It’s hard to match the pageantry and elegance of the Coca-Cola 600 prerace show and its Memorial Day weekend tribute to the armed forces. One thing that was most impressive was watching 37 busses filled with approximately 1,500 troops from Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune and Fort Jackson and their families drive around the track and unload on the frontstretch. For many NASCAR fans, Sunday was a familiar experience, but for the troops it might have been a once-in-a-lifetime moment.
• Who thought the most trouble Kurt Busch would experience during his attempt to complete all 1,100 miles of the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 would come on the Charlotte end of his journey? Busch was not particularly strong during qualifying and did have to start the 600 from the rear of the field after missing the drivers’ meeting, but no one would have guessed a blown engine would end his day early.
• The problems Kevin Harvick’s team is experiencing – thanks to NASCAR’s new Chase format – will not doom the opportunity to compete for a championship. However, they are the type of problems that could dash his hopes of winning his first Sprint Cup title. Harvick’s No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet is consistently one of the fastest every week but has had a slew of pit-road and parts problems that have sidetracked him for chances at even more than the two wins he has.
Jimmie Johnson passed Kenseth for the lead with eight laps remaining to deny him the trip to Victory Lane. Kenseth ended up third.
“Whenever your team does everything, everything falls the right way, they put you out in the front at the end of the race, you don’t win the race, you’re always frustrated and disappointed,” Kenseth said. “You don’t get a lot of those opportunities.”
“We weren't really as fast as we needed to be at the beginning. It’s unfortunate for the whole team. It would have been great to keep the run going that we had,” Patrick said.
“I think we still showed some good things this weekend. We’re not going to forget about where we’ve been lately and running better.”
Patrick, who finished 39th, earned a career-best finish of seventh two weeks earlier at Kansas.
McMurrat led 34 laps Sunday, only the second points race this season he has been out front.
“We’ve had such good cars all year long and have not been able to capitalize because of tire issues or just some bad luck so I’m excited we won last week,” McMurray said.
“We ran really good again this week and Dover is one of my favorite tracks. I’m looking forward to getting there.”
“The strategy was all over the place. It was fun,” Edwards said. “We didn’t have a way to really win it on pure speed, but to have a shot based on that strategy was really good.”
Five Key Moments