By: Billy Tewes
A full moon was clear indication of the mayhem of the longest race of the year, The Coca Cola 600. Kevin Harvick survived all of the craziness that is the Lowes Motor Speedway to take home the checkered flag. Harvick’s 21st Cup Series victory came after a KaseyKahne decided to stay out when a caution waved with 15 laps to go. With fresher tires, Harvick blew past Kahne and never looked back. This win is Harvick’s second Coca Cola 600 win and second of the 2013 campaign.
The race started with a frenetic pace as drivers quickly got spread out and Kasey Kahne looked to be the class of the field. Kyle Busch then emerged as a strong challenger but a very unusual incident happened as Busch took the green flag after a caution. A nylon wire that held up one of the Fox broadcast cameras snapped and damaged both the cars of Kyle Busch and Marcos Ambrose as well as ten spectators. The first of two red flags were brought out and halted the action. Luckily all of the fans are ok and did not get seriously injured.
All drivers were able to pit after this red flag and both Busch and Ambrose were able to fix their cars under that red flag. Unfortunately for Kyle Busch, his night would be ruined as he had a “catastrophic engine failure” on lap 257.
As the sun began to drop, it became evident that the 20 car of Matt Kenseth would become the dominant driver of the race. Kenseth took control of the race and led 112 laps before his crew chief made a huge error and did not bring him to pit road when the rest of the field pitted. Jason Ratcliffe claimed that he did not hear much radio chatter and that is why he kept Kenseth out in hopes of keeping his track position.
Initially this did not doom Kenseth as he held his own after being passed by Kasey Kahne for the lead. Kenseth pitted at lap 300 which then forced the hands of the rest of the lead lap cars. This would have worked except for the fact that Kasey Kahne stayed out long enough to take advantage of a caution for debris which trapped Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth one lap down.
Kenseth would eventually get back on the lead lap but when trying to race his way back to the front, Jimmie Johnson lost control of his car and Juan Pablo Montoya slammed into Kenseth. Kenseth’s car was never the same and he would end up finishing 15th.
The last 100 laps proved to be a wreck fest as Ricky Stenhouse Jr clipped Danica Patrick who then crashed into last years champ Brad Keselowski. The final big wreck happened when Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin and Aric Almirola were going three wide into turn one. Martin clipped Almirola who then slammed into Jeff Gordon.
This caution would end up causing heartache for Kasey Kahne. Kahne was the only driver to stay out when everyone else pitted. One is the loneliest number and that was exactly how Kahne felt. Kahne was able to hang on to finish second but this allowed Harvick to steal his second win of 2013.
Next week Nascar heads to the monster mile another incredible track for great racing. It’s really difficult to predict a winner of Dover. Jimmie Johnson has won four of the last ten Dover races and Matt Kenseth would be a safe pick as it seems that he has been a contender for every race this year. However I am going to pick Martin Truex Jr. to get his first win since his very first career victory at this very track.Don’t miss this race Nascar fans as it is sure to be action packed and full of thrills!
Miles the monster in all of his glory!