible for a long time. This year, every race we’re getting better and better. We knew that Talladega was a good race track for us. It’s been a good one in the past and I’m just glad we parked it for my buddy, Bryan Clauson,” Stenhouse Jr. stated. “He was with us on that last lap. This Fifth Third Bank Ford was so fast today – qualified on the pole and got the win. I can’t say enough about the guys. It’s cool to have Jack Roush back in Victory Lane, Ford Performance, Fastenal, Sunny D. I’m gonna have a Sunny D in the morning, maybe a little later. This is cool. The closest race track to my hometown and the fans were out here this weekend.”
Jamie McMurray finished in the second position. McMurray was quiet throughout much of the day at Talladega, despite a few spotters complaining in the early stages of the race about his driving style and potentially causing a wreck.
“I mean it’s really circumstantial as to what the guys do in front of you and what is happening behind you. I just got a run at the right time. I thought the No. 17 (Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.) was going to get a little bit further out, but when we were coming to the line it just seemed like his car wasn’t going at that point, so it was a good finish. It was a great race,” said McMurray I’m glad everybody is okay, that was a really scary wreck on the backstretch, but really good day for our McDonald’s Chevrolet. We had good pit stops and the guys did a great job.”
Ky. Busch was leading the race at the advertised distance of 188 laps, but a late race caution sent the race in overtime ultimately sending him to a third place finish. Busch was not a happy camper when it came to the GEICO 500.
“When they have too big of a run and you can’t do anything about it. (Ricky) Stenhouse got a really good run and a good push and got by us there and then it was just about retaliation to get back on him and I just never had enough help from behind and just never got together. I just can’t say enough about this Skittles American Mix Camry – it was really fast,” said Ky. Busch. “The guys at Joe Gibbs Racing did a great job and TRD with everyone on this motor, it was awesome. We did all we could here today and it’s all circumstantial on how you win these things. Unfortunately our circumstances didn’t quite go our way, but we go to a real race track next week and we’ll try to win there.”
Aric Almirola, Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Paul Menard, and David Ragan rounded out the top-10.
Kyle Larson still holds the points lead over Martin Truex, Jr by 54 points. Keselowski is 61 points back in third, Chase Elliott is 75 points back in fourth, and McMurray rounds out the top-five in points only 110 back from Larson.
The GEICO 500 was slowed eight times for 33 laps. There was one red flag period for a total of 26 minutes and 51 seconds. There were 26 different lead changes amongst 14 different drivers with Ky. Busch leading the most at 48 laps. The first two stages were one by Keselowski and Denny Hamlin. The time of the race was three hours, 29 minutes, and 16 seconds.
Next up for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is a Saturday night trip to Kansas Speedway for the Go Bowling 400.