Denny Hamlin led Joe Gibbs Racing with a fourth-place finish in tonight’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. All four JGR teams spent a majority of the night racing inside the top ten although only Matt Kenseth would manage to join Hamlin in such a position taking the checkered flag in seventh, while two pit road speeding penalties resulted in an 18th-place finish for Carl Edwards and a late-race accident left Kyle Busch in 33rd.
Denny Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota from the fourth position and was running third at lap 100. He would fall back outside the top five but was running seventh at lap 200. He would restart sixth on a lap 209 restart and was holding onto the eighth position at lap 250. The FedEx crew would gain him a spot during a round of green flag stops and he was seventh at lap 260. Hamlin was fifth with 100 laps to go following another round of green flag stops. A caution with just over 60 laps remaining would bring the field back down to pit road under caution and the FedEx crew would put Hamlin back out fifth for the restart. He would gain a spot to run fourth and managed to hold that position all the way to the finish.
Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 DEWALT Toyota in the 27th position and patiently raced his way up to 15th over the first 100 laps. He would enter the top ten on lap 141. Kenseth would receive hard contact from the 3 car while on pit road during a stop on lap 166. Although there was some damage to the left side of his DEWALT Camry it wouldn’t cost him any significant track position and he continued to hold the 10th position at lap 200. Kenseth would line up eighth for a restart on lap 209 but got shuffled back to run 13th. He would climb back to 10th by lap 260 following a round of green flag pit stops. Kenseth was sixth with 100 laps to go following another round of green flag pit stops. A caution with just over 60 laps remaining would bring the field back down to pit road under caution and the DEWALT crew would put Kenseth back out sixth for the restart. He would go on to finish in seventh.
Carl Edwards started the No. 19 Subway Toyota from the ninth position and was able to hold it through the opening 100 laps. He would continue to run consistent laps and was up to sixth at the halfway mark. He would restart fifth on lap 209 and was able to gain one spot into fourth. Edwards was up to second following a round of green flag pit stops on lap 256. NASCAR would rule that the 19 was too fast entering the pits during a round of green flag pit stops just prior to lap 300 forcing him to do a pass through penalty. Unfortunately Edwards was too fast again while serving the penalty and had to return to pit road. He would fall a lap down to the leaders during the process. The Subway team would take the wave around to get back on the lead lap for a restart with 56 laps remaining. Edwards was 17th when he took the green again but unfortunately the caution needed did not come and the No. 19 would have to come to pit road for fuel with 30 laps remaining. That would leave him a lap down once again and with no further cautions he would go on to finish 18th.
Kyle Busch qualified the No. 18 M&M’S Red-White-Blue Toyota in the 16th position and was able to patiently work his way up to 12th over the first 100 laps. He would battle a tight handling race car throughout the first half of the race and was 18th for a restart on lap 209. Busch would jump up to 12th on the restart. The M&M’S crew would gain him additional spots during around of green flag pit stops and Busch was up to eighth by lap 260. Busch was ninth with 100 laps to go following another round of green flag pit stops. A caution with just over 60 laps remaining would bring the field back down to pit road under caution and the M&M’S crew would put Busch back out ninth for the restart. He was holding steady in the top 10 with less than 10 laps remaining when the M&M’S Camry slid up the track and into the outside wall. Busch would take the car to the garage and he would officially be scored in 33rd.
Toyota teammate Martin Truex, Jr. of Furniture Row Racing captured the win, followed by Kevin Harvick in second, Jimmie Johnson third, Hamlin fourth and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five. There were four cautions for a total of 19 laps and nine lead changes among four different drivers.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads north to the tricky triangle at Pocono Raceway next Sunday, June 5. Live coverage on Fox Sports 1 will start Sunday, June 5 at Noon (race starts at 1 PM ET). The race will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90.